Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category

The outrage, oh, the outrage

September 8, 2009


Cartoon by J.D. Crowe (
website, email) of the Mobile (Alabama) Register

The White House released a transcript of this speech slated for today. It was a pep talk, nothing much controversial, with this ending:

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

But a transcript and a mind speech weren’t enough to quell the row and accusations of indoctrination, commented on by the BBC.

The Cato Institute wants us to understand the context for this:, while slyly calling the speech “politicized.”

The furious reaction to the politicized lesson plan and Obama’s speech to schoolchildren cannot be understood without the context of the bailouts, the stimulus, the debt, GM, the attempt to take over health care.

And now, our kids. And not just the speech and lesson plan, but federal expansion into preschool and early childhood initiatives and home visitations (however voluntary and innocuous-seeming in different times).

They . . . the government, the meddlers, the nannies . . . they are coming for our money, our doctors, our guns and our kids. They won’t stop until they control everything.

That’s how it looks to millions of Americans. Fair or not, people are now very sensitive to any actions by the Obama administration.

Just as a lifetime of exposure to an allergen and modest immune reactions can reach some ill-defined tipping point and bloom into full-blown anaphylaxis, many Americans have developed an acute allergy to government intervention and Obama’s grand plans.

Which makes me wonder, just who is politicized here? Could there be some truth to this cartoon by Bill Schorr of Cagle Cartoons?


Count me as one who is furious about the bailouts the stimulus, the debt. But who started that mess, anyway. And, as for health care–if the insurance companies had done a better job, there would be no need for single payer, or it’s way-weaker sister, the public option.

As Bill Clinton said in Esquire,

All we have to worry about is getting things done and doing them as well as we can. Don’t even worry about the Republicans. Let them figure out what they’re going to stand for. ‘Cause as long as they’re sitting around waiting for us to mess up, they don’t have a chance.

Now, if he’d only talk to those Blue Dog buddies of his.

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Obama’s Peculiar Preacher Penchant

December 22, 2008

Yup. The pastor giving the prayer at the inaugeration is Pastor Rick Warren, who like others, thinks that you can say things about homosexuals that you wouldn’t dare say about Blacks. You can watch the interview of the Prop. 8 supporter “Rick Warren Interview: On Gay Marriage and Divorce” by Steve Waldman at BeleifNet.

I’m opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

Waldman then asked,

Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?

Warren’s answer:

Oh, I do.

Wapo Writer Richard Cohen, who’s lesbian sister has been in a committed relationship for nineteen years titled his column today, “Warren On? Party Off.” It’s a barn burner. He writes,

He likens my sister’s relationship — three children, five grandchildren, so loving as to be envied and so conventional as to be boring — to incest or polygamy.

The conventional thing to say is that Obama has a preacher problem — first the volcanic Jeremiah Wright and now the transparently anti-gay Warren. But the real problem has nothing to do with ministers and everything to do with Obama’s inability or unwillingness to be a moral leader. Sooner or later, he just might have to stand for something.

Obama’s Transition Site

December 13, 2008

Two pieces on the site:

The site evidentlly uses the comment engine, Intense Debate.

Obama capitulates on FISA

August 1, 2008


Cartoon by Jack Ohman in the 7/16/08 Oregonian in Portland.

See my article on telecom immunity published 7/30/08 on LLRX.com.

Obama’s speech at the Victory Column in Berlin

July 24, 2008


Cartoon 7/24/08 by the Toronto Star‘s Patrick Corrigan (email, website, bio) of Obama’s Thursday speech (transcript, video and what others are saying about it, via Memeorandum.

*

Oddly, some Germans seem to be more sure of the outcome of the election than even U.S. Democrats. Gerhard Spörl, chief editor of Der Spiegel‘s foreign desk, enthuses in “No. 44 Has Spoken.”

Europe is witnessing the 44th president of the United States during this trip.

I’m not sure his opinion will serve to win Obama favor in the U.S.

Spörl assessment interests me, given arguments that Obama’s naivety in foreign policy bodes poorly for international respect (a Clinton meme since adopted by McCain and others such as Townhall’s Dennis Prager):

hard-nosed Europeans will hope and pray that the future President Obama isn’t really all that serious about the saving the world of tomorrow, the polar caps, Darfur and the poppy harvest over in Afghanistan….we will have to quickly get used to Barack Obama, the new leader of a lofty democracy that loves those big nice words — words that warm our hearts and alarm our minds.

Obama to Expand Faith Based Initiatives

July 2, 2008

The NYT has a transcript of Obama’s 7/1/08 speech. What part of separation of Church and State do the Dems not understand in their efforts to our Chirsitian the Repubs.

The Pennsylvania Presidential Primary: Polls, Exit Polls, Live Blogging and What’s Next

April 22, 2008


Chart from Gallup.

It had been six weeks since the last Democratic primary between Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. Pennsylvania has 158 pledged delegates to be awarded proportionally and while AP had called the race for Clinton shortly after 10 p.m. last night , th eexact split remains to be seen. In any case, the race will now continue.

Gallup Daily released four polls April 22:

According to Gallup,

Neither Democrat can claim stronger positioning against John McCain at this point. Among registered voters nationwide, McCain and Obama are even at 45%, while McCain outpolls Clinton by a single point, 46% to 45%.

Voting locales opened at 7 a.m. Eastern time in PA and closed at 8 p.m. At about 6:00 p.m., the Associated Press released its preliminary exit poll information.

[f]rom a partial sample of 1,421 Democratic primary voters conducted in 40 precincts across Pennsylvania by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for The Associated Press and television networks.

That’s the National Election Pool, folks, started in 2003, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News. AP actually

collects voter returns from all counties in the United States and from cities/towns in the New England states. They provide tabulations…

The first information was demographic in nature. Divulged votes in past races had led to criticism that the exit polls could affect the outcome if revealed while the voting was still going on. Since 2003

Edison/Mitofsky does not provide its information to the public. Each of the members has its own analysts who review the Exit Poll results and the tabulated data as it is collected. Each news organization makes its own decision about what to report to the public.

Projections of a winning candidate are based on models that use votes from…Exit Poll interviews with voters, vote returns as reported by election officials from the sample precincts, and tabulations of votes by county. …Projections of a winning candidate are only made after all the polls in a state are closed and when the best model estimates show a clear winner.

So here’s what AP told us at 6:00:

  • one in 10 changed their party registration since the start of 2008 in a race open only to registered Democrats. Those switching were split about evenly between registered Republicans and the unaffiliated. About 3 percent were voting for the first time in Pennsylvania.
  • voters were “overwhelmingly” white and there were more women than men. About 30% were age 65 or over. Almost 50% were from families that earned less than $50,000 last year, while about 25% had household income exceedomg $100,000. About 25% reported having a postgraduate degree. 30% were union members or had one in their household. About 40% reported having a gun owner in the household.
  • About 20% said the race of the candidates was among the top factors in their vote and about the same number named gender.
  • About 20% said they chose their candidate within the past week, about half of those today.
  • About 40% said the country is in a serious recession and an equal number called it a moderate recession. 10% said the economy is not in recession. At least 50% said the economy was the most important issue facing the country.
  • About 25% said Iraq was the top issue. Health care came next.

Brendan Loy posted yesterday morning on the predictive power of early election results–(hint: not much, unless Clinton pulled ahead from the start.) For the real political junkies among my readers, Mark Blumentahl live blogged the results over at Polster.com, as did the thread at Real Clear Politics.

With a close race, things had deteriorated in negative campaign ads, and a game of gotcha about Obama’s ties to Reverend Wright and his statement to supporters in San Francisco that blue collar voters are “bitter” and Hillary’s refuted tale of coming under fire in Bosnia. Both those speak to character, but in the policy arena Clinton was also saber rattling about Iran.

Yesterday, McCain senior adviser Mark McKinnon told USA Today reporter David Jackson,

We’re for anything that keeps it going.

Jackson added that Senior McCain adviser Mark Salter smiled while saying,

we don’t want to intrude on their process. We want them to carefully deliberate their choices.

The next stop will be North Carolina and Indiana on May 6. Montana and South Dakota hold the last Democratic primaries stateside June 3. Then there’s the Puerto Rican and a Guam caucus to be finished by June 7. To date, Clinton is still maintaining that Michigan and Florida, which she won, should count. She stayed on the ballot after the party leadership disqualified those states for jumping ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire.

All this probably leaves the Republicans hopeful that either Democrat will emerge as damaged goods come the Convention. And, meanwhile, it also leaves many of us tired. But for those of you who still have the energy to study up for your dcivic engagement, you can find dossiers compiled by the bi-partisan Project Vote-Smart on Obama, Clinton and their Republican rival, Senator John McCain. All three have refused to fill out the group’s “political courage” survey, although McCain at one time sat on the Board. And don’t forget “OntheIsssues.org, although the material there is a bit dated.

Human Events Takes Out Google Attack Ad Here? (Oh dear, Obama Too Radical? Not)

January 6, 2008


Now that I’m at Blogger, I’m always curious to know who’s advertising on The Writing Corner. I’m supposed to be able to screen whom I’ll accept, but I haven’t had the time to figure out how. Actually, I haven’t had the time to really complete an entry, what with the Tech library on short hours for break and the tasks other than writing new entries involved in moving my blog from Yahoo.

So I was a bit chagrined to see a link to the junkola above appearing on my blog today via Google AdSense. And no, I’m not providing a link to Human Events, except via a description by Sourcewatch, if there were one, which unfortunately there is not for “the news source President Reagan called his ‘favorite newspaper'”

There is, however a link at Sourcewatch to Human Event’s parent company, Eagle Publishing, which bought out the original founder of the magazine, Regnery Publishing, started in 1947 by Henry Regnery, Sr.

It’s kind of sad that the publisher of the Great Books series, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Barry Goldwater now calls four of the

great conservative thinkers of our era — Robert Novak, Michelle Malkin…Oliver North [and], Pat Buchanan,

and publishes a screed like the following:

From his radical stance on abortion to his prominence in the corruption scandals that has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media, Barack Obama is not fit to be Senator — not to mention the next President of the United States.

Obama has declared his presidential intentions, but it is up to well-informed and energetic conservatives like you to spare our nation from the scourge of a far-left President Barack H. Obama.

Get your FREE PDF copy of HUMAN EVENTS’ new special report – Barack Obama: EXPOSED! – when you sign up for our free email newsletters. It’s the only way you’ll get all the ammunition you need to end Obama’s White House dreams once and for all.

If this is the best that “well-informed and energetic conservatives” (like me?) can come up with, well,…but evidently it’s not. Glenn Greenwald writing in Salon on January 5, tells of efforts by the more”subtle” dog whistlers: “Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Reynolds warn of “social unraveling” if Obama loses.”

By the way, Greenwald refreshes our memory about Paul Gigot’s account of the 2000 Florida recount. Although Greenwald links to a Village Voice piece mentioning Gigot, here’s his original Wall Street Journal piece from November 24, 2000, “Miami Heat: A burgher rebellion in Dade County.”

Street-smart New York Rep. John Sweeney, a visiting GOP monitor, told an aide to “Shut it down,” and semi-spontaneous combustion took over.

The Republicans marched on the counting room en masse, chanting “Three Blind Mice” and “Fraud, Fraud, Fraud.” True, it wasn’t exactly Chicago 1968, but these are Republicans. Their normal idea of political protest is filling out the complaint card at a Marriott.

They also let it be known that 1,000 local Cuban-American Republicans were on the way–not a happy prospect for Anglo judges who must run for re-election. Inside the room, GOP lawyers also pointed out that the law–recall that quaint concept–required that any recount include all ballots.

The canvassers then stunned everybody and caved in. They cancelled any recount and certified the original Nov. 7 election vote, claiming that the Sunday deadline didn’t allow enough time to recount everywhere. Republicans rejoiced and hugged like they’d just won the lottery.


It’s Obama for Democrats after the Iowa Caucus

January 4, 2008


The Democratic Party’s Iowa Caucus results ( Google Map–adapted above): were as follows (in delegate equivalents):

Senator Barack Obama : 37.58%
Senator John Edwards : 29.75%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 29.47%
Governor Bill Richardson : 2.11%
Senator Joe Biden : 0.93%
Senator Chris Dodd : 0.02%
Uncommitted : 0.14%

Both Biden and Dodd have dropped out of the race. Biden’s statement was, some would say, uncharacteristically short:

I am not going away. I’m returning to the Senate as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and will continue to ensure that we protect the nation’s security and show our country that Democrats know how to keep America safe, keep our commitment to our troops and restore our country’s respect in the world.

Dodd’s speech was longer and eloquently repeated the themes of his candidacy. After talking about how his campaign had been rewawrding despite the outcome and his inspiration by President Kennedy to serve and make a difference, he continued:

While we came up short in the race for caucus votes tonight, our campaign has more than kept pace in the race of ideas.

By raising ideas no other Presidential candidate has ever proposed, let there be no doubt that this campaign has set the standard.

When we began this race, every Democrat was for ending the war in Iraq – a war that has made us not more secure, but less so.

But it was only when we stood up and said this President wouldn’t get another penny to fight that war that other candidates committed to doing what was necessary to actually end it.

When we began this race, every Democrat—every American—agreed that in America, we should never need a national crisis to bring the country together with national purpose.

But only when we proposed a universal national service plan to create the first generation in history that served our country did the national service debate begin in earnest – to create that renewed sense of community we all want.

And after 7 years of insecurity and watching this President have to go into hiding when he traveled abroad, we were all for stopping this President’s assault on the Constitution.

But it was only when I stood up and you stood with me—it was only when tens of thousands of Americans stood together and said we would do whatever it took to stop this President from shredding the rule of law—that we actually did stop him.

And that fight goes on.

Gravel’s website announced he was still in the race, despites rumors to the contrary. Nothing on Kucinich’s site, other than that he was throwing his support to Obama for the second round, if he were not viable. Richardson was making the most of his tiny results, as ” fourth place” finish.

more soon. The library is closing.

Harpers Targets Obama

October 25, 2006

The montage combines the cover from the November 2006 Harpers with a photograph of Barack Obama from the news release announcing his keynote address at Harvard Law School’s celebration of black alumni on September 17, 2005.

John Dufresne’s blog for yesterday featured his caption, “consider the possibility” with a picture of an Obama in 2008 button. I have already mentioned Obama on Charlie Rose in connection with his book tour.

Saturday, October 21, I happened to pick up the November Harper’s with the cover story on pages 31-40, “Barack Obama Inc.: The birth of a Washington Machine” by Washington editor Ken Silverstein (email). No no copy has been posted to the site (yet?).

Eric Alterman (blog at Media Matters, Altercation) and Silverstein are currentlyengaging in a pissing match about the article and an earlier article on Alterman by Silverstein in the Villiage Voice which I couldn’t find but according to Susan Lehman in her December 4, 1998 Salon Media Circus column entry “Ahoy Mates” was a

vicious hatchet job [in which]… Ken Silverstein, in the Village Voice some years back — referred to Alterman as “3/4 brown noser, 1/4 cheeky chappy.”

Alterman, in his Huffington Post entry “Pre-election Potpourr” on October 19 said that Silverstein had done “a foolish hit job” on Obama. Silverstein, in his blog, Washington Babylon‘s October 23 entry, “Booted by MSNBC, is Alterman Making a Pitch to be Obama’s Press Secretary?” sums up his description of Obama in Harpers:

In the article, I described Obama as possibly the most charismatic Democrat since Robert F. Kennedy, and noted that he is sincere, well-intentioned, and genuinely interested in changing our political culture. The article did take stock of Obama’s record in Washington, since much of it looks disappointingly conventional. Because Washington is so intensely hostile to reform and reformers, a progressive like Obama may not be able to accomplish much.

I agree with Alterman that the article, taken in conjuction with its title and cover illustration is indeed a hit job and Silverstein’s response seems disingenuous. Rather than being merely “disappointingly conventional,” Silverstein depicts Obama as being in the pocket of lobbyists, at least with regard to his support of corn-based ethanol. Consider this criticism of Obama’s July appearance at the Center for American Progress’s Campus Progress conference :

Despite its audience and ostensible subject matter, however, Obama’s speech contained just a singfle call for political action…”Give it up for Mark.”…Obama had essentially marshalled his undeniably moving oratory to plump for the classic pork- barrel cause of every Midwestern politician.

Mark Pike, of the Center-sponsored “Kick the Oil Habit” campaign (co-sponsor list) was heading cross country in a flex-fuel vehicle and would only stop at stations selling 85% ethanol fuel, which has been criticized by being bad for conservation because it requires large amounts of fossil fuel for its production, while gasoline gets 30% more miles per gallon.

Silverstein adds that

Obama, Durbin and three other farm state senators opposed a proposal by the Bush administration earlier this year to lower still tariff’s on cheap sugarcaneibased ethanol from Brazil and other countries.

Silverstein criticizes Obama for lending his name to a letter with the

dubious implication that Brazilian ethanol is a national security liability comparible to Saudi crude [indicating]…that he is at least as interested in protecting domestic producers of ethanol as he is in weaning America from imported petroleum.

Robert John Keefe (email) in his October 15 entry “Obama and Ethanol” on Daily Blaugue, calls the article “disheartening but unsurprising.” He quotes Ted Patzek (sic–it’s actually Tad), of the University of California at Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as saying that ethanol production is based on

the massive transfer of money from the collective pocket of the US taxpayers to the transnational agricultural cartel.

Keefe says that Silverstein quotes Patzek, but in leafing back through the article just now, I couldn’t find the citation. I was able, however, to find the context for the comment which is from Patzek (email)’s article,”Thermodynamics of the Corn-Ethanol Biofuel Cycle” which appeared in Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 23(6):519-567 (2004). Tad W. Patzek.

I have tried to avoid political questions, but at some point one should ask how it was possible for a poor agri-industrial technology to grow so explosively in the last four years? The only plausible answer lies in politics. The recent growth of ethanol production could occur only because of the massive transfer of money from the collective pocket of the U.S. taxpayers to the transnational agricultural cartel, represented most notably by Archer Daniel Midlands Co., Cargill Inc., Monsanto Co., and A. E. Stanley Manufacturing Co. This flow of billions of dollars from the pockets of the many to the pockets of the few was accomplished by federal subsidies of corn producers, and the federal and state tax subsidies of ethanol producers. It was spearheaded by many powerful, and I would like to think, thoroughly misinformed politicians.

More ominously, as a country, we have diverted our collective attention from the most important issue of this century: energy conservation and increased reliance on the only renewable source of energy, the sun, and its weak derivative, the wind, see Appendix C. Instead, we have somewhat accelerated the rate of depletion of the precious natural gas and crude oil deposits, in exchange for the significantly more wide-spread pollution of water, soil and air over roughly 1/2 of the area of the United States, the incremental carbon dioxide emissions, the substandard ethanol fuel, and the continuous drain of taxpayers’ money.

Keefe says of Obama,

In his attempt to become a viable progressive – that is, a legislator who can count on the contributions that will get him re-elected – Senator Obama has done a fair amount of trimming. I gave up on him a year ago, when he was nowhere in the public discussion of ethnic cleansing in New Orleans. I’m afraid that he’s just another Kennedy.

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I disagree with Alterman’s derisive adjective, “foolish.” The question for me, “Is Silverstein’s hit job valid?” I decided to do some reading on Obama’s position on ethanol. I found a March 21, 2006 interview with Grist Magazine , in which author Dasvid Roberts sums up his opinion of Obama,

when I sat across from Obama in a Seattle cafe booth, I sensed no duplicity. His much-storied charisma makes such judgments difficult, of course, but he seemed to have a grasp of the energy situation far broader than bringing home the pork to his constituents. He acknowledged the limitations of his proposals but was unapologetically pragmatic about strategy. He’s playing the long game.

This is what Obama had to say about his energy strategy:

I support significant increases in CAFE standards. But we’ve brought that to the floor again and again and again, and we can’t get it passed in its current iteration. I was one of the cosponsors of the amendment to the energy bill last year — we just couldn’t get enough votes. Including, unfortunately, two of our Democratic senators from Michigan, because they’re concerned about the auto industry. No matter how much you want to talk about the big picture, people still think very locally.

I think cellulosic ethanol is probably our best short-term solution. The amount of energy required to produce cellulosic ethanol is a significant improvement over corn-based ethanol. The technology exists. We don’t have to change distribution systems; essentially it pumps just like gasoline. It only costs $100 to retrofit any vehicle out there. And if Brazil can do it in the span of three or four years, while cutting their transportation-gasoline use essentially in half, there’s no reason we can’t do it.

So I guess my answer would be: This is an important series of first steps that moves us in the right direction. It is not sufficient to create a sustainable, long-term energy strategy, but it’ll be a component of it.

Reader Alec Johnson responded:

I used to have a great deal of respect for Barack Obama, but no longer do. He voted for the egregious Bankruptcy Bill and Dick Cheney’s hideous Energy Bill — neither are even remotely progressive pieces of legislation.

Everyone is getting on the biofuels band wagon, which is more than a bit self-serving for the junior Senator from Illinois. One wonders if he is innumerate, like most of the rest of our population. Do the math, Barack, we do not have enough land mass to grow biofuel and food, regardless of the alleged (and highly dubious) positive energy yield biofuel proponents profess, we’d need something on the order of three additional continents, each the size of the US, to seriously produce the amount of fuel we consume today, not to mention what we are likely to consume next year. At best, biofuels might have a limited utility as a boutique fuel, produced on farms to power farm machinery. I can only conclude that Senator Obama is either an innumerate fool or just another self-serving politician, perhaps both. Don’t be deceived by his smile and posturing. And next time you interview him, ask him how he could vote for the Bankruptcy bill and still style himself a progressive.

Before going on to other charges (the bankrupcy bill, Katrina, Obama’s support of Lieberman, etc) I wanted to look further into the ethanol bill. It’s current incarnation is S. 2446 introduced on March 16, 2006 and stalled in the Senate Finance Committee. The bill’s co-sponsor, Dick Lugar (R-IN) issued a news release June 7, “Greenspan cites need for rapid cellulosic ethanol product.” Greenspan’s testimony at the Foreign Relations committee that date can be found here.

Lugar characterizes the bill:

S. 2446, which would take a four-step approach to reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. First, the legislation would spur investment in alternative fuels by increasing the production of cellulosic biomass ethanol and create an Alternative Diesel Standard. Second, it would help increase consumer demand for alternative fuels by providing a short-term, 35 cents per gallon tax credit for E85 fuel and by providing automakers with a $100 tax credit for every FFV produced. Third, it would require the U.S. government to increase access to alternative fuels by requiring the government to allow public access to alternative fueling stations located on federal government property. Finally, it would create a Director of Energy Security to oversee and keep America focused on its goal of energy independence.

While Lugar lists increasing the production of cellulosic biomass ethanol as the first priority of the bill, in actuality, the only specific mention is in section 6, which proposes to amend the Internal Revenue Code to extend the alcohol fuel mixture excise tax credit to cellulosic biomass ethanol. I will leave it up to environmental policy experts to evaluate if that makes the bill worthwhile or if the suspicions of environmentalists are valid, as David Roberts sums it up:

With the smell of pork in the air, greens worry that rather than a balanced package of energy initiatives (efficiency incentives, grid improvements, carbon taxes, etc.), America will simply be saddled with yet another massive, entrenched, politically connected, heavily subsidized industry.

*

Next, I decided to look Keefe’s complaint about Obama and Katrina that ” he was nowhere in the public discussion of ethnic cleansing in New Orleans.” Obama has always comported himself as a bridge builder. I would not expect him to use the term “ethnic cleansing,” which, while perhaps valid, is confrontational. Obama did address Katrina his speech to his fellow Black Harvard Law alums. I have yet to find the entire speech; it is not on his Senate website. However Tracy Jan of the Boston Globe quoted extensively in her September 18, 2005 article, “Obama urges alumni to help fight poverty: Gives speech at Harvard meeting of black grads.” According to her, he

urged the nearly 1,000 people in attendance to take personal responsibility in combating the urban poverty brought to light after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

She quotes Obama,

The people that we saw in front of the Superdome and in front of the convention center, they had been abandoned before the hurricane…..The violence has always been there. It just wasn’t on your television screen because it wasn’t spilling out onto the lives of the rest of us..

Obama spoke about the

festering sores of poverty and racism

I do not ascribe to the White House . . . any active malice….’But rather what was revealed was a passive indifference that is common in our culture, common in our society — the sense that of course once the evacuation order was issued that you will hop in your SUV with $100 worth of gasoline and load up your truck with sparkling water and take your credit card and check into the nearest hotel until the storm passed. And the notion that folks couldn’t do that simply did not register in the minds of those in charge.

In the question and answer period, Obama added,

‘We want to ensure that people who’ve been displaced have opportunities to participate in the rebuilding of their own communities.

Obama gave two statements on Katrina as a senator. In the first on September 5, he

a conversation I had with one woman captured the realities that are settling into these families as they face the future.

She told me “We had nothing before the hurricane. Now we got less than nothing.”

We had nothing before the hurricane. Now we got less than nothing.

In the coming weeks, as the images of the immediate crisis fade and this chamber becomes consumed with other matters, we will be hearing a lot about lessons learned and steps to be taken. I will be among those voices calling for action.

Once the situation is stable, once families are settled – at least for the short term – once children are reunited with their parents and enrolled in schools and the wounds have healed, we’re gonna have to do some hard thinking about how we could have failed our fellow citizens so badly, and how we will prevent such a failure from ever occurring again.

The second was a February 1, 2006 floor statement in the support of a tax credit amendement that he intended to introduce as part of the Tax Reconciliation Act.

We all know what happened to the families on the Gulf Coast due to Hurricane Katrina, and it will be a long time before these families can rebuild their lives. Many of the families in the affected states were evacuated to other areas, and many of them cannot even afford to go back. And the federal response so far has been inadequate to get these families effectively back on their feet.

We need to do better. At a time when we are debating $70 billion of tax breaks, many of which will benefit those who need the least help, it is critical that we remember the worst off and the most vulnerable members of our society.

The bus is coming. More later.