Five years ago, UC Merced students successfully persuaded First Lady Michelle Obama to speak at their commencement ceremony that spring. They had bombarded her with hundreds of valentines and pulled every possible political string between Central California and Washington. To their delight and surprise, she accepted and addressed what was the new school’s first graduating class.
Now, UC Irvine is hoping similar tactics will work with her husband, reports the Los Angeles Times.
“The Orange County campus has asked President Obama to deliver the school’s commencement address on June 14, possibly at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. An anticipated 10,000 invitation postcards from students, alumni and staff are scheduled to be delivered to the White House soon.
“Plans are in the works to also send a special video from the campus basketball team, aiming at the president’s love of watching and playing hoops.
“UC Irvine spokeswoman Janet Wilson said a presidential visit would be appropriate because then-President Johnson spoke at the dedication ceremony for the campus on June 20, 1964. “We’d like to kick off our 50th anniversary celebration with another visit from the president of the United States,” she said.UC Irvine officials understand that there is a lot of competition among universities, but the school is “very hopeful” to receive a positive response in April, Wilson said. Last spring, Obama delivered three graduation speeches: at Morehouse College in Georgia, Ohio State University and the U.S. Naval Academy.”
Don’t believe the pundits.
For the sixth consecutive year, Barack Obama ranks as the Most Admired Man among Americans, and Hillary Clinton is again the Most Admired Woman. The Gallup Poll organization reports that for 2103 both won by comfortable margins.
“Sixteen percent named Obama, compared with 4% each for former
President George W. Bush and Pope Francis; Clinton (15%) finished ahead of television personality Oprah Winfrey (6%), first lady Michelle Obama (5%), and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (5%).
“Each year, Gallup asks Americans to name, in an open-ended format, the man and woman living anywhere in the world they admire most. This year’s poll was conducted Dec. 5-8. Obama has won Gallup’s Most Admired Man designation each year since 2008, the year he was elected president. However, similar to his declining job approval rating this year, the percentage naming him fell to 16% from 30% in 2012. The remainder of the top 10 Most Admired men includes three former presidents (Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter) and two religious leaders (the Rev. Billy Graham and Pope Francis). The sitting pope has finished in the top 10 each year since 1977. In addition to Pope Francis, actor, director, and political activist Clint Eastwood and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finished in the top 10 for the first time. This year’s poll was conducted at the time of South African human rights leader Nelson Mandela’s death. The widespread news coverage of his death helped make him top of mind for many Americans, and 7% named him as Most Admired Man. However, because the question wording specifically asks for the name of a living man or woman, Gallup does not rank deceased figures who are mentioned. Hillary Clinton has been named Most Admired Woman a total of 18 times, more than any other woman in Gallup’s history, including each of the last 12 years. Clinton first won the distinction in 1993, when she was first lady, and has continued to rank at or near the top of the list while serving in a variety of public roles including as U.S. senator and as secretary of state. The 15% naming her this year is down from 21% last year and is the lowest figure for her since 2006. Continue reading “Barack and Hillary win again in 2013”
After so many stops and starts in the ruptured, tortuous U.S.-Cuban relationship, it can be difficult at times to muster any hope for change. And so, as The Havana Note reports, “even after watching the historic handshake between President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro at the memorial for former President Nelson Mandela today, it would be easy enough to conclude that the handshake was just a handshake.
“Maybe it was a momentary stunt by a beleaguered White House eager to shake the media – even for a moment – off of our national conversation about the botched Obamacare rollout. Given this administration’s halting, almost fearful approach to Cuba policy for most of the last five years, it’s hard to imagine that this is the beginning of a real and intentional rapprochement.
“But it’s also been a long time coming. President Obama has long believed our policy to be a failure – he said as much during his 2004 run for the Senate. During his first campaign for president he famously expressed (and walked back, somewhat) a willingness to meet with President Raul Castro, and just months into office, Obama called for a “new beginning” with Cuba. Though Obama left most of the policies in place that he inherited, he has notably presided over an historic rebuilding of the Cuban and Cuban American communities’ ties – and in the process, winning nearly 50% of Cuban Americans’ votes in the 2012 presidential election. Continue reading “Obama meets Castro”
Today two legendary figures wrote to the Supreme Court in opposition to California’s ban on gay marriage: Clint Eastwood and Barack Obama. The famous gunslinger (who famously admonished an imaginary Obama in a chair at the Republican Convention) and the president chose the same day to ratchet up their support for marriage equality. Huffington Post, covered Eastwood’s announcement this way:
“Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood has taken his well-publicized support of same-sex marriage one step further, calling upon the U.S. Supreme Court to drop Prop 8. As Breitbart’s Mike Flynn reports, the Oscar-winning actor and director joined more than 100 Republicans in signing a Supreme Court-bound brief in favor of allowing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples the right to legally wed in California.
“Flynn describes Eastwood as a “long-time Republican with strong libertarian leanings,” and says that signing the Supreme Court briefs implies that he “is going to stay active in the political landscape.” One of Eastwood’s representatives and a spokesman for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group spearheading opposition to California’s law banning same-sex marriage, confirmed the news to NBC. Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and GOP strategist Steve Schmidt are among the other high-profile names to sign the brief, CBS News reports.
“The 82-year-old Eastwood discussed his generally pro-same-sex marriage stance in a September 2012 appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. “The condition of society right now, with the high unemployment rates and the tremendous debt we’re increasing and the government spending, we’d think there’d be [many more worthy issues] to think about [rather] that worrying about gay marriage,” he told DeGeneres.In 2011, Eastwood similarly told GQ magazine, “I don’t give a f**k about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of … Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”
More at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/clint-eastwood-prop-8-gay-marriage-_n_2783489.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices
“That’s how it goes with kids. You hardly notice how fast they’re growing up, then suddenly big sis is nearly as tall as Mom and the little one is a tween, gently sassing Dad.” You have to hand it to Huffington Post for this entry about something other than the most obvious headlines. As the story continues:
“On the inaugural platform again four years later, a more mature Malia Obama, 14, and Sasha, 11, smiled, sometimes giggled, and chatted with their cousin Avery Robinson as they awaited their father’s arrival. Sasha bounced on her feet a bit as if chilly; later at the parade she danced in her seat to the beat of passing drummers. Malia, rivaling her mother’s 5 feet 11 inches, looked poised in calf-high black boots. Like any girls their age, they whipped out their smartphones in the reviewing stand to take photos.
“Both daughters appeared relaxed and oblivious to their global TV audience, unaffected by their rare status, unfazed by the fuss over their father. Continue reading “Sasha and Malia to make history”
With “binders full of women” still lingering in public memory, a New Yorks Times reporter made an uncomfortable observation about recent White House appointments.
Obama’s key advisors appear to be all male.
As January has unfolded, “Mr. Obama has put together a national security team dominated by men, with Senator John Kerry nominated to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as the secretary of state, Chuck Hagel chosen to be the defense secretary and John O. Brennan nominated as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency,” reported the Times. Continue reading “Barry’s boys club”