Year Two Day 57 Obama Administration March 17, 2010 - History

9:30AM THE PRESIDENT received the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office

10:00AM THE PRESIDENT received the Economic Daily Briefing
Oval Office

10:45AM THE PRESIDENT met with the Taoiseach of Ireland Brian Cowen
Oval Office
12:35PM THE PRESIDENT deliveres remarks at Speaker Pelosis Friends of Ireland Luncheon
The Capitol

7:25PM THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY hosted St. Patricks Day reception
East Room


The question of this volume, as important as it is, is not simply of what legacy Barack Obama leaves in the Indo-Pacific after eight years in office, or, indeed, of how Donald Trump has engaged with that legacy during his first two years in charge. It is of the historical legacies of American power in the twenty-first-century Indo-Pacific of which both Obama and Trump themselves are constituted, which frame and steer their ideas and actions, and which they challenge or reinforce. Individuals and their administrations matter, but so do underlying knowledges and truths about the world which endure, sometimes for centuries, to be inherited by new presidents and their advisors because they defy party politics and the whims and cycles of popular opinion. These are the legacies about which this chapter is concerned.

The argument is not that Obama, Trump or any other occupant of the White House is somehow irrelevant – that there exist timeless and all-powerful understandings about the United States and the Indo-Pacific which render any given president and their administration a helpless conduit of deterministic discourses or wisdoms. It is that in any discussion of presidential legacy, it is useful in the first instance to step back to assess the historical conditions which explain how they could come to be, and what the past tells us about their likely future direction.

This chapter begins by speaking to debates around whether US internationalism represents empire or hegemony, and their applicability to the United States’ place in Asia and the Pacific. To make sense of that place and its varied manifestations across space and time, it is argued that the United States has consistently pursued a position of imperial hegemony throughout the Asia Pacific (rather than the wider Indo-Pacific, about which this volume in toto is concerned). The next section argues that, in this pursuit, the United States has sought to construct an American Pacific framed by the perceived civilisational values and physical authority of the American self. The formations of this American Pacific are traced from the earliest periods of US expansionism, showing how it has always been seen as an extension of US territory and identity. The chapter then turns to the 2009–17 presidency of Barack Obama and how his policies and worldviews were informed by centuries of historical logics about the United States and its role in the Asia Pacific. It also assesses what the first two years of the Donald Trump presidency reveal about the deep-rooted legacies of the American Pacific in the post-Obama era, not least with regard the re-imagining of the region into a larger “Indo-Pacific”. The chapter concludes by arguing that key legacies of the American Pacific for twenty-first-century US administrations are of largely unquestioned truths about the United States as a local actor throughout a region imagined to extend from the Western United States to the furthest reaches of Asia, and that an ever-expanding reach of influence and authority has meant an ever-expanding responsibility to sustain and defend itself there.


Barack Hussein Obama Jr. was born August 4, 1961 [1] , to parents Barack Hussein Obama Sr. and Stanley Ann Dunham, in Hawaii. The couple would divorce in 1963 due to strain caused by Barack Obama Sr. leaving Hawaii to study economics at Harvard, when Obama was 2 years old, following which his mother married Lolo Soetoro, a geologist. When Barack Obama was age 6 his mother took him to Jakarta, Indonesia for 4 years while she pursued a Ph.D. in Anthropology requiring fieldwork there. She then left him in Hawaii with his grandparents (Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, who had moved to Hawaii in 1959) so he could pursue American education. [2] Other siblings of Obama's include his half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and 7 other children born to his father by 4 different women. [3] For much of his early life, prior to his transfer to Columbia University, he went by his nickname, "Barry". In the summer of 1988, before attending Harvard Law School (he'd just been accepted), he visited Kogelo, Kenya, to learn more about his father's family his father had died in a car accident in 1982. When his mother died in 1995, he and his sister Maya scattered her ashes over Hawaii's south shore. [2]

Personal Life

Barack Obama met and began dating his future wife, an Attorney named Michelle Robinson, herself a recent Harvard Law School graduate, while he was working at Sidley Austin LLP, a prestigious corporate law firm. [1] The two continued dating long-distance while he finished law school, and on October 18, 1982, were married by Reverend Jeremiah Wright at Trinity United Church. [2] In 1999, their first child was born, Malia, and in 2001, another daughter, Natasha (often called Sasha). [1]

Obama joined Reverend Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church from 1985-1988 during his time as a community organizer (See 1985-1988, Community Organizer section). Obama was married at Trinity United Church, credits Wright with his conversion to Christianity, and had both his daughters, Sasha and Malia, baptized there. [2]


At age 6, Obama attended schools in Indonesia, the first a Catholic School while he was in Kindergarten, and later a public school. While the public school had mostly Muslim students (since most Indonesians were Muslim), claims that it was a Muslim school or Madrassa are false. In 1971, at age 10, Barack Obama moved to Hawaii, and his grandparents helped him gain entrance to the prestigious Punahou Academy in Honolulu through a scholarship, while he was in 5th grade. [2] At his elite high school with 1,200 students he was just 1 of 3 black students, and was on the second string of the state champion basketball team his senior year. During this time he regularly used marijuana and also experimented briefly with cocaine. He wrote a poem for the school's literary magazine, Ka Wai Ola. [3]

In 1979, he began a 2-year stint at Occidental College college in Los Angeles [1] , and then transferred to Columbia University in New York, which he graduated from in 1983. [4] During this time he allegedly spoke at an Anti-Apartheid rally on campus, [2] although several prominent student leaders said they did not remember him there. Professor Michael L. Baron was impressed by Obama and wrote him a recommendation for Harvard Law School. [5] In the winter of 1988 Barack Obama decided to attend Harvard Law School, and left Chicago for Cambridge, Massachusetts. In his 2nd year he became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, following a "marathon voting session" in which he was elected on the 19th ballot. [3] This led to national attention and numerous job offers, which Obama passed up, at age 30, to pursue a political career in Chicago. [1] [2]

Non-Political Employment

1983-1984, Financial Analyst and Writer

In 1984 Obama worked as a writer and financial analyst for Business International Corporation, a small newsletter-publishing and research firm which aided multinational companies understand overseas markets. Obama served as a writer/researcher for a company reference service, Financing Foreign Operations, and wrote for a newsletter, Business International Money Report. His Supervisor was Cathy Lazere, and he worked at the company to pay off his student loans. [5] [6]

1984-1988, Community Organizer

In 1984, Obama was hired by the New York Public Interest Research Group, a non-profit organization promoting environmental, consumer, and government reforms. He also was paid just under $10,000 annually as a full-time organizer for Harlem's City College to mobilize student volunteers. [5] From 1985-88, Obama worked as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, for which he was paid $1,000 a year, with $2,000 extra for a car. He helped Loretta Herron gain city approval for a local community job center. [2] [7] During this time Obama joined Reverend Wright's Trinity United Church because in the words of Suzanne Malveaux of CNN, "It was the church to join if you wanted to be one of Chicago's black movers and shakers." At the time, community organizing involved close affiliation with churches, which was how Obama met Wright. The slow progress in fighting asbestos contamination in the Altgeld Gardens housing project led to Obama's departure from Chicago, and enrollment at Harvard Law School in the winter of 1988. [2]

1988-1996, Law Practice

In 1988 Obama gained work as a Summer Associate at one of the most prestigious corporate law firms in the world, Sidley Austin LLP [8] [2] , owned by Newton Minow, thanks to the recommendation of Minow's daughter Martha, a professor at Harvard Law School. It was at Minow's law firm that Obama would meet Michelle Robinson, his future wife. [3] From 1993-96 he practiced civil rights law, after graduating from Harvard, at Miner, Barnhill, & Galland, a small politically-connected law firm. [8] It was at Miner, Barnhill, & Galland that he would meet influential real estate developer Tony Rezko. [2]

1992-2004, Law Professor at University of Chicago

Obama taught constitutional law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School [3] from 1992-2004. He was a Lecturer from 1992-96, teaching 3 courses per year, and a Senior Lecturer from 1996-2004. Senior Lecturers are considered Law School faculty and regarded as professors but not full-time or tenured. Obama was invited to become a Senior Lecturer several times during this period but declined each time. [9]

1995, Author

In 1995 Obama published "Dreams From My Father" about his life and family background. [1]

Personal Awards

2009 Nobel Peace Prize

On October 9, 2009 Barack H. Obama became the third sitting U.S. President [10] to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". [11] Obama stated that he was "surprised and deeply humbled" to receive the unexpected award, [12] and also said, "To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who have inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace". [10] The award was widely criticized given Obama's then lack of accomplishments. [13]

Juan Garcia takes a job in the Obama administration

Congrats to former State Rep. Juan Garcia on his new gig.

The White House issued a news release announcing Juan Garcia, Obama’s former law school classmate and one-term Texas House member, will be nominated to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs).

Obama said of the slate of administration nominees announced along with Garcia:

“These fine public servants are welcome additions to my team as we work to put America on a path towards prosperity and keep our nation safe. I am honored they will be joining my administration and look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

I’m sure he’ll do a fine job. And I hope in a few years he’ll come back to Texas and run for something again. Garcia had statewide ambitions at one time, back before his successful run for the State House against Gene Seamon. I trust that urge hasn’t fully gone away. If so, there will be plenty of opportunities in another four to six years.
I’m sure he’ll do a fine job. And I hope in a few years he’ll come back to Texas and run for something again. Garcia had statewide ambitions at one time, back before his successful run for the State House against Gene Seamon. I trust that urge hasn’t fully gone away. If so, there will be plenty of opportunities in another four to six years. BOR has more.

Joe Biden gives girls dating advice (video)

While swearing in new senators on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden welcomed their daughters with his favorite piece of advice. Over, and over, and over. "Just remember, no dates til you're 30," Biden told young female relatives of Sen. Barbara Mikulski, (D-Md.), Sen. Michael Bennet, (D-Colo.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), among others. ABC News has compiled a video:

By Rachel Weiner | January 6, 2011 12:02 PM ET | Permalink | Comments (32)
Categories: 2010 Election, 44 The Obama Presidency
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Violence Crosses the Southern Border

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 11:12 pm

A prominent Arizona rancher was shot and killed Saturday and authorities suspect the perpetrator was an illegal immigrant:

“At a news conference Monday, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said Krentz was out checking water line and fencing on the land Krentz’s family has ranched since 1907. Krentz had weapons with him in his all-terrain vehicle but didn’t use them, according to Dever.

Investigators said Krentz apparently came upon one person when he was shot. Krentz was heard telling his brother “illegal alien” on the radio earlier Saturday, and the area of the slaying is a known smuggling corridor, according to authorities.

While Krentz was still in his vehicle, mortally wounded, he managed to drive the ATV away from the scene at a high rate of speed before becoming unconscious. The ATV still had its lights on and the engine running when authorities found it.

Foot tracks were identified and followed approximately 20 miles south to the Mexico border by sheriff’s deputies, U.S. Border Patrol trackers and Department of Corrections dog chase teams, authorities said.”

The motive may have been retaliation for turning in drug smugglers:

“Dever told a Tucson newspaper that while investigators don’t have a motive yet, retaliation has been raised as a possibility. The day before the shooting, the victim’s brother, Phil Krentz, reported drug smuggling activity on the ranch to the Border Patrol.

Agents found 290 pounds of marijuana on the ranch and followed tracks to where they found and arrested eight illegal immigrants. All were still in custody when the shooting occurred.”

New Mexico and Arizona leaders have requested an enhanced Border Patrol presence at the border in response to this killing, but it’s not just ranchers who are at risk. Both local ranchers and Border Patrol agents face heightened dangers:

“Drug smugglers have apparently set “booby traps” for U.S. Border Patrol agents on roads along the border near Deming [NM] , agency officials said Monday.

The devices consist of barbed wire stretched like clotheslines across trails used by agents on all-terrain vehicles. The lines, which are difficult to spot, are about four feet off the ground and appear to be intended to knock a rider off the ATV.”

Meanwhile, the violence continues in Juarez, including 5 men who were gunned down in an auto shop and another who was killed in his bed.

Outside the Beltway

My colleague Alex Knapp has pointed out some outrageous comments made by John Hagee and Rod Parsley, nutball preachers whose endorsements McCain has courted and received.

McCain’s not alone, apparently, among our major presidential hopefuls in having associations with religious crazies. By far the hottest story on memeorandum today is an ABC News piece headlined “Obama’s Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11.”

Sen. Barack Obama’s pastor says blacks should not sing “God Bless America” but “God damn America.”

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for the last 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s south side, has a long history of what even Obama’s campaign aides concede is “inflammatory rhetoric,” including the assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own “terrorism.”

In a campaign appearance earlier this month, Sen. Obama said, “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial.” He said Rev. Wright “is like an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with,” telling a Jewish group that everyone has someone like that in their family.

Rev. Wright married Obama and his wife Michelle, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

Obama’s association with Wright is, one might reasonably conclude, closer and of longer duration than McCain’s with Hagee and Parsley. But I have shrugged off all these stories along with those about Obama’s association with Tony Rezko and McCain’s relationship with Rick Renzi (indeed, I’ve conflated Rezko and Renzi in my mind and had to look them up) for the simple reason that they don’t seem to shed much light on the candidates.

Do any of us believe that Obama or McCain are secretly conspiracy theorists who have repressed a lot of whacky ideas? Or that, even if they actually believed this nonsense, they’d try to enact it into policy? Of course not.

Unfortunately, the process of building a winning national coalition means appealing to some unsavory types. Politicians walk a fine line when accepting endorsements from these people and expecting them to denounce every nutty idea any of their supporters might harbor is asking too much.

That’s not to say that the words of Hagee, Parsley, Wright and others aren’t worth looking into. They’re influentials who voice — and shape — opinions that many Americans have. Understanding that the shared consensus of polite society is not universal is worthwhile and illuminating. But we should stop short of assuming guilt by association.

Alex is in the process of digging into Wright and his relationship with Obama and I’ll be interested to see what he finds. My hunch, though, is that he’ll find that Wright is a whackjob and that Obama regards him as a crazy uncle. (Perhaps he’s related to that crazy aunt Ross Perot kept in the basement?)

UPDATE: Steve Benen quips, “I guess there’s a political upside for Obama: he can’t be a Muslim and a Christian with a radical pastor at the same time.”

Meanwhile, Jim Geraghty takes exception with Wright’s claim regarding Obama “he ain’t white, he ain’t rich, and he ain’t privileged” by pointing out “Obama’s mother was white, the Obamas’ income hit $1.7 million in 2005 and $991,000 in 2006, and he went to Columbia University and Harvard Law School.”

Obama campaign 2004

In mid-2002, Obama began considering a run for the U.S. Senate he enlisted political strategist David Axelrod that fall and formally announced his candidacy in January 2003.[54] Decisions by Republican incumbent Peter Fitzgerald and his Democratic predecessor Carol Moseley Braun not to contest the race launched wide-open Democratic and Republican primary contests involving fifteen candidates.[55] Obama’s candidacy was boosted by Axelrod’s advertising campaign featuring images of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and an endorsement by the daughter of the late Paul Simon, former U.S. Senator for Illinois.[56] He received over 52% of the vote in the March 2004 primary, emerging 29% ahead of his nearest Democratic rival.[57]

Obama’s expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in June 2004.[58]

In July 2004, Obama wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.[59] After describing his maternal grandfather’s experiences as a World War II veteran and a beneficiary of the New Deal’s FHA and G.I. Bill programs, Obama spoke about changing the U.S. government’s economic and social priorities. He questioned the Bush administration’s management of the Iraq War and highlighted America’s obligations to its soldiers. Drawing examples from U.S. history, he criticized heavily partisan views of the electorate and asked Americans to find unity in diversity, saying, “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America there’s the United States of America.”[60] Broadcasts of the speech by major news organizations launched Obama’s status as a national political figure and boosted his campaign for U.S. Senate.[61]

In August 2004, two months after Ryan’s withdrawal and less than three months before Election Day, Alan Keyes accepted the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination to replace Ryan.[62] A long-time resident of Maryland, Keyes established legal residency in Illinois with the nomination.[63] In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70% of the vote to Keyes’s 27%, the largest victory margin for a statewide race in Illinois history.[64]

Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

When one observes President Obama’s unwillingness to accommodate America’s four-century long religious conscience protection through his attempts to require Catholics to go against their own doctrines and beliefs, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Catholic. But that characterization would not be correct. Although he has recently singled out Catholics, he has equally targeted traditional Protestant beliefs over the past four years. So since he has attacked Catholics and Protestants, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Christian. But that, too, would be inaccurate. He has been equally disrespectful in his appalling treatment of religious Jews in general and Israel in particular. So perhaps the most accurate description of his antipathy toward Catholics, Protestants, religious Jews, and the Jewish nation would be to characterize him as anti-Biblical. And then when his hostility toward Biblical people of faith is contrasted with his preferential treatment of Muslims and Muslim nations, it further strengthens the accuracy of the anti-Biblical descriptor. In fact, there have been numerous clearly documented times when his pro-Islam positions have been the cause of his anti-Biblical actions.

Listed below in chronological order are (1) numerous records of his attacks on Biblical persons or organizations (2) examples of the hostility toward Biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions, including letting his Islamic advisors guide and influence his hostility toward people of Biblical faith.

1. Acts of hostility toward people of Biblical faith:

    • June 2013 – The Obama Department of Justice defunds a Young Marines chapter in Louisiana because their oath mentioned God, and another youth program because it permits a voluntary student-led prayer. [1]
      • February 2013 – The Obama Administration announces that the rights of religious conscience for individuals will not be protected under the Affordable Care Act. [2]
        • January 2013 – Pastor Louie Giglio is pressured to remove himself from praying at the inauguration after it is discovered he once preached a sermon supporting the Biblical definition of marriage. [3]
          • February 2012 – The Obama administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, but announces it will no longer forgive student loans if the public service is related to religion. [4]
            • January 2012 – The Obama administration argues that the First Amendment provides no protection for churches and synagogues in hiring their pastors and rabbis. [5]
              • December 2011 – The Obama administration denigrates other countries’ religious beliefs as an obstacle to radical homosexual rights. [6]
                • November 2011 – President Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. [7]
                  • November 2011 – Unlike previous presidents, Obama studiously avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving speech. [8]
                    • August 2011 – The Obama administration releases its new health care rules that override religious conscience protections for medical workers in the areas of abortion and contraception. [9]
                      • April 2011 – For the first time in American history, Obama urges passage of a non-discrimination law that does not contain hiring protections for religious groups, forcing religious organizations to hire according to federal mandates without regard to the dictates of their own faith, thus eliminating conscience protection in hiring. [10]
                        • February 2011 – Although he filled posts in the State Department, for more than two years Obama did not fill the post of religious freedom ambassador, an official that works against religious persecution across the world he filled it only after heavy pressure from the public and from Congress. [11]
                          • January 2011 – After a federal law was passed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-erected as ordered by the Court. [12]
                            • November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law. [13]
                              • October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions. [14]
                                • May 2009 – Obama declines to host services for the National Prayer Day (a day established by federal law) at the White House. [15]
                                  • April 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered when he is making his speech. [16]
                                    • April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three. [17]
                                      • February 2009 – Obama announces plans to revoke conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs, and fully implements the plan in February 2011. [18]
                                        • April 2008 – Obama speaks disrespectfully of Christians, saying they “cling to guns or religion” and have an “antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” [19]

                                        2. Acts of hostility from the Obama-led military toward people of Biblical faith:

                                          • October 2013 – A counter-intelligence briefing at Fort Hood tells soldiers that evangelical Christians are a threat to Americans and that for a soldier to donate to such a group “was punishable under military regulations.” [20]
                                            • October 2013 – Catholic priests hired to serve as military chaplains are prohibited from performing Mass services at base chapels during the government financial shutdown. When they offered to freely do Mass for soldiers, without regard to whether or not the chaplains were receiving pay, they are still denied permission to do so. [21]
                                              • August 2013 – A Department of Defense military training manual teaches soldiers that people who talk about “individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place” are “extremists.” It also lists the Founding Fathers — those “colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule” — as examples of those involved in “extremist ideologies and movements.” [22]
                                                • August 2013 – A Senior Master Sergeant was removed from his position and reassigned because he told his openly lesbian squadron commander that she should not punish a staff sergeant who expressed his views in favor of traditional marriage. [23]
                                                  • August 2013 – The military does not provide heterosexual couples specific paid leave to travel to a state just for the purpose of being married, but it did extend these benefits to homosexual couples who want to marry, thus giving them preferential treatment not available to heterosexuals. [24]
                                                    • August 2013 – The Air Force, in the midst of having launched a series of attacks against those expressing traditional religious or moral views, invited a drag queen group to perform at a base. [25]
                                                      • July 2013 – When an Air Force sergeant with years of military service questioned a same-sex marriage ceremony performed at the Air Force Academy’s chapel, he received a letter of reprimand telling him that if he disagreed, he needed to get out of the military. His current six-year reenlistment was then reduced to only one-year, with the notification that he “be prepared to retire at the end of this year.” [26]
                                                        • July 2013 – An Air Force chaplain who posted a website article on the importance of faith and the origin of the phrase “There are no atheists in foxholes” was officially ordered to remove his post because some were offended by the use of that famous World War II phrase. [27]
                                                          • June 2013 – The U. S. Air Force, in consultation with the Pentagon, removed an inspirational painting that for years has been hanging at Mountain Home Air Force Base because its title was “Blessed Are The Peacemakers” — a phrase from Matthew 5:9 in the Bible. [28]
                                                            • June 2013 – The Obama administration “strongly objects” to a Defense Authorization amendment to protect the constitutionally-guaranteed religious rights of soldiers and chaplains, claiming that it would have an “adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.” [29]
                                                              • June 2013 – At a joint base in New Jersey, a video was made, based on a Super Bowl commercial, to honor First Sergeants. It stated: “On the eighth day, God looked down on His creation and said, ‘I need someone who will take care of the Airmen.’ So God created a First Sergeant.” Because the video mentioned the word “God,” the Air Force required that it be taken down. [30]
                                                                • June 2013 – An Army Master Sergeant is reprimanded, threatened with judicial action, and given a bad efficiency report, being told he was “no longer a team player,” because he voiced his support of traditional marriage at his own promotion party. [31]
                                                                  • May 2013 – The Pentagon announces that “Air Force members are free to express their personal religious beliefs as long as it does not make others uncomfortable. “Proselytizing (inducing someone to convert to one’s faith) goes over that line,” [32] affirming if a sharing of faith makes someone feel uncomfortable that it could be a court-marital offense [33] — the military equivalent of a civil felony.
                                                                    • May 2013 – An Air Force officer was actually made to remove a personal Bible from his own desk because it “might” appear that he was condoning the particular religion to which he belonged. [34]
                                                                      • April 2013 – Officials briefing U.S. Army soldiers placed “Evangelical Christianity” and “Catholicism” in a list that also included Al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas as examples of “religious extremism.” [35]
                                                                        • April 2013 – The U.S. Army directs troops to scratch off and paint over tiny Scripture verse references that for decades had been forged into weapon scopes. [36]
                                                                          • April 2013 – The Air Force creates a “religious tolerance” policy but consults only a militant atheist group to do so — a group whose leader has described military personnel who are religious as ‘spiritual rapists’ and ‘human monsters’ [37] and who also says that soldiers who proselytize are guilty of treason and sedition and should be punished to hold back a “tidal wave of fundamentalists.” [38]
                                                                            • January 2013 – President Obama announced his opposition to a provision in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act protecting the rights of conscience for military chaplains. [39]
                                                                              • June 2012 – Bibles for the American military have been printed in every conflict since the American Revolution, but the Obama Administration revokes the long-standing U. S. policy of allowing military service emblems to be placed on those military Bibles. [40]
                                                                                • May 2012 – The Obama administration opposed legislation to protect the rights of conscience for military chaplains who do not wish to perform same-sex marriages in violation of their strongly-held religious beliefs. [41]
                                                                                  • April 2012 – A checklist for Air Force Inns will no longer include ensuring that a Bible is available in rooms for those who want to use them. [42]
                                                                                    • February 2012 – The U. S. Military Academy at West Point disinvites three star Army general and decorated war hero Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin (retired) from speaking at an event because he is an outspoken Christian. [43]
                                                                                      • February 2012 – The Air Force removes “God” from the patch of Rapid Capabilities Office (the word on the patch was in Latin: Dei). [44]
                                                                                        • February 2012 – The Army ordered Catholic chaplains not to read a letter to parishioners that their archbishop asked them to read. [45]
                                                                                          • November 2011 – The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child, a program to send holiday gifts to impoverished children across the world, because the program is run by a Christian charity. [46]
                                                                                            • November 2011 – President Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. [47]
                                                                                              • November 2011 – Even while restricting and disapprobating Christian religious expressions, the Air Force Academy pays $80,000 to add a Stonehenge-like worship center for pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans at the Air Force Academy. [48]
                                                                                                • September 2011 – Air Force Chief of Staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of programs and services available to them from chaplains. [49]
                                                                                                  • September 2011 – The Army issues guidelines for Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.” [50]
                                                                                                    • August 2011 – The Air Force stops teaching the Just War theory to officers in California because the course is taught by chaplains and is based on a philosophy introduced by St. Augustine in the third century AD – a theory long taught by civilized nations across the world (except now, America). [51]
                                                                                                      • June 2011 – The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery. [52]
                                                                                                      • January 2010 – Because of “concerns” raised by the Department of Defense, tiny Bible verse references that had appeared for decades on scopes and gunsights were removed. [53]

                                                                                                      3. Acts of hostility toward Biblical values:

                                                                                                        • August 2013 – Non-profit charitable hospitals, especially faith-based ones, will face large fines or lose their tax-exempt status if they don’t comply with new strangling paperwork requirements related to giving free treatment to poor clients who do not have Obamacare insurance coverage. [54] Ironically, the first hospital in America was founded as a charitable institution in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin, and its logo was the Good Samaritan, with Luke 10:35 inscribed below him: “Take care of him, and I will repay thee,” being designed specifically to offer free medical care to the poor. [55] Benjamin Franklin’s hospital would likely be fined unless he placed more resources and funds into paperwork rather than helping the poor under the new faith-hostile policy of the Obama administration.
                                                                                                          • August 2013 – USAID, a federal government agency, shut down a conference in South Korea the night before it was scheduled to take place because some of the presentations were not pro-abortion but instead presented information on abortion complications, including the problems of “preterm births, mental health issues, and maternal mortality” among women giving birth who had previous abortions. [56]
                                                                                                            • June 2013 – The Obama Administration finalizes requirements that under the Obamacare insurance program, employers must make available abortion-causing drugs, regardless of the religious conscience objections of many employers and even despite the directive of several federal courts to protect the religious conscience of employers. [57]
                                                                                                              • April 2013 – The United States Agency for Internal Development (USAID), an official foreign policy agency of the U.S. government, begins a program to train homosexual activists in various countries around the world to overturn traditional marriage and anti-sodomy laws, targeting first those countries with strong Catholic influences, including Ecuador, Honduras, and Guatemala. [58]
                                                                                                                • December 2012 – Despite having campaigned to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Obama once again suspends the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which requires the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the American Embassy there. [59]
                                                                                                                  • July 2012 – The Pentagon, for the first time, allows service members to wear their uniforms while marching in a parade – specifically, a gay pride parade in San Diego. [60]
                                                                                                                    • October 2011 – The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion. [61]
                                                                                                                      • September 2011 – The Pentagon directs that military chaplains may perform same-sex marriages at military facilities in violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. [62]
                                                                                                                        • July 2011 – Obama allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, reversing a policy originally instituted by George Washington in March 1778. [63]
                                                                                                                          • March 2011 – The Obama administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls. [64]
                                                                                                                            • February 2011 – Obama directs the Justice Department to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act. [65]
                                                                                                                              • September 2010 – The Obama administration tells researchers to ignore a judge’s decision striking down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. [66]
                                                                                                                                • August 2010 – The Obama administration Cuts funding for 176 abstinence education programs. [67]
                                                                                                                                  • July 2010 – The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion. [68]
                                                                                                                                    • September 16, 2009 – The Obama administration appoints as EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who asserts that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, if they may negatively affect homosexual “equality.” [69]
                                                                                                                                      • July 2009 – The Obama administration illegally extends federal benefits to same-sex partners of Foreign Service and Executive Branch employees, in direction violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. [70]
                                                                                                                                        • May 2009 – The White House budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education, repeatedly proven to increase teen pregnancies and abortions. [71] He continues the deletion in subsequent budgets. [72]
                                                                                                                                          • May 2009 – Obama officials assemble a terrorism dictionary calling pro-life advocates violent and charging that they use racism in their “criminal” activities. [73]
                                                                                                                                            • March 2009 – The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit. [74]
                                                                                                                                              • March 2009 – Obama orders taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. [75]
                                                                                                                                                • March 2009 – Obama gave $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that promotes abortion and works closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. [76]
                                                                                                                                                  • January 2009 – Obama lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, forcing taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. [77]
                                                                                                                                                    • January 2009 – President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state asserts that American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions and that limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional. [78]

                                                                                                                                                    4. Acts of preferentialism for Islam:

                                                                                                                                                      • February 2012 – The Obama administration makes effulgent apologies for Korans being burned by the U. S. military, [79] but when Bibles were burned by the military, numerous reasons were offered why it was the right thing to do. [80]
                                                                                                                                                        • October 2011 – Obama’s Muslim advisers block Middle Eastern Christians’ access to the White House. [81]
                                                                                                                                                          • August 2010 – Obama speaks with great praise of Islam and condescendingly of Christianity. [82]
                                                                                                                                                            • August 2010 – Obama went to great lengths to speak out on multiple occasions on behalf of building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, while at the same time he was silent about a Christian church being denied permission to rebuild at that location. [83]
                                                                                                                                                              • April 2010 – Christian leader Franklin Graham is disinvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer Event because of complaints from the Muslim community. [84]
                                                                                                                                                                • April 2010 – The Obama administration requires rewriting of government documents and a change in administration vocabulary to remove terms that are deemed offensive to Muslims, including jihad, jihadists, terrorists, radical Islamic, etc. [85]
                                                                                                                                                                  • May 2009 – While Obama does not host any National Day of Prayer event at the White House, he does host White House Iftar dinners in honor of Ramadan. [86]
                                                                                                                                                                    • 2010 – While every White House traditionally issues hundreds of official proclamations and statements on numerous occasions, this White House avoids traditional Biblical holidays and events but regularly recognizes major Muslim holidays, as evidenced by its 2010 statements on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha. [87]

                                                                                                                                                                    Many of these actions are literally unprecedented – this is the first time they have happened in four centuries of American history. The hostility of President Obama toward Biblical faith and values is without equal from any previous American president.

                                                                                                                                                                    Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Plan

                                                                                                                                                                    On health care reform, the American people are too often offered two extremes – government-run health care with higher taxes or letting the insurance companies operate without rules. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe both of these extremes are wrong, and that’s why they’ve proposed a plan that strengthens employer coverage, makes insurance companies accountable and ensures patient choice of doctor and care without government interference.

                                                                                                                                                                    The Obama-Biden plan provides affordable, accessible health care for all Americans, builds on the existing health care system, and uses existing providers, doctors and plans to implement the plan. Under the Obama-Biden plan, patients will be able to make health care decisions with their doctors, instead of being blocked by insurance company bureaucrats.

                                                                                                                                                                    Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year.

                                                                                                                                                                    If you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options.

                                                                                                                                                                    Make Health Insurance Work for People and Businesses – Not Just Insurance and Drug Companies.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans regardless of their health status or history can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Lower costs for businesses by covering a portion of the catastrophic health costs they pay in return for lower premiums for employees.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Prevent insurers from overcharging doctors for their malpractice insurance and invest in proven strategies to reduce preventable medical errors.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Make employer contributions more fair by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees health care.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Ensure everyone who needs it will receive a tax credit for their premiums.

                                                                                                                                                                    Reduce Costs and Save a Typical American Family up to $2,500 as reforms phase in:

                                                                                                                                                                    • Lower drug costs by allowing the importation of safe medicines from other developed countries, increasing the use of generic drugs in public programs and taking on drug companies that block cheaper generic medicines from the market
                                                                                                                                                                    • Require hospitals to collect and report health care cost and quality data
                                                                                                                                                                    • Reduce the costs of catastrophic illnesses for employers and their employees.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Reform the insurance market to increase competition by taking on anticompetitive activity that drives up prices without improving quality of care.

                                                                                                                                                                    The Obama-Biden plan will promote public health. It will require coverage of preventive services, including cancer screenings, and increase state and local preparedness for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

                                                                                                                                                                    A Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility: Barack Obama will pay for his $50 – $65 billion health care reform effort by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year and retaining the estate tax at its 2009 level.

                                                                                                                                                                    Latinos push for Cabinet posts

                                                                                                                                                                    Weeks before Barack Obama won the presidency, he met privately in Washington with his former Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, and Latino political leaders who had fervently backed her bid.

                                                                                                                                                                    The cards were laid upon the table, according to one of the participants. The Hispanic leaders said they expected at least two Latinos to be named to an Obama Cabinet — meeting the standard set by President-elect Bill Clinton in 1992 — but preferred three. Of course, they also wanted sub-Cabinet-level posts.

                                                                                                                                                                    In return, Obama needed assurances that Hispanics — who had overwhelmingly voted for Clinton during the Democratic primaries — would be mobilized in large enough numbers to make him the winner in the battleground states of Nevada , Colorado , New Mexico and Florida .

                                                                                                                                                                    On Election Day , Obama won all four states over Republican John McCain largely because of the Latino vote.

                                                                                                                                                                    Florida Hispanics voted 57 percent-42 percent for Obama, 1 percentage point more than they gave President Bush in 2004. In Colorado, Obama’s Latino margin was 73-27, in Nevada it was 76-22 and in New Mexico, 69 percent of Hispanics backed Obama versus 30 percent for McCain, according to news media exit polls.

                                                                                                                                                                    Latinos in Virginia , another key state, also picked Obama by a 2-1 margin. Nationally, only 30 percent of Hispanics backed McCain, 10 points lower than for Bush in the last election.

                                                                                                                                                                    Hispanics delivered. Now the question is, how much can Latinos expect from Obama?

                                                                                                                                                                    The president-elect has not made any firm commitments. During a speech to the Congressional Hispanicoba Caucus Institute in September, he asked for their policy ideas and their votes and added, “When I’m president, I’ll be asking many of you to serve at every level of government.”

                                                                                                                                                                    Cecilia Munoz, vice president of National Council of La Raza , said, “It’s a foregone conclusion that we should be at the table for policy debates and in a position of authority,” because Hispanics are affected by major issues facing all voters. Latinos will be prominent in an Obama administration “just as we would be in any administration moving forward,” she added.

                                                                                                                                                                    But as the first African-American elected to the presidency, Obama is expected to face enormous pressures from various interests — women, Asian-Americans, Latinos and especially African-Americans — for top positions in his administration.

                                                                                                                                                                    History also has taught Latinos to take nothing for granted.

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1964, President Johnson ’s top adviser, Jack Valenti , cut down a group of Latinos seeking presidential appointments. “You have one percent of the vote, so you have one percent of my attention,” Raul Yzaguirre recalled Valenti saying. Yzaguirre is the past president of National Council of La Raza and head of Arizona State University’s Center for Community Development and Civil Rights .

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1992, Bill Clinton promised during his campaign “to give you an administration that looks like America.” But when a delegation of Hispanic leaders met with his transition chairman, Vernon Jordan , he curtly noted that Latinos had not struggled for civil rights as blacks had, and they would “have to stand in line,” attendees later recalled.

                                                                                                                                                                    No one expects that to happen now. As Tuesday’s election results reflected, times have changed. Latino civil rights groups estimate that at least 10 million Hispanics voted Tuesday, up 32 percent from 2004.

                                                                                                                                                                    Any diminishment of the Hispanic presence in today’s society and politics “would be a colossal mistake,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials . “Latinos have demonstrated they can have an impact.”

                                                                                                                                                                    After being “kept out” of government, Hispanic leaders maintained now is their time to “catch up” and claim their share of seats at the policy tables of major federal agencies.

                                                                                                                                                                    Hispanics have slowly gained positions at the White House , said Paul Light , a New York University professor who studies presidential appointments.

                                                                                                                                                                    In Clinton’s initial round of appointments to Cabinet and sub-Cabinet positions, Hispanics made up 6 percent. In 2001, 8 percent of Bush’s nominees were Hispanic, Light said.

                                                                                                                                                                    “Hispanics have a reasonable claim to be in positions that have nothing to do with being Hispanic,” Light said. “They don’t want to be shunted aside and they deserve that consideration.”

                                                                                                                                                                    Before the election, two dozen groups that make up the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda turned over to Obama and John McCain policy recommendations that included adding more Hispanics to the federal workforce, increasing Hispanic political appointments and naming more Latinos to the federal bench.

                                                                                                                                                                    The coalition will be collecting résumés to submit to Obama’s transition team. “It behooves us to not just suggest that the administration hire Latinos. We need to also provide good candidates,” said Peter Zamora of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

                                                                                                                                                                    NALEO’s Vargas worries that, early on, the only names usually mentioned for peterpossible appointment to the Obama administration are New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Obama’s Hispanic adviser Federico Pena — two Democrats who previously served in the Clinton administration.

                                                                                                                                                                    One open question is whether Obama’s inside circle of advisers will be tempted to consider another factor. Hispanics were with Bill Clinton from the start of his presidential campaign and were widely appreciated by Bush, who could not have won the White House without them. Though Latino voters heartily backed Obama on Election Day , many were with Hillary Clinton first .

                                                                                                                                                                    Yzaguirre said he and others addressed that issue frankly with Obama at their meeting several weeks ago. “We said, ‘Look, if you are going to see us as late-comers, that’s not going to work. If you see us as partners from here on, we will have a good relationship.’ And he said he welcomed our support,” Yzaguirre said.

                                                                                                                                                                    Obama promised to listen to them. In coming days, the president-elect and his advisers will get an earful.

                                                                                                                                                                    Gebe Martinez is a longtime journalist in Washington and a frequent lecturer and commentator on the policy and politics of Capitol Hill.

                                                                                                                                                                    Obama calls for swift action on economy

                                                                                                                                                                    President-elect Obama said Friday that the country is facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime and “we’re going to have to act swiftly to resolve it.”

                                                                                                                                                                    However in his first news conference since winning the presidency Tuesday, Obama deferred to President Bush and his economic team, noting that the country has only one government and one president at a time.

                                                                                                                                                                    He said the Congress needs to pass an economic stimulus measure either before or just after he takes office in January.

                                                                                                                                                                    But, he said, “immediately after I become president I will confront this economic crisis head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families , and restore growth and prosperity.”

                                                                                                                                                                    “I’m confident a new president can have an enormous impact,” he added.

                                                                                                                                                                    The president-elect spoke after he and Vice President-elect Joe Biden met privately with economic experts to discuss ways to stabilize the troubled economy.

                                                                                                                                                                    More evidence of a recession came Friday when the government reported that the unemployment rate had jumped from 6.1 percent in September to 6.5 percent in October. Despite dour third-quarter reports from Ford and General Motors, stocks rose some after two days of heavy losses.

                                                                                                                                                                    Obama’s transition to power and early days in office, if not the entire first year of his presidency, almost certainly will be devoted to finding ways to remedy dismal economic conditions. The economy was the top concern of voters demanding a new direction as they ushered into office the Democrat who promised change after eight years of Bush’s policies.

                                                                                                                                                                    He said he will review a letter from Iran’s leader but refrained from directly responding to it. It’s not something “that we should simply do in a knee-jerk fashion,” he said.

                                                                                                                                                                    “We only have one president at a time,” Obama said, adding that he wants to be careful to send the signal to the world that “I’m not the president and I won’t be until Jan. 20.”o

                                                                                                                                                                    Today in History – Nov. 7

                                                                                                                                                                    Today is Friday, Nov. 7, the 312th day of 2008. There are 54 days left in the year.

                                                                                                                                                                    Today’s Highlight in History:

                                                                                                                                                                    On Nov. 7, 1917, Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution took place as forces led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin overthrew the provisional government of Alexander Kerensky .

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1874, the Republican Party was symbolized as an elephant in a cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly .

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1893, the state of Colorado granted women there the right to vote.

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1916, Republican Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to Congress.

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1918, during World War I , an erroneous report that an armistice had been signed set off celebrations across the country.

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1940, in Washington state , the Tacoma Narrows Bridge , nicknamed “Galloping Gertie,” collapsed during a windstorm.

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1944, President Roosevelt won an unprecedented fourth term in office, defeating Thomas E. Dewey.

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1962, Richard M. Nixon , having lost California ‘s gubernatorial race, held what he called his “ last press conference ,” telling reporters, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1967, President Johnson signed a bill establishing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting .

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1972, President Nixon was re-elected in a landslide over Democrat George McGovern .

                                                                                                                                                                    In 1973, Congress overrode President Nixon’s veto of the War Powers Act, which limits a chief executive’s power to wage war without congressional approval.

                                                                                                                                                                    Ten years ago: John Glenn returned to Earth aboard the space shuttle Discovery , visibly weak but elated after a nine-day mission. A scant four years after leading Republicans to glory, House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced he would resign not just his speakership but also his seat in the House.

                                                                                                                                                                    Five years ago: Six U.S. soldiers were killed in the crash of their Black Hawk helicopter in Tikrit, Iraq . The defending champion U.S. baseball team failed to qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics, losing to Mexico 2-1 in the quarterfinals of a qualifying tournament in Panama City, Panama .

                                                                                                                                                                    One year ago: An 18-year-old gunman opened fire at his high school in Tuusula, Finland, killing seven other students and the principal before taking his own life. A cargo ship struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge , causing the San Francisco Bay’s worst oil spill in nearly two decades. Space shuttle Discovery and its crew returned to Earth, concluding a 15-day space station build-and-repair mission. At the Country Music Association Awards , Kenny Chesney won his second straight entertainer of the year award, while Carrie Underwood made it back-to-back trophies as female vocalist of the year.

                                                                                                                                                                    Today’s Birthdays: Evangelist Billy Graham is 90. Opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland is 82. Actor Barry Newman is 70. Singer Johnny Rivers is 66. Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell is 65. Singer Nick Gilder is 57. Actor Christopher Knight (“ The Brady Bunch “) is 51. Actress Julie Pinson is 41. Rock musician Greg Tribbett (Mudvayne) is 40. Actor Christopher Daniel Barnes is 36. Actors Jeremy and Jason London are 36. Actress Yunjin Kim (“Lost”) is 35. Rock musician Zach Myers ( Shinedown ) is 25.

                                                                                                                                                                    Thought for Today: “Vanity is as ill at ease under indifference, as tenderness is under the love which it cannot return.” — George Eliot , English author (1819-1880).

                                                                                                                                                                    Michelle Obama’s election outfit gets dressing down

                                                                                                                                                                    All ears were listening to President-elect Barack Obama ‘s victory speech this week but fashion-watchers were looking closely at his wife Michelle’s dress — and the verdict was not so good.

                                                                                                                                                                    Despite comparisons during the campaign to stylish 1960s first lady Jacqueline Kennedy , Michelle Obama was derided in opinion polls for her choice of a black and neon-red dress from Narciso Rodriguez ‘s spring 2009 ready-to-wear collection.

                                                                                                                                                                    In an online poll by USA Today , 65 percent of more than 10,000 readers believed the Harvard-educated corporate lawyer and future first lady “had an off day” and 35 percent said “She looks fantastic as always.”

                                                                                                                                                                    An online poll by People magazine mirrored those results, while a Los Angeles Times online poll found 45 percent hated the dress and 34 percent loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                    “The normally impeccable Michelle O made a questionable choice for her husband’s historic election night victory,” wrote Lesley Scott , editor of fashion and lifestyle blog . “It’s less than flattering.”

                                                                                                                                                                    “However, every fashionista worth her salt takes risks,” Scott said, “which means the occasional misstep.”

                                                                                                                                                                    Not everyone disliked Obama’s choice, which was shown on the catwalk only two months ago and is not yet available in stores. New York magazine hailed Obama for being able to hold her own against France’s first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, a former supermodel.

                                                                                                                                                                    “We have a feeling she’ll continue to mix affordable pieces with designer pieces as First Lady , but this wardrobe choice proves this woman knows fashion and we have an exciting four years of political fashion ahead of us,” the magazine said.

                                                                                                                                                                    “What will she choose for the inaugural ball? The suspense is so exciting! And you know what else is great about this? We don’t have to envy France for Carla Bruni anymore!”

                                                                                                                                                                    Interest in Obama’s fashion has soared since she won particular praise for the purple sheath dress and black belt she wore in June when her husband clinched the nomination as the Democratic Party ‘s presidential candidate .

                                                                                                                                                                    While Republican candidate John McCain’s wife Cindy and his vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin drew criticism for their high-end wardrobes, Obama won fans for affordable style.

                                                                                                                                                                    Obama wore a $150 dress on “The View” talk show, which became an instant hit. For “ The Tonight Show with Jay Leno ” last week, she donned an outfit from chain store J.Crew.

                                                                                                                                                                    She has even inspired a website — — dedicated to taking “a regular look at what and who she’s wearing” and encouraging enthusiasm for “the budding style icon, Mrs O.”

                                                                                                                                                                    Obama already has a fashion track record, appearing in Vogue and being named twice on Vanity Fair ‘s international best-dressed list.

                                                                                                                                                                    Names surface for top Obama administration jobs

                                                                                                                                                                    President-elect Obama is weighing an array of Washington insiders and outsiders, including some Republicans, for top administration posts, according to Democratic officials.

                                                                                                                                                                    Obama has signaled that he will make no Cabinet-level appointments immediately, and his deliberations are tightly held by his closest aides. But that hasn’t stopped Democrats and interest groups from circulating lists and offering recommendations to the Obama transition team.

                                                                                                                                                                    Some are surprising, such as former Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell as possible education secretary . Others are high-profile governors or members of Congress. Yet many are also little known to the general public — and may remain so.

                                                                                                                                                                    Obama has less than 11 weeks to staff his new administration. Some names often mentioned as possible appointees to top posts:

                                                                                                                                                                    Defense Secretary Robert Gates .

                                                                                                                                                                    Former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig .

                                                                                                                                                                    Sen. Chuck Hagel , R-Neb., critic of Iraq war , retiring from Senate.

                                                                                                                                                                    Sen. Jack Reed , D-R.I., member of Senate Armed Services Committee.

                                                                                                                                                                    Timothy Geithner , president of Federal Reserve Bank of New York .

                                                                                                                                                                    Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker .

                                                                                                                                                                    Lawrence Summers , former treasury secretary and one-time Harvard University president .

                                                                                                                                                                    Gov. Bill Richardson , D-N.M., former U.N. ambassador and energy secretary.

                                                                                                                                                                    Sen. John Kerry , D-Mass., 2004 presidential nominee.

                                                                                                                                                                    Sen. Richard Lugar , R-Ind., former chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee .

                                                                                                                                                                    Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., critic of Iraq war, retiring from Senate.

                                                                                                                                                                    Eric Holder, former deputy attorney general .

                                                                                                                                                                    Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano .

                                                                                                                                                                    Rep. Artur Davis , D-Ala., member of House Judiciary Committee.

                                                                                                                                                                    Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick , former assistant U.S. attorney for civil rights .

                                                                                                                                                                    Former Rep. Philip Sharp, D-Ind., president of Resources for the Future think tank.

                                                                                                                                                                    Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius .

                                                                                                                                                                    Lisa P. Jackson, commissioner of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection .

                                                                                                                                                                    Mary Nichols, head of California Air Resources Board .

                                                                                                                                                                    Kathleeen McGinty, former secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

                                                                                                                                                                    HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY

                                                                                                                                                                    Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle , D-S.D.

                                                                                                                                                                    Howard Dean , chairman of Democratic National Committee , physician, former Vermont governor.

                                                                                                                                                                    Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

                                                                                                                                                                    Jane Garvey, former head of Federal Aviation Administration .

                                                                                                                                                                    Rep. James Oberstar , D-Minn., chairman of House transportation committee.

                                                                                                                                                                    Mortimer Downey, former deputy transportation secretary.

                                                                                                                                                                    Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber .

                                                                                                                                                                    Former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles .

                                                                                                                                                                    Sen. Ken Salazar , D-Colo., former executive director of Colorado Natural Resources Department .

                                                                                                                                                                    HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY

                                                                                                                                                                    James Lee Witt , former FEMA director.

                                                                                                                                                                    Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton.

                                                                                                                                                                    Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, chairman of 9/11 commission.

                                                                                                                                                                    Rep. Jane Harman , D-Calif., chairwoman of Homeland Security intelligence subcommittee.

                                                                                                                                                                    NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER

                                                                                                                                                                    James B. Steinberg, former deputy national security adviser.

                                                                                                                                                                    Susan Rice, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs .

                                                                                                                                                                    Colin Powell , former secretary of state, former chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff .

                                                                                                                                                                    Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt .

                                                                                                                                                                    Arne Duncan , chief executive officer of Chicago public schools .

                                                                                                                                                                    Inez Tenenbaum , former South Carolina schools superintendent .

                                                                                                                                                                    Tom Buis, president of National Farmers Union.

                                                                                                                                                                    Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack .

                                                                                                                                                                    Rep. Collin Peterson , D-Minn., chairman of House Agriculture Committee.

                                                                                                                                                                    OFFICE OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR

                                                                                                                                                                    Rep. John Spratt Jr ., D-S.C., chairman of House Budget Committee.

                                                                                                                                                                    Gene Sperling , economic aide to President Clinton .

                                                                                                                                                                    Jason Furman, Obama ‘s campaign economic policy director .

                                                                                                                                                                    HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY

                                                                                                                                                                    Valerie Jarrett , Obama friend, chairman and CEO of Habitat Co.

                                                                                                                                                                    Rep. George Miller , D-Calif., chairman of House Education and Labor Committee.

                                                                                                                                                                    Former Rep. David Bonior, member of Obama’s Transition Economic Advisory Board .

                                                                                                                                                                    Andy Stern , president of Service Employees International Union .

                                                                                                                                                                    Obama’s day on Wall Street

                                                                                                                                                                    visit here would be a huge step toward familiarizing yourself with the crisis that will define most of your first term as president. Mishandle it, and this could be your only term.

                                                                                                                                                                    JPM 37.00 , -1.26 , -3.3% ) , Ken Lewis of Bank of America Corp. (BAC:

                                                                                                                                                                    BAC 20.24 , +0.12 , +0.6% ) , Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Group (GS: