Posts Tagged President Obama
That was no heckler in San Francisco: Yelling “Stop deportations,” an undocumented Asian American stands up and Obama stands down
Posted by Amok in Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) blog, news, politics, race on November 25th, 2013
I’ve played basketball at the Chinese Rec Center in San Francisco’s Chinatown as a kid, but this was a one-on-one game no one would have expected.
An undocumented Asian student in America, Ju Hong, 24, a Dream activist, was one of those with an invite to the special presidential event.
Hong was supposed to be merely ornamental, not a catalyst.
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White House pool report and President Obama’s remarks at the the East Room celebration marking the end of AAPI Heritage Month
Posted by Amok in Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) blog, blog, diversity, news on May 28th, 2013
From pool report today:
A lipstick-smeared president marked the end of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in the East Room. He paid tribute to the contributions the AAPI community has made to the country, hailed the importance of immigration to America and called for lawmakers to find a way to fix today’s broken system. But before he could get to the tributes or the praise, he had to explain away the red smear on his right collar. After greeting the almost 300 in the audience with “Aloha,” he praised the warmth of their welcome. “A sign of the warmth,” he said, is “the lipstick on my collar.” He blamed the aunt of Jessica Sanchez. Sanchez, of Chula Vista, Calif., was the runner-up in the 11th season of American Idol. Making sure everybody could see the offending mark, the president pivoted, pointed to it and said, “Look at this.” He added, “I do not want to be in trouble with Michelle, so I am calling you out.”
No jokes at First Presidential Press Conference since WHCD, but lots on sequester, immigration, and Jason Collins
I know the presser is a 100-day marker. But the WHCD was such a stark contrast. It’s definitely back to the somber stuff today. Brief mention of the WHCD at the start, but Syria is the lead. Obama still unclear on what the U.S. should do. And even support efforts announced today seem to be a token gesture. A delicate fluid situation.
President was more clear on the sequester and defining the dysfunctional government and putting blame on Congress and its failure to do its job.
“It’s not my job to get them to behave,” said the president.
Obama’s example of the FAA instance exposed the short-sighted nature of the GOP. All it’s done is borrow money from airport improvements in the future, which hurts the U.S. long term. Obama said the best strategy is to address issues through a broader deal.
Obama mentioned a “permission structure,” that may allow those scared of their political base to reach compromise on budget issues.
It was as blunt and detailed an answer, of the conseqeunces of sequester and how it has hurt the country. No pussyfooting here.
“We are using our seed corn, short term.And the only reason we’re doing it is because right now we have some folks unwilling to make some simple changes to our tax code, for example to close loopholes that aren’t adding to our competitiveness and aren’t helping middle-class families,” said the president. “There are common sense solutions to our problems right now. I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common sense solutions. I can urge them to, I can put pressure on them, I can rally the American people around those common sense solutions. But ultimately they themselves are going to have to say we want to do the right thing.”
The president indicated he understood Congress’ political dilemma. “It’s tough,” he said. “Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They’re worried about primaries. And I understand all that, and we’re going to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to do what’s best for the country. But it’s going to take some time.”
Permission structure? Does he mean political cover so that conservatives can hide behind a tough vote?
The president also weighed in on what is could be the signature accomplishment of this term: Immigration.
The president praised the Gang of Eight’s efforts, saying it may not have been what he would have done, but it did meet the criteria: Border safety, strong employer provisions, improvements to the current bureaucracy, and that pathway to citizenship.
Obama praised the pathway as one where people can earn the right to legalize their status over time.
But that’s one of the contentious issues in the plan.
Obama said he’s open-minded. He’ll need to be. Already some House members have said they don’t want a big package but would rather take up the issue piece meal.
Sound precarious? It is. And this is the President’s best issue going forward.
Obama was almost out the door when he came back to the podium to discuss Jason Collins’ coming out statement.
Said the President:
“Yeah, I’ll say something about Jason Collins. I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man, and, you know, I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him. You know, one of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance but a recognition that they’re fully a part of the American family.
And, you know, given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who’s excelled at the highest levels in one of major sports go ahead and say, this is who I am, I’m proud of it, I’m still a great competitor, I’m still seven feet tall and can bang with Shaq and, you know, deliver a hard foul — and for, you know, a lot of young people out there who, you know, are — are — are, you know, gay or lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who’s unafraid, I think it’s a great thing. And I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly. And everybody’s part of a — part of a family, and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance, and not their sexual orientation.”
That was a question the president was glad to answer.
See my latest at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.
Secretary of State Steven Chu’s departure doesn’t come as a surprise. Chu had some tough political moments where his science and academic smarts may not have served him nor the president well. In politics, just because you’re right, doesn’t mean it’s right. Chu made comments about gas prices he had to recant. And there was the Solyndra episode that blew up in his face. Politics is not easy. Even if you’re a Nobel Laureate.
Today’s announcement means there’s one less Asian American in the cabinet, two if you count Chris Lu, the cabinet secretary.Obama has said to wait until all is said and done before commenting about the diversity of his second term staff.
But Chu is one of the best and the brightest Asian Americans on the planet. When a guy like Chu can’t cut it, that’s certainly sends a message to others who aspire to serve in politics.
Here’s a presidential statement below, a White House release that massages the exit of Steven Chu. It’s followed by a link to Chu’s farewell letter to those at the DOE:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2013
Statement from the President on Secretary Steven Chu
I want to thank Secretary Chu for his dedicated service on behalf of the American people. As a Nobel Prize winning scientist, Steve brought to the Energy Department a unique understanding of both the urgent challenge presented by climate change and the tremendous opportunity that clean energy represents for our economy. And during his time as Secretary, Steve helped my Administration move America towards real energy independence. Over the past four years, we have doubled the use of renewable energy, dramatically reduced our dependence on foreign oil, and put our country on a path to win the global race for clean energy jobs. Thanks to Steve, we also expanded support for our brightest engineers and entrepreneurs as they pursue groundbreaking innovations that could transform our energy future. I am grateful that Steve agreed to join in my Cabinet and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
But in Steven Chu’s letter to the Energy Department, there’s alot that was done to mark the last four years. Read his letter here.