President Obama European Travel 2011


President Obama and First Lady will travel to Ireland, the United Kingdom, France for the G8 Summit and Poland . The President will meet with the leaders and speak to the peoples of these countries to discuss a broad range of issues including economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships, energy and security cooperation, shared values and other issues of regional and global concern.

US – EU Trade Agreement


President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

May 23 . Dublin, Ireland

President Obama will also visit Moneygall, Ireland, the birthplace of this great, great, great grandfather Falmouth Kearney


May 24 – 26 London, England

May 26 – 27 . Deauville, France

May 27 – 28 . Warsaw, Poland


Offaly County Council's 2011 Civic Welcome to the Obamas
Offaly County Council’s 2011 Civic Welcome to the Obamas


251 thoughts on “President Obama European Travel 2011

  1. WH

    Monday, May 23 2011

    All Times ET

    4:35 AM
    The President and the First Lady arrive in Dublin, Ireland
    Local Event Time: 9:25 AM IST
    Dublin, Dublin Airport, Ireland
    Open Press

    5:15 AM
    The President and the First Lady arrive at President’s Residence and sign guest book
    Local Event Time: 10:15 AM IST
    Dublin, Ireland, President’s Residence
    Travel Pool Coverage

    5:25 AM
    The President and the First Lady meet with President McAleese and Dr. McAleese
    Local Event Time: 10:25 AM IST
    Dublin, Ireland, President’s Residence
    Closed Press

    5:50 AM
    The President and the First Lady participate in a tree planting ceremony
    Local Event Time: 10:50 AM IST
    Dublin, Ireland, President’s Residence
    Travel Pool Coverage

    6:15 AM
    The President holds a bilateral meeting with Taoiseach Kenny
    Local Event Time: 11:15 AM IST
    Dublin, Farmleigh, Ireland
    Pool Spray at the Bottom

    8:20 AM
    The President and the First Lady attend U.S. Embassy meet and greet
    Local Event Time: 1:20 PM IST
    Dublin, Ireland, U.S. Embassy
    Closed Press

    10:00 AM
    The Vice President meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    Closed Press

    10:15 AM
    The President and the First Lady visit Moneygall, Ireland
    Local Event Time: 3:15 PM IST
    Ireland, Moneygall
    Travel Pool Coverage

    12:30 PM
    The President delivers remarks at Irish Celebration
    Local Event Time: 5:30 PM IST
    College Green, Dublin, Ireland
    Open Press

    5:00 PM
    The Vice President attends a retirement ceremony for Ambassador Chris Hill
    Closed Press

  2. President Obama’s May 2011 Europe Trip
    5/22/11 – 5/23/11 Schedule

    Sunday, May 22nd – Depart Washington, DC
    *President and Mrs. Obama are scheduled to depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 10:20 PM EDT.

    Monday, May 23rd – Ireland
    *Arrive in Dublin in the morning

    *Meeting the President: The President and First Lady will meet with Irish President Mary McAleese and her husband, Dr. Martin McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the Irish president in Phoenix Park, Dublin. The President will “honor Mrs. McAleese’s extraordinary legacy of serving the people of Ireland and advancing the peace in Northern Ireland,” Rhodes said.

    *Meeting with the Taoiseach: The President and First Lady will meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Mrs. Fionnuala Kenny at Farmleigh, also located in Phoenix Park, to discuss a range of bilateral issues.

    *Moneygall: The President and First Lady travel to Moneygall, where they are expected to stay for a little over an hour.

    *Return: To Dublin.

    *College Green Address: In the evening, President Obama will deliver remarks at a public event in front of the portico of the Bank of Ireland on College Green, and the event will include a variety of musical and theatrical performances. The President’s speech “will be very Irish-focused. It’s a chance to talk about the enormous affinity that Americans have for Ireland, rooted in part in the huge population of Irish-Americans,” Rhodes said. “It is a speech about the ties between our peoples, rather than a statement on policy.”

    *The President and First Lady will spend the night in Dublin. were advised to leave Ireland Monday night for the UK because of the Icelandic volcano ash possibly making it dangerous for Air Force One to take off Tuesday morning.

    *Arrival ceremony: At the airport

    Tuesday, May 24 – England

    *Formal arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace: The President and First Lady will be welcomed by Her Majesty and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

    *Lunch with Her Majesty: President Obama will have lunch at Buckingham Palace with the Queen, the Duke and the U.S. and U.K. delegations.

    *Westminster Abbey: In the afternoon, the President will visit Westminster Abbey for a range of events associated with the State Visit, including a wreath-laying ceremony

    *Meetings: President Obama will meet separately with Prime Minister David Cameron and the opposition leader, Ed Miliband of the Labour Party.

    *Buckingham Palace State Dinner: Her Majesty will host dinner for the President and First Lady at Buckingham Palace.

    *Royal overnight: The President and First Lady will spend the night at Buckingham Palace.

    Wednesday, May 25th – London
    *Bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Cameron: The President will have a full bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Cameron. The agenda is expected to include Afghanistan, counterterrorism, Iran, Libya, and the global economy.

    *Honoring military service members and families: Mrs. Obama and Samantha Cameron, wife of the Prime Minister, will co-host an event to honor military families, U.S. and U.K. service members and veterans. The President and Prime Minister will “drop by” the event.

    *First Lady’s event at University of Oxford: Mrs. Obama has invited students from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, a secondary school for girls in North London, for a day-long university “immersion experience” at the University of Oxford. Mrs. Obama will visit with the students in the afternoon, according to an East Wing aide.

    *Press Conference: The President and Prime Minister Cameron will hold a joint press conference.

    *President Obama addresses Parliament: President Obama is expected to speak on the alliance between the US and the UK, and “an imperative of the United States and Europe retaining and strengthening our cooperation around the world.”

    *Winfield House Dinner: President Obama will host a dinner in honor of Her Majesty at Winfield House, the residence of the American Ambassador in London.

    *Royal overnight: The President and First Lady spend the night at Buckingham Palace.

    Thursday, May 26th – London to Deauville, France for G8
    *Travel: The President and First Lady depart London for Deauville, France,

    *G8 meeting: President Obama will attend the G8 meeting. Other nations participating include the U.K., Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, Russia and the European Union.
    The G8 summit will give President Obama the opportunity to push for a speedy decision to choose a new chief of the International Monetary Fund, to succeed the disgraced Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Deputy National Security Adviser Michael Froman said President Obama wants an open process that leads to a prompt decision on a new IMF head*Bilateral with Medvedev: Before entering the G8, the President will hold a bilateral meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.

    Friday, May 27th – Deauville, France and Warsaw, Poland
    *The G8 continues in France on Friday.

    *Bilaterals: President Obama will attend separate bilateral meetings with President Sarkozy and with Prime Minister Kan of Japan.

    *Travel: The President and First Lady will travel to Warsaw, Poland.

    *Presidential Dinner: President Obama and Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski will host a dinner for the Heads of State of Central and Eastern Europe who will be in Poland for a summit at this time.

    Saturday, May 28th: Warsaw, Poland
    *Morning bilateral: President Obama will have a bilateral meeting in the morning with President Komorowski.

    *Remarks: The two Presidents will deliver remarks at the conclusion of the bilateral meeting.

    *Working Lunch: President Obama and President Komorowski will attend a working lunch with the Prime Minister of Poland.

    *Cultural visits and activities: President Obama will visit “several places in Warsaw that are resonant to Polish history and to the extraordinary sacrifices of the Polish people in pursuit of their own freedom,” Rhodes said.

    • potus_ireland

      Live Coverage of President Obama’s visit in Ireland
      RTÉ News

      ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘

      The town of Moneygall has T-shirts available in honor of President Obama’s visit:

      I purchased two T-shirts and they are on their way!

      ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘

      Barack Obama Iowa Victory party in Moneygall, Ireland

      Uploaded by stevex8000 on Jan 5, 2008

      Moneygall is the village where Barack Obama’s great great great great grandfather, Fulmuth Kearney emigrated from. Segment from RTE

      • Hi, CR, and O’family – I cannot wait for the President’s trip to Ireland and beyond!

        Thanks for all the links, CR.

      • Obama Reel Intro Moneygall Tippoff – Offaly Henry Healy Ireland Barack Obama Song

        From: TheTippoff | Apr 21, 2011

        Visit to buy the track and donate to chairty – Obama Reel Song Moneygall Offaly Tippoff Ireland – Obama roots in Moneygall County Offaly – Introduction by Henry Healy, distant cousin of US President Barack Obama. Filmed and produced by Fogarty TV, Nenagh.

    • Rector traces Obama’s Irish roots

      3 May 2007 bbc

      US presidential hopeful Barack Obma’s roots have possibly been traced to an 18th century Irish shoemaker.

      Church of Ireland rector Canon Stephen Neill said the Hawaiian-born Illinois senator’s ancestors hailed from the village of Moneygall in County Offaly.

      He said Mr Obama is directly descended from shoemaker Joseph Kearney’s son Fulmuth, who emigrated to the US.

      Canon Neill was contacted by a Salt Lake City genealogist who told him of the possible link with his parish.

      The rector came across the records after retrieving them from the home of a parishioner who died recently.

      “There were summary documents going back to the early 1800s and even the late 1700s,” he said.

      “The leg work wasn’t huge to be honest. I found a lot of these Kearney entries,” he said.

      “While I didn’t find an entry for Fulmuth I did find the records of his parents, Joseph and Phebe, and his three siblings.”
      Canon Neill is “convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that this is categorical evidence of Mr Obama’s link to this part of the world”.

      For the entire article:

    • President Obama’s Irish Connections

      11 May 2011

      Washington — When President Obama, alongside Taoiseach Enda Kenny, in March announced his intention to visit Ireland, he remarked, “I’m expecting to go not only to all the famous sites, but also to go to Moneygall, where my great-great-great-great-great grandfather hails from.” Falmouth Kearney, an Irish immigrant who came to America in 1850, is the man to whom the president referred. The president’s mother, Ann Dunham, was a descendant of one of Kearney’s daughters.

      John F. Kennedy also took time during his visit to Ireland — the first by an American president — to visit his family’s ancestral home.

      Although the website estimates that Obama is just 3.1 percent Irish, Irish Americans, according to Politico, have “become fixated with turning Obama into O’bama.”

    • Moneygall goes Obama-rama

      25th March, 2011 Danielle Harney –

      Details of the visit of US President Barack Obama to Moneygall in South Offaly are expected very soon, the US Embassy has informed Offaly County Council.

      And whilst the people of Moneygall await the firm plans, there is huge and growing excitement in the village.

      “There’s great excitement in the area, great anticipation,” said Cllr Peter Ormond. “We’re having a public meeting in Moneygall on Friday night (today) because people want to have an input into what’s happening.”

      Offaly County Council staff are out sweeping roads and repairing footpaths, the OPW has been down on security detail and locals themselves have been cleaning up the village.

      “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase Offaly to the world,” added Cllr Ormond. “We have journalists ringing from all over the world, people sending presents, Dulux paint gave us free paint for all the houses in the village. It’s all happening in Moneygall.”

      Cllr Ormond added that once Mr Obama was elected as US president, the people of Moneygall were confident that he would visit the village. US Ambassador Dan Rooney visited Offaly and Moneygall last year and has spoken of Obama’s desire to visit the Emerald Isle to find out more about his roots.

      “When he was first nominated it was a bit of fun, but once he got elected the Embassy got involved and certainly we’ve been confident he’d visit since then,” he added. Cllr Ormond added that while it would have been wonderful to have Obama visit while Brian Cowen was still Taoiseach, life goes on, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be welcomed to Offaly as well.

      For the entire article:

    • Sleepy Irish village braces for Obama homecoming

      May 16, 2011 By Padraic Halpin MONEYGALL, Ireland

      (Reuters) – Ollie Hayes does not usually bother to open his pub in the sleepy Irish village of Moneygall on a Monday afternoon, but he will make an exception for Barack Obama.

      His opening hours, like much else in this community of 300 people, have been turned upside down by the U.S. President’s plan to visit the birthplace of his great-great-great grandfather, who left for New York more than 150 years ago.

      After weeks of serving a motley crew of tourists, journalists and U.S. security staff, next Monday Hayes hopes to get a chance to serve the man himself.

      “He can have whatever he wants,” he said before dashing off to take a call from the secret service in Washington.

      “Since President Obama said he was coming to visit, it’s just been mad,” he said.
      The “men in black” — as the suited security staff have been dubbed by local media — arrived shortly after Obama said on St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s March 17 national holiday, that he would make a whistle-stop tour of Ireland.

      Without a restaurant or cafe in the village — or a public toilet for that matter — the conspicuous visitors have had to survive on takeaways from the local McDonald’s some 20 km away but they nevertheless happily mingle with the locals.

      Two of them pop into the village’s other pub — like most Irish villages, Moneygall has more pubs than grocery shops — because they have been told they have to say hello to its energetic, 80-year-old landlady Julia Hayes, Ollie’s aunt.

      For the entire article:

    • Obama planning inspirational speech to Offaly hurlers

      1st April, 2011

      US leader to address team during visit

      In what is a major coup for Offaly GAA, it’s been confirmed that US President Barack Obama is planning to give a motivational speech to the county’s senior hurling team during his visit in May.

      The President, a sports fanatic who regularly plays basketball with friends at the White House, is understood to have developed a fascination with hurling ever since the sport was explained to him by US Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney.

      When it was suggested that he attend an Offaly hurling training session to get a better feel for the game, he jumped at the chance.

      A White House aide confirmed that, after he visits Moneygall, Mr Obama will travel to the training session in Tullamore.

      He will observe some of the training drills before giving a motivational talk to the players.

      “The President is keen to immerse himself in the local culture during his time in Ireland. This is one of the ways he can do that,” said a US source.

      Mr Obama will wear the county colours during the session, and a hurley signed by the Offaly team will be brought back to Washington as a souvenir.

      Receiving a ‘pep talk’ from such a renowned orator is expected to give a significant boost to the squad’s preparations for their Leinster and All-Ireland championship campaigns.

      “There’s no doubt about it – this will give the Offaly players an edge in the championship this summer,” said one insider. “If the chips are down and the scores are level in the final stages of a game, Obama’s words ringing in their ears could make all the difference.”

      Unsurprisingly, the news has not gone down well in the rival Tipperary and Kilkenny hurling camps.

      For the entire article:

    • Moneygall is Obama central as locals get ready

      Irish village hangs out its brightest colors for president

      6, April, 11 By NIALL O’DOWD , Founder

      Moneygall, County Offaly:If you build it the president will come.
      The inhabitants of this tiny town on the borders of Offaly and Tipperary believed they could prove a link to President Obama’s ancestral home through his mother’s roots.

      The dream was that if they could prove the link that some day the most powerful man on earth would drop in to see for himself.

      It was a massive longshot, a million to one chance, but on May 23rd the president will come.

      There is not much to see in Moneygall, up the main street and down the same street as the idiom goes, though the surrounding countryside is beautiful, lush and green.

      There are lots of Hayes’, two publicans and a car sales company who bear that last name.
Ollie Hayes will shortly be one of the most famous Moneygall men ever.

      His bar is the beating heart of the town. On Sunday the clientele were not in the least disturbed when this Irish American dropped in. They are getting used to the notoriety.

      A day later the secret service advance team arrived for the obligatory advance tour. The day before I visited the American Ireland Fund CEO had dropped by.

      Ollie Hayes is taking it all in stride. A big, bluff man, he makes time to stop and talk to the perfect strangers who are dropping in more and more frequently to his establishment.

      The walls are festooned with Obama picture and Obama in Ireland T shirts are already on sale behind the counter.

      His wife Majella tends bar while Ollie entertains the guests. His pub is already famous and there’s even a new song by the Corrigan Brothers, poet laureates of the Obama visit about Ollie’s new espresso coffee machine, installed specially for the visit.

      For the entire article:

      • Secret Service moves in ahead of Obama visit

        13th May, 2011

        Members of the United States Secret Service who will watch over President Barack Obama when he visits Offaly arrive in Moneygall today (Friday) and will stay for ten days until the historic presidential visit is over.

        A member of the local committee set up in Moneygall for the visit to his ancestral home has confirmed too that the commmittee has been led to believe President Obama will visit Offaly on the afternoon of Monday, May 23.

        Today (Friday) is crucial in the preparation process. A meeting is to take place between personnel from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Secret Service, when more details about the visit will then become clear.

        On Monday, the local committee in Moneygall will meet with members of Offaly County Council to finalise arrangements for the Offaly leg of the journey.

        Earlier this week a storm blew up around ticketing for the Offaly leg of the visit, and fears all locals could not be accommodated emerged.

        However Offaly County Council Director of Services Sean Murray said the council is working on the issue with locals – and it is expected to be resolved.

        Moneygall committee member and eighth cousin of President Barack Obama Henry Healy told the Offaly Independent yesterday that preparations are really coming together now and are in full flow.

        Even yesterday the press were beginning to arrive, and radio stations were setting up lines and looking for good broadcast locations ahead of the visit.

    • Irish Songs from Moneygall Hayes Offaly

      ploaded by MoneygallOffaly on May 20, 2011

      Irish Songs from Moneygall Paddy Barack Obama Song Offaly Ireland Hayes pub Moneygall

      • I’ve always said I never want to go to an Irish pub in Ireland (I have Irish blood in me), because once I saw a mug on the shelf with my name on it … I would never leave.


        I just love the Irish!

    • Europe: Obama tends to old allies, new challenges

      5/21/11 Julie Pace -AP

      Weaving together strands of pomp, policy and summitry, President Barack Obama’s weeklong European tour is all about tending to old friends in the Western alliance and securing their help with daunting challenges, from the political upheaval in the Mideast and North Africa to the protracted war in Afghanistan.

      Obama’s eighth trip to Europe as president, with a quick-moving itinerary that dips into four countries in six days, unfolds against the backdrop of the NATO-led bombing campaign in Libya and stubborn economic weakness on both sides of the Atlantic.

      A priority for the president and his allies will be to more clearly define the West’s role in promoting stability and democracy in the Arab world without being overly meddlesome and within tight financial limitations.

      Obama, who departs late Sunday, will visit Ireland, England, France and Poland. Each is weathering an economic downturn that has forced European nations to adopt strict austerity measures. The U.S. has pushed its national debt to the limit, and Obama and congressional Republicans are in contentious talks about how steeply to cut spending.

      But never mind all that, at least for a moment.

      A highlight of Obama’s opening stop in Ireland will be a feel-good pilgrimage to the hamlet of Moneygall, where America’s first black president will explore his Irish — yes, Irish — roots, and most likely raise a pint.
      It turns out that Falmouth Kearney, who immigrated to the United States in 1850 at the age of 19, is the great great great grandfather of Obama on his white, Kansas-born mother’s side. Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, will connect in Moneygall with distant relatives from the Irish branch of his family tree.

      Michael Collins, the Irish ambassador to the United States, says the president’s visit will be “a golden moment” for a country that’s been on the economic ropes after its boom time. The visit is sure to play well at home for Obama — make that O’bama — as he heads into re-election season after being pushed to great lengths simply to prove he was born on U.S. soil.

      After his day in Ireland, Obama spends two in England, where he and first lady Michelle Obama will be treated to all the pomp and pageantry that the monarchy can muster for the president’s first European state visit. The Obamas even get a Buckingham Palace sleepover

      For the entire article:

    • Michelle Obama speaks about her deep connection to Moneygall after visit

      The small Offaly town, the President’s ancestral home, touched the heart of the First Lady

      6/28/11 By CATHY HAYES ,

      The United States First Lady, Michelle Obama, spoke of her “surprise” at the connection she felt to the Offaly town of Moneygall during her visit in May. Speaking at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, she admitted that as well as having a kinship with Africa she also feels a connection with Ireland.

      She said “I absolutely felt that connection in Moneygall [and was] a little more surprised by it…The love, the warmth, the connection, the excitement. That was family, too. And that’s what I want my kids to understand – that your family is Granny in Kisumu, but it’s also your cousin in Moneygall. That is your history.”

      The small town of Moneygall welcomed President Barack Obama and his wife on May 23 with thousands lining the street. The couple visited Ollie Hayes’ pub, met with some of the President’s cousins including Henry Healy and, of course, sampled some Guinness.

      For the entire article:

    • Moneygall celebrates 4th of July
      Memory of tiny town’s day in the sun still shines

      7/3/11 By DARA KELLY ,

      It’s just been six weeks since President Barack Obama and his wife visited his ancestral home in the sleepy hamlet of Moneygall in County Offaly, but the memory still burns bright for the locals.

      This weekend the tiny Irish village is hosting a four day festival to celebrate American Independence Day on Monday, July 4.

      Although they won’t receive a return visit by Barack and Michelle Obama, Barack Obama impersonator Aaron Heffernan is due to arrive by helicopter.

      The July 4th celebrations are the brainchild of the Moneygall Development Association, who want to keep the spotlight on the village to improve its economic profile.

      “The idea is if the organizing committee can bring in more business it keeps Moneygall alive,” Barack Obama’s eighth cousin Henry Healy told the Offaly Independent. “That’s what it’s all about.”

      “Everything is falling into place. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to replicate the President but we’ll try and keep the association alive.”

  3. Archive:

    May 22, 2009


    Rose Garden
    3:08 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Please, have a seat — I’m sorry. It is a great pleasure to have all of you here at the White House on this gorgeous, sunny day. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. Change is in the air. (Laughter.)

    This has been a historic week; a week in which we’ve cast aside some old divisions and put in place new reforms that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, prevent fraud against homeowners, and save taxpayers money by preventing wasteful government contracts; a week that marks significant progress in the difficult work of changing our policies and transforming our politics.

    But the real test of change ultimately is whether it makes a difference in the lives of the American people. That’s what matters to me. That’s what matters to my administration. That’s what matters to the extraordinary collection of members of Congress that are standing with me here, but also who are in the audience. And we’re here today because of a bill that will make a big difference: the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act.

    I want to thank all the members of Congress who were involved in this historic legislation, but I want to give a special shout-out to Chris Dodd, who has been a relentless fighter to get this done. (Applause.) Chris wouldn’t give up until he got this legislation passed. He’s spent an entire career fighting against special interests and fighting for ordinary people, and this is just the latest example.

    I want to thank his partner in crime, Senator Richard Shelby. (Applause.) On the House side, Representatives Barney Frank, Carolyn Maloney, and Luis Gutierrez, for their outstanding work. (Applause.) And I want to also thank all the consumer advocates who are here today who fought long and hard for these kinds of reforms.

    For the entire article:

    • May 22, 2009
President Obama signs Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act
      WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama signs the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, marking a turning point for American consumers and ending the days of unfair rate hikes and hidden fees.

      Americans need a healthy flow of credit in our economy, but for too long credit card contracts and practices have been unfairly and deceptively complicated, often leading consumers to pay more than they reasonably expect. Every year, Americans pay around $15 billion in penalty fees. Nearly 80 percent of American families have a credit card, and 44 percent of families carry a balance on their credit cards. To tackle these problems, the Administration moved swiftly with the Congress to enact reforms.

      “With this new law, consumers will have the strong and reliable protections they deserve. We will continue to press for reform that is built on transparency, accountability, and mutual responsibility – values fundamental to the new foundation we seek to build for our economy,” President Obama said.

      In the Senate and throughout the campaign, President Obama called for measures to strengthen consumer protection in the credit card market. This legislation was made possible by the leadership of Chairman Frank and Representatives Maloney and Gutierrez in the House, and Chairman Dodd, Ranking Member Shelby and Senator Levin in the Senate. It builds on the strong first step taken by the Federal Reserve toward improving disclosures and ending unfair practices.

      For the entire article:

    • 2010 Banking and Consumer Regulatory Policy

      January 12, 2010

      The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday approved a final rule amending Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) to protect consumers who use credit cards from a number of costly practices. Credit card issuers must comply with most aspects of the rule beginning on February 22.

      “This rule marks an important milestone in the Federal Reserve’s efforts to ensure that consumers who rely on credit cards are treated fairly,” said Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth A. Duke. “The rule bans several harmful practices and requires greater transparency in the disclosure of the terms and conditions of credit card accounts.”

      Among other things, the rule will:
      • Protect consumers from unexpected increases in credit card interest rates by generally prohibiting increases in a rate during the first year after an account is opened and increases in a rate that applies to an existing credit card balance.
      • Prohibit creditors from issuing a credit card to a consumer who is younger than the age of 21 unless the consumer has the ability to make the required payments or obtains the signature of a parent or other cosigner with the ability to do so.
      • Require creditors to obtain a consumer’s consent before charging fees for transactions that exceed the credit limit.
      • Limit the high fees associated with subprime credit cards.
      • Ban creditors from using the “two-cycle” billing method to impose interest charges.
      Prohibit creditors from allocating payments in ways that maximize interest charges.

      For the entire article:

    • Pew finds positive results from credit card law

      5/10/11 By EILEEN AJ CONNELLY, AP Personal Finance Writer

      NEW YORK – Banks and some pundits had predicted that credit card users would face skyrocketing interest rates, a spike in annual fees and a plethora of other negatives after stringent new rules on cards kicked in last year.

      That is not what happened, according to a new look at the policies associated with credit cards issued by major banks and credit unions. The Pew Charitable Trusts Safe Credit Cards Project found instead that interest rates are steady with those charged last year, while most fees have dropped.

      The stabilization of interest rates is key, because banks sharply raised rates in 2009 following the law’s passage but before its implementation.

      “Whatever increases in advertised interest rates we saw going into 2010 have not continued into 2011,” said Nick Bourke, director of the Safe Credit Cards Project.

      For the entire article:

  4. Bigger Icelandic eruption, but less airline angst

    5/22/11 By JILL LAWLESS and GUDJON HELGASON, Associated Press – 2 hrs 32 mins ago

    REYKJAVIK, Iceland – An Icelandic volcano was flinging ash, smoke and steam miles (kilometers) into the air Sunday, dropping a thick layer of gray soot in an eruption far more forceful — but likely far less impactful — than the one that grounded planes across Europe last year.
    The country’s main airport was closed and pilots were warned to steer clear of Iceland as areas close to the Grimsvotn (GREEMSH-votn) volcano were plunged into darkness. But scientists said another widespread aviation shutdown is unlikely, in part because the ash from this eruption is coarser and falling to Earth more quickly.

    The volcano, which lies beneath the ice of the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland, began erupting Saturday for the first time since 2004. It was the volcano’s largest eruption in 100 years.

    The ash from Grimsvotn — about 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of the capital, Reykjavik — turned the sky black Sunday and rained down on nearby buildings, cars and fields. Civil protection workers helped farmers get their animals into shelter and urged residents to wear masks and stay indoors. No ash fell on the capital.

    Scientists said the eruption was unlikely to have the same global impact as last year’s eruption 80 miles (130 kilometers) away at the Eyjafjallajokull (pronounced ay-yah-FYAH-lah-yer-kuhl) volcano, which left 10 million travelers stranded around the world.

    “It is not likely to be anything on the scale that was produced last year when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted,” University of Iceland geophysicist Pall Einarsson told The Associated Press. “That was an unusual volcano, an unusual ash size distribution and unusual weather pattern, which all conspired together to make life difficult in Europe.”

    Still, Icelandic air traffic control operator ISAVIA established a 120 nautical mile (220 kilometer) no-fly zone around the volcano, closed Keflavik airport, the country’s main hub, and canceled all domestic flights. It said Keflavik would stay shut until at least noon Monday, canceling about 40 international flights.

    Trans-Atlantic planes — including Air Force One, due to carry President Barack Obama to Ireland later Sunday — were told to stay away from Iceland.

    For the entire article;

  5. Go raibh maith agat for this thread topic, CR!

    Pronounced guh rev mah ah-gut.

    That means “thank you” (when speaking to one person) according to the Irish Gaelic translator!

    • Obama is féidir linn

      The T-shirt that I ordered from Moneygall has that on it and it translates into “Obama We Can!”

  6. Good morning O friends. I actually woke up in time to see AF One land in Ireland and to see FLOTUS and PBO depart, enter Marine One and sign the guest book. 🙂

  7. BTW, I like the reporting better on RTe. The folks on TV3 sound to much like our MSM here. One lady was very misinformed on PBO’s accomplishments but she was corrected by another reporter. She even called VP Biden an elderly man. RTE is better.

  8. Good early Morning COS, CR and all friends!


    COS, I agree about RTE being better than TV3. Their negativity and errors of fact were getting my Irish up, so to speak! But it was great to see our POTUS and FLOTUS land safely. I can't hold out for the tree planting so will sign off for now. See you later!


    5/23/11 POLITICO44

    President Obama arrives in Dublin early Monday to start his trip to Europe. He’s scheduled to meet the president, plant a tree and then sit down with the Taoiseach. After the flurry of photo ops, he’ll make a short trip to Moneygall with his wife to meet his distant relatives, then return to Dublin to speak at an Irish “celebration.”

    “Obama arrived at President Mary McAleese’s residence, a large white house set in a large park, shortly after 10 a.m. local. He and Michelle Obama walked into the State Reception Room alongside the Irish President and her husband, Martin.

    The large guest book with sheets of lined manila-colored paper sat on a wooden table at the center of the State Reception Room, an ornate room with gold trim on the ceiling and walls, a deep green carpet and fireplace.

    An Irish Army commandant stood off to the side, behind the table. The Obamas only signed their name. They thanked the McAleeses before being ushered into another room.

    As he walked out, an Irish reporter shouted: ‘Mr. President, may we ask your first impressions of Ireland?’ President Obama would only smile and wave his hand. …

    The Obamas and McAleeses walked outside the residence, down a large gravel driveway, to a small patch of grass around 10:35 a.m.

    Three uniformed officers stood off to the side, holding trumpets. Three young kids stood by the Peace Bell, which symbolizes the peace brought about by the Good Friday agreement. … A tree planted by Queen Elizabeth was a few feet away.

    The president’s tree is an Irish upright oak, which will be moved to another site in the park for a permanent planting, nearby the Sequioa planted by John F. Kennedy in 1963. A tree planted by former President Bill Clinton is also nearby.

    The president shoveled dirt onto the base of the tree while the trumpets played. The kids rung the bell.

    The Obamas spent several minutes talking with the children, as the stick-thin tree waved wildly behind them. They posed for a photo and received applause from a small group of onlookers.

    The president did not make any comments that could be heard by the press pool. They finished at 10:43 a.m.

    Luck of the Irish: A driving rain from only an hour earlier had stopped for the tree planting and the sun peeked through the heavy clouds above. POTUS is departing shortly for Farmleigh, the official state guest house, to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

    Fun fact, courtesy of co-pooler Mark Landler of the New York Times: The Guinness family sold the house to the Irish government in 1999, during the real estate boom, for $29.5 million euros.”

  10. Pray for sun
    Weather threatens trip to Irish town


    DUBLIN — High winds and rain may scuttle President Obama’s helicopter ride Monday to Moneygall, a change of plans that could add a 90-minute motorcade ride, each way, to his schedule.

    The lengthy trip by car could wreak such havoc with his schedule, already timed down to the minute, fueling speculation that the bad weather could keep Obama from visiting the town that claims ancestral ties to the president.

    It could be a public-relations disaster in this country, which has taken great pride at the connection, and a huge blow to the tiny town, which has been cleaning, painting and sweeping for months in preparation – as well as, according to Monday’s edition of the Irish Independent, praying for good weather.

    The Irish even constructed a new ramp to ferry Obama from the local highway into Moneygall, the Independent reported.

    The Secret Service and White House officials are monitoring the weather and will make the call as the event draws closer, officials said.

    Obama is scheduled to depart for Moneygall around 9 a.m. Eastern time.

  11. Irish New Yorker will greet President Obama in Moneygall
    Proud moment for man who owns ancestral home of president

    5/23/11 By JAMES O’SHEA ,

    A proud Irishman from New York will be personally greeting Barack Obama in Moneygall today.

    Tony Donovan owns the house where Barack Obama’s ancestor, Fulmouth Kearney left from to come to the United States in 1850.

    Tony and his family will be at the door to greet the 44th president when he stops off in Moneygall’s main street on Monday afternoon Irish time.

    Tony has been in America since 1992 and his family also owns a food shop in town.

    Back home in America his wife Patty is expecting the couple’s first arrivals, twins, in the US.

    “Patty won’t believe this, there’s a traffic jam in Moneygall,” he told the Irish Independent. “And I thought this place had a bypass.”

    Tony is originally from Moneygall and can’t believe the transformation.

    “I left Moneygall because there were no jobs,” he said. “There was plenty of work but no jobs that paid. I absolutely love it in America I’m a supporter of the Democrats.

    “I contributed to Hillary Clinton’s senatorial campaign — not her presidential campaign obviously as a Moneygall man — but I backed Bill and Hillary’s senatorial campaign,” he added.

  12. Obama’s “Irish Brigade” will march on Ireland for president’s visit
    Close Irish aides call themselves the ‘Murphia’

    5/12/11 By ANTOINETTE KELLY ,

    The now famous photograph of President Barack Obama and his national security staff as they watch the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound from the White House situation room is a testament to the president’s penchant for Irish-Americans, says the Irish Times.

    From Bill Daley, Obama’s right-hand man as chief of staff, to John Brennan, his counter-terroism adviser, to Obama himself, you’ll find that nearly everyone in the picture has a strong Irish connection.

    “We’re extremely proud of our heritage,” said Daley, of the Daley dynasty that ruled Chicago for most of the past half century, to the Irish times . “We’ve visited my father’s family from Dungarvan. My mother’s family is from Cork.”

    Vice-president Joe Biden’s mother was a Finnegan from Co Mayo. Tom Donilon is the national security adviser, and his brother Mike is on Joe Biden’s staff. The deputy national security adviser, Denis McDonagh, has four Irish-born grandparents.

    Says Daley: “We all enjoy laughter. We all enjoy telling stories to each other. We all enjoy each other’s company. You have a natural friend and relationship when someone is Irish or has Irish heritage.”

    For the entire article:

        • I think that they are use to the Obama mania by now! 🙂

          The news woman on RTE said that there are 3,000 people there in Moneygall to greet POTUS & FLOTUS!

          Per Wikipedia Moneygall’s Population as of 2006 was only 298.

          The RTE commentator said that the stop to shake hands with the crowds was not planned per the Secret Service.

        • The commentator said that the original Kearney house was only a one story with a thatched roof and the house that the Obamas are going into is a newer house that Tony Donovan (New Yorker) now owns was built on the Kearney homestead.

      • CR – Thanks so much for this link. I had misplaced it earlier. So great to be able to watch the First Family of the U.S.A. in Moneygall! And such a sweet and warm welcome they are getting from the Irish folk!

        • Bet the Secret Service would rather be inside that pub, hoisting a few! God bless them for their service.

        • Top O’ the morning to you Ms O’Boomer! It is wonderful how much time POTUS is spending with family and the people of Moneygall.

          On Friday night we went to a birthday party for one of John’s co-workers and their was a couple (Republicans) who have a three year old son who is an Obama fan. I gave them an Obama/Biden sticker to give to their son which they thanked me for with a smile.

    • POTUS in Moneygall, Ireland

      President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet people as they walk along Main Street in Moneygall, Ireland, May 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

      • President Barack Obama MoneyGall Ireland meets his cousin

        Uploaded by nsotd2 on May 23, 2011
        US President Barack Obama has been given a hero’s welcome by thousands as he stepped foot in his ancestral home in Ireland.


      Offaly County Council resolved at its meeting on 16thMay 2011 to accord a Civic Welcome to President of the United States Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on the occasion of their visit to the President’s ancestral home of Moneygall, Co. Offaly, on 23rd May 2011. The Council also decided to present gifts with Offaly themes to President and Mrs. Obama to mark the occasion. Mrs. Obama’s gift is particularly creative and distinctive.

      The Scroll of Civic Welcome and the Presentation Gifts will be conveyed to the President and his wife through the good offices of the US Embassy in Dublin for protocol reasons. Details of the presentation pieces are as follows:

      Parchment Scroll of Civic Welcome:

      The scroll welcoming President Obama was prepared on vellum by well-known Irish calligrapher, Tim O’Neill, and in lettering that emulates the Book of Durrow and the Book of Kells. It is signed by Cllr. Danny Owens, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, and Mr. Pat Gallagher, Offaly County Manager. The parchment is accompanied by the Offaly flag, with a guide to the heraldic significance of the Offaly coat of arms.

      For the entire article:–THEMED_GIFTS_TO_MARK_THEIR_VISIT.html
      Offaly Obama Scroll

  13. Deepest Condolences for Missouri and the Midwest

    Posted by Jesse Lee on May 23, 2011

    In the wake of yet more terrible storms, this time in the Midwest, the President called Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to personally extend his condolences and to tell all of the families of Joplin affected by the severe tornadoes that they are in his thoughts and prayers. The President assured the governor that FEMA will remain in close contact and coordination with state and local officials.

    The President has directed FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to travel to Missouri to ensure the state has all the support it needs. In addition, in anticipation of requests for assistance, a FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) is en route to Joplin. This self-sustaining team will work with FEMA officials already in Missouri to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and any shortfalls impacting disaster response and recovery.

    The President also released this statement last night:

    Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the tornadoes and severe weather that struck Joplin, Missouri as well as communities across the Midwest today. We commend the heroic efforts by those who have responded and who are working to help their friends and neighbors at this very difficult time. At my direction, FEMA is working with the affected areas’ state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts, and the federal government stands ready to help our fellow Americans as needed.

    • May 23, 2011

      Statement by the President on the Tornado in Missouri and the Severe Storms Across the Midwest

      Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the tornadoes and severe weather that struck Joplin, Missouri as well as communities across the Midwest today. We commend the heroic efforts by those who have responded and who are working to help their friends and neighbors at this very difficult time. At my direction, FEMA is working with the affected areas’ state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts, and the federal government stands ready to help our fellow Americans as needed.

  14. May 23, 2011

    Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Kenny of Ireland

    Farmleigh House
    Dublin, Ireland

    11:50 A.M. IST

    PRIME MINISTER KENNY: If everybody can hear. Obviously this is the first occasion in world history I think there is two bilaterals with an American President in the space of 67 minutes. But I want to welcome President Obama and the First Lady Michelle to Dublin on their way through to a state visit in England and further activities.

    I can say that the Irish people have been waiting for this visit. Their excitement is palpable. And I trust that the President and his wife and party will enjoy their visit to Moneygall, home of his triple-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, when he goes down there today.

    I’d like to say on this occasion here we’ve discussed a range of issues. I’ve explained to the President the seriousness of which Ireland and its new government — thereby myself and the presence here of the Oireachtas — are dealing with the issues that affect our country — the banks and the economic situation and our seriousness of intent in dealing with our budget deficit; also in conjunction with the conditions of the IMF bailout, dealing with the situation there. And we expressed appreciation for the general support of America in that regard.

    We discuss the question of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the new assembly, our relationship with that assembly in relation to the British government. We discussed the implications and the consequences of the Queen’s visit here, following on the President’s invitation, and the enormous impact that that made, together with the visit of the British Prime Minister during the course of that state visit.

    For the entire article:

    • May 23, 2011

      Statement by the Press Secretary on the EU’s Designation of New Iranian Entities and Individuals

      The United States welcomes the decision of the European Union to expand its sanctions on Iran through the designation of over one hundred additional individuals and entities associated with Iranian proliferation-related activities. So long as Iran refuses to fulfill its international obligations, the international community will respond by continuing to hold Iran accountable, implement fully all UN Security Council resolutions, and aggressively counter Iranian proliferation activities. The United States remains fully committed to the peaceful resolution of international concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program.


      5/23/11 POLITICO44

      POLITICO’s Carrie Budoff Brown reports that thousands of people lined the main streets waiting for Obama’s arrival, and American and Irish flags hung from buildings.

      “The crowd, 15 feet or so deep behind metal barriers, sung a football cheer,” the pool said. “Children sat on their parents’ shoulders. Onlookers craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the president, who slowly worked the rope line.”

      Mark Lander of the New York Times noted some of the following reactions from the crowd:

      “It’s great for Ireland, ” said Margaret Tooher, in her mid 50s and a lifelong resident.

      Richard Wallace, 49, a farmer, said the visit would help town’s economy by pumping in tourist dollars. “That’s what it’s all about.”

      His wife Susan Wallace added, “Maybe we’ll change the town to ‘Moneyall,'” meaning they would see money pour into town.

      John Donovan, a shopkeeper, funeral director and farmer who owns ancestral home, said: “I’m so nervous I can’t talk.”

      “We have the place spic-and-span.”

      Asked if he woud serve tea, Donovan said:”I think he’s more interested in a pint.”

      “It’s going to put Ireland on the map,” said Mairead Kerwin, a social care worker. “Ireland has been known for a lot of the wrong reasons. This will make us the place to be.”

      : President Obama took a rare public drink at a bar in Moneygall on Monday, telling the Irish there that he thoroughly enjoyed the Guinness.

      “I just want you to know that the president pays his bar tab,” Obama said as he gulped down the Irish specialty at Ollie Hayes bar, the cameras flashing and rolling. He said of the beer, “It is delicious.”

      Obama reminisced about the first Guinness experience he had at Shannon Airport on his way to Afghanistan. “It was the middle of the night, and I tried one of these and I realized it tastes so much better here than in the United States. You’re keeping all the best stuff here.”

      According to the pool, on the walls of the pub hung a framed Obama T-shirt with the words “O’Bama’s Irish Pub,” 2008 campaign posters and a banner that read, “Welcome to Ireland!”

      “What a thrill to be here,” Obama told the excited crowd. “There are millions of Irish Americans who trace their ancestry back to this island.”

  15. Obama in Ireland to hold talks on trade

    5/23/11 By Jeff Mason and Carmel Crimmins – Reuters

    DUBLIN (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, starting a four-nation tour of Europe in Ireland on Monday, said he wanted to encourage bilateral trade and would do all he could to help the country’s economic recovery.

    Obama will also explore his Irish roots, making a brief visit to a village that was home to his great-great-great grandfather.

    For Ireland, Obama’s arrival, and the visit of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth last week, are a welcome distraction from the global attention paid to the country’s financial woes.

    Obama will also visit Britain, France and Poland on a week-long trip in which he will discuss with his counterparts such issues as Afghanistan and Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the world economy and the “Arab spring” uprisings.

    “It is heart-warming to be here and people even arranged for the sun to come out shortly after I arrived,” Obama said, as early rain gave way to partly sunny skies.

    Speaking after talks with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Obama paid tribute to close Irish-American ties and expressed satisfaction at economic stabilization in Ireland.

    “What I emphasized is that we want to continue to strengthen the bonds of trade and commerce between our two countries, and that we are rooting for Ireland’s success and we’ll do everything we can to help on the path to recovery,” Obama said.

    He said Ireland “punches above its weight,” as a small country with a large global role in peacekeeping and promoting human rights.

    For the entire article:

  16. Top o’ the morning CR, COS,Sandy, Jackie and Jacqueline! RTE commenter just said of the First Couple “they really are very tactile and affectionate” and the First Lady” is “genuinely very warm” and charismatic. We knew this! 🙂

    I’m tearing up like an idiot watching the people of Moneygall reaching out to our POTUS and FLOTUS.

    “Failte Barack” says the poster — “Welcome Barack!”

    • I love the RTE commentators also. PBO just put Moneygal on the map. Wonderful people there. Henry Healy is really famous now. 🙂

      • The TV3 reporters must be comparable to FOX. I switched immediately to RTE early this morning when one of the reporters alluded to the fact that PBO had not accomplished much. I am glad that I was not the only one to see how horrible they were. 🙂

        • AAAAAAAAGH. That’s my reaction to TV3. Bill was sitting with me at the computer and those awful commenters were babbling their made-up nonsense and we were just yelling at the screen. “Not true! That isn’t right!” SO that’s three of us anyway!:)

  17. “Barack Obama the hero,” says the current speaker at the Dublin event. Seconded!

    • May 23, 2011

      Remarks by the President at Irish Celebration in Dublin, Ireland

      College Green, Dublin, Ireland

      5:55 P.M. IST

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! (Applause.) Hello, Dublin! (Applause.) Hello, Ireland! (Applause.) My name is Barack Obama — (applause — of the Moneygall Obamas. (Applause.) And I’ve come home to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way. (Laughter and applause.)

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: I’ve got it here!

      THE PRESIDENT: Is that where it is? (Laughter.)

      Some wise Irish man or woman once said that broken Irish is better than clever English. (Applause.) So here goes: Tá áthas orm bheith in Éirinn — I am happy to be in Ireland! (Applause.) I’m happy to be with so many á cairde. (Applause.)

      I want to thank my extraordinary hosts — first of all, Taoiseach Kenny — (applause) — his lovely wife, Fionnuala — (applause) — President McAleese and her husband, Martin — (applause) — for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you, Lord Mayor Gerry Breen and the Gardai for allowing me to crash this celebration. (Applause.)

      Let me also express my condolences on the recent passing of former Taoiseach Garrett Fitzgerald — (applause) — someone who believed in the power of education, someone who believed in the potential of youth, most of all, someone who believed in the potential of peace and who lived to see that peace realized.

      And most of all, thank you to the citizens of Dublin and the people of Ireland for the warm and generous hospitality you’ve shown me and Michelle. (Applause.) It certainly feels like 100,000 welcomes. (Applause.) We feel very much at home. I feel even more at home after that pint that I had. (Laughter.) Feel even warmer. (Laughter.)

      For the entire article:

  18. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    +############### ++++ +++++###########++

    ☘ Obama is féidir linn

  19. The Taioshach (can’t spell it now): “Today the 44th American President comes home!”

  20. I so enjoyed watching the President and First Lady in Moneygall. It is not amazing that the weather stopped just as they arrived? He is truly blessed by God.

  21. Well, nothing dries my ecstatic tears like the empty-headed ramblings of Maureen Dowd. From the sublime to the ridiculous.

    So proud of our great President and First Lady. No words can do justice. A great day.

    • I thought that voice was familiar Kat. Why are they letting her speak. As I said down thread, she is lying and pedaling the same ole crap.

    • Kat – The minute the President ended his remarks in Dublin, I hit the remote. Nobody can ruin my day. Maureen Dowd is, as you say, ridiculous. A hack and an ambulance chaser like the rest of ’em.

      Cried like an Irish banshee during the entire gift of a speech! Ha ha! The one-quarter of me that’s Irish wishes she could have been in that square! I love the Obamas and Ireland (and their Prime Minister did a great job in his intro!).

        • My laundry bag is right here. I will stuff its entire contents into her mouth. Stand back, this won’t be pretty.

        • I didn’t hear her comments, but I’m assuming Maureen Dowd was speaking ill of the President, as she’s done before.

          Whatever she said, let’s just think of this. She prostitutes her integrity for a living, and he is President of the United States of America. I’d like a double dose of him, please.

      • I enjoyed POTUS’ speech at College Green but I cried when I saw him in Moneygall shaking hands with the crowd of 3,000 people; 2,700 of those in that crowd were from outside Moneygall!

      • Right you are, JO’B, a great speech from Enda Kenney. Kenny?

        Sleep-deprived, coffee-deprived typing.

  22. I am listening to this woman from the new York Times and what a difference in reporting. She is lying through her teeth and the made up stories they have been peddling about him not connecting. Leave to an American to throw water on good reporting.

  23. RTÉ News just reported that they think that POTUS will have to leave Ireland tonight for the UK because of the Icelandic volcano ash possibly making it dangerous for Air Force One to take off tomorrow morning.

    They also reported that Caroline Kennedy would be at the dinner in England.

  24. Presidential hugs for Obama relative Henry Healy

    23/05/2011 –

    President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle both hugged his distant cousin Henry Healy on the street outside Obama’s ancestral home in Moneygall, Co Offaly.

    There were concerns the President’s trip to the Midlands would be interrupted by severe weather with gale force winds and driving rain threatening to force security chiefs to order his helicopter grounded.

    But the Obamas touched down in sports fields just outside the village to travel the final few miles by car.

    The couple were greeted with huge cheers from several thousand onlookers.

    The records from two local parishes, Moneygall and Shinrone, were on display in the pub where the President will see first hand evidence of his Irish roots.

    The Obamas went walkabout among the crowds, shaking and clasping hands before the president lifted a baby to hold in his arms, and his wife followed suit with a second child.

    The organisers of the historic event had warned that a meet and greet with the public was very unlikely.

  25. Hi ‘O’ friends…
    Stopping by to see how you all are enjoying our wonderful President’s speech in Dublin….
    Wasn’t President Obama great????
    ‘O’-Folks on OFA blog are Super Excited too!!!
    Course that creepy becky had to show up complaining that PBO said the beer was better in Ireland…though others had to tell ‘it’ that it was IRISH beer he was drinking….duh….
    Amazing how the WHOLE WORLD appreciates him so much.
    Yet in our own country, so many ‘dis’ him for every teeny tiny thing he says or does.

  26. What You Told Us About Immigration Reform

    May 23, 2011 Posted by Cecilia Muñoz

    Following the President Obama’s speech on immigration reform in El Paso, Texas, I asked for your feedback on this issue through our Advise the Advisor program. We received thousands of responses from across the country to the following questions:

    Immigration and American Competitiveness:How can immigration reform support America’s competitiveness in a 21st century economy?

    Biggest Challenges to Reform: What do you think are the biggest challenges to reforming America’s immigration system?

    Encouraging Bipartisan Debate:What are some ways you can get a discussion going in your communities to encourage a bipartisan debate and move this issue forward?

    A team at the White House reviewed all of your comments and ideas and below we’ve summarized and responded to some of what we heard from you.

    For the entire article:

  27. High-level US diplomat meets Libyan rebel leaders

    5/23/11 By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press

    BENGHAZI, Libya – The highest-ranking U.S. diplomat in the Middle East was in the de facto rebel capital in eastern Libya Monday — a show of growing support for the ragtag movement that seeks to oust longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

    A State Department statement called the visit by Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, “another signal of the U.S.’s support” for the rebels’ National Transitional Council, which it called “a legitimate and credible interlocutor for the Libyan people.”

    Countries including France, Italy and Qatar have officially recognized the NTC, while the United States, Britain and others have established a diplomatic presence in Benghazi. Germany has also opened an office in Benghazi, the German government said Monday.

    For the entire article:

  28. Sláinte! PBO has a Guinness and pays his own bar tab!, May 23, 2011:

  29. The First Couple arrive in Moneygall and meet cousin Henry Healy., May 23, 2011:

    • Should have placed this under the article about it, but I’m not functional.

    • Opening of Obama Ancestral Home, Moneygall

      Published on May 23, 2012 U.S. Embassy Dublin

      On Wednesday, 22 May 2012, Karyn Posner-Mullen, the Public Affairs Director at U.S. Embassy Dublin officially opened the ancestral home of President Barack Obama.

      Also at the official opening in Moneygall, Co. Offally were ‘cousin’ of President Obama, Henry Healy and the Rev. Stephen Neill. Neill was the Canon who discovered that Obama’s relative, Fulmouth Kearney, had left Moneygall in 1850 at the age of 19.

      The homestead is now open to the general public for four hours during the week and all weekend.

    • RTÉ News reported that it is estimated that 40,000 people were in the crowd to listen to President Obama speak at College Green.

      • Here’s the whole speech — from the vantage of far back in the crowd watching on a big screen! Sound quality isn’t great, but it’s a way to simulate being there amid the applause and cheers and laughter.

  30. Sam Kass Will Speak At Chicago NRA Show

    MAY 16, 2011

    Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass is traveling America doing outreach for the Let’s Move! campaign, and he will return to his hometown of Chicago on Monday, May 23, to continue his efforts. During a morning appearance at the 2011 National Restaurant Association’s Hotel-Motel Show, Kass will be wooing chefs and culi professionals to join First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools initiative.

    The project, run by USDA, marries citizen chefs with public schools in an effort to boost nutrition education and get healthier food options into cafeterias. The NRA conference is at McCormick Place in Chicago; Kass will speak during the World Culinary Showcase, at 11:30 AM. GO HERE for more information and registration details.

    On Thursday, Kass was in San Antonio, Texas, where he spoke about Chefs Move to Schools at the Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids conference.

    Mrs. Obama addressed the NRA in September of 2010 during the organization’s meeting in Washington, asking them to join the Let’s Move! campaign. Her priorities: Encouraging restaurants to add more healthy options to their menus, encouraging smaller portion sizes, and making vegetables a default side, rather than, say, French fries.

    For the entire article:

    • I love this initiative from our great FLOTUS. Chef Kass’s blog post on the connection between nutrition and academic success is also a good one.

  31. First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at West Point Graduation Banquet

    From: whitehouse | May 23, 2011

    First Lady Michelle Obama makes her first visit to West Point as the banquet speaker for the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2011. Held in the historic Cadet Mess this is an address to over 3,000 graduating cadets, their families and guests. This marks the final social event the cadets will take part in as a class prior to commencement and commissioning. This is also the first time a First Lady has spoken for the Cadets at West Point.

  32. “…. And let me tell you, when I meet a Member of Congress or a powerful CEO and ask for their help, I have been blown away by their enthusiasm. They all want to help. They’re excited to do it. And we haven’t had one single person tell us no….

    And I want you to remember that as long as we all do our duty, as long as we all serve with honor, then the fate of this country will never be in doubt….”

    Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States

  33. Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

    5/23/11 By The Associated Press – 32 mins ago

    Security forces and opposition tribal fighters battle with automatic weapons, mortars and tanks in the Yemeni capital, blasting buildings and setting government offices on fire in an eruption of violence after President Ali Abdullah Saleh refuses to sign an agreement to step down. At least five people are killed in the fighting, the fiercest yet between the pro- and anti-Saleh camps, which raises fears that the collapse of efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution to Yemen’s 3-month-old crisis could throw the country into a violent confrontation. The U.S. Embassy in Yemen closes its consular section for two days and orders its personnel to stay out of a district in the capital because of unrest.

    The highest-ranking U.S. diplomat in the Middle East visits in the de facto rebel capital in eastern Libya, a show of growing support for the loosely formed movement that seeks to oust longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi. A State Department statement calls the visit by Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, “another signal of the U.S.’s support” for the rebels’ National Transitional Council, which it calls “a legitimate and credible interlocutor for the Libyan people.” Rebel spokesman Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga says the country faces a “major humanitarian disaster” in its western Nafusa mountains, where residents say government troops have been cutting supply lines to communities. “They are more or less boiling the leaves of trees” to survive, Ghoga says.

    Activists cancel the first government-approved demonstration in the capital since the government lifted a 48-year-old state of emergency last month. The silent candlelight vigil in a Damascus public garden was to have honored some 900 people who have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s rule began in mid-March Some opponents of Assad have been saying in recent days that they planned to continue the vigil until the regime fell. Syria’s foreign minister acknowledges that U.S. and EU sanctions will hurt Syrian interests, but he says the country will not allow foreign countries to impose their will on Syria.

    • Afghan Security Forces Grow in Numbers, Quality

      5/23/11 By Cheryl Pellerin – American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON, May 23, 2011 – The number and quality of recruits to the Afghan national security force are growing, a senior official in the training effort said here today.

      Jack Kem, deputy to the commander of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan, briefed Pentagon reporters about his duties in the Afghan capital of Kabul, where he is responsible for the NATO training mission’s literacy, gender, integrity building and rule of law programs.

      “The size of the Afghan National Army has increased from 97,000 in November 2009 to over 164,000 today,” Kem said, and will grow to 171,600 by summer’s end. The Afghan National Police has grown from just under 95,000 in November 2009 to 126,000 today, and will reach 134,000 by fall.
      Taken together, Kem said, this is an increase of 98,000 recruits in 18 months that has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in quality.

      The literacy rate for incoming soldiers and police officers is about 14 percent, Kem said, “meaning that 86 percent of our recruits are unable to read and write at the third-grade level. This has been an enormous challenge.” What began as a voluntary literacy program with less than 13,000 enrolled has become mandatory for basic army and police training, he said, and programs around the country are teaching basic literacy and numeracy.

      “Today, we have over 81,000 Afghan [soldiers and police] in mandatory literacy classes, and we have graduated another 92,000 in different literacy classes since November 2009,” Kem said.

      “We know that we will improve the literacy rate in Afghanistan in the Afghanistan national security forces to over 50 percent by January 2012,” he added.

      For the entire article:

  34. Thanks for the transcript, CR. Heard the full speech, real time, but I like to keep a paper trail, too!

    Thank you, Ireland, indeed!

  35. May 23, 2011

    Vice President Biden Announces Staff Changes

    Washington, DC – The Vice President announced today that his longtime aide and Press Secretary Elizabeth Alexander will be leaving at the end of May to practice law. She will be succeeded by Kendra Barkoff, who most recently served as Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s Deputy Communications Director and Press Secretary.

    Vice President Biden said: “From the Senate to the White House, for the last five years, Elizabeth has been by my side as a trusted advisor. Together, we’ve logged a lot of miles, and through it all she’s been tough, determined and loyal. Her energy, intellect, and professionalism will be missed enormously, even as I’m excited for her to start the next chapter of her career.”

    “We’re looking forward to Kendra joining the team,” added Vice President Biden. “She has extensive communications and press experience and will be a tremendous asset to our office and the entire White House.”

    For the entire article:

  36. May 23, 2011

    Nominations Sent to the Senate

    Joyce A. Barr, of Washington, a Career Member of the Senior
    Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be an Assistant
    Secretary of State (Administration), vice Rajkumar Chellaraj,

    Charles Thomas Massarone, of Kentucky, to be a Commissioner of
    the United States Parole Commission for a term of six years, vice
    Edward F. Reilly, Jr., resigned.

    Anne W. Patterson, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior
    Foreign Service, Personal Rank of Career Ambassador, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Arab Republic of Egypt.

    Claude M. Steele, of New York, to be a Member of the National
    Science Board, National Science Foundation, for a term expiring May
    10, 2014, vice Elizabeth Hoffman, term expired.

  37. May 23, 2011

    Executive Order Concerning Further Sanctions on Iran

    – – – – – – –

    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (Public Law 104 172) (50 U.S.C. 1701 note) (ISA), as amended by, inter alia, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (Public Law 111 195), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and in order to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12957 of March 15, 1995,

    For the entire article:

    • May 23, 2011

      Message to the Congress Concerning Further Sanctions on Iran


      Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order (the “order”) that takes additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12957 of March 15, 1995, and implements the existing statutory requirements of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (Public Law 104 172) (50 U.S.C. 1701 note) (ISA), as amended by, inter alia, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (Public Law 111 195) (CISADA).

      In Executive Order 12957, the President found that the actions and policies of the Government of Iran threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. To deal with that threat, the President in Executive Order 12957 declared a national emergency and imposed prohibitions on certain transactions with respect to the development of Iranian petroleum resources. To further respond to that threat, Executive Order 12959 of May 6, 1995, imposed comprehensive trade and financial sanctions on Iran. Executive Order 13059 of August 19, 1997, consolidated and clarified the previous orders. To take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12957 and to implement section 105(a) of CISADA, I issued Executive Order 13553 on September 28, 2010, to impose sanctions on officials of the Government of Iran and other persons acting on behalf of the Government of Iran determined to be responsible for or complicit in certain serious human rights abuses.

      For the entire article:

  38. My husband and I are both wearing green in honor of the Obamas in Ireland today. We will be having corned beef and cabbage for dinner with Ben and Jerrry’s mint chocolate chip ice cream!

    Is féidir linn!


      5/23/11 POLITICO44

      President Obama, the first lady and their traveling party arrived in London at 10:16 p.m. after a 54-minute flight. Among those who were there to greet the president were U.S. Ambassador Louis Susman and his wife. The Obamas are to be in Britain for two days, with time to be spent at Buckingham Palace and also with Prime Minister David Cameron.

    • That is so cool, CR! Hope you and your husband enjoyed your celebration.

      What a wonderful, wonderful day for our President and his First Lady. I’m so glad for them (and us!).

  39. WH

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    All Times ET

    The Vice President meets with senior advisers in the afternoon.

    7:20 AM
    The President and the First Lady participate in arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace
    Local Event Time: 12:20 PM BST
    Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
    Open Press

    7:25 AM
    The President and the First Lady have lunch with Her Majesty the Queen
    Local Event Time: 12:25 PM BST
    Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
    Closed Press

    9:00 AM
    The President and the First Lady view the Portrait Gallery
    Local Event Time: 2:00 PM BST
    Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
    Travel Pool Coverage

    10:00 AM
    The President and the First Lady tour Westminster Abbey; the President participates in a wreath laying ceremony
    Local Event Time: 3:00 PM BST
    London, United Kingdom, Westminster Abbey
    Travel Pool Coverage

    10:00 AM
    The Vice President meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    10:45 AM
    The President and the First Lady arrive at 10 Downing Street
    Local Event Time: 3:45 PM BST
    10 Downing Street, London, United Kingdom
    Pooled Press

    12:00 AM
    The President meets with Opposition Leader Miliband
    Local Event Time: 5:00 PM BST
    Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
    Pool Spray

    3:30 AM
    The President and the First Lady attend dinner hosted by Her Majesty the Queen
    Local Event Time: 8:30 PM BST
    Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
    Print Pool

    5:00 PM
    The Vice President attends a retirement ceremony for Ambassador Chris Hill.

    • POTUS podium

      May 24, 2011

      7:20 AM EDT
      The President and the First Lady participate in arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

      1:30 PM EDT
      Obama Administration Announces New Fleet Management Practices and Advanced Vehicle Pilot – Department of Energy

      2:30 PM EDT
      Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
      London, England (Audio Only)

      3:30 PM EDT
      The President and the First Lady attend dinner hosted by Her Majesty the Queen
      Local Event Time: 8:30 PM BST
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom



      7:20 AM EDT
      The President and the First Lady participate in arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

      9:00 AM EDT
      Senate Judiciary Crime & Terrorism Subcommittee: Prescription Drug Abuse

      10:00 AM EDT
      The President and the First Lady tour Westminster Abbey; the President participates in a wreath laying ceremony
      London, United Kingdom, Westminster Abbey

      10:00 AM EDT
      U.S. Senate: Extension of Patriot Act

      10:45 AM
      The President and the First Lady arrive at 10 Downing Street
      Local Event Time: 3:45 PM BST
      10 Downing Street, London, United Kingdom

      11:00 AM EDT
      Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Address to Joint Meeting of Congress

      12:00 PM EDT
      The President meets with Opposition Leader Miliband
      Local Event Time: 5:00 PM BST
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

      1:00 PM EDT
      Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates delivers remarks on “America in the World” at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

      2:30 PM EDT
      Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation: Air Traffic Control Safety

      2:30 PM EDT
      Senate confirmation hearing
      The Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers the nomination of William Burns to be the next Deputy Secretary of State.

      3:30 PM EDT
      The President and the First Lady attend dinner hosted by Her Majesty the Queen
      Local Event Time: 8:30 PM BST
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom



      7:20 AM EDT
      The President and the First Lady participate in arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

      7:34 AM EDT
      Congressional Negotiations on Debt Reduction
      Vice President Biden hosted another deficit reduction meeting with members of Congress & White House officials at the U.S. Capitol

      9:00 AM EDT
      Senate Judiciary Crime & Terrorism Subcommittee: Prescription Drug Abuse

      10:00 AM EDT
      The President and the First Lady tour Westminster Abbey; the President participates in a wreath laying ceremony
      London, United Kingdom, Westminster Abbey

      10:00 AM EDT
      U.S. Senate: Extension of Patriot Act

      11:00 AM EDT
      Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Address to Joint Meeting of Congress

      12:00 PM EDT
      The President meets with Opposition Leader Miliband
      Local Event Time: 5:00 PM BST
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

      1:00 PM EDT
      Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates delivers remarks on “America in the World” at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

      1:15 PM EDT
      Elizabeth Warren Defends Consumer Watchdog Agency
      GOP to voice concern with CFPB

      2:30 PM EDT
      Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation: Air Traffic Control Safety

      2:30 PM EDT
      Senate confirmation hearing
      The Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers the nomination of William Burns to be the next Deputy Secretary of State.

      2:30 PM EDT
      Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
      London, England

      3:30 PM EDT
      The President and the First Lady attend dinner hosted by Her Majesty the Queen
      Local Event Time: 8:30 PM BST
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

      BBC UK

      7:20 AM EDT
      The President and the First Lady participate in arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

      10:00 AM EDT
      The President and the First Lady tour Westminster Abbey; the President participates in a wreath laying ceremony
      London, United Kingdom, Westminster Abbey

      12:00 PM EDT
      The President meets with Opposition Leader Miliband
      Local Event Time: 5:00 PM BST
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

      3:30 PM EDT
      The President and the First Lady attend dinner hosted by Her Majesty the Queen
      Local Event Time: 8:30 PM BST
      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

      Department of Defense

      1:00 PM EDT
      Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates delivers remarks on “America in the World” at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

      Middle East Protest

      Al Jazeera – English

    • Obama starts UK visit, security issues paramount

      5/24/11 By Steve Holland and Jeff Mason – Reuters

      LONDON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday begins a visit to Britain where he and Prime Minister David Cameron will review NATO action to help end conflict in Libya and Western policy toward uprisings in the Arab world.

      He and Cameron will also launch a joint U.S.-British group to tackle national security challenges together.

      As a precautionary measure Obama flew to London on Monday night instead of Tuesday morning because of fears that a volcanic ash cloud from Icelandic could drift over Ireland and prevent his Air Force One jet from flying.

      That forced him to cut short a cheerful visit to Ireland, where he sipped a pint of Guinness in the village of Moneygall to celebrate ancestral roots there and used a speech in Dublin to lift Irish spirits bruised by a severe economic downturn.

      In London, Obama will experience some of the celebratory pomp put on by the British royal family while on a four-nation trip that will include a Group of Eight summit in Deauville, France, later in the week and conclude with a stop in Poland.

      On Tuesday he will attend a formal arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace laid on by Queen Elizabeth, a wreath-laying at Westminster Abbey, talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron and a state dinner hosted by the queen. Obama and his wife, Michelle, are to spend two nights at Buckingham Palace.

      For the entire article:

      • Thanks for yet another “travel” graphic, CR. I’m saving ’em all!

        Great prelude story for the next leg of their trip. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    • BBC World Affairs Producer Stuart Hughes will be covering the visit for @bbcnews and will be updating developments

      1045: Welcome to the BBC’s live coverage of US President Barack Obama’s first state visit to the United Kingdom. We’ll bring you all the colour and analysis from the president’s first day of his three-day tour.

      1055: Mr Obama arrived in the UK a day ahead of schedule on Monday, to avoid any disruption from a volcanic ash cloud. He flew into Stansted, in Essex, with wife Michelle after leaving the Republic of Ireland, where his week-long tour of Europe began.

      1058: The UK is Mr Obama’s second stop on his four-country, six-day tour of Europe. He is due back in Washington on Saturday night.

  40. Secretary Clinton to Travel to London and Paris

    Press Statement Mark C. Toner -Acting Deputy Spokesman
    Washington, DC

    May 18, 2011

    Secretary of State Clinton will accompany President Obama to London on May 24 for the first part of his state visit to the United Kingdom. This trip is a sign of the strength of the special relationship between our two countries, and of the United States’ enduring commitment to our allies and partners in Europe. Secretary Clinton will also meet with Foreign Secretary Hague while in London.

    Secretary Clinton will then travel to Paris, France, to preside over the 50th Anniversary of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Council Meeting, May 25-26. Events will include the OECD’s 50th Anniversary Commemoration, at which the Secretary will deliver the opening address in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan; several signing and adoption ceremonies; and a plenary session on “A New Paradigm for Development.” The Commemoration will be live-streamed at

    Secretary Clinton will also deliver keynote remarks in support of the launch of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education. The Global Partnership will bring together companies, nongovernmental organizations, and governments to develop innovative programs to deliver education to women and girls. The event will be live-streamed on Thursday, May 26 at 8:00 am (EST) at

  41. Business events scheduled for Tuesday

    May 23, 2011 By The Associated Press

    Major business events and economic events scheduled for Tuesday:

    WASHINGTON — Commerce Department releases new home sales for April, 10 a.m.

    Medtronic Inc. releases quarterly financial results.

    WASHINGTON — Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the future of the housing finance system.

    WASHINGTON — House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on domestic oil and gas production.

    TOKYO — Ford talks about its Japan business.

  42. Michelle Obama Launches “Let’s Move Museums And Gardens”

    MAY 23, 2011

    New initiative will use museums, libraries, botanic gardens, historic sites, and zoos to promote healthy eating & fitness with interactive exhibits and changes in food service…

    America’s museums and historic sites are usually the places where food is least welcome, for fear that it will ruin the art and artifacts. Running and jumping is generally discouraged in these places, too. But that’s all going to change, thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama. The White House today announced Let’s Move Museums & Gardens, a new project for Mrs. Obama’s childhood obesity campaign that places food and physical movement front and center in the places that attract millions of families annually.

    The national initiative, spearheaded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), will encourage participating museums, zoos, libraries, historic sites, community and botanic gardens and other institutions to create interactive exhibits and programs that encourage kids and families to both eat healthier foods and increase their physical activity, the two-pronged approach to combating obesity that Let’s Move! focuses on. The organizations will also be encouraged to offer healthier food choices–and nutrition education–in their on-site restaurants and cafeterias.

    For the entire article:

    • BBC Live Text

      1159: The arrival of Mr Obama at the palace marks the formal start of his state visit to Britain. He and his wife Michelle – who will stay at the palace – were greeted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

      1203: Earlier, the Obamas met Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, at Winfield House in London.

      1205: There will be a live shot of a 42-gun salute in Green Park at around 12.35 when Mr Obama and the Queen come out of the palace.

      1215: What is the point of a state visit, asks BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins: “A good state visit advances history in a positive way.”

  43. Pomp and pageantry for Obamas in London

    5/24/11 JULIE PACE, Associated Press –

    LONDON – President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama traded-in Irish charm for the pomp and pageantry of Buckingham Palace Tuesday as they opened a two-day state visit to Britain at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II.
    The president and first lady Michelle Obama began the day greeted by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla at Winfield House, the stately mansion in Regent’s Park that is the residence of the U.S. ambassador. The Obamas stayed there Monday night after leaving Ireland early instead of spending the night in Dublin because of safety concerns over a volcanic ash cloud being blown toward Britain from Iceland.

    Their next stop Tuesday was Buckingham Palace for an official arrival ceremony with all the grandeur the British royalty can offer.

    While Obama will tackle prickly foreign policy matters in the coming days, the opening rounds of his four-country European tour are all about the personal politics that made him so beloved on this continent as a presidential candidate and in the early days of his term in office.

    While in Ireland, Obama embraced the touch of Irish in his family history, drinking a pint of Guinness with a distant cousin in the hamlet of Moneygall and delivering a rousing speech on the ties between the U.S. and Ireland before tens of thousands crammed into the center of Dublin.

    For the entire article:

    • BBC World Affairs Producer Stuart Hughes will be covering the visit

      1105: In a joint article in the Times, Mr Obama and Mr Cameron have described the relationship between the UK and the US as “essential”: “Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship – for us and for the world. When the United States and Britain stand together, our people and people around the world can become more secure and more prosperous.

  44. May 24, 2011
    Remarks by the President about Storms Throughout the Midwest

    Winfield House
    London, England

    10:34 A.M. BST

    THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. Before the day starts here in England I wanted to say a few words about the devastating storms that we’ve seen in Missouri and Minnesota and across the Midwest.

    Like all Americans, we have been monitoring what’s been taking place very closely and have been heartbroken by the images that we’ve seen in Joplin, Missouri, in particular. The devastation is comparable and may end up exceeding some of the devastation that we saw in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, just a few weeks ago.

    So far we know that over 100 people lost their lives. Others remain missing, and hundreds more are injured. And obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with the families who are suffering at this moment. And all we can do is let them know that all of America cares deeply about them and that we are going to do absolutely everything we can to make sure that they recover.

    These storms often strike without warning, as we saw a little further south over the last couple of weeks. And it’s going to be important for us to make sure that we are sustaining our efforts at rebuilding after the news cameras leave. We can make sure that the families and communities upended by these storms have everything they need to pull through. And in that regard, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano as well as I have spoken with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. We’ve offered him not only our condolences, but we’ve told him that we will give him every ounce of resources the federal government may have that we can bring to bear on this situation.

    For the entire article:

    • President Obama on Devastation Throughout the Midwest: “We Are Here For You”

      Posted by Kori Schulman on May 24, 2011

      Ed. Note: You can help people affected by disasters like the recent floods, tornadoes and wildfires, as well as countless other crises at home and around the world, through American Red Cross Disaster Relief. If you are in the affected areas, you can also register as “Safe and Well” to let your friends and family know you are OK.

      Before starting the day in London, President Obama took a moment to discuss the devastation in Missouri, Minnesota and across the Midwest. On Sunday, the President will travel to Missouri to talk with people who’ve been affected and local officials about response efforts to offer his assurance that the entire country is behind them. “The American people are by your side,” President Obama said, “We’re going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every neighborhood is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet. That’s my commitment, and that’s the American people’s commitment.”

      For the entire article:

      American Red Cross – Safe and Well Message Center

      After a disaster, letting your family and friends know that you are safe and well can bring your loved ones great peace of mind. This website is designed to help make that communication easier.

      Register Yourself as “Safe and Well”

      Search for Loved Ones
      Concerned family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as “safe and well” by clicking on the “Search Registrants” button. The results of a successful search will display a loved one’s first name, last name and a brief message.

      Click on the “List Myself as Safe and Well” button to register yourself on the site:

      • In President Obama’s Administration, FEMA actually works. It matters who is President.

    • Obama to see Mo. tornado devastation


      LONDON – President Barack Obama will travel to Missouri on Sunday to view the devastation caused by a deadly string of tornadoes.

      Balancing the pomp and pageantry of his state visit here with a tragedy back home, the president made a statement to the traveling press pool gathered in a sun-drenched garden at the American ambassador’s house.

      We have been heartbroken by the images we have seen in Joplin, Mo., in particular,” Obama said on Tuesday. “The devastation is comparable and may end up exceeding the devastation that we saw in Tuscaloosa, Ala., just a few weeks ago.”

      The tornadoes killed more than 100 people and many more remain missing.

      “All we can do is let them know all of America cares deeply about them and we are going to do absolutely everything we can to make sure they recover,” he said.

      Obama spoke with FEMA Director Craig Fugate earlier Tuesday, White House officials said. He also called Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday from Ireland, and again Tuesday from London, said Press Secretary Jay Carney.

      Read more:

    • BBC Text

      1328: A reminder of what’s to come later in the day: The public will get their first chance to see President Obama and the First Lady when they arrive at Westminster Abbey to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. There follows a trip to Downing Street to meet David Cameron and his wife, then a meeting with Labour leader Ed Miliband back at Buckingham Palace. Then the state banquet, also at the palace.

      1449: Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have just departed Buckingham Palace for Clarence House. The crowds outside are now waiting excitedly for the Obamas to appear.

      1501: Cheers from the crowd as the Obamas leave Buckingham Palace in the car they call the Beast.

      1504: A cavalcade of vehicles follows the Obamas out of the palace – giving a sense of the scale of the security operation employed to protect them on their visit. About 1,500 people are believed to be involved.

      1506: The president and first lady waved to crowds as they arrived at Westminster Abbey.

      1507: The couple will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. They will then hear a performance from the Abbey choir, and be given a tour of the building.

      1519: While the Obamas enjoy their tour of Westminster Abbey, you can also take a peek inside by exploring our 360 degree tour, with commentary from Blue Badge guide Judy Pulley.

      1515: Earlier, on their tour of Buckingham Palace, the Obamas were shown some art works and historical artefacts chosen by the Queen and Prince Philip. We understand these included some important letters. Earlier, Nigel Fletcher, the former Conservative Special Adviser, tweeted that the Queen had given the president a bound copy of letters from Queen Victoria to US presidents.

      1629: Mr Obama and Mr Cameron are visiting a science class and a gymnasium at the Globe Academy. The secondary is school is sponsored by a charity founded by Swiss financier Arki Busson.

      1630: The academy was opened by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary.

      1633: More now on the gifts exchanged at Buckingham Palace. Michelle Obama received an antique brooch made of gold and red coral in the form of roses.

      1638: Earlier this afternoon, the US president layed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey.

    • May 24, 2011

      Statement by President Obama on Chrysler’s Repayment

      Chrysler’s repayment of its outstanding loans to the U.S. Treasury and American taxpayers marks a significant milestone for the turnaround of Chrysler and the countless communities and families who rely on the American auto industry. This announcement comes six years ahead of schedule and just two years after emerging from bankruptcy, allowing Chrysler to build on its progress and continue to grow as the economy recovers. Supporting the American auto industry required making some tough decisions, but I was not willing to walk away from the workers at Chrysler and the communities that rely on this iconic American company. I said if Chrysler and all its stakeholders were willing to take the difficult steps necessary to become more competitive, America would stand by them, and we did. While there is more work to be done, we are starting to see stronger sales, additional shifts at plants and signs of strength in the auto industry and our economy, a true testament to the resolve and determination of American workers across the nation.

      • Chrysler set to repay $7.5 billion U.S., Canada loans

        5/24/11 Ben Klayman in Detroit and Deepa Seetharaman -Reuters

        DETROIT (Reuters) – Chrysler Group LLC was set on Tuesday to repay $7.5 billion in U.S. and Canadian government loans from its 2009 federal bailout, a move that will allow the U.S. automaker to distance itself from an unpopular bailout and deepen its ties with Italian automaker Fiat SpA (FIA.MI).

        Under the original terms, Chrysler had until 2017 to repay the debt.
        Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Fiat and Chrysler, is scheduled to appear at a Chrysler assembly plant in Sterling heights, Michigan, Tuesday afternoon to express thank to the governments for their financial support. Also at the event will be Ron Bloom, the Obama administration’s point man on auto restructuring, and General Holiefield, head of the United Auto Workers union’s Chrysler department.

        Marchionne noted on Monday that Chrysler’s repayment of its bailout loans was even faster than that engineered by Lee Iacocca, who led the U.S. automaker through a government bailout in the late 1970s and ran the company through 1992.

        For the entire article:

      • May 24, 2011

        Readout of Vice President Biden’s Calls to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, UAW President Bob King, and Chrysler Worker

        Earlier today, Vice President Biden called Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler; Bob King, President of the United Auto Workers (UAW); and Frances Soehartono, a worker from Chrysler’s Jefferson North Plant, to congratulate them on Chrysler’s repayment of $10.6 billion in U.S. government loans more than six years ahead of schedule. Vice President Biden hailed Chrysler’s return to profitability and recent job creation, expressing confidence that today’s milestone marks a turning point for the entire American auto industry. Vice President Biden acknowledged the tremendous sacrifices made by many Chrysler workers and their families over the past two years, and he emphasized his conviction that Chrysler’s historic turnaround is due to the high quality of American workmanship and the dedication of workers like Frances Soehartono.

        A photograph of the Vice President’s call to Frances Soehartono can be viewed HERE.

  45. Happy Tuesday CR, Sandy, Jackie and all friends!


    ITN News, May 24, 2011:

    Obamas arrive at Buckingham Palace

    • BBC Text

      1713: How about this for a caption competition: the US president and the UK prime minister playing table tennis with students during their visit to the Globe Academy. The two leaders appear to be on the same doubles team, but Mr Obama has leaned in front of Mr Cameron to take the shot.

      1734: Mr Obama signed the distinguished visitors’ book of Westminster Abbey earlier, but apparently he dated his entry incorrectly as “24 May 2008”.

      1737: The president’s entry in the guestbook read: “It is a great privilege to commemorate our common heritage, and common sacrifices.” Michelle Obama also signed alongside the entry.

      1814: Michelle Obama has been flying the flag for British fashion during her trip. For her visit to Number 10, the first lady chose a purple dress by Roksanda Ilincic, one of the stars of London Fashion Week. Yesterday, she touched down at Stansted Airport wearing an electric-blue fitted jacket and dress by British label Preen, the Daily Telegraph reports.

  46. April business borrowing, credit quality improve

    5/23/11 By Lynn Adler – Reuters

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A key measure of U.S. business activity rose in April and credit quality improved as the economy slowly gathered steam, a lender group said on Monday.

    U.S. businesses originated $5.1 billion of loans, leases and lines of credit in April, 10 percent more than a year ago, although 18 percent below March’s $6.2 billion, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) said.

    “We’re still seeing a steady recovery, albeit slow, and some sectors are still continuing to perform and some sectors are still continuing to underperform,” ELFA Chief Executive William Sutton said in an interview.

    It is not uncommon to have a monthly dip in the first month of each quarter, he said.

    Construction and trucking remain the largest underperforming sectors, according to ELFA.

    “If you look at the cumulative data for this year to date, we’re still seeing an increase of 27 percent compared with the same four months of last year,” said Sutton.

    For the entire article:

  47. Change of venue
    Deficit talks resume on the Hill


    Joe Biden will meet with members of Congress at the Capitol for deficit talks.

    The deficit talks between the White House and Congress resume Tuesday as Vice President Biden rounds up the usual suspects for an afternoon meeting.

    Unlike previous talks at the Blair House, Tuesday’s session will be at the Capitol, the White House says. Coming to the negotiations will be Senators Daniel Inouye, Jon Kyl and Max Baucus, and Representatives Eric Cantor, James Clyburn and Chris Van Hollen. From the administration will be Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, budget director Jack Lew and the economic adviser Gene Sperling.

    “The vice president’s talks are an important vehicle,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Friday. “We believe that is the vehicle and will be the vehicle for an agreement. We’re optimistic about that. But obviously there have been a lot of important contributions from others not actually in the room.”

    • American Enterprise Institute (Defense Spending)
      As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Washington, DC,

      May 24, 2011

      Thank you Arthur, and thanks for that introduction. And my thanks to the American Enterprise Institute for hosting this event on relatively short notice. In many ways it is appropriate that AEI be the setting for my last major policy speech in Washington. The recent history of this institution and some of its more prominent figures is inextricably tied to the war in Iraq, the conflict that pulled me out of private life and back into the public arena nearly four and a half years ago.

      As you know, and as Arthur just said, I am in the final weeks of the greatest privilege of my professional life, serving as America’s 22nd Secretary of Defense. Most of my time and attention in this post has been dominated by America’s two major post-9/11 conflicts – each marked by swift, exhilarating victories against odious regimes followed by grinding, protracted counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism campaigns.

      In the course of doing everything I could to turn things around first in Iraq, then in Afghanistan, from the early months I ran up against institutional obstacles in the Pentagon – cultural, procedural, ideological – to getting done what needed to get done on behalf of those fighting the wars we are in. Whether it was outpatient care for the wounded, armored troop transport, medevac, ramping up intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support, or any number of urgent battlefield needs.

      It became evident over time that changing the momentum of these conflicts – and increasing the odds of military success in the future – would also require fundamentally re-shaping the priorities of the Pentagon and the uniformed services and reforming the way they did business: How weapons were chosen, developed and produced, how troops and their families were cared for, how leaders were promoted and held accountable – and, related to all of the above, where money was spent (or misspent as the case may be).

      It is the health and future of the military as an institution – an institution confronted with complex and evolving array of threats abroad while adjusting to an era of debt and austerity at home – that I would like to discuss with you today before taking some questions.

      For the entire article:

    • Gates: Defense Cuts Must Be Prioritized, Strategic

      5/24/11 By Fred W. Baker III – American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he is determined that the department not fall victim to the mistakes of the past, “where the budget targets were met mostly by taking a percentage off the top of everything, the simplest and most politically expedient approach both inside the Pentagon and outside of it.”

      “That kind of ‘salami-slicing’ approach preserves overhead and maintains force structure on paper, but results in a hollowing-out of the force from a lack of proper training, maintenance and equipment — and manpower,” Gates said during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research here today. “That is what happened in the 1970s — a disastrous period for our military — and to a lesser extent during the late 1990s.”

      In delivering his last major policy speech during his tenure as defense secretary, Gates laid out the department’s cost saving initiatives over the past few years, and outlined what he expects from a comprehensive review he launched last week.

      Gates said the review should ensure that future spending decisions are focused on priorities, strategy and risks, and are not simply a math and accounting exercise.

      For the entire article:

  48. Netanyahu: Israel ready for painful compromises

    5/24/11 By AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Tuesday to make “painful compromises” for peace with the Palestinians, for the first time explicitly saying that some West Bank settlements would find themselves outside Israel’s final borders.

    But he tacked on a list of oft-stated conditions that have been unacceptable to the Palestinians in the past, making his peace blueprint unlikely to entice them back to the negotiating table.

    Speaking before a warmly receptive joint meeting of Congress that showered him with more than two dozen sustained standing ovations, Netanyahu said Israel wants and needs peace but repeated his flat rejection of a return to what he called the “indefensible” borders that Israel had before the 1967 Mideast war.

    He also restated Israel’s refusal to repatriate millions of Palestinian refugees and their families to homes in Israel that they lost in fighting over the Jewish state’s 1948 creation.

    And Netanyahu maintained anew that contested Jerusalem could not be shared with the Palestinians, who want the eastern sector of the holy city as capital of their hoped-for state. And he insisted that Israel maintain a long-term military presence on what would be the eastern border of a Palestinian state.

    “Israel will never give up its quest for peace,” Netanyahu said, adding that he is “willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace.”

    For the entire article:

  49. America’s Home Energy Education Challenge

    May 24, 2011 By Andy Oare, New Media Strategist –

    [Ed. Note: This has been cross posted from]

    Let’s be honest. Many of us probably had trouble paying attention one or two times in middle school science class. While the occasional frog dissection and “potato-volt” experiments were cool, not all of us got up in the morning, scarfed down Cocoa Puffs and got geeked about test tubes and chlorophyll. And that’s not to discredit the great teachers out there, but as they all know (and as Ms. Ives, my 7th grade teacher knew quite well), sometimes the 12-year-old mind just has WAY more important things to think about.

    It can be quite a feat coming up with new and exciting ways to engage our young folk when it comes to energy and science, but the Department of Energy and the National Science Teachers Association have put together a new challenge to ignite that spark.

    America’s Home Energy Education Challenge is designed to harness the imagination and enthusiasm of America’s students to encourage home energy efficiency.

    For the entire article:

  50. No. 10’s YouTube channel will livestream the press conference of President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron. Countdown clock says it starts in 17 hours.

  51. Speaking of international travel…

    Commerce Department, May 23, 2011:

    U.S. Tourism is Big Business at International Pow Wow

    Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

    The U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow is the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of USA travel.

    The three-day event is action-packed and filled with pre-scheduled business appointments, with more than 5,000 attendees expected and international and domestic buyers and representatives from more than 70 countries will be attending. The business negotiations that take place result in the generation of more than $3.5 billion in future USA travel. In other words, Pow Wow is a big deal.

    We at the Commerce Department have enjoyed a close relationship with Pow Wow for years and added the conference into the Department’s International Buyer Program in 2011….

    We released the new travel forecasts today, and according to the data, the U.S. can expect 6-8 percent average annual growth in tourism over the next five years, and this year, 64 million foreign travelers are projected to visit the United States, spending $144 billion during their stays, setting a new record for travel exports.

    The travel and tourism industry is a large component of President Obama’s National Export Initiative of doubling exports by the end of 2014, supporting million of jobs. Nearly 8 million people in the United States are employed in travel and tourism industries, and 1.2 million are tied directly to international travelers.

    (There is a graphic of international visitors and projections at the link.)

  52. Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

    5/24/11 By The Associated Press – 14 mins ago

    Fighters from Yemen’s most powerful tribes fire on government buildings and soldiers retaliate with intense shelling as the uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh threatens to become a militia-led revolt after street protests and Arab mediation failed. Tribal leaders say at least seven militiamen were killed, but the full death toll was not immediately known as the heart of Yemen’s capital is turned into a no man’s land with heavy gunfire, mortar rounds and apparent artillery fire from government forces. The latest violence further deepens the rifts and suggests Yemen could be stumbling toward a potentially bloody showdown between well-armed tribal militias and pro-Saleh troops.

    NATO launches its most intense bombardment yet against Moammar Gadhafi’s stronghold of Tripoli Tuesday, while a senior U.S. diplomat says President Barack Obama is inviting the Libyan rebels’ National Transitional Council to open an office in Washington but stopping short of formal recognition. The international community has stepped up airstrikes and diplomatic efforts against the regime in a bid to break a virtual stalemate, with the rebels in the east and Gadhafi maintaining his hold on most of the west. The NATO airstrikes hit in rapid succession within a half-hour time span, setting off more than 20 explosions and sending up plumes of acrid-smelling smoke from an area around Gadhafi’s sprawling Bab al-Aziziya compound in central Tripoli.

    The death toll from Syria’s crackdown on a nine-week uprising has exceeded 1,000, a prominent human rights group said Tuesday, as the country’s opposition called for fresh protests and clearer goals. Syria, one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East, has for years crushed any sign of public dissent, banning political parties and throwing critics of the regime in jail. Opposing President Bashar Assad’s regime is the only common thread running through the various parts of the movement, including human rights activists, economic liberals and religious opponents of Assad’s Alawite Muslim minority rule.

    Egypt’s ex-President Hosni Mubarak will stand trial on charges of conspiring in the deadly shootings of protesters during the uprising that ousted him, a major step in a country still rattled by protests and demands for justice. The 83-year-old leader and his two sons also are charged with abusing power to amass wealth, enriching associates and accepting bribes. A date has not been set for the trial in criminal court.

    An influential Bahraini business group decides to freeze ties with Iran, Iraq and Lebanon in response to what it sees as foreign meddling during Shiite-led protests in the kingdom. The move by the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry is likely to ratchet up tensions between the small island nation — which ruled by a Sunni monarchy and is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet — and its heavily Shiite neighbors. Amnesty International, a leading human rights group, is urging Bahrain’s king to overturn the death sentences against two people arrested during the protests.

  53. NATO hits Tripoli; US says rebels can open office

    5/24/11 By DIAA HADID and MICHELLE FAUL, AP – 2 hrs 40 mins ago

    TRIPOLI, Libya – NATO launched its most intense bombardment yet against Moammar Gadhafi’s stronghold of Tripoli Tuesday, while a senior U.S. diplomat said President Barack Obama has invited the Libyan rebels’ National Transitional Council to open an office in Washington but stopped short of formal recognition.

    The international community has stepped up airstrikes and diplomatic efforts against the regime in a bid to break a virtual stalemate, with the rebels in the east and Gadhafi maintaining his hold on most of the west.

    The NATO airstrikes struck in rapid succession within a half-hour time span, setting off more than 20 explosions and sending up plumes of acrid-smelling smoke from an area around Gadhafi’s sprawling Bab al-Aziziya compound in central Tripoli.

    Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said at least three people were killed and dozens wounded in NATO strikes that targeted what he described as buildings used by volunteer units of the Libyan army.

    NATO said in a statement that a number of precision-guided weapons hit a vehicle storage facility adjacent to Bab al-Aziziya that has been used to supply regime forces “conducting attacks on civilians.” It was not immediately clear if the facility was the only target hit in the barrage. Bab al-Aziziya, which includes a number of military facilities, has been pounded repeatedly by NATO strikes.

    For the entire article:

    • World Bank unveils $6 billion for Egypt and Tunisia

      5/24/11 Lesley Wroughton – Reuters

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – World Bank President Robert Zoellick on Tuesday unveiled $6 billion in funding to help Tunisia and Egypt address budget and reserve shortfalls this year and next, following popular uprisings that ended years of dictatorships but which have caused economic stress.

      Zoellick said a Group of Eight meeting in France this week will discuss the transitions sweeping countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

      He said the World Bank was working closely with the IMF, which is overseeing a separate funding package focused on macroeconomic stability. An IMF mission is currently in Egypt, he added.

      For Egypt, the World Bank plans to make available $4.5 billion over the next 24 months, including $1 billion this year in budget support and another $1 billion next year depending on how far political and economic reforms have advanced.

      The remaining $2.5 billion will be invested in development projects in Egypt, lending to support the private sector, and political risk guarantees.

      For Tunisia, the World Bank plans $1 billion in support for the budget and investment projects, beyond the $500 million already announced to help the government, Zoellick added.

      In addition, the World Bank plans to lend up to $400 million for private-sector projects and another $100 million in investment guarantees, said Zoellick. He said the funding will be disbursed following World Bank board approval next month.

      He noted that Tunisia’s interim government was also dealing with the cost of an estimated 50,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring Libya, with some 6,000 to 7,000 in U.N. camps.

      For the entire article:

  54. And here is the usual snarky moany coverage, but it has some photos of the President and the Prime Minister playing table tennis, plus a list of exchanged gifts:, May 24, 2011:

    … Perhaps bearing in mind that William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were likely to be all gifted-out after their recent nuptials, the Obamas presented the newlyweds with six MacBook Notebook computers donated to their chosen charity, Peace Players International in Belfast.

    The Queen’s present was somewhat more personal – a collection of rare memorabilia and photographs in a handmade leather bound album telling the tale of the visit of her parents – King George VI and Queen Elizabeth – to the United States in 1939.

    Green-fingered Charles, the Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, were presented with a selection of plants, seedlings and seeds from the gardens of Mount Vernon, Monticello and the South Lawn of the White House, as well as jars of honey from the White House beehive.

    Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, a fan of carriage driving, that well-known sport much beloved of the Duke of Beaufort, received a custom-made set of Fell Pony shanks, each adorned with the presidential seal, in addition to original horseshoes worn by recently retired champion carriage horse Jamaica.

    The Obamas were given a selection of letters from the royal archives to and from past US presidents and English monarchs, and as an added bonus Michelle Obama also received an antique brooch made of gold and red coral in the form of roses….

      • When I read it, I thought “What are Fell Pony shanks?!”

        Wikipedia says: The Fell Pony is a versatile, working breed of mountain and moorland pony originating in the northern England around Cumbria. It was originally from the fells of northwest England, and is used as a riding and driving pony. The breed is closely related to its geographic neighbour, the Dales Pony, but is generally smaller and heavier in build. The Fell pony is noted for agility, strength, hardiness and balance.”

        The Fell Pony Society of North America:

        The Fell Pony Society (UK):

        And again accoridng to Wiki, a shank is a kind of horse tack: (A) lead shank or lead chain refers to a lead line with a chain attached that is used in a variety of ways to safely control possibly difficult or dangerous horses if they will not respond to a regular lead.

        My own equestrian knowledge is confined to falling off a Shetland pony at a birthday party many years ago.

    • May 24, 2011

      Remarks by President Obama and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom in Dinner Toasts

      Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

      8:47 P.M. BST

      HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Mr. President, I am delighted to welcome you and Mrs. Obama to London. Prince Philip and I are so glad that you are visiting the United Kingdom again.

      We have fond memories of our first meeting during the G20 conference in London in 2009. It also gave me much pleasure to welcome Mrs. Obama and your two daughters here almost two years ago.

      Your visit to this country inevitably reminds us of our shared history, our common language, and our strong intellectual and cultural links. It also reminds us that your country twice came to the rescue of the free and democratic world when it was facing military disaster. On each occasion, after the end of those destructive wars, the generosity of the United States made a massive contribution to our economic recovery.

      Today, the United States remains our most important ally, and our two nations contribute to the security and prosperity of our peoples and of the world through shared national interests.

      But our relationship goes far beyond our military and diplomatic ties. In your inaugural address, you spoke to the American people of the values that lay at the heart of your nation’s success — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism, and of the sturdy alliances an enduring convictions with which your nation had met past challenges and would meet future ones, too.

      If I may say so, these values underscore much of the life of the United Kingdom, also. Together with our alliance, they continue to guide our actions as we confront the challenges of a changing world.

      For the entire article:

    • Queen Elizabeth Toast President Obama At State Dinner

      Uploaded by MOXNEWSd0tCOM on May 24, 2011

      May 24, 2011 MSNBC

    • UK Queen and POTUS @ Queen's Dinner

      5/24/11 Queen of England hosts a dinner at Buckingham Palace for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama


      FLOTUS at Queen's Dinner

      5/24/11 First Lady Michelle Obama at the Queen’s Dinner held in her and President Obama’s honor at Buckingham Palace

    • Guess who’s coming to supper


      LONDON — President Obama has doled out his state dinner tickets to top foreign policy aides, while the U.S. Embassy went for a little glitz.

      Buckingham Palace released the official guest list for its state dinner Tuesday and included more than a few royals – but also some Hollywood star power.

      The U.S. Embassy invited Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, actress Kristin Chenoweth, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

      The president invited the White House first string: chief of staff Bill Daley, senior adviser David Plouffe, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, national security adviser Thomas Donilon, deputy national security adviser Michael Froman and European affairs adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also attended at the president’s invite.

      Plouffe even scored a place in the royal procession, along with Clinton, Jarrett, Sherwood-Randall and Froman.

      Other special invitations, offered by either the president or the queen, went to Kevin Spacey, actress Helena Bohnam-Carter, director Tim Burton and former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair, John Major and Gordon Brown.

      Plouffe sat between Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Countess of Wessex and was a place setting away from Spacey. Wilson’s seat mate was Brown.

      Obama sat at the head of the table, between Queen Elizabeth and Camilla Bowles, the duchess of Cornwall. The first lady sat between Prince Philip and Prince Charles.

    • BBC Text

      1947: Ingrid Seward of Majesty magazine tells the BBC about the banquet that the Queen is “very proud of being able to put on something so magnificent. It’s a great honour for her. She really has a chance to show all her very best cutlery, glass, everything, and to produce the very best of the British people, as well.”

      1950: Ms Seward of Majesty magazine continues: “It takes two days to lay the table, and they know exactly what they’re doing.” She says the Queen will have personally inspected the suite at Buckingham Palace in which the Obamas will stay the night.

      2046: The procession is entering the banquet hall. The Queen walks in alongside Mr Obama, followed by Michelle Obama and the Duke of Edinburgh. Behind them is US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Duchess of Cornwall.

      2050: The Queen says to Mr Obama: “Your visit to this country inevitably reminds us of our shared history, our common language, and our strong intellectual and cultural links. It also reminds us that your country twice came to the rescue of the free and democratic world when it was facing military disaster.”
      2053: Toast time. The guests are supping on Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin vintage champagne.

      2053: Her Majesty continues: “It is unfortunate that there are so many troubles facing the world today. But we are encouraged that in most respects our two countries see these problems in the same light. For this reason we have been able to act together in fields as varied as science, research and higher education.”

      2054: The Queen lets fly a quip about the two countries’ common language, noting that Brits enjoy American films, or “what you would prefer to call ‘movies'”.

      2055: This evening’s music is being played from the ballroom balcony by the Scots Guards.

      The British national anthem was played as the Queen entered and The Star-Spangled Banner followed the Queen’s toast, but we’ll also be hearing a selection of favourites from the hit American Broadway musical South Pacific.

      2055: The Queen concludes her toast with a call to celebrate “the tried, tested and, yes, ‘special’ relationship” between the two countries. Now Mr Obama begins his remarks.

      2100: Mr Obama says the UK-US relationship relies on the two nation’s common language and history and shared commitment to the rule of law. He salutes the sacrifices of British troops and says the partnership is based on “the rock-solid foundation” laid during the Queen’s reign. He concludes his toast: “To her Majesty, the Queen, to the vitality of the special relationship between our peoples, and, in the words of Shakespeare, to this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.”

      2105: Fine words from the US president, although the band’s timing could have been better – they started playing God Save The Queen before he had finished.

      2107: Dinner is served. Buckingham Palace has laid out some fine china and silverware – commissioned by King George III, dating from as early as 1805.

  55. And more photos. These have captions. Apparently the two world leaders were BEATEN at ping pong by their teenage adversaries! Also, PBO spoke individually with each choirboy at Westminster Abbey and shook their hands., May 24, 2011:

    US President Barack Obama’s state visit to Britain: day one in pictures

  56. Watching people arrive for the dinner at Buckingham Palace at the WH link. Quite a table!

    • Easy listening music selection: “Try to Remember” is followed by “Misty.”

  57. I think the orchestra stepped on the President’s toast to Her Majesty, but he forged ahead and really the swelling music made a nice backdrop to his strong voice.

  58. White House Business Council Roundtable Held in Mexico, Missouri

    Posted by Jonathan Adelstein on May 24, 2011

    Twenty business leaders from Mexico, Missouri, joined me at the Mid America Brick plant recently for the first White House Business Council Roundtable meeting in Missouri. President Obama asked me, along with other senior Administration officials, to facilitate a discussion to seek their input on ways the federal government can improve economic conditions and help them create jobs.

    When you think of “bricks and mortar” for cementing economic development, there is no better place than the heartland of America at a brick plant for a setting. Mexico, Missouri, was once known as the brick capital of the world, but its biggest factory shut down in 2002. An energetic entrepreneur, Frank Cordie, CEO of Mid America Brick, is bringing it back to life. Mr. Cordie graciously hosted and assisted with inviting key business leaders from the region. His company is using USDA funding, as well as other financing, to restore this icon of the local business community, which at one time was the main employer in this rural town. A tour of the plant made me believe he is well on the way to success. I have never found a more committed group of leaders to their community.

    This roundtable was one of many the Obama administration is holding to get feedback on ways we can help businesses expand, create jobs and improve the economic base in their area. The goal was to hear what the Federal government should do more of — and what we need to do less of – to help them jumpstart the economy. We discussed what resources the government needs to provide, and how we sometimes need just to get out of the way.

    For the entire article:

  59. JFK awards given to Egypt activist, NC advocate

    5/24/11 By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press

    BOSTON – A North Carolina school board member who fought redistricting plans because of racial segregation concerns and a Google executive who launched a Facebook page that sparked protests in Egypt were given the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on Monday.

    Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, presented the awards to Elizabeth Redenbaugh and Wael Ghonim, who was named a recipient on behalf of “the people of Egypt.”

    Kennedy said she could think of no better recipients. “Our honorees come from different parts of the world,” she said at the ceremony. “But each embody my father’s belief that one person of courage makes a majority.”

    Redenbaugh, first elected to the New Hanover County school board in 2008, stood in opposition to a neighborhood-based redistricting plan that she feared would lead to racial segregation of the county’s middle schools. The plan eventually passed but Redenbaugh was the only white Republican board member to oppose the plan.

    “Her stance had real and painful consequences, pitting her against friends and neighbors. People threatening her at school board meetings, on the radio, and blamed her for destroying her community,” said Kennedy. “But she stood her ground.”

    Redenbaugh, an attorney, said Kennedy “rocked my world” when she told her that she had received the award.

    “I am a very, very ordinary person who made the intentional decision to submit, to what I perceive to be, the will of an extraordinary God. This is the source of my political courage,” said Redenbaugh, in the presence of two other school board members who came to the ceremony.

    Redenbaugh said when she heard about the redistricting plan that would largely be based on the area’s segregated neighborhoods, she couldn’t shake off a Bible passage in Genesis that said all humans were worthy of dignity and respect.

    “There is no dignity in segregation,” she said.

    Ghonim, a marketing executive for Google, anonymously launched a Facebook page that played a role in organizing the protests this year that led to the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

    Kennedy said it was Ghonim’s “moral outrage” that prompted him to act and spark a movement. “He had no idea how many would heed the call,” she said.

    Ghonim was detained by Egyptian police but released after international pressure. He returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the heart of the protests, and gave the movement new momentum, Kennedy said.

    For the entire article:

  60. Democrat scolds Republicans during testy Oversight hearing on gas prices

    5/24/11 By Andrew Restuccia

    The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee accused Republicans of undermining the integrity of the panel with unfair attacks on Obama administration officials over offshore drilling and gas prices.

    The tussle between Democrats and Republicans on the committee comes as the rhetoric about offshore drilling is reaching a fever pitch amid concern about high gas prices.

    Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the panel, accused Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) of suggesting that a top Interior official was lying under oath at a hearing on the effect of the administration’s regulations on gas prices.

    Issa cut off Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes after asking about litigation regarding the Obama administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which the Interior Department lifted last year.

    “We’ll move on because I don’t want you to say anything that ultimately will be bad considering you’re under oath,” Issa, who swore in the administration witnesses before the hearing, said.

    Cummings said Issa’s comment was akin to accusing Hayes of lying.

    “You basically implied that this gentleman may be lying,” Cummings said.

    “The gentleman should be afforded the opportunity to answer the question. This is about the integrity of this committee. I am not going to allow people who come in here to be called all kinds of names and not be treated fairly.”

    For the entire article:

  61. May 24, 2011
    President Obama Nominates Two to the United States Tax Court

    WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama announced today his intent to nominate Kathleen Kerrigan and Albert Lauber as Judges to the United States Tax Court.

    “These individuals have demonstrated unwavering integrity and a firm commitment to public service throughout their careers,” said President Obama. “I am proud to nominate them to serve on the United States Tax Court.”

    * Kathleen Kerrigan, Nominee for Judge, United States Tax Court

    * Albert Lauber, Nominee for Judge, United States Tax Court

    For the entire article:


    May 24, 2011

    President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

    WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

    Ron McCray, Member, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
    Arnold F. Stancell, Member, National Science Board, National Science Foundation

    For the entire article:

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    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “G8 2011”

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