Friday, August 28, 2009

Obama Could Face Troubles Over CIA Investigation

The Obama administration has opened up a Pandora's Box of trouble for itself by moving ahead with an investigation of controversial interrogation practice of suspected terrorists that were used during George W. Bush's administration.
Attorney General Eric Holder named a special prosecutor to look into the allegations, but that won't be the finish of it. Washington insiders of both parties predict that congressional Democrats will now feel embolden to pursue their own investigations into what many Democrats consider torture, complete with hearings and angry recriminations.
"You know that Congress will want to throw its oar into the water," says a past adviser to a GOP president and that, in the end, many people will be appalled by the probes.
"Americans will think this an effort to embarrass or punish people who were trying to protect us from those who were trying to hurt us. This won't come out well." He and other analysts predict that the hard feelings over the "torture investigations" will pollute the debate in other areas, including healthcare, and undermine Obama's larger agenda.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Obama targets medicare advatages

Mr. Obama was wise to vacation this week on Martha’s Vineyard. Not because it's one of the few places in America where his health-care plan is still popular, but because by getting out of Washington he gave staff times to repair his vaunted message machine, which was starting to break down.
Two weeks ago, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod said in a now famous "viral" email that, "It's a myth that health insurance reform would be financed by cutting Medicare profits." This was sent out the day before Mr. Obama told a Montana town hall that he would pay for health-care reform by "eliminating . . . about $177 billion over 10 years" for "what's called Medicare Advantage." And it was two days before Mr. Obama told a Colorado town hall he would cover "two-thirds" of the "roughly $900 billion" of his plan's cost by "eliminating waste," again citing Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage was enacting in 2003 to allow seniors to use Medicare funds to buy private insurance plans that fit their needs and their budgets. They get better health care and better value for their money.
Previously, an estimated 10.2 million seniors - one out of five in America - have enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Mr. Obama is proposing to cut the program by almost 20% and thus reduce the amount of money each will have to buy insurance. This will probable force most of them to lose the insurance they have now. Yet Mr. Obama promises in late July in New Hampshire that, "if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Barack obama advisers: Swine flu attacks nearly half the US population

President Obama's science advisers warned Monday that swine flu could infect almost half the U.S. population this fall and winter and cause up to 90,000 deaths, mostly in kids and young adults. The estimation is double the deaths normally associated with the seasonal flu.
The report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology laid out a "plausible scenario" where the H1N1 virus might infect 60 million to 120 million people. As many as 1.8 million people can be admitted to hospitals with up to 300,000 of them requiring treatment in intensive care units, the council found.
"This is going to be fairly serious," said Harold E. Varmus of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, cochair of 21-member council. "It's going to stress every aspect of our health system."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that parents get their family vaccinate once the shot is available.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Barack Obama stands by health care plan on radio

President Barack Obama said Thursday any health care overhaul bill he signs should reduce rapidly rising health care costs, protect consumers from insurance abuses and provide affordable choices to the uninsured - while not adding to the federal deficit.
Obama listed those four "bullet points" as his basic necessities in response to a question from a caller to a Philadelphia-based talk radio show. Host Michael Smerconish interviewed Obama at the White House during the show and Obama took questions from a number of listeners.
Another caller said he sensed the administration's "knees buckling" under criticism of the proposal. Obama said he was as determined as always and "I guarantee you, Joe, we are going to get health care done."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Michelle Obama - newcomers in a list of the world's most powerful women

US First Lady Michelle Obama - among the newcomers in a list of the world's most powerful women.
Mrs Obama made her initial appearance at number 40 on the list for Forbes Magazine, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel took the top spot for the fourth time.
Only four UK women complete the Top 100 - down from five last year. They were led by Anglo American chief executive Cynthia Carroll, in fourth position.
"We look at hundreds of women who are at the top of their fields in politics, business, and non-profits, and set them against one another to see how they rank in terms of power," said Chana Schoenberger, co-editor of the list.
As well as Mrs Obama, Iceland's first female prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, complete her debut on the list - mainly due to her being charged with getting her country's banking system back on its feet after Iceland was forced to rescue its three main banks last year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Barack Obama and his family in paradise

When Barack Obama was 11, his mother and grandmother took him and his half-sister Maya on the most American of family vacations - a road trip that included Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. Last week, Obama passed on that gift as he took his wife, daughters Malia and Sasha - as well as Maya and her family - on a four-day trip to two of America's most breathtaking national parks.

"It was nice the entire family was there," National Park Service spokesman Gerry Gaumer noted - not just the immediate family, but the extended family. "Rather than a presidential visit, it seemed more like a vacation."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Barack Obama's Family Tree

Barack Obama's Family Tree

The Next Generation

Barack and Michelle have two children, Malia, now 10, and Sasha, 7.

Barack met his wife in the late 1980s, when the two worked at the prestigious Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin. They were married in 1992. Shortly thereafter, they spent a Christmas in Hawaii, where this photo was taken.

Sarah Obama, now 86, still resides in Kogelo. In this photo, she and Obama pose together outside her home in 1995.

Extended Family
On his father's side, Obama has numerous relatives. He has made several visits to the home of his step grandmother, Sarah Obama, front row, second from right. He also has four half brothers through his father.

Family Ties
When Ann returned to Indonesia, the young Barack remained behind in Hawaii, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents. He eventually attended Columbia University in New York, where this photo was taken in the 1980s.

Half Sister
Maya Soetoro, the daughter of Barack's mother and her second husband, Lolo Soetoro, sits beside the young Barack, Ann and grandfather Stanley Dunham in this photograph taken in Hawaii the early 1970s. Ann came back to Hawaii to attend graduate school in 1974 and remained until 1977, when she returned to Indonesia.

After the divorce, Barack Jr. only saw his father one more time, in Hawaii, in 1972, when this photograph was taken. The senior Barack then returned to Kenya, where he worked for a US oil company and the Kenyan government. He died in a car accident in 1982, at the age of 46.

The Young Obama
For the first six years of his life, Barack lived in Hawaii. In 1967, his mother remarried and the family moved to Indonesia.

Barack Sr. and Ann Dunham married in February, 1961 and Barack was born six months later. Their union did not last long, however. The marriage ended in divorce in early 1964.

Born in Kenya, Barack Obama Sr. came to the University of Hawaii in order to study for a degree in economics. This photograph hangs on the wall of his stepmother's house in Kogelo, Kenya.

Though she has signed this sophomore yearbook photograph of herself "Stanley" — her parents named her Stanley Ann at birth — Obama's mother was known as Ann for most of her life. After attending Mercer Island High School in Washington, she enrolled at the University of Hawaii, where she met Barack Obama, Sr.

Stanley and Madelyn Dunham pose with Obama's mother Ann in a photograph probably taken in the 1950s. Born in Kansas, Obama's maternal grandparents lived in four states before settling in Hawaii.


Louisa Eliza Stroup Dunham and Jacob Mackey Dunham are the candidate's great-great-great grandparents. A farmer in Tipton, County, Indiana in the 1870s, Jacob Dunham later owned restaurants and a confectionary in the Oklahoma Territory. He died in 1907.

Supreme Court Justice

Obama's distant cousin, Gabriel Duvall, was a member of the US House of Representatives, from the second district of Maryland. In 1811, he was appointed to the Supreme Court, where he sat until 1834. He was also a friend of Thomas Jefferson and the owner of 37 slaves.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

LIVE: Secretary Sebelius on Health Reform Myths

If you’ve been following the health insurance reform debate, you probably have a number of questions about how health insurance reform will help you and improve the quality of care you receive. With all the talk about health insurance reform, it can be difficult to sort out fact from fiction.

We want to be sure you have the facts and answer your questions. Today, I’ll be moderating a webcast with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other top HHS officials where we’ll discuss how health insurance reform will benefit all Americans and take on some of the myths you may have heard. The webcast will begin at 1:00 PM EDT and you can watch it at You can also watch and discuss using the White House Facebook application.

During the webcast, we’ll be answering your questions. Questions can be emailed to or submitted via Twitter by using the hashtag #HCRQ.

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