Monday, June 29, 2009

Iraq Celebrates U.S. Troop Departure
Declares June 30 National Holiday: Their 'Independence Day'

BAGHDAD, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Iraqis prepared for a massive celebration in Baghdad on Monday as Iraqi security forces tightened security measures in Baghdad and others cities a day before the deadline of U.S. troops' withdrawal from cities and towns.

Baghdad mayoralty announced in a statement that a public party would be held at 6:00 p.m. (1500 GMT) at Baghdad's Zawraa Park, the biggest in the capital, to mark the "Day of National Sovereignty", as Iraqis named the June 30 date by which the U.S. troops would completely pull back from urban areas.

The celebration will be under the auspices of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the statement said, adding that singers and poets well-known to Iraqis, along with music groups will take the stage.

The June 30 date is seen as a milestone for the country's march toward sovereignty six years after U.S.-led invasion that toppled the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 2003.

However, a spate of bombings in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities last week claimed the lives of hundreds of Iraqis, casting doubt on the ability of Iraqi security forces to take over from U.S. troops in controlling security and defeat insurgency of both Shiite and Sunni militant groups in the war-torn country.

On Monday, security was tightened across Baghdad with the Iraqi Army and police were closing roads and carefully searching cars at dozens of checkpoints that spread across the capital.

"All of our troops are on high alert. There will be no days off. They are at their full strength across the country," said Maj. Gen. Abdul-Kareem Khalaf, spokesman for the interior ministry.

A few days ago, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki described the day of U.S. troops' pull back a "great victory" and called on Iraqi people to celebrate the event.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said that the Iraqi government decided to hold a celebration on Monday, while on Tuesday, the day of June 30 itself, will be a public holiday.

As part of a security pact signed between Baghdad and Washington last year, U.S. troops will withdraw from Iraq's cities, towns and villages by June 30, 2009 to their bases, and will leave the country by Dec. 31, 2011.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

President Obama Calls Energy Bill Passage Critical to Stronger American Economy

WASHINGTON – In his weekly address, President Barack Obama praised the House of Representatives for passing the energy bill on Friday evening. This historic piece of legislation will not just lessen our dependence on foreign oil, but also spark a clean energy transformation in our economy that will create millions of new American jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced. Clean energy and the jobs it creates are critical to building a new foundation for our economy.

CLICK HERE if video does not appear through server


Friday, June 26, 2009

A Big Step For Homeless Veterans

By Tammy Duckworth

As a Veteran, a former State Director of Veterans Affairs and now as Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs I understand the urgent need to address homelessness. Last week’s meeting of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness with Secretary Shinseki, and his counterparts at HUD, Labor and HHS, took an important step in coordinating our efforts to eliminate homelessness in our country. The VA estimates that one-third of homeless Americans served in the military, so this partnership is central to our efforts to help these brave soldiers.

One important outcome of the meeting was the announcement of an additional $75 million in housing vouchers. This new money will provide shelter for an additional 10,000 homeless Veterans and their families. These resources offer vital support to a community in need.

For state and local Veterans’ agencies, these funds come at a time when many local budgets are being squeezed by the current economic situation. While the VA works hard to offer support services and case management to eligible homeless veterans, local agencies play a crucial role in the care of these individuals.

Our nation's Veterans placed the good of the nation before their own and we are all dishonored when even a single Veteran sleeps on the street. I am proud of this administration’s commitment to fulfilling our nation’s promise to these brave soldiers. I look forward to working with my colleagues throughout government and the private sector to continue to fight this problem and make sure that no Veteran or American has to face the harsh reality of being homeless.

Tammy Duckworth is the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P Michael Jackson

LA Times

[Updated at 3:15 p.m.: Pop star Michael Jackson was pronounced dead by doctors this afternoon after arriving at a hospital in a deep coma, city and law enforcement sources told The Times.]

[Updated at 2:46 p.m.: Jackson is in a coma and his family is arriving at his bedside, a law enforcement source told The Times.

Jackson was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center this afternoon by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics.

Fire Capt. Steve Ruda said paramedics responded to a call at Jackson's home at 12:26 p.m. He was not breathing when they arrived. The paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and took him to the hospital, Ruda told The Times.

[Updated at 2:12 p.m.: Paramedics were called to a home in the 100 block of Carolwood Drive off Sunset Boulevard. Jackson had rented the Bel-Air home for $100,000 a month. It was described as a French chateau estate built in 2002 with seven bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces and a theater.

The home is about 2 1/2 miles, about a six-minute drive, from UCLA Medical Center. An earlier version of this post incorrectly described the time to travel between the home and hospital as two minutes.]

The news comes as Jackson, 50, was attempting a comeback after years of tabloid headlines, most notably his trial and acquittal on child molestation charges.

In May, The Times reported that Jackson had rented the Bel-Air residence and was rehearsing for a series of 50 sold-out shows in London's O2 Arena. Jackson had won the backing of two billionaires to get the so-called "King of Pop" back on stage.

His backers envision the shows at AEG's O2 as an audition for a career rebirth that could ultimately encompass a three-year world tour, a new album, movies, a Graceland-like museum, musical revues in Las Vegas and Macau, and even a "Thriller" casino. Such a rebound could wipe out Jackson's massive debt.

—Andrew Blankstein and Phil Willon


Our Prayers go out to the Jackson Family


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Governor Ted Strickland...Master of Hypocrisy ?


Ohio Governor Strickland Plans Will

B4B NOTE: TIME IS RUNNING OUT ! Ohio legislators to vote on library budget cuts to close Ohio libraries TOMORROW (Saturday).
We must bombard them with phone calls/emails TODAY !

It is absolutely unbelievable that MY Governor would
literally CLOSE many of the public libraries possibly as soon as July 1, 2009 ! This is a travesty. We need your help. Even if you don't live in Ohio please call the Media (see media contact list on our site) to help expose this, as well as Governor Strickland and other legislator's offices
(see numbers below) to say "Vote NO On Public Library Budget Cuts" .

Let them know that this Must be stopped !

From: Ohio Library Council

At a news conference on Friday, June 19, the Governor proposed a cut to state funding for public libraries of $227.3 million in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 as part of his plan to fill the $3.2 billion gap in the budget that must be balanced by the Ohio General Assembly's Conference Committee by June 30.

The proposal amounts to a 30% cut in funding for Ohio's public libraries. This cut is in addition to the 20% reduction in funding that libraries are already facing, because their funding comes from 2.22% of the state's declining General Revenue Fund.

Libraries could close or face significant reductions in operations as a result of the Governor's proposal. With some 70% of the state's 251 public libraries relying solely on state funding to fund their operations, the reduction in funding will mean that many will close branches or drastically reduce hours and services.

The Governor's proposed funding cuts come at a time when Ohio's public libraries are experiencing unprecedented increases in demands for services. In every community throughout the state, Ohioans are turning to their public library for free high speed Internet access and help with employment searches, children and teens are beginning summer reading programs, and people of all ages are turning to the library as a lifeline during these difficult economic times. Ohio's public libraries offer CRITICAL services to those looking for jobs and operating small businesses. Public libraries are an integral part of education, which Governor Strickland says is critical to the state's economic recovery. But it is unlikely that many of Ohio's public library systems, especially those without local levies, can remain open with these proposed cuts.

About 30% of Ohio's public libraries have local property tax levies that supplement the state's funding. However, with the Governor's proposed drastic cuts in the state funding for libraries, even those libraries will face decisions regarding substantial reductions in hours of operation, materials, and staffing.

What can I do to help Save Ohio Libraries?

Contact the below listed legislators TODAY ! They are the ones who will vote yes or no on Saturday June 27, 2009 regarding massive budget cuts for Ohio's Public Libraries. Tell them THEY MUST VOTE NO ON LIBRARY BUDGET CUTS.

Also locate your State Representative or State Senator.

Governor Ted Strickland
contact online
Post a message on Governor Strickland's Facebook page. (Have to sign-up as a 'supporter' to post message. Then just click 'un-support'.

Senator Bill Harris,
President of the Senate


Senator John Carey,
Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee


Representative Armond Budish,
Speaker of the House

Representative Vernon Sykes,
Chairman of the House Finance Committee


Spread the word!




Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Message
From Our 1st Lady

Happy Father's Day,

I’m writing to share a special video of Barack talking about fatherhood, but first I want to share some thoughts of my own.

My father, Frasier Robinson, was the rock of our family. Although he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early thirties, he was our provider, our champion and our hero.

He worked tirelessly through good days and bad to make sure my brother and I had every opportunity he didn't -- to go to college and pursue our dreams. His example continues to guide me every day.

Barack didn't have my good fortune -- his father left when he was just two years old. But he has always been determined to give our daughters what he never had, and he values being a good father more than any other accomplishment in his life.

On Friday, Barack brought some men (and a bunch of kids!) to the White House to talk about fatherhood. Check out a video of the event:

Happy Fathers Day

We all know the remarkable impact fathers can have in our children's lives. So today, on this 100th anniversary of Father's Day, take a moment to celebrate responsible fatherhood and the men who've had the courage to step up, be there for our families, and provide our children with the guidance, love and support they need to fulfill their dreams.


Friday, June 19, 2009


Office of the Press Secretary


June 19, 2009



East Room

3:34 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. And let me, first of all, thank John and Joe and Juan Carlos and Etan and Mike for sharing their remarkable stories with us. And let me thank Mike Strautmanis for helping to guide us through this -- where did Mike go? There he is, over there.

A couple other people that I want to acknowledge -- first of all, our terrific Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is here in the house. (Applause.) A dear friend of mine, former colleague in the Senate, Senator Evan Bayh is here. (Applause.) Chicago's own, Congressman Danny Davis, from the West Side. Where's Danny? He was here a second ago. Give him a round of applause anyway. (Applause.)

And I want to thank kids from "Life Pieces to Master Pieces," and Foundry United Methodist Church. Thank you very much for your participation. (Applause.) I want to thank members of the Faith-Based Advisory Council's Subcommittee on Fatherhood that has helped us to organize these events today.

Good afternoon, everybody. It is wonderful to see you. I see some familiar faces in the house. Rev, how are you doing? It is great to have all of you here today as we gear up to celebrate Father’s Day and to recognize the vital role that fathers play in our communities and obviously in our families.

This town hall marks the beginning of a national conversation that we hope to start about fatherhood and personal responsibility -- about how fathers across America are meeting the challenges in their families and communities, and what government can do to support those who are having a difficult time. Today, you’ve had a chance to hear from five of those fathers, men who are doing an outstanding job of meeting their obligations in their own lives.

We all know the difference that a responsible, committed father like those five gentlemen can make in the life of a child. Fathers are our first teachers and coaches. They’re our mentors and they're our role models. They set an example of success and they push us to succeed; encourage us when we’re struggling; and they love us even when we disappoint them, and they stand by us when nobody else will.

And when fathers are absent -- when they abandon their responsibilities to their children -- we know the damage that that does to our families. Some of you know the statistics: Children who grow up without fathers are more likely to drop out of school and wind up in prison. They’re more likely to have substance abuse problems, run away from home, and become teenage parents themselves.

And I say this as someone who grew up without a father in my own life. I had a heroic mom and wonderful grandparents who helped raise me and my sister, and it's because of them that I'm able to stand here today. But despite all their extraordinary love and attention, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel my father's absence. That's something that leaves a hole in a child’s heart that a government can't fill.

Our government can build the best schools with the best teachers on Earth, but we still need fathers to ensure that the kids are coming home and doing their homework, and having a book instead of the TV remote every once in a while. Government can put more cops on the streets, but only fathers can make sure that those kids aren’t on the streets in the first place. Government can create good jobs, but we need fathers to train for these jobs and hold down these jobs and provide for their families.

If we want our children to succeed in life, we need fathers to step up. We need fathers to understand that their work doesn’t end with conception -- that what truly makes a man a father is the ability to raise a child and invest in that child.

We need fathers to be involved in their kids’ lives not just when it’s easy -- not just during the afternoons in the park or at the zoo, when it’s all fun and games -- but when it’s hard, when young people are struggling, and there aren’t any quick fixes or easy answers, and that's when young people need compassion and patience, as well as a little bit of tough love.

Now, this is a challenge even in good times. And it can be especially tough during times like these, when parents have a lot on their minds -- they're worrying about keeping their jobs, or keeping their homes or their health care, paying their bills, trying to give their children the same opportunities that they had. And so it's understandable that parents get concerned, some fathers who feel they can't support their families, get distracted. And even those who are more fortunate may be physically present, but emotionally absent.

I know that some of the young men who are here today might have their own concerns one day about being a dad. Some of you might be worried that if you didn’t have a father, then you don't know how to be one when your turn comes. Some of you might even use that as an excuse, and say, “Well, if my dad wasn’t around, why should I be?”

Let’s be clear: Just because your own father wasn’t there for you, that’s not an excuse for you to be absent also -- it’s all the more reason for you to be present. There’s no rule that says that you have to repeat your father’s mistakes. Just the opposite -- you have an obligation to break the cycle and to learn from those mistakes, and to rise up where your own fathers fell short and to do better than they did with your own children.

That’s what I’ve tried to do in my life. When my daughters were born, I made a pledge to them, and to myself, that I would do everything I could to give them some things I didn’t have. And I decided that if I could be one thing in life, it would be to be a good father.

I haven’t always known exactly how to do that. I’ve made my share of mistakes; I've had to ask a lot of questions. But I've also learned from men that I admire. And one good example is Michelle’s father, Frasier Robinson, who was a shining example of loving, responsible fatherhood. Here is a man who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was 30 years old, but he still got up every day, went to a blue-collar job. By the time I knew him he was using two crutches to get around, but he always was able to get to every dance recital, every ballgame of Michelle's brother. He was there constantly, and helped to shape extraordinary success for his children.

And that’s the standard that I strive for, though I don’t always meet it. And as I’ve said before, I've made mistakes as a parent, and I'm sure I will make plenty more. There have been days when the demands of work have taken me from my duties as a father and I’ve missed some moments in my daughters’ lives that I’ll never get back. So I’ve been far from perfect.

But in the end, it’s not about being perfect. It’s not always about succeeding; but it’s about always trying. And that's something everybody can do. It’s about showing up and sticking with it; and going back at it when you mess up; and letting your kids know -- not just with words, but with deeds -- that you love them and that you're always -- they're always your first priority.

And we need dads -- but also men who aren’t dads -- to make this kind of commitment not just in their own homes to their own families, but to the many young people out there who aren’t lucky enough to have responsible adults in their lives. We need committed, compassionate men to serve as mentors and tutors, and big brothers and foster parents. Even if it’s just for a couple hours a week of shooting hoops, or helping with homework, or just talking about what’s going on in that young person's life. Even the smallest moments can end up having an enormous impact, a lasting impact on a child’s life.

So I am grateful to many of the organizations that are here, that are working on these issues. Some are faith-based; some are not. Some are government funded; some are privately funded. But all of you have those same commitments to making sure that we are lifting up the importance of fatherhood in our communities.

This is not the end, this is the beginning, of what I hope is going to be a national dialogue. And we're going to have regional town hall meetings, as Mike may have mentioned, to make sure that participants all across the country are starting to have that positive effect in their communities.

And I especially want to thank the young people who are here today, because you're the ones who are going to have to carry -- (applause) -- this forward.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

RIP Stephen Tyrone Johns


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release June 10, 2009

Statement by President Obama

on Holocaust Museum Shooting

“I am shocked and saddened by today’s shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This outrageous act reminds us that we must remain vigilant against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its forms. No American institution is more important to this effort than the Holocaust Museum, and no act of violence will diminish our determination to honor those who were lost by building a more peaceful and tolerant world.

“Today, we have lost a courageous security guard who stood watch at this place of solemn remembrance. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this painful time.”

President Barack Obama


The below video shows that white supremacist killer

was very active via internet


Related Article: White Supremacist Kills Guard at Holocaust Museum


B4B NOTE: Is this the type of person whom the right-wing hate radio/media is directing their code-phrase messages of incitement and deadly hate ?


We need volunteers who will monitor as often as you can the right-wing radio/media 'messengers of hate' (CONTACT US IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHO). Please write down code phrase comment(s)...who said Send this information to Blacks4Barack. We will then compile this information and turn it over to proper authorities.

It is absolutely illegal to spew deadly innuendo via the media

Related Article: Radio Host Hal Turner Arrested for Incitement

CLICK B4B if video does not appear through server

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Office of the Press Secretary


Remarks of President Barack Obama

65th Anniversary of D-Day

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Omaha Beach

Normandy, France

Good afternoon. Thank you President Sarkozy, Prime Minister Brown, Prime Minister Harper, and Prince Charles for being here today. Thank you to our Secretary of Veterans Affairs, General Eric Shinseki for making the trip out here to join us. Thanks also to Susan Eisenhower, whose grandfather began this mission sixty-five years ago with a simple charge: “Ok, let’s go.” And to a World War II veteran who returned home from this war to serve a proud and distinguished career as a United States Senator and national leader: Bob Dole.

I am not the first American president to come and mark this anniversary, and I likely will not be the last. It is an event that has long brought to this coast both heads of state and grateful citizens; veterans and their loved ones; the liberated and their liberators. It has been written about and spoken of and depicted in countless books and films and speeches. And long after our time on this Earth has passed, one word will still bring forth the pride and awe of men and women who will never meet the heroes who sit before us: D-Day.

Why is this? Of all the battles in all the wars across the span of human history, why does this day hold such a revered place in our memory? What is it about the struggle that took place on these sands behind me that brings us back here to remember year after year after year?

Part of it, I think, is the size of the odds that weighed against success. For three centuries, no invader had ever been able to cross the English Channel into Normandy . And it had never been more difficult than in 1944.

That was the year that Hitler ordered his top field marshal to fortify the Atlantic Wall against a seaborne invasion. From the tip of Norway to southern France , the Nazis lined steep cliffs with machine guns and artillery. Low-lying areas were flooded to block passage. Sharpened poles awaited paratroopers. Mines were laid on the beaches and beneath the water. And by the time of the invasion, half a million Germans waited for the Allies along the coast between Holland and Northern France .

At dawn on June 6th, the Allies came. The best chance for victory had been for the British Royal Air Corps to take out the guns on the cliffs while airborne divisions parachuted behind enemy lines. But all did not go according to plan. Paratroopers landed miles from their mark, while the fog and the clouds prevented Allied planes from destroying the guns on the cliffs. So when the ships landed here at Omaha , an unimaginable hell rained down on the men inside. Many never made it out of the boats.

And yet, despite all of this, one by one, the Allied forces made their way to shore – here, and at Utah and Juno; Gold and Sword. They were American, British, and Canadian. Soon, the paratroopers found each other and fought their way back. The Rangers scaled the cliffs. And by the end of the day, against all odds, the ground on which we stand was free once more.

The sheer improbability of this victory is part of what makes D-Day so memorable. It also arises from the clarity of purpose with which this war was waged.

We live in a world of competing beliefs and claims about what is true. It is a world of varied religions and cultures and forms of government. In such a world, it is rare for a struggle to emerge that speaks to something universal about humanity.

The Second World War did that. No man who shed blood or lost a brother would say that war is good. But all know that this war was essential. For what we faced in Nazi totalitarianism was not just a battle of competing interests. It was a competing vision of humanity. Nazi ideology sought to subjugate, humiliate, and exterminate. It perpetrated murder on a massive scale, fueled by a hatred of those who were deemed different and therefore inferior. It was evil.

The nations and leaders that joined together to defeat Hitler’s Reich were not perfect. We had made our share of mistakes, and had not always agreed with one another on every issue. But whatever God we prayed to, whatever our differences, we knew that the evil we faced had to be stopped. Citizens of all faiths and no faith came to believe that we could not remain as bystanders to the savage perpetration of death and destruction. And so we joined and sent our sons to fight and often die so that men and women they never met might know what it is to be free.

In America , it was an endeavor that inspired a nation to action. A President who asked his country to pray on D-Day also asked its citizens to serve and sacrifice to make the invasion possible. On farms and in factories, millions of men and women worked three shifts a day, month after month, year after year. Trucks and tanks came from plants in Michigan and Indiana ; New York and Illinois . Bombers and fighter planes rolled off assembly lines in Ohio and Kansas , where my grandmother did her part as an inspector. Shipyards on both coasts produced the largest fleet in history, including the landing craft from New Orleans that eventually made it here to Omaha .

But despite all the years of planning and preparation; despite the inspiration of our leaders, the skill of our generals, the strength of our firepower and the unyielding support from our home front, the outcome of the entire struggle would ultimately rest on the success of one day in June.

Lyndon Johnson once said that there are certain moments when “…history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom.”

D-Day was such a moment. One newspaper noted that “we have come to the hour for which we were born.” Had the Allies failed here, Hitler’s occupation of this continent might have continued indefinitely. Instead, victory here secured a foothold in France . It opened a path to Berlin . And it made possible the achievements that followed the liberation of Europe : the Marshall Plan, the NATO alliance, and the shared prosperity and security that flowed from each.

It was unknowable then, but so much of the progress that would define the twentieth century, on both sides of the Atlantic, came down to the battle for a slice of beach only six miles long and two miles wide.

More particularly, it came down to the men who landed here – those who now rest in this place for eternity, and those who are with us today. Perhaps more than any other reason, you, the veterans of that landing, are why we still remember what happened on D-Day. You are why we come back.

For you remind us that in the end, human destiny is not determined by forces beyond our control. You remind us that our future is not shaped by mere chance or circumstance. Our history has always been the sum total of the choices made and the actions taken by each individual man or woman. It has always been up to us.

You could have done what Hitler believed you would do when you arrived here. In the face of a merciless assault from these cliffs, you could have idled the boats offshore. Amid a barrage of tracer bullets that lit the night sky, you could have stayed in those planes. You could have hid in the hedgerows or waited behind the sea wall. You could have done only what was necessary to ensure your own survival.

But that’s not what you did. That’s not the story you told on D-Day. Your story was written by men like Zane Schlemmer [SHLEM er] of the 82nd Airborne, who parachuted into a dark marsh, far from his objective and his men. Lost and alone, he still managed to fight his way through the gunfire and help liberate the town in which he landed – a town where a street now bears his name.

It’s a story written by men like Anthony Ruggiero [Ru gee AIR o], an Army Ranger who saw half the men on his landing craft drown when it was hit by shellfire just a thousand yards off this beach. He spent three hours in freezing water, and was one of only 90 Rangers to survive out of the 225 who were sent to scale the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc [Pwante-doo-ock]

And it’s a story written by so many who are no longer with us, like Carlton Barrett. Private Barrett was only supposed to serve as a guide for the 1st Infantry Division, but he instead became one of its heroes. After wading ashore in neck-deep water, he returned to the water again and again to save his wounded and drowning comrades. And under the heaviest possible enemy fire, he actually carried them to safety. He carried them in his own arms.

This is the story of the Allied victory. It is the legend of units like Easy Company and the All-American 82nd. It is the tale of the British people, whose courage during the Blitz forced Hitler to call off the invasion of England; the Canadians, who came even though they were never attacked; the Russians, who sustained some of the war’s heaviest casualties on the Eastern front; and all those French men and women who would rather have died resisting tyranny than lived within its grasp.

It is the memories that have been passed on to so many of us about the service or sacrifice of a friend or relative. For me, it is my grandfather, Stanley Dunham, who arrived on this beach six weeks after D-Day and marched across Europe in Patton’s Army. And it is my great uncle who was part of the first American division to reach and liberate a Nazi concentration camp. His name is Charles Payne, and I am so proud that he is here with us today.

I know this trip doesn’t get any easier as the years pass, but for those of you who make it, there’s nothing that could keep you away. One such veteran, a man named Jim Norene [Nor EEN], was a member of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne. Last night, after visiting this cemetery for one last time, he passed away in his sleep. Jim was gravely ill when he left his home, and he knew that he might not return. But just as he did sixty-five years ago, he came anyway. May he now rest in peace with the boys he once bled with, and may his family always find solace in the heroism he showed here.

In the end, Jim Norene came back to Normandy for the same reason we all come back. He came for the reason articulated by Howard Huebner [HUBE ner], another former paratrooper who’s here with us today. When asked why he made the trip, Howard said, “It’s important that we tell our stories. It doesn’t have to be something big…just a little story about what happened – so people don’t forget.”

So people don’t forget.

Friends and veterans, what we cannot forget – what we must not forget – is that D-Day was a time and a place where the bravery and selflessness of a few was able to change the course of an entire century. At an hour of maximum danger, amid the bleakest of circumstances, men who thought themselves ordinary found it within themselves to do the extraordinary. They fought for their moms and sweethearts back home, for the fellow warriors they came to know as brothers. And they fought out of a simple sense of duty – a duty sustained by the same ideals for which their countrymen had fought and bled for over two centuries.

That is the story of Normandy – but also the story of America . Of the minutemen who gathered on a green in Lexington ; of the Union boys from Maine who repelled a charge at Gettysburg ; of the men who gave their last full measure at Inchon and Khe San; of all the young men and women whose valor and goodness still carry forward this legacy of service and sacrifice. It is a story that has never come easy, but one that always gives us hope. For as we face down the hardships and struggles of our time, and arrive at that hour for which we were born, we cannot help but draw strength from those moments in history when the best among us were somehow able to swallow their fears and secure a beachhead on an unforgiving shore. To those men who achieved that victory sixty-five years ago, I thank you for your service. May God Bless you, and may God Bless the memory of all those who rest here.


VIDEO: A Look Back At D-Day
June 6, 1944

CLICK HERE if video did not appear through server

Related Article: Forgotten all-Black battalion that landed in Normandy, France on D-Day to be honored on anniversary of siege (hat-tip Jack & Jill Politics)

Friday, June 5, 2009

UPDATE: June 6, 2009
Daniel James Murray has been caught !
CLICK HERE For complete details.

Man Who Threatened To Kill President Obama
Daniel James Murray STILL ON THE RUN !!!


CLICK HERE For Complete Story

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Office of the Press Secretary


Reaction To President Obama's Speech In Cairo Today


June 4, 2009

Listed below is a sample of the reaction to the President’s speech in Cairo today.


TIME’s Scott McLeod Wrote, “President Obama’s Speech In Cairo Today Is The Most Important Address Ever Given By An American Leader About The Middle East…He Didn’t Arrive Or Depart As A Prophet, But For An American President Treading Into Territory Inhospitable To U.S. Policies, He Won Some New Adherents.” On’s blog, Scott McLeod wrote, “President Obama's speech in Cairo today is the most important address ever given by an American leader about the Middle East. As he told 1,000 people at Cairo University and millions more around the world, everything won't be solved by a speech. Yet it was an unprecedented reach-out to Muslims and particularly to the Arab world. Far more than any other U.S. president in the past, he both acknowledged harmful Western policies during the Colonial and Cold War eras and promised an intense personal effort to resolve the region's problems and build a new era based on mutual cooperation and respect. The clear message Obama delivered—in his words, body language and statement of policies-- was that America is determined to be part of the solution in the Middle East. He didn't arrive or depart as a prophet, but for an American president treading into territory inhospitable to U.S. policies, he won some new adherents.” [Scott McLeod,, 6/4/09]

Ø McLeod: “What Characterized Obama’s Speech As Something Fresh Was Its Straight Talk.” On’s blog, Scott McLeod wrote, “What characterized Obama's speech as something fresh was its straight talk, an apparent attempt to win further political credit by acknowledging past U.S. policies that were detrimental and then to use that credit to demand better attitudes and actions from the Middle East as well. Obama recounted U.S. mistakes after 9/11, such as the invasion of Iraq, the establishment of the Guantanamo prison and use of torture against Muslim prisoners. But he called on Muslims to abandon the stereotype that everything America represents and does is bad, and physically bristled at the notion, still widespread in the Arab world, that the al-Qaeda attack on the U.S. in 2001 was somehow justifiable…The straight talk enabled Obama to glide through a minefield of competing interests. He appealed to governments (and equally to the Arab street) with his strong opposition to Israeli settlements and his demand that the region's leaders accept the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” [Scott McLeod,, 6/4/09]

Hisham Melhelm, Washington Bureau Chief Of Al-Arabiya TV, Said “On The Whole, He Was Excellent. And I Think People Needed To Hear What The President Articulated Forcefully And Eloquently.” Hisham Melhem, the Washington Bureau Chief of Al-Arabiya, said “I think it was very well-crafted, eloquent. He did a good job infusing history, culture, politics and personal narrative. And I think he boldly discussed some thorny, tough, sensitive issues that sometimes Muslim leaders and Arab leaders don't like to hear and he asked them somewhat to engage in introspection. I think he was very honest with both Israelis and Arabs…He, clearly, defined America's objectives in the war against Al Qaeda and not -- he didn't talk about the war on terrorism in general. He was thoughtful when he talked about democracy and human rights and he did not use the Messianic, metaphysical theological language that his predecessor George Bush used to use. There were no combustible phrases like Islam or fascism…So, on the whole, he was excellent. And I think people needed to hear what the president articulated forcefully and eloquently.” [CNN Transcript, 6/4/09]

AP: Obama’s Approach Was Sweeping And Evenhanded Throughout The Speech. “President Barack Obama offered the world the audacity to hope for peace in the Middle East and a better understanding between the United States and Muslims. Still, a president known for his soaring oratory admitted his words alone would not change a thing. ‘No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust,’ he said. A vast array of knotty issues cloud American relations with the Muslim world, but none rankles like U.S. ties to Israel and massive support for the Jewish state in the heart of the Arab Middle East. In a sharp break with U.S. policy, Obama approached his historic Cairo speech by opening a public rift last month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, publicly demanding that he stop building settlements on the West Bank. The newly elected Israeli leader has refused, leaving him openly on the outs with Washington and in a position that could shorten his tenure at the top of the Jewish state's government. Obama said the U.S.-Israeli bond was ‘well-known’ and ‘unbreakable,’ but that Washington ‘does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.’ Obama's approach was sweeping and evenhanded throughout the speech. In the face of likely criticism at home, the deeply pragmatic American president, a black man whose father and grandfather were Muslim, owned up to serious American mistakes in relations with followers of the Prophet Muhammad. But he warned, recalling the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001: ‘America can never tolerate violence by extremists." [AP, 6/4/09]

Newsweek: “Barack Obama’s Long Awaited Speech To The Muslim World Delivered On The Promises Of His Advisers. It Was Neither Dramatic Nor Filled With Romantic Pledges.” Katie Connolly of Newsweek wrote, “Barack Obama's long-awaited speech to the Muslim world delivered on the promises of his advisers. It was neither dramatic nor filled with romantic pledges. He tackled thorny issues, but only to a point…Tension soon gave way to approval and applause when President called on Israel to end settlements and emphatically acknowledged Palestine's need for security and prosperity. A section of the speech devoted to women's rights was all well received, with women in the audience cheering.” [Katie Connolly,, 6/4/09]

Former U.S. Ambassador To Israel Martin Indyk Said “The Speech Represented A Dramatic And Persuasive American Manifesto For A New Relationship With The Muslim World. President Obama Stood His Ground On American Values And Interests But Presented Them In A Package That Should Be Attractive To His Muslim Audience.” Martin Indyk, Senior Fellow and Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, wrote: “The speech represented a dramatic and persuasive American manifesto for a new relationship with the Muslim World. President Obama stood his ground on American values and interests but presented them in a package that should be attractive to his Muslim audience…There are two competing narratives in the Muslim World: one from Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that preaches violence, defiance of the international community, and destruction of Israel as the way to achieve justice and dignity; the other that preaches tolerance, compromise and respect for human rights. That is the American way, and President Obama did much today to give it renewed credibility among Arabs and Muslims.” [, accessed 6/4/09]

Bruce Riedel: “The President Is Right To Take On The Enemies Narrative As That Is Key To Its Defeat.” Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow at Brookings’ Saban Center, wrote: “One of the most important points Obama made in his speech today was to attack directly the narrative and ideology of al Qaeda. For too long the war of ideas was ceded to al Qaeda. By explaining his view of Islam, his vision of Arab-Israeli peace and other key issues the President took on al Qaeda's argument for terror. It is no accident Usama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri issued statements just before Obama spoke--they know the battle for the soul of Islam has now been joined and they are fighting back. The President is right to take on the enemies narrative as that is key to its defeat.” [, accessed 6/4/09]

Tamara Cofman Wittes (Brookings): “President Obama Today Resoundingly Rejected Those Who Argue That President Bush’s Mistakes Fatally Tainted The Cause Of Democracy Promotion.” Tamara Cofman Wittes, a Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, wrote: “President Obama today resoundingly rejected those who argue that President Bush's mistakes fatally tainted the cause of democracy promotion. He stood up firmly for democracy and for America's efforts to advance it around the world. President Obama pulled no punches in his address. He was unapologetic in his statement of American interests and in his defense of human rights and liberal values. Obama also stood up for tolerance and pluralism, values whose Muslim proponents are under pressure in many countries -- this is crucial support for those Muslims standing up against Al Qaeda and its ideas.”
[, accessed 6/4/09]

Stephen Grand (Brookings): “This Was A Masterful Speech.” Stephen Grand, Fellow and Director, Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, wrote: “While no one can expect one speech to eliminate decades of anger, distrust, and mutual suspicion between the United States and the larger Muslim world, this was a masterful speech. With this speech, President Obama created the possibility for what he described as ‘a new beginning.’ It will be up to his Administration in the months and years ahead to flesh out what that means the tangible policies and programs that address the major conflicts roiling the Middle East region and creating divides between the American and Muslim peoples. The president must also find a means of supporting change in Muslim majority societies that face profound crises of governance. Only time will tell if the United States can pursue policies vis-à-vis the Muslim world that live up to it values while at the same time advancing its interests." [, accessed 6/4/09]

Hady Amr: “President Obama’s Speech In Cairo Was A Resounding Victory For The Power Of America’s Character.” Hady Amr, Fellow and Director of the Brookings Doha Center, wrote: “President Obama's speech in Cairo was a resounding victory for the power of America's character. President Obama evoked political truths, social truths and the word of God through Judaism, Christianity and Islam to speak in such a way that ordinary Arabs and Muslims welcomed the speech with open-hearts. What is even more surprising is that both Israeli advisors (albeit with Labor Party leanings) and Hamas leaders said the speech was a heartwarming and landmark speech with a senior Hamas official comparing Obama to American civil rights leader Martin Luther King. If there was ever a speech by an American president that could get ordinary Arabs and Muslims, together with their leaders, to look in the mirror and address their problems, this was it." [, accessed 6/4/09]

Israeli Policy Forum Said It “Strongly Applauds President Obama’s Historic, Bold And Wide-Ranging Speech.” “As did the audience at Cairo University, Israel Policy Forum strongly applauds President Obama's historic, bold and wide-ranging speech today calling for a ‘new beginning between the United States and Muslim around the world…’ [The] Israel Policy Forum is heartened that President Obama is beginning to engage in the kind of sustained, tough U.S. diplomacy that will be needed in order to overcome the challenges currently facing a two-state solution and peace and security in the Middle East.” [Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 6/4/09]

Robert Kaplan (The Atlantic): The Speech’s “Overall Effect Was Magnificent.” “One can take apart President Barack Obama’s speech to the Muslim world delivered at Cairo University today, and subject its sentences to all manner of criticism and analysis, but its overall effect was magnificent. It employed the forward-looking optimism of the American Dream in the service of the hopes and frustrations of youth throughout the Islamic cultural continuum. It also restored the kind of public relations magic that America possessed overseas in the years immediately after World War II. Obama is no doubt more popular among Muslim youth than many of their own leaders…He did all this with a polished delivery – pronouncing correctly all Arabic and other foreign names – and without generally apologizing for America. He said America’s commitment to Afghanistan will not falter; that Iraq was better off without Saddam Hussein; and that America’s bond with Israel is unbreakable. He said, in an obvious reference to the rants of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Holocaust denial and the promotion of stereotypes and anti-Semitism are wrong. Indeed, he noted that the important question for Iran is not what it is against, but what kind of a future it wants to build. By making America’s historical vision of a future city on a hill synonymous with that of his young Muslim audience, he instantly put Iran on the defensive. We live in an electronic media age, and public relations is now a crucial part of the strategic battlespace. In Cairo, Obama went a long way toward reclaiming that territory…He thus comes armed with credentials for the battle against extremism. And as he also reminded his audience, he is merely one example of a newly diverse America, in which seven million Muslim citizens enjoy incomes and educational advantages higher than the national average. [Robert Kaplan, The Atlantic, 6/4/09]

George Mason Prof. Michael Fauntroy Said Obama’s Speech “Was An Outstanding First Step In Attempting To Bridge The Gulf That Exists Between The U.S. And Muslims Around The World.” “President Barack Obama's restrained part-olive branch, part-truth telling 55-minute speech at Cairo University was an outstanding first step in attempting to bridge the gulf that exists between the U.S. and Muslim's around the world. While it will take years, if not decades, to create a more peaceful, loving, and just relationship, it is clear that President Obama understands that part of the world in a way that far exceeds those of past presidents. His willingness to speak uncomfortable truths to Muslims and Americans reveals a kind of engagement with the Muslim world that will likely benefit us all.” [Politico, 6/4/2009]

Harvard Prof. Joseph Nye Said The Speech Was “A Great Investment In Our Soft Power…I Am Reminded Of JFK And Reagan’s Capacity To Project American Ideals. Harvard Prof. Joseph Nye said, “A great investment in our soft power. As I read this on my Blackberry in Heathrow airport, I am reminded of JFK and Reagan's capacity to project American ideals. This is a great investment in our soft power.” [Politico, 6/4/2009]

CNAS VP Kristin Lord Said “The President Deserves An A+ For This Exceptional Speech.” Kristin Lord, Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for A New American Security said, “The president deserves an A+ for this exceptional speech. He spoke plainly about the complex issues that divide the United States and many of the world’s Muslims -- but in frankly acknowledging their complexity, showed a path forward. He demonstrated deep respect for Islam, but called on Muslims to address deficits in religious tolerance, human rights, and democratic governance. He offered U.S. assistance in promoting education and innovation, but called on Muslim societies to invest in those objectives. He grounded his speech in the principles of Islam, but also in the principles of Judaism and Christianity… the standing ovation and chants of “Obama” from those in the audience suggest that the speech will be well received by the audience that the President ultimately intended to reach.” [Politico, 6/4/2009]

Princeton Prof. Melissa Harris-Lacewell Said Obama’s Speech “Offered A Sweeping Vision Of America, Of The World, And Of The Possibilities For Equality.” “President Obama's Cairo speech was reminiscent of his important address on American racial politics delivered in Philadelphia during the Democratic primaries. Both speeches offered nuanced historical narratives that insisted on holding accountable all parties while refusing to demonize any one side. The President spoke openly about American culpability in mid-East conflicts, but denounced the tactics of extremist terrorism aimed a victimizing the innocent. Both speeches reflected President Obama's deep commitment to democratic deliberation as a source of conflict resolution. He believes that through discussion and careful, empathetic listening we can find commonalities where there seems to be only difference. He denounced violence as a tool of change and instead called for the harder and more courageous work of diplomacy…I believe President Obama's Cairo speech offered a sweeping vision of America, of the world, and of the possibilities for equality.” [Politico, 6/4/2009]

Harvard Prof. Stephen Walt Said Obama’s “Willingness To Confront A Set Of Complex And Challenging Issues Head-On And To Speak Plainly And Eloquently Was Remarkable.” “I would give it an A- overall, but I’m a tough grader…Overall, his willingness to confront a set of complex and challenging issues head-on and to speak both plainly and eloquently was remarkable.” [Politico, 6/4/2009]

Republican Strategist Bradley Blakeman Gave The Speech “An A-.”The President hit all the major points of the conflict between the Muslim world and the West. He set forth the areas of tensions, he stated America's beliefs and intentions, he held out hope for progress, and challenged the parties to leave the past behind and work toward attainable and sustainable goals of peaceful co-existence.” [Politico, 6/4/2009]

Spelman History Professor Jelani Cobb Said “This May Well Be The Most Important Foreign Policy Speech Of The Post-Cold War Era.” “This may well be the most important foreign policy speech of the post Cold War era. I would give it an A. There were any number of statements which individually could have been taken as significant. In its sum total it was quite remarkable. We know the structural hallmarks of an Obama speech by this point -- the balance of poetry and policy, making use of his unique biography as an advantage, offering the panoramic view of a complex problem, arguing that we have been mired in false dichotomies in approaching the problem and then offering common sense, pragmatic, non-ideological alternatives spiced with just enough idealism to spark the imagination of young people. For all that, this may have been the most brilliant iteration of that approach…I believe we will be studying this speech for years if not decades to come.” [Politico, 6/4/2009]

Amanpour: “This Was The Beginning Of A…Period Of Building Between The United States And The Islamic World.” Christiane Amanpour said,“Well, that is the big question. You know, many have said, an you saw the warm welcome he got there. Analysts were saying before this that he's bound to get a warm welcome. People like Obama, the person. They are still very skeptical about U.S. foreign policy. He injected a note of even-handedness back into the Israeli-Palestinian process. He also talked about respect for the Islamic world. He also talked about how political pursuits should go in there but using Islam in its traditional way, respecting Islam. You've heard the blogger who said she was so pleased about that, that he didn't dismiss the idea of religion but respected their tradition. But the real issue is how is it going to play out and what kind of policies are going to be pursued and that is what everybody is waiting for, because it is exceptionally difficult. This was the beginning of a, I think, a period of building between the United States and the Islamic world.” [CNN Transcript, 6/4/09]

Michael Crowley Called Obama’s Address In Cairo “His Most Elegant Speech Yet…To See Him Unfold His Biography, To Cut Such An Unfamiliar Profile On The World Stage, Is To Appreciate How Much America Will Benefit From Presenting This New Face to The World.” Michael Crowley wrote, “One year ago today, Barack Obama clinched the Democratic Party's presidential nomination... To see him unfold his biography, to cut such an unfamiliar profile on the world stage, is to appreciate how much America will benefit from presenting this new face to the world.” [New Republic, 6/4/09]

Yousef Munayyer, A Policy Analyst For The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Gave Obama “An A.” “The President’s speech was not so much an address to the Muslim world as it was one about the Muslim world for a global audience- including Americans. In a message only he could deliver, to a world hungry for a new era of American leadership and cooperation, President Obama was able to navigate the minefield of Middle East politics by simply being candid…He may not have introduced new policy in this speech, but he laid the foundation for a new expansive debate on various issues in the relationship between the US and the Muslim world which will be needed to create the political space necessary - here and abroad - to implement policies which will strengthen this relationship…He gets strong marks for the speech and extra credit for the valiant effort pronouncing Arabic words. Overall an A.” [Politico, 6/4/2009]


CNN: Majority Of The Reaction From The Arab World “Was Positive With People Discussing How Energized They Are By Obama’s Positive Attitude.” CNN reported, “It was magical inside the great hall of Cairo University, said Emad el-Din Adib, one of the Middle East's famous media personalities. He was one of the 3,000 people invited to listen to President Obama's speech in person. Adib told an Egyptian TV show, ‘President Obama's charisma is unquestionable, but it's the substance and depth of his speech that made the hall roar.’ Away from the hall, on social networking web sites the reaction was more diverse. Mina al-Oraibi, a columnist with the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, said: ‘Obama mentioned the word peace 29 times and never mentioned terrorism.’ She called his choices ‘smart’ and concludes that peace is clearly ‘his priority.’ This makes him ‘the radicals' worst nightmare’ she said. A very excited anchorwoman on Egypt TV told her guests and viewers that she counted 30 applause breaks during Obama's discourse. She boasted as soon as the speech was over: ‘They were genuine cheers to a very good speech.’ Her guests agreed that the speech was well crafted, clear and ‘honest’ especially on the relationship between the U.S. and Israel…Still the majority of the reaction was positive with people discussing how energized they are by Obama's positive attitude and what Ali Dhamash from Jordan described as ‘understanding of what it means to be Muslim and appreciating that.’ Minutes after Obama finished his historic speech, CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman's phone rang. It was Walid Batouti, the owner of an Egyptian tour company, and normally a skeptic of U.S. policy in the Middle East. ‘Yes, we can!’ he shouted, echoing the campaign slogan that brought Obama to power last year. ‘I've had my problems with the U.S. in the past, but it was a great speech, and we really appreciated it,’ he said. Reza Aslan, the best-selling Iranian-American author of ‘No God But God,’ was also a doubter before the speech. But his first response was a single word: ‘Wow!’ ‘If the purpose of the speech was to forge a new beginning between the U.S. and the Muslim world, he did that,’ he told CNN by phone from London.” [, 6/4/09]

AP: “Obama Impressed Muslims With His Humility And Respect.” “Obama impressed Muslims with his humility and respect and they were thrilled by his citing of Quranic verses…In a traditional Ramallah coffee shop, middle-aged men watched the speech on TV while they puffed on cigarettes or water pipes. Some even put their card and backgammon games on hold to follow along. Customer Basel Abul Abed said it was a turning point…Another customer, 56-year-old Mohammed Sbeih, said: ‘His point in the speech of recognizing the Palestinians suffering is a positive point. But if the Palestinians have to abandon violence, Israel will have to as well…’ ‘It was very good of him to address Muslims by quoting from holy Quran, something I did not expect in his speech,’ said Osama Ahmed Sameh, a 45-year-old Iraqi government employee at the Ministry of Higher Education. In Egypt, Shahinda al-Bahgouri, a 20-year-old student at Cairo University where Obama spoke, was also impressed. ‘All we want as Muslims is for there to be a partnership,’ she said. ‘And he was seriously humble. Humility is important for us.’ In Syria, political analyst Imad Shouaibi said: ‘It is a speech with a different language from what we used to hear. This is a positive thing.’ Sheik Muhammad al-Nujaimi, member of the committee in charge of rehabilitating Saudi militants, said he is going to tell the militants Muslims should offer help to the new American administration and reciprocate its overtures. ‘Americans are a civilized people. The previous president didn't represent them. Today, there's a new president who's using a new language and wants a new world in place. We should give him a chance and not open up a new front that will lead to the failure of his plan.’ Zahid Husain Gardezi, a 50-year-old landowner in the Pakistani city of Multan, was pleased by Obama's warmth. ‘It is the first time I have ever heard such affectionate words from an American for Muslims,’ he said…’ Political commentator Ali Reza Khamesian said Obama's acknowledgment of Iran's right to produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes was ‘a step forward for better ties with the United States." [AP, 6/4/09]

WAPO: Egyptians Praised President Obama’s Speech. The Washington Post reported, “The fact that Barack Obama chose Egypt as the location for Thursday's address to the Muslim world endeared him to the locals, who are always proud to host a foreigner and even prouder when it shows off their history. The fact that he came to downtown Cairo, instead of heading to the Sinai beach resorts where diplomatic gatherings are often held, told them he was serious about connecting on a personal level. And when he started sprinkling his speech with words from the Koran, and balanced support for Israel with a strong call for a Palestinian state, the deal was closed. ‘I didn't expect him to go this far’ in confronting the region's core problems, said Tarek Ali, 44, a driver for a government agency. ‘He really seems to want to move forward.’ That initial conclusion seemed unanimous among the crowd of men gathered at a local coffee shop to watch Obama's Thursday speech…In Cairo, however, the details of Obama's speech were almost less important than the official build-up and symbolism around it. After years in which the U.S. was linked here almost exclusively to violence in Muslim countries and support for Israel, suddenly the state broadcasting service was beaming uplifting scenes of the American and Egyptian flags flying side by side, and Obama's smiling face superimposed over graphics of the Pyramids and local landmarks. A small icon -- the Egyptian and American flags woven together in a yin and yang -- was kept on the screen throughout the morning.” [Washington Post, 6/4/09]

Arab Students Praised Obama’s Speech:

Ø Sulafah Al Shami, A Jordanian Student, Said It Was “Great To See An American President Advocating World Diplomacy And Partnership Instead Of Reinforcing The Image Of America As An Overpowering Superpower Who Everybody Should Submit To.” Sulafah Al Shami, a 19-year-old Jordanian, said “The speech that President Barack Obama gave at Cairo University was very interesting and refreshing. It was definitely a big break from the tone and style that President Bush employed in addressing the Arab world. The speech was balanced and not aggressive as President Obama declared that his first and foremost interest is to serve and protect his people but at the same time he underlined world peace and cooperation. It is great to see an American president advocating world diplomacy and partnership instead of reinforcing the image of America as an overpowering superpower who everybody should submit to.” [New York Times, 6/4/09]

Ø Ingry Hassieb, A 19-Year Old Egyptian Student, Said “It Was A Great Speech, It Was A Great Gesture…[It] Gave Me Hope That Change Can Happen, Especially By Collaboration And By Seeing Common Ground And Interest.” Ingy Hassieb, a 19-year-old Egyptian, said, “I like his positivity — the way he addressed the pros of Islam instead of the cons was a great and very logical way to start off. The way Islam is portrayed in the media right now is very one-sided and President Obama managed to acknowledge the distinction between extremism and Islam…What’s more was his quoting the Koran in the beginning, middle, and end of his speech. It’s obvious that the president is more than just an eloquent speaker, but a careful and thoughtful leader…As an Egyptian, I am, location-wise, really close to the conflict, and as a human being, I see that Israeli actions are a violation of the sovereignty of another people and another state. However, I agree with the U.S president, there must be compromise and there must be sacrifice, as much as I would like to see Palestinians living freely within their own land, it does seem that a two-state solution is the best option, but both sides must be willing to compromise in order to achieve peace…It was a great speech, it was a great gesture, and I think that Egyptians will be ready to welcome President Obama again in the future…But the speech gave me hope that change can happen, especially by collaboration and by seeing common ground and interest. Even if it is a slow process, it is not impossible, even change here in Egypt.” [New York Times, 6/4/09]

Ø Samura Attalah, A Palestinian Student, Said Obama’s “Reference To Koran Islamic History All [Through] The Speech Will Make Citizens Realize That The New Administration Is More Well-Informed On This Part Of The World Than The Previous [One], And With Better Knowledge Comes More Significant Change.” Samura Atallah, 20, a Palestinian of Jordanian descent, said, “Obama’s position on the Israeli-Arab conflict was moderate and tailored to both sides; a child, whether Palestinian or Israeli, has every right to a decent life. The two-state solution and pushing to stop the ongoing settlements was a substantial point, one that is yet novel to Palestinians in regards to recent U.S. foreign policy. I think this strongly illustrates the likelihood of peacemaking. Obama’s stance on free will was impressive; it’s not what one chooses but the ability to choose what one pleases that matters. And by making the veil example, he proved that there is no “right” or “wrong” to the choices that one makes as long as they are one’s own. I also think by doing so he made a clear distinction between France’s and Turkey’s approaches to what the veil means and that of the U.S; after all, the U.S was built on the freedom of choice and what one wears is simply a choice. Furthermore, tying choices to universal human rights, namely education, made the impression that with freedom lies responsibility, and that I greatly respect. I like the fact that Obama dedicated a significant chunk to addressing women and their rights; after all, feminism though diverse in its discourse, exists everywhere, whether in this part of the world or abroad. The reference to Koran Islamic history all [through] the speech will make citizens realize that the new administration is more well-informed on this part of the world than the previous [one], and with better knowledge comes more significant change.” [New York Times, 6/4/09]

McLeod: “Obama’s Speech Drew Repeated Applause From The Audience And “He Also Won Plaudits From Many Citizens And Earned Frowns From Autocrats With His Frank, Forceful Call For Democracy, Human Rights And Women’s Rights In Arab Countries.” On’s blog, Scott McLeod wrote, “The audience responded to Obama's fine rhetoric and frequent quotations from the Koran with repeated applause. At the end as he stood on the stage and waved, a group of Egyptian students in the balcony rhythmically began chanting, ‘He's our man! He's our man!’ When Obama spoke about democracy during the speech, one man in the audience shouted, ‘We love you!’ But the audience also responded well to Obama's specifics, including a statement opposing Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank—an unusually strong display of criticism of America's ally, given that it was delivered from the heart of an Arab capital…He also won plaudits from many citizens and earned frowns from autocrats with his frank, forceful call for democracy, human rights and women's rights in Arab countries—and a warning to Arab regimes not to use the conflict with Israel to divert attention from needed domestic reforms…Obama came to Cairo as part of the ‘conversation’ with the Muslims that he started in his inaugural address, when he envisioned a new relationship based on mutual interest and respect. ‘This cyrcle of suspicion and discord must end,’ he declared at Cairo University. Without a doubt, he now has the Islamic world listening.” [Scott McLeod,, 6/4/09]

Palestinians Reacted Positively To Obama’s Speech. In the Palestinian territories, Obama's speech was watched more avidly. Broadcast on Gulf, Egyptian and Jordanian satellite-TV channels, Palestinians in coffee houses and restaurants were riveted by Obama's words. Fouad, a teacher, says, ‘I was emotionally moved by Obama's delivery. I loved his grasp of Islamic history.’ A Bethlehem mother, Raheeda Hamad, says she approved of Obama's message of a global partnership and of the necessity for equal education for women. At Nablus University, political scientist and Islamic scholar Abdul Sattar Qasim says, ‘His speech was very close to the heart. He has a way of speaking directly to the people, something other leaders have forgotten.’” [, 6/4/09]

Daoud Kuttab, A Palestinian Journalist and Former Journalism Professor At Princeton, Said Obama “Clearly Won Over The Hearts And Minds Of Many People, Who Have So Far Rejected America, By Being Empathetic – Warm But Honest.” Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist and a former professor of journalism at Princeton University, wrote, “President Barack Hussein Obama clearly won over the hearts and minds of many people, who have so far rejected America, by being empathetic — warm but honest. Politically President Obama spoke forcefully against violent religious extremists without ever mentioning the word ‘terror’ or ‘Islamic extremists.’ While putting the Middle East conflict second to the post 9/11 wars, he gave the Palestinian-Israeli conflict the same weight as he did the combined wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. [New York Times, 6/4/09]


Director Of The Israeli Government Press Office Said “I Don’t Think There’s Anything We Disagree With Here.” The AP reported, In his speech aimed at healing rifts between the U.S. and the Muslim world, Obama devoted significant time to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He asked Muslims to accept Israel's right to exist as a nation that came about after centuries of persecution and the Nazi genocide of six million Jews…’All in all, it's not bad. I don't think there's anything we disagree with here," said Danny Seaman, the director of Israel's Government Press Office.’” [AP, 6/4/09]

Abbas Spokesman Said Obama’s Comments On The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict “Is An Important Step Under New Beginnings…It Shows There Is A New And Different American Policy Toward The Palestinian Issue.” The AP reported, “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Hamas rival, welcomed Obama's words. ‘The part of Obama's speech regarding the Palestinian issue is an important step under new beginnings,’ his spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh said. ‘It shows there is a new and different American policy toward the Palestinian issue.’” [AP, 6/4/09]

Egyptian Foreign Minister Said He Liked “Everything” In Obama’s Speech. On’s blog, Scott McLeod wrote, “When I asked him what he liked about the speech, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit, who personally welcomed Obama at Cairo International Airport a few hours earlier, told me: ‘Everything.’” [Scott McLeod,, 6/4/09]

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