Tag Archive: Barack Obama


When Michelle Obama isn’t carrying out her duties as First Lady, she’s conspiring with the writers of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book series to destroy America for racists like Glenn Beck who don’t want to see a non-white Spider-Man.

In an alternate universe storyline, the late Peter Parker is being replaced by Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic (heterosexual) teen. Beck is convinced this is a sign of our impending doom, because that’s how his barely-functional mind works.

Beck said on his radio show:

Do I care if he’s half-Hispanic, all Hispanic? No. Half-black, all black? No. I really don’t care. Half-gay, all gay? I don’t really care! I don’t care. It’s a stupid comic book. However, what I do care about is that I think a lot of this stuff is being done intentionally.

He then plays an out of context clip of Michelle Obama speaking on the campaign trail:

Barack knows we’re going to have to make sacrifices, we’re going to have to change our conversation, we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history. We’re going to have to move into a different place.

Says Glenn, “Gosh, that seems to fit, doesn’t it?” Uh, no?

President Obama and Herbie Hancock

 

A plummeting stock market is proving an inauspicious omen for President Obama as he turns 50 on today.

The White House says it will be a day of low-key celebrations despite the milestone birthday. Obama will be toasted by his staff this afternoon before having a private dinner with family and close friends in the residence. No public appearances were planned.

The president did enjoy something of a public celebration Wednesday during a series of campaign events in his hometown of Chicago. Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson led the crowd at one in singing “Happy Birthday” to the commander in chief.

Photos: White House debt negotiations

“It is true I turn 50 tomorrow, which means that by the time I wake up I’ll have an email from AARP asking me to call President Obama and tell him to protect Medicare,” Obama joked at one of the events, an allusion to the recent debt-limit fight.

First Lady Michelle Obama also noted one of the visible signs of her husband’s age — and the stress of his job — in an email to campaign supporters.

“Every day, I see Barack make choices he knows will affect every American family. That’s no small task for anyone — and more proof that he’s earning every last one of those gray hairs,” she wrote.

Obama was tending to the nation’s business on Thursday, monitoring the steep downturn on Wall Street — a reminder that the economy will be the biggest challenge of his 51st year.

Spokesman Jay Carney was peppered with questions about what Obama could do differently to boost the economy, beyond what he’s already tried.

“He is working very closely with his senior economic advisors to come up with new proposals to help advance growth and job creation. He is working with members of Congress to help advance growth and job creation. And he will continue to do that,” Carney said.

In addition to a Midwest bus tour announced Wednesday, Obama is also planning trips to Northern Virginia and Michigan next week to discuss the new auto fuel-efficiency standards that were unveiled, but largely overshadowed, during the debt-ceiling fight.

Norquist Loves Deal: Obama Big Loser

Grover Norquist says the debt ceiling deal has his blessing.

grover norquist approves debt dealNorquist, who heads the powerful anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform, tells Newsmax that congressional members who signed his group’s “pledge” promising never to vote for a tax increase can vote for this deal.

“The deal proved that we can cut spending without trading away tax hikes,” Norquist says.

He adds that the deal is no passing congressional fad, but a milestone in Capitol Hill thinking about spending and taxes.

“The deal set a new precedent: Never again will the debt ceiling be raised without a similarly sized spending cut being attached,” he tells Newsmax.

The big loser in the deal?

Norquist declares unequivocally that Obama wins that title.

“Obama’s internal polling must scare the heck out of him,” Norquist says. “He caved on the key Republican demands: no tax hike, spending cuts equal to the debt ceiling increase.”

Read more on Newsmax.com: Norquist Loves Deal: Obama Big Loser
Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama’s Re-Election? Vote Here Now!

President Religious Beliefs

 

By Nicole Neroulias
c. 2011 Religion News Service

Americans want their presidents to be religious, but many have trouble identifying the faiths of President Obama and leading GOP contenders Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann, according to a new poll released Monday (July 25).

A majority of Americans (56 percent) say it’s important for a candidate to have strong beliefs, even if those beliefs differ from their own, according to the poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service.

Yet the religious groups most firmly behind this point — white evangelicals (73 percent) and ethnic minority Christians (74 percent) — often falter when asked about politicians’ religions.

For instance, just 44 percent of white evangelicals know that Romney is a Mormon. At the same time, more than 8 in 10 evangelicals say Mormon religious beliefs greatly differ from their own.

Even fewer ethnic minority Christians (21 percent) knew Romney’s religion. And only one in three Americans can correctly identify Obama’s Christian faith. Consistent with previous polls, about one in five (18 percent) Americans think Obama is Muslim.

Daniel Cox, the research director at PRRI, said Romney’s Mormonism could be a liability: of people who say Mormon beliefs are significantly different than their own, Obama currently leads Romney, 49 percent to 28 percent.

“Because views about the Mormon faith are tied to political support, Romney will need to address these perceptions as Americans learn more about him during the campaign,” Cox said.

Still, observers cautioned that perceptions can change over time, or even take a back seat to other factors like party loyalty or pocketbook concerns. And for Republicans, simply beating Obama could be the most important factor of all.

White evangelicals “are going to be more likely to vote Republican, even if the party nominates someone who isn’t known for strong faith commitments,” said Gary Scott Smith, an expert on presidential religions at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

“And if they don’t recognize that Romney’s a Mormon by now, then you wonder how attuned they are to politics anyway.”

In other findings:

– Just four in 10 Americans can correctly identify Romney’s religion; 46 percent say they don’t know. When asked Obama’s religious beliefs, a full 40 percent of Americans say they didn’t know.

– White evangelicals are the group most likely to say they don’t know what Bachmann’s beliefs are (51 percent), even though she attends a Baptist church, and only 35 percent say she has similar religious beliefs to them.

– At a little more than 70 percent, Republicans and Tea Party members are significantly more likely than Democrats (51 percent) to say it’s important for a presidential candidate to have strong religious beliefs. Tea Party members (46 percent) are even more likely than Republicans as a whole (38 percent) to say it is “very” important for a candidate to have strong religious beliefs.

– People who say it is important for a candidate to have strong religious beliefs tend to prefer Romney to Obama, 43 percent to 36 percent, or Bachmann over Obama, 44 percent to 38 percent, in head-to-head matchups.

Americans have traditionally elected presidents who use religious language and seek divine guidance, especially when grappling with the moral conflicts of the day, provided that their beliefs are relatively mainstream and don’t conflict with national security, Smith said.

The appeal of a visibly devout candidate, even if those beliefs aren’t actually understood, also reflects some mistrust of our political system, said Mark Silk, a professor of religion in public life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

“There’s a suspicion of a strong central government — you can see that in the Tea Party — and Americans think that more religious leaders are less likely to abuse the people,” he said.

Obama has walked a careful line on his religious beliefs — talking openly about “glory(ing) in the promise of redemption in the Resurrection,” for example, but also trying not to alienate secular voters. If, after four years, six in 10 Americans still don’t know he’s a Christian, there may be little he can do to change the perception.

Bachmann, however, may have an opportunity to gain votes among fellow evangelicals by continuing to publicize her religious convictions, while Romney may be better off keeping undecided voters focused away from his Mormon faith, Silk said.

The PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey was based on telephone interviews of 1,012 U.S. adults between July 14 and 17. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Michele Bachmann officially leaves her church

 

Washington (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has long been a darling of conservative evangelicals, but shortly before announcing her White House bid, she officially quit a church she’d belonged to for years.

Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, and her husband, Marcus, withdrew their membership from Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minnesota, last month, according to church officials.

The Bachmanns had been members of the church for more than 10 years, according to Joel Hochmuth, director of communications for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the broader denominational body of which Bachmann’s former church is a member.

The church council granted the Bachmanns’ request to be released from their membership on June 21, Hochmuth said.

After declaring at the CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader presidential debate that she would seek the nomination, Bachmann formally announced her presidential bid June 27 in Waterloo, Iowa.

The Bachmanns approached their pastor and verbally made the request “a few weeks before the church council granted the request,” Hochmuth said. He added, “they had not been attending that congregation in over two years. They were still on the books as members, but then the church council acted on their request and released them from membership.”

Bachmann had listed her membership in the church on her campaign site for congress in 2006. She lists no church affiliation on her campaign website or her official congressional website.

Hochmuth said that a change in membership is not out of the ordinary. “You have people who are on the books as members, but they may have gone on to another church; they may not be attending a church anywhere. There’s all sorts of circumstances.”

A similar request for membership is to transfer membership from one church to another within the denomination. But that does not appear to be the case with the Bachmanns, according to Hochmuth, who said that to his knowledge, the couple was no longer attending a church within the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Pastor Marcus Birkholz has been at the helm of Salem Lutheran Church for nearly three decades. When asked about the Bachmanns leaving the church, he said, “I’ve been asked to make no comments regarding them and their family.”

Bachmann was asked about her status with the church on Thursday at Reagan National Airport as she headed to catch a flight. When asked about her pastor, she asked, “Which one?” An aide quickly hustled her away, noting that they were late for a flight.

The Bachmann campaign declined to immediately respond to a request for further comment Friday.

Becky Rogness, a spokesperson in Bachmann’s congressional office, said the Congresswoman now attends a nondenominational church in the Stillwater area but did not know the name of the church or how long she had been attending.

Hochmuth said that, “My understanding of the situation was the timing of the request for release was far more coincidental than strategic.”

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod has come under criticism from some Catholics for its views on the papacy, an institution that the denomination calls the Antichrist.

“We identify the Antichrist as the Papacy,” the denomination’s website says. “This is an historical judgment based on Scripture.”

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights issued a statement Thursday about Bachmann’s denomination, saying it’s “regrettable that there are still strains of anti-Catholicism in some Protestant circles.”

“But we find no evidence of any bigotry on the part of Rep. Michele Bachmann,” the statement continued. “Indeed, she has condemned anti-Catholicism. Just as President Barack Obama is not responsible for the views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rep. Bachmann must be judged on the basis of her own record.”

The debate over the legitimacy of the papacy goes back to the Protestant Reformation. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s namesake is Martin Luther, who led the 16th century Reformation and who opposed the papacy.

“The issue of the papacy as the Antichrist does go back to Luther – he did use that terminology,” said Professor George C. Heider, theology chair at Valparaiso University, a Lutheran school in Indiana.

“Luther’s point was, that in his view, the pope was so obstructing the gospel of God’s free love in Jesus, even though he wore all the trappings of a leader in the church,” Heider said. “He was functioning as the New Testament describes it as the Antichrist.”

Still, Heider notes that Roman Catholics and Lutherans have close ties today. They recognize each other’s baptisms, a point of contention in relations between the Catholic Church and other Protestant denominations.

Salem Lutheran Church still maintains some ties with the Bachmann family. It lists a Christian counseling center operated by Bachmann’s husband on its website under special member services for confidential counseling.

Hochmuth said there are no formal ties between the counseling center and the denomination but added that it is not uncommon for churches to link off to members’ websites as in this case.

Bachmann and Associates has faced accusations that it uses a controversial therapy that encourages gay and lesbian patients to change their sexual orientation.

In an interview with the Minnesota Star Tribune published Friday, Marcus Bachmann did not deny that he or other counselors at his clinic used the technique but said they did so only at the request of a patient.

“Is it a remedy form that I typically would use?” he said. “It is at the client’s discretion.”

Salem Lutheran Church has about 800 members and holds three services each weekend. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is often referred to as theologically conservative. The denomination opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, both positions Bachmann has long endorsed politically.

The denomination has approximately 390,000 members in 48 states and 1,300 congregations in the United States and Canada.

Presidential candidates’ affiliation with churches and pastors played a dramatic role in the 2008 campaign for president.

Then-candidate Barack Obama resigned from his Chicago church in May 2008 after videos surfaced of his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, delivering fiery sermons that criticized certain U.S. policies.

In the speeches, Wright suggested that the U.S. government may be responsible for the spread of AIDS in the black community and equated some American wartime activities to terrorism.

Wright officiated Obama’s wedding and baptized his children, and the Obamas were members at Wright’s church for years. After a sustained attention on Wright, Obama distanced himself from his former pastor.

During the same election cycle, Republican presidential nominee John McCain rejected endorsements from two prominent pastors, John Hagee and Rod Parsley, for controversial statements from the pastors’ pasts.

 

The Foreign Ministry says the Buddhist leader is an “anti-China separatist” seeking independence for Tibet.

BEIJING – China on Sunday slammed President Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama as an act that has “grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs” and damaged Chinese-American relations.

The strident statement from China’s Foreign Ministry came hours after Obama met with the Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who was in Washington for an 11-day Buddhist ritual.

China had already called on the United States to stop Saturday’s meeting, warning it could hurt relations between the two countries.

After the 45-minute private session at the White House, China said the Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy had lodged objections with U.S. representatives in Beijing and Washington.

“Such an act has grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and damaged Sino-American relations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in the statement.

“We demand the U.S. side seriously consider China’s stance, immediately adopt measures to wipe out the baneful impact, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and cease to connive and support anti-China separatist forces that seek ‘Tibetan independence,’” Ma said.

China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist intent on ending Chinese rule over Tibet. The Nobel laureate says he seeks only a high level of autonomy for Tibet.

The meeting came less than 10 days before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is due to visit the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and meet with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, Beijing’s top foreign policy official.

“It’s difficult to say at the moment whether this meeting will be affected,” said Jin Canrong, an international affairs expert at Renmin University. “But this meeting is quite important, and whether it takes place or is canceled will give us an indication of what the follow-up impact will be.”

Vice President Joe Biden is also scheduled to visit China this summer, followed by a trip to Washington by his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

Obama last met with the Dalai Lama in February 2010, infuriating Beijing during a tension-filled year in which China and the U.S. also feuded over online censorship and arms sales for Taiwan. Relations were considered back on track in January when President Hu Jintao visited Washington.

“I think after this meeting, Sino-U.S. relations will be rather cold over the next few months,” said Jin. “It may lead to the suspension of high-level official exchanges and therefore impact on the strategic mutual trust and cooperation between China and the U.S. in some fields, including military ties.”

The White House said that during Saturday’s meeting, Obama “underscored the importance of the protection of human rights of Tibetans in China.” Obama restated U.S. policy that it does not support Tibetan independence.

Tibet has been a source of controversy for decades, since Beijing sent troops to occupy the country following the 1949 Communist revolution. It insists the region has been part of Chinese territory for centuries, a claim disputed by many Tibetans who say their Himalayan region has a long history of autonomous rule led by a series of Buddhist leaders.

A failed uprising in 1959 led the Dalai Lama to flee into exile in India.

SEATTLE — A mother and her 2-year-old child were hospitalized after the toddler fell out of a fifth floor window in southwest Seattle Thursday afternoon.

The accident happened at an apartment complex in the 10600 block of 14th Avenue SW.

Commander Dick Malo with the North Highline Fire Department said a 2-year-old boy was on a couch next to a window on the fifth floor when he fell out of the window. The boy fell onto the fourth-floor balcony below, hitting his head.

The mother, seeing her child fall out the window, jumped out of the window to save him. She also fell onto the fourth-floor balcony and broke her ankle.

Malo said both mother and child were conscious and alert. The child suffered a bruise on his head. Both were transported to Harborview Medical Center for evaluation.

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