Follow Barack Obama prior and during his tenure as the 44th President of the United States. Read about my personal observations along with every day facts as they happen. This blog will only submit factual information about the first black President, now in his 2nd term of office.


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The fate of the 'Obama in the White House' Blog..

Friday, June 26, 2009

(Strictly the Opinion of the Editor James)

Over the last few years, with the issues surrounding George Bush as President and his ability to act as our Commander and Chief,I needed a way to express my opinions regarding him. I would focus more and more on the news. Meanwhile, my wife Gigi was heavily involved with her blogs. Back then just 2 years ago, I didn't know what a blog was. 4 years ago, when Bush won his second term in office, I was very discouraged. I actually voted for him in the first election, but I definitely did not vote for him in the second. I knew that he won that 2nd election fair and square, unlike the original election against the Vice President of the United States Al Gore. By all counts, except in the State of Florida, the 1st election seemed fair, and it so happened that President Bush's brother Jeb Bush helped him win the Florida electoral votes. Now tell me, what brother, especially in politics would not help his brother become the President of the United States? I am in total disagreement of the electoral system, and believe that the election should only go by popular vote. Our voting system is in desperate need of being revamped, but still such things such as punch cards and antiquated voting machines are still being used. There is no established uniform voting method across the country.
Getting back to George Bush, I can't help the fact that if George Bush would have never been elected, there would have been no war. There might have been no 9/11. I believe that the country had become too laxxed. If you look back at the reports and the times just prior to 9/11, the President was actually warned that something was about to happen, information gained through his secret intelligence and FBI. The information was flawed, especially when it was discovered that Iraq had nuclear weapons. President Bush took the advice of his cabinet and the secret service and took the offensive to defeat Iraq. But as the world continued to see through the little hole that President Bush was guiding his first term as president, the people of the United States rallied behind him and most agreed that the war in Iraq was the way to go. Few people like Barack Obama, disagreed with the idea that the United States needed to attack Iraq.

Six months before the 2008 election, I started this blog with the help and experience that I gained from my wife, and a another blog that I put together I felt the time was now. I hunted around for a URL to use, and then founded this blog. There would be no articles in it for money. At that time, still 6 months to go into the election, the fight between Barack Obama and John McCain was going full steam. I vowed to keep writing in the blog until the election. If John McCain would win, then I would write my last article here in tribute to Barack Obama, and that would in a sense be the end of the OBAMA IN THE WHITE HOUSE BLOG. I also vowed at the time that if he won, I would continue this blog as sort of a daily diary of our new President.

I thought that I could learn how to forget all of the disturbing issues that surrounded our past President, George Bush. But with his election, Barack Obama had more than a full plate of work every day, and not just because of the failing economy and the issues of the world, but because our past president acted as commander and chief and viewed the world through a keyhole. President Bush knew where he wanted to go with Iraq and I thought he knew what his objective was in Afghanistan. George Bush never in his wildest of imaginations could ever believe that the problems would continue to escalate after he took over Baghdad. As the Adolf Hiter of the modern times, Bush invaded a country and totally destroyed its infrastructure.Anyone in Iraq who had any kind of wealth there, became just ordinary citizen with nothing to show for except for the roof over their heads, if it still wasn't bombed out by U.S. rockets.
Now the U.S. is committed to finish what is started in Iraq. President Obama will continue to tackle all issues as he has been for the last 157 days now. I want to continue to write stories each and every day, but I'm having reservations concerning my motives now. I never would have thought how difficult it would be to follow such an active president, but I feel that I have an obligation to my readers that I should continue writing this blog now. But I am bothered by some of the comments of people showing contempt for the blog.

I find it fascinating what has gone on during the first 157 days of our new President. I think finally his honeymoon as the new president is over and as expected, his approval rating is dropping. Why, because he is doing the right thing, and warned the country how difficult a road he was taking, and he is implementing policies that he told everyone he was going to do before he was elected. President Obama believes deeply in his policies, and believes that the world will be a better place because of them someday. Unfortunately, the U.S. people must bear the brunt of the difficulties that this country is facing today, like a loss of their jobs, and a loss of their savings and retirement. People are upset, and they need to put the blame on someone. As Barack Obama stated many times, "The buck stops here", meaning he now takes full responsibility for his actions as president.

The equity in their homes are now gone, their savings accounts and retirement savings plans are diminishing, the cost of gasoline is through the roof, their health plans continue to rise in cost.

These are just some of the reasons why I continue to write here. Along with hearing all of the fallacies of his opposition, people like Rush Limbaugh who constantly talk negative against our government and elected President, and several talk show hosts in cahoots with him across the country, like Mike Lavin. I feel that because of them, the Liberal voices, opinions and views of 'the left' need to be heard.

But lately, as viewed through the last few articles including this very one, I have been presenting articles that may be unfitting by an editor with such strong views, as I have become very biased regarding my opinions regarding the different political parties and the people who have lead them. I do not know if I can still write articles about politics without showing that bias. I am definitely not a person like Rush Limbaugh with very biased negative views, except when I may be writing about George Bush. I would never say I wanted someone to fail, like Rush Limbaugh stated when he was asked a question about Barack Obama. 

But nevertheless, I have become very biased in my thinking and seem to want to write about that thinking. It is for this reason that I am considering shutting down this blog. For the next 7 days, I will not write another article here, but will open a survey to the readers of this blog that may determine the outcome of this blog. I will ask your opinion of this blog, and I would invite all comments of this blog to go to the email address set up for this blog.. Please be as critical as you like of this blog, and if you would like to see it continue, what kind of reporting would you like to see contained in it. Let me know things like whether you would like to see continued articles about the Bush's, about the war, about the economy. What do you really want to read about in the Obama blog? 
I want to thank each and every one of the readers of this blog who have supported me. Please come back often and see how the poll is progressing. The future of this blog is unknown at this time, but I would hope that you would help me with a decision on it by commenting about it, and taking part in the poll. The poll will be published at 5:00PM on Friday 6/29, and go for 1 week. It will end on Independence Day at midnight, July 4th, 2009.

Good written emails sent to that show strong opinions one way or another about a topic will be republished on this blog.


How did George Bush Win the Election as President of the United States

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How did George W. Bush win the 2001 election for President of the United States?

Answer: He had the most votes.....

No,he rigged the polls in Florida, in cahoots with his brother, Jeb Bush then Governor of Florida, Katherine Harris, and others. They fraudulently blacklisted 50,000 black people as "felons", and the majority of them were Gore supporters. That's grounds for impeachment and imprisonment, not to mention his crimes while in office.

Could this have happened again?

Answer: Yes it could.

The electoral process is a flawed process in which electoral votes are the only votes that count towards the election of the President of the United States. It is still the active process Americans go by to elect their president today. The popular vote, or each persons vote does not count on its own, but as a total count for a state that they vote in. If more people vote in the state for a particular candidate, the winner gets all electoral votes. In the 2001 election, President Bush won all 25 electoral votes, and the election as well, do in part to his brother who just happened to be the governor of Florida.

Here were the original tallies for President in 2001.

Candidate George Bush - 50,000,897 popular votes, percentage 47.87
Candidate Al Gore - 50,456,002 popular votes, percentage 48.38

At the end, after the tally of Florida votes, George Bush won the election, not because of popular vote but because of the antiquated electoral vote process and 5 electoral votes. Is everyone's voice heard here in the United States? You would think not with the history of the Presidential elections in the United States.
Nevertheless, in 2001, 455,105 more people voted for Al Gore, but George Bush still became President.

In 2004, President Bush won his second term, this time he did it on his own doing. But what did he do to win the 2nd election?

First, he conned the people in believing that his proposals that he made in his first term as president would push up the economy. He maintainted that tax cuts that he innitiated then made the recent recession shallower and shorter than it would otherwise have been. Because of his lack of leadership, the economy is part of the biggest recession since the great depression in 1929, 80 years ago.

Second, President Bush's health care plan appeared to be cheaper than his opponent John Kerry. Instead of trying to fix the heath care plan as President Obama is now attempting to do, he used the Heath care issue as an excuse that he was the better candidate.

Third, President Bush signed the 'No Child Left Behind Act', which requires mandatory standardized testing, forces schools that do not meet standards to provide alternate options for students, and stated the aim of closing the race and gender gap in schools. It was a 'good faith' act, but at the end proved to be worthless. The problems in todays schools are compounded with the economic conditions that children had to bear as they attended the school of their choice.

Fourth - Bush pushed conservative progams centered around the environment, then he fell flat on his face when he enacted the 'Clear Skies Act' which repealed or reduced air pollution controls, including environmental protections of the Clean Air Act.

Fifth - Bush Created 'Homeland Security'. He did this through the creation of the USA Patriot Act. He created the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC)

Sixth - Bush endorced the Federal Marriage Amendment and proposed a constitutional amendment that would define marriage for all of the states as strictly heterosexual. Does he think that President Bush had the right to step between two people in the process of getting married, regardless of their being of same sex or not!!!!!


Are Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and George W Bush elections similar?

In a country that is a "free to" do what you will as long as it is within the law, you can't help but feel sorry for the people in depressed countries such as Iran. The election process, apparently flawed, along with a dictator government, suppresses the people in any way that they desire. Innocent people, mainly targeted woman, have been killed publicly on the city streets, by government militia who take their law into their own hands. For so very long now, the United States would boast to be the leader of the "free world." People from around the globe wish to live here. Illegal aliens, such as the people who storm across the Mexican border from Mexico and into Texas, come here for a better life. People tend to forget that America has had its time in history with problems, and the 'Martin Luther King' saga is proof of that. But this country woke up after several decades and now has elected a black man President of the United States.
The Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4th, 1776, was only the beginning of Americas quest for freedom of the people. The main focus was for the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness which the bill in 1776 portrayed.
In this country, we do have some great principles, such as the freedom of religion, and speech, but just like in many societies throughout the world, the United states is 'not free from' violence, depression, and even unjust elections.
The election of the 43rd president of the United States is proof that American principles are not perfect either. The archaic principals of the electoral voting system is proof that America still must struggle with the need for change. Sworn into office on January 20th 2001, George Bush actually lost the election by popular vote, but won anyway because of the electoral vote process. He won by one of the slimmest margins in history, by only 5 electoral votes. More people voted against him, but he became the President anyway. The election was contested by Bush's opponent, Vice President Al Gore, and a recount in a few counties in the state of Florida, gave Bush the states 25 electoral votes, and he won the presidency. There was public outcry that the election was rigged, but not any one person was successful in challenging the elections, not unlike the affair in Iran. Even though it was a fact, that more people in the United States voted for Vice President Al Gore instead of George W Bush, Bush became President, and there wasn't a thing the people could do about it. In 2005, Bush was sworn in for a second term as the 43rd President of the United States but this time, did so handily. Why do you think George W.Bush won a second term? Was it for what he actually was doing for the American people or for other reasons? You may already know if you read the article above.


Live Blogging the Obama News Conference

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 23, 2009, 12:03 PM


Barack Obama press briefingBrendan Smialowski for The New York TimesPresident Obama responded to questions about the economy, health care, and protests in Iran on Tuesday.
At his fourth White House news conference, President Obama spoke more forcefully than before about the violence in Iran, pushed hard for his health care agenda and acknowledged the steep unemployment rates. Please feel free to comment in the section below.

A Brief Wrap | 1:33 p.m. Helene Cooper: Well, Sheryl, he really ramped it up on Iran. We heard the president use the word “condemn” for the first time since the Iranian elections to describe the government’s actions. It will be interesting to see what comes next from Tehran in response.
Sheryl Stolberg: Yes, I was struck especially by his last answer to Suzanne Malveaux about the “heartbreaking” video. He showed more passion than earlier in the press conference. And speaking of passion, I was also struck by the way Mr. Obama seemed irritated with reporters at various times during this news conference. The cigarette question seemed to really get under his skin. He rarely loses his cool, but there were more flashes of anger here than in the past.
On health care, Mr. Obama did not surprise me by walking a fine line and steering clear of any efforts by reporters to pin him down on specifics of a plan. He wants enough maneuvering room to work with Congress in the weeks ahead. while using his bully pulpit to make the case that reform is a necessity, not a luxury, as he said here today. And he would not directly answer a question as to whether a public insurance option, which he supports, would be nonnegotiable when it comes to final legislation.
It’s Over | 1:31 p.m. Sheryl Stolberg: Mr. Obama leaves the room. “No questions about Iraq or Afghanistan?” a reporter cries out. The question hangs in the air. It does seem amazing, not a single question for the American president about the nation’s two wars.
Neda — ‘Heartbreaking’ | 1:27 p.m. Helene Cooper: The last question goes to CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux, who returns to the violence in Iran, and asks him about Neda, the Iranian woman who died on television after being shot in the heart. Has he seen the video?
Mr. Obama said he had. “It’s heartbreaking. I think that anybody who sees it knows that there’s something fundamentally unjust about that.”
No Interruptions | 1:24 p.m. Sheryl Stolberg: A Helen Thomas moment! The octogenarian “dean of the White House press corps,” who rarely gets called on anymore, tried to interrupt the president as he was talking about Iran. “Hold on, Helen,” Mr. Obama said.
Minority Unemployment Rates | 1:23 p.m. Sheryl Stolberg:April Ryan, a reporter for American Urban Radio, cites reports that the African-American unemployment rate will hit 20 percent this year. Why not target an intervention, she wants to know, to “stop the bloodletting?”
While he acknowledged that those rates are typically higher than the national average, he asserts that the best thing he can do for any community is to “get the economy as a whole moving.” Ms. Ryan looks displeased; “Hold on,” Mr. Obama tells her, preventing her from interrupting him.
He says he wants to beef up proven jobs programs, not start new ones. “Part of what we want to do is to find tools that will give people more opportunity, but the most important thing we can do is lift the economy overall.” Ms. Ryan tries for a follow-up, but Mr. Obama turns to another reporter.
A Second Stimulus | 1:20 p.m. Helene Cooper: Hans Nichols of Bloomberg just asked whether the administration believed the economy would require a second stimulus package.
“Not yet,” is the reply. Mr. Obama said it’s important to see how the economy evolves and how effective the first stimulus package is. “No one initially understood the depths of the recession,” he said. While saying unemployment will go above 10 percent, Mr. Obama declines to say how far above 10 percent it will go.
“I’m not suggesting I have a crystal ball since you threw back our last prognosis at us, I’m not engaging in another one,” he tells Hans, who grins back at him.
The Smoking Gun | 1:12 p.m. Helene Cooper and Sheryl Stolberg: Mr. Obama got the smoking question! He said that he has stopped smoking and was “95 percent cured.” Hmm. Asked how many, how much, when and where he smokes, Mr. Obama first lectured that the tobacco legislation he just signed wasn’t about him. “Have I fallen off the wagon? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker, no. I don’t do it in front of my kids. I don’t do it in front of my family.? No.” (But he acknowledged that yes, he has messed up, although he seems a little irked that he was asked the question.)
Public Option a Must? | 1:07 p.m. Sheryl Stolberg: Jake Tapper of ABC pushes harder on the public plan, wanting to the president to answer the question of whether inclusion of such a plan is non-negotiable. (He says it’s a question previously asked by another reporter; some laughter ensues when Mr. Obama asks, “Are you the ombudsman for the White House press corps?”)
Mr. Obama at last addresses the question directly — by not addressing it. He says, “We are still early in this process so we have not drawn lines in the sand, other than reform has to control costs. and it has to provide relief to people who don’t have health insurance or are underinsured.” He says that “it is too early to say” if he will draw a similar line over the public plan.
More broadly, Mr. Obama says he wants new rules for all insurance companies — that they can’t “cherry-pick” healthy patients. And he takes a jab at the insurers, saying that too often they have spent time thinking about how to take premiums and not enough time thinking about other issues, like the health of patients. This kind of populist language is interesting; Mr. Obama has made a point of wooing industry to try to keep insurers, the pharmaceutical companies, doctors and others at the negotiating table. He doesn’t often take shots at them.
Spock Ears | 1:07 p.m. The president himself jokes about the size of his ears — which most recently were made fun of in a monologue about nerds and geeks and a video played at the radio and TV correspondents’ dinner last Friday.
No 24/7 for Him | 1:03 p.m. Sheryl Stolberg: A flash of irritation with the press? “I know everyone here is on a 24-hour news cycle,” the president adds. “I’m not.”
Who’s the President? | 1:02 p.m. Helene Cooper: Mr. Obama just called on CBS News, which asked again about the administration’s response on Iran, and whether he was influenced by the criticisms of Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham — who have urged the administration to be more forceful.
Mr. Obama seemed to smirk: “What do you think?” which got a lot of laughs.
But he then reiterated that he doesn’t want to be a tool of the Iranian regime. “There are reports suggesting that the CIA is behind all of this,” he said mockingly.
“Members of Congress have their constitutional duties, I’m president of the United States, and I’ll carry out my duties.”
Uphill on Health Care | 12:59 p.m. Sheryl Stolberg: Now Mr. Obama has a chance to weigh in on the specifics of his health care bill. David Jackson of USA Today asks if he will sign a bill without a public plan in it. But Mr. Obama appears to be ducking the question; he launched into a broader discussion of why health care reform is necessary and how the rising cost of care will break the national bank if it is not reined in.
He says that if a bill does not control costs “that’s not a bill I can support.” He says that while we are in the process of dealing with the cost issue, it is also “wise policy and the right thing to do” to start providing coverage to people who don’t have insurance.
This is interesting; it suggests that Mr. Obama views health reform as more of an economic imperative than a moral one, the flip side to the way many Democrats have viewed it in the past.
On the public plan, Mr. Obama says it is an important tool “to discipline insurance companies” — another way of saying, as he has in the past, that a government-run plan will keep private insurers honest. He says it makes sense “for us to be able to say here’s a public option that’s not profit-driven, that can keep down administrative costs,” and that will provide good quality care.
He predicts “some healthy debates” about the shape that this takes, and concedes there are ”legitimate concerns on the part of private insurers” that they would be unable to compete with a government plan that offered endless federal subsidies. But he disputes the notion that private insurers cannot compete with a public plan. “That defies logic,” he said.
But in the end, he does not answer the question of whether he would sign a bill without a public plan in it.
Barack Obama press briefingBrendan Smialowski for The New York TimesPresident Obama held the first afternoon press conference of his presidency on Tuesday at the White House.
Where’s the Outrage? | 12:53 p.m. Helene Cooper: Major Garrett just challenged Mr. Obama’s tone on Iran, essentially asking why he waited so long to show any outrage and whether he’d been inconsistent. “I don’t think that’s accurate,” the president replies, defending himself. “Track what I’ve been saying. Right after the election I said we had profound concerns about the nature of the election, but that it was not up to us to determine what the outcome is.” And he added, “The United States will not be a foil” for the Iranian government to accuse of meddling.
Mr. Garrett asked about whether Iranian diplomats and American diplomats would still be permitted to mingle. Mr. Obama didn’t answer that.
The Fed | 12:47 p.m. Sheryl Stolberg: Facing a decision about whether to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Mr. Obama ducks a question about his future, but gives him a presidential thumbs up.
“I’m not going to make news about Ben Bernanke, although I think he has done a fine job under very difficult circumstances,” Mr. Obama says.
“I would say that all financial regulators didn’t do everything that needed to be done to prevent the crisis from happening and that is why we put forward the boldest set of reforms and financial regulations in 75 years. There were too many gaps where there were laws on the books that would have brought about a prevention of the crisis, the enforcement wasn’t there. In some cases there weren’t sufficient laws on the books with the non-banking center. I think that the Fed probably performed better than most other regulators prior to the crisis taking place but I think they’d be the first to acknowledge that in dealing with systemic risk.”
He ended by saying that since the economic crisis occurred, Mr. Bernanke “has performed very well.”
Iran and the Web | 12:41 p.m. Sheryl Stolberg: In a nod to Iranians’ use of the Internet, the president calls on Nico Pitney of The Huffington Post, which has been soliciting questions from the people of Iran. Mr. Obama is asked under what conditions he would accept the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
First Up, Iran | 12:39 p.m. Helene Cooper: The first question went to Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press. She asked him if he still plans to engage with Iran’s regime, given the crackdown on protesters.
Mr. Obama said that he wants to make sure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, and that the Iranian regime response to American overtures so far has not been “encouraging.”
He reiterated that Iran must decide how to respond to America’s offer to engage.
“The fact that they are now in a the midst of an extraordinary debate” could color that response, he said.
Health Care Next | 12:39 p.m. Sheryl Gay Stolberg: On health care legislation, Mr. Obama says he is “very optimistic about the progress” Congress is making, although he concedes it is ”obviously a complicated issue.” Aware that his critics are accusing him of trying to move the country toward socialized medicine, where the government controls the choice of doctors, Mr. Obama reiterates that “we must preserve what is best about our health care system, and that means allowing Americans who like their doctors and thei rhealth care plans to keep them.”
Now the questions begin.
Moving On to Energy | 12:35 p.m. Sheryl Gay Stolberg: Mr. Obama is now turning his attention to energy; he is urging Congress to pass a bill that, he says, will offer incentives to “finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy.”
Energy legislation is one of his top priorities, and Mr. Obama is using his remarks here to repeat an argument he has made before, that “the nation that leds in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy.” The House is set to vote on its version of a bill later this week.
A Tougher Tone on Iran | 12:32 p.m. Helene Cooper:President Obama walked into the briefing room at 12:31 p.m.
He began his opening remarks with Iran, saying that “The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost.”
This is the first time that Mr. Obama has used the word “condemn” in relation to the Iranian regime’s actions against demonstrators.
Mr. Obama also reiterated that “the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs. But we must also bear witness to the courage and dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.”
And he took on accusations of meddling, saying that “Some in the Iranian government are trying to avoid that debate by accusing the United States and others outside of Iran of instigating protests over the elections. These accusations are patently false and absurd. They are an obvious attempt to distract people from what is truly taking place within Iran’s borders. This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries won’t work anymore in Iran.”
More on Iran: He added: “As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people have a universal right to assembly and free speech. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect those rights, and heed the will of its own people. It must govern through consent, not coercion. That is what Iran’s own people are calling for, and the Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government.”
Mr. Obama has very much upped the ante in his rhetoric on Iran. These are much sharper and to-the-point comments then anything than the more measured tones he struck last week on Iran.
Introduction | 12:04 p.m. Facing pressures at home and abroad, President Obama had planned to head to the Rose Garden today for the first afternoon press conference of his presidency. (All the others have been held during prime time.)
But the 90-degree weather in the nation’s capital on this summer day has driven Mr. Obama inside; he’ll forgo his chance to use the iconic backdrop of the most famous garden in America, and instead will address reporters from the climate-controlled (and mosquito-free) comfort of the James S. Brady Briefing Room. (But perhaps not fly-free; the White House has been besieged by an infestation that has even Mr. Obama swatting at the pests.)
Our colleague Jeff Zeleny tells us that the scene inside the briefing room is chaotic as reporters wait for the news conference to start, because the space is notably smaller than the formal setting of the East Room where prime-time news conferences take place. Dozens of reporters and photographers lined the sides of the room and spilled outside the doorway.
The White House says Mr. Obama will touch on jobs, energy, health care and Iran in his opening remarks. But Iran and health care will almost certainly dominate the follow-up questioning.
On Iran, Mr. Obama is under pressure from Republicans and conservatives to strike a harder line against the Iranian regime and its crackdown against election protesters. Even some supporters of Mr. Obama say that they believe that the president should at least come out and use the word “condemn” in relation to the Iranian regime’s violence against demonstrators.
So far, Mr. Obama has stuck to a measured, moderate line, calling for justice in Iran and invoking the American civil rights movement and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., but has not harshly criticized the Iranian regime. White House officials say that they fear a sharper tone will do more harm than good, by giving Iran’s rulers an excuse to paint the protests as American-led.
The big question today: in view of the graphic video of the 26-year old Iranian known around the world as Neda, the woman who died on television after apparently being shot in the heart at a protest on Saturday, will Mr. Obama feel he has to increase the temperature and condemn the regime? Iran’s Guardian Council also said todaythat it isn’t going to annul the vote, so Mr. Obama may decide to comment on that as well.
Health care is Mr. Obama’s highest legislative priority, yet his plan to extend coverage to the nation’s 45 million uninsured is running into serious roadblocks on Capitol Hill. Republicans and some moderate Democrats are opposed to Mr. Obama’s call for a public, government-run insurance plan to compete with the private sector, and even some Democrats are uneasy. And Democrats were dealt a serious setback last week when the Congressional Budget Office determined that one of the major plans under consideration would cost at least $1 trillion over 10 years – and cover only 16 million people, a number that could not by any stretch of the imagination be considered universal insurance.
Mindful of the failures of Bill Clinton, the last Democratic president who tried to overhaul health care, Mr. Obama has been trying to stay out of Congress’ way. But some Democrats say privately that it’s time for him to exert some presidential muscle. The big question today: Will he use his news conference to do it?


When He Was Barry

GOING PLACES “Barack Obama: The Freshman,” an exhibition of photographs taken when Mr. Obama was an undergraduate, is up through July 18 at the M+B Gallery in Los Angeles.

NOBODY in public office will ever admit to giving thought to how they look. The reasons are too obvious to detail. But by now most people are in on the fact that clothes function like identity flashcards. Politicians obviously know it, and some of them even act on the knowledge.President Obama is one.

The best thing about Mr. Obama’s appearance is how streamlined and effortless he makes looking good seem. The component parts are minimal to the point of invisibility: cropped hair, a slim suit with modestly padded shoulders, dark laced shoes, a white shirt with a conservative spread to the collar, a red tie that somehow avoids being too obviously a power statement. Yes, he wears his trousers fuller than current style decrees. But then, smart people aren’t supposed to think about stuff like fashion, are they?
Yet even back in 1980, when Barack Obama was a freshman at Occidental College in California, he had clear-cut ideas about style and self-presentation. He grew his hair long, wore subdued, square-cut Hawaiian shirts and, as one friend said, was rarely to be seen in a closed-toe shoe. When Lisa Jack went scouting that year for subjects to pose for her photographic portrait project, another Occidental classmate suggested she call a guy then known to his friends as Barry.

“A friend of a friend was telling me about this really handsome guy, and he walked into the campus coffee shop,” said Ms. Jack, who added that in the Los Angeles of that particular moment, the word “handsome” was not often put into use. Ms. Jack approached the young Mr. Obama about posing for some pictures, then essentially forgot about them until last year’s presidential campaign.
“I hadn’t thought about them, and I’m not sure I would have if there hadn’t been a dare,” Ms. Jack said last week from Minneapolis, where she has a clinical psychology practice. During a primary, Ms. Jack explained to a friend that even though she supported Hillary Rodham Clinton, she would be voting for Mr. Obama out of old-school loyalty.
“My friends thought I was lying when I said I went to school with him,” she said.
To prove them wrong, Ms. Jack rummaged around in her basement for negatives shot decades earlier of the man who would be president. If those pictures of Barack Obama, now exhibited for the first time at the M+B Gallery in Los Angeles (, are far from the carefully devised ones now familiar to us all, they make clear that he always had a sense of the image he wanted to project.
“I photographed a lot of people,” Ms. Jack said, “and it was always interesting what they decided to wear to the shoot.” One subject arrived in greasepaint. Mr. Obama brought along a leather bomber jacket and a jaunty straw hat.
“Straw hats were not something people wore back then,” she said. “It was obvious that he really put some thought into how he wanted to convey himself.”
That self-conscious deliberation is there to be seen in the 36 photographs Ms. Jack snapped of a sexy and slightly callow youth who had a big future ahead of him and more natural style than he knew.


My Wife Gigi with a New Drivers License and a New Job

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yesterday was a monumental day for my wife Gigi, and to say the least I am so very proud of her. It was surely what you might call a very wonderful day, as she started the day by passing her driving test. Later in the day, she received news that she was going in for orientation for her first real job here in the United States.
The next day, she was to go to her first job, and I watched her leave the house driving her car alone for the very first time, driving to work. I am so very proud of my wife and I know that she is very happy.
I waited patiently for her to come home, and she could hardly wait to tell me what happened on her first day. Itt was a week of firsts for my wife, and I already miss her. I'm used to see her at home all the time, but I know that it is important for her, for her future career in nursing, and a big building block to help build her self esteem. It was difficult for her to acquire her first job, but now that she has broken the ice and has her new job at hand, all I can see now is a woman who happens to be my wife who is very proud of what she has accomplished, and I will do everything in my power as her husband to help her become successful in her career.


Tapes Reveal Nixon’s View of Abortion

Associated Press
President Nixon pointing to the transcripts of White House tapes in April 1974, after he announced that he would give the material to lawmakers and make them public.

Published: June 23, 2009 
WASHINGTON — On Jan. 23, 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, President Richard M. Nixon made no public statement. But privately, newly released tapes reveal, he expressed ambivalence.
Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases — like interracial pregnancies, he said.
“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”
Nine months later, Nixon forced the firing of the special prosecutor looking into the Watergate affair, Archibald Cox, and prompted the resignations of Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus. The next day, Ronald Reagan, who was then governor of California and would later be president, told the White House that he approved.
Reagan said the action, which would become known as the “Saturday Night Massacre,” was “probably the best thing that ever happened — none of them belong where they were,” according to a Nixon aide’s notes of the private conversation.
Those disclosures were among the revelations in more than 150 hours of tape and 30,000 pages of documents made public on Tuesday by the Nixon Presidential Library, a part of the National Archives. The audio files were posted online, as were a sampling of the documents.
The tapes were recorded by the secret microphones in the Oval Office from January and February 1973. They shed new light on an intense moment in American history, including Nixon’s second inauguration, the Vietnam War cease-fire, and the trial of seven men over the break-in at the Democrats’ headquarters at the Watergate complex amid mounting revelations about their ties to the White House.
The tapes also capture more mundane details of life in the White House — conversations about what to pack for a trip, when to schedule a trip to the barber, whether the president’s wife would enjoy going to Trader Vic’s for dinner.
Most segments of the tapes relating to the Watergate scandal, which would lead to Nixon’s resignation 20 months later, have already been released. But there are some new materials that were previously held back because the audio quality was so poor that archives officials could not be certain whether they contained discussion of any classified topics. Improvements in audio technology have allowed archives staff to clear additional ones.
They include a Jan. 5, 1973, conversation between Nixon and his aide Charles W. Colson in which they discussed the possibility of granting clemency to E. Howard Hunt Jr., one of the Watergate conspirators, according to a log compiled by archives staff. Scholars say the same topic was addressed in several other tapes that were previously made public.
The documents also include nine pages of handwritten notes by a domestic policy aide about plans for what the White House would say about the dismissal of the Watergate special prosecutor, Mr. Cox.
The tapes also provide new material about the circumstances surrounding the Paris treaty to end the United States’ military involvement in Vietnam.
A call between Nixon and Mr. Colson just after midnight on Jan. 20 showed that Nixon anticipated, when the treaty was announced, that he would be vindicated for continuing to bomb North Vietnam. He especially relished the hit that he believed members of Congress who opposed the war — whose public statements he pronounced “treasonable” — would suffer.
Several conversations center on the pressure Nixon placed on South Vietnam’s president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to accept the cease-fire agreement. Ken Hughes, a Nixon scholar and research fellow at the Presidential Recordings Project at the University of Virginia, said he was struck by listening on one of the new tapes to Nixon’s telling his national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, that to get Thieu to sign the treaty, he would “cut off his head if necessary.”
Mr. Hughes said the conversation bolstered his view that Nixon, Thieu and Mr. Kissinger knew at the time that the cease-fire could not endure, and that it was not “peace with honor,” as Nixon described it, so much as a face-saving way for the United States to get out of the war. In 1975, North Vietnam would violate the cease-fire and conquer South Vietnam.
The tapes also include a phone call from February 1973 between Nixon and the evangelist Billy Graham, during which Mr. Graham complained that Jewish-American leaders were opposing efforts to promote evangelical Christianity, like Campus Crusade. The two men agreed that the Jewish leaders risked setting off anti-Semitic sentiment.
“What I really think is deep down in this country, there is a lot of anti-Semitism, and all this is going to do is stir it up,” Nixon said.
At another point he said: “It may be they have a death wish. You know that’s been the problem with our Jewish friends for centuries.”
The documents also include three newly declassified pages from a National Security Council brief discussing secret Israeli efforts to build a nuclear weapon.


Citigroup Is Said to Be Raising Pay

Published: June 23, 2009 

(NewYorkTimes)After all those losses and bailouts, rank-and-file employees of Citigroup are getting some good news: their salaries are going up.
The troubled banking giant, which to many symbolizes the troubles in the nation’s financial industry, intends to raise workers’ base salaries by as much as 50 percent this year to offset smaller annual bonuses, according to people with direct knowledge of the plan.
The shift means that most Citigroup employees will make as much money as they did in 2008, although some might earn more and others less. The company also plans to award millions of new stock options to employees in an effort to retain workers and neutralize a precipitous drop in the value of their stock holdings.
Like Citigroup, financial companies, like Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, are raising employees’ base salaries to try to shift attention away from bonuses and curb excessive risk-taking. So are banks like UBS and other European competitors.
The Citigroup proposals, discussed internally this week, present a crucial test for the Obama administration, which has vowed to rein in runaway compensation at companies that have received large taxpayer-financed bailouts. Citigroup has gotten not one but two rescues from Washington. Soon the government will assume a 34 percent stake in the company, whose share price has plunged nearly 84 percent in the last year.
Despite Washington’s new role at Citigroup, and public anger over big paydays on Wall Street, administration officials have little power to prevent the company and others in the industry from raising salaries for rank-and-file employees.
Kenneth R. Feinberg, the administration’s new “pay czar,” has the authority to set compensation for only the top 100 employees at troubled companies. The rest — which at Citigroup, means fewer than 300,000 people — can be paid as executives see fit, provided any increase does not rank them among the 100 most highly paid workers.
Outsize pay on Wall Street, particularly the industry’s bonus culture, is widely seen as having encouraged the risk-taking that led to the gravest financial crisis since the Depression. But industrywide, total compensation is expected to rise 20 to 30 percent this year, approximately to the levels of 2005, before the crisis, according to Johnson Associates, a compensation consulting firm. Total industry pay would still be below the record levels of 2007, but only a bit.
“You can say it is outrageous,” said Alan Johnson, the president of the firm. “But maybe it’s a little like the canary in the mine, and you say that things are getting better.”
Indeed, despite the simmering anger over Wall Street pay, some of the 10 big banks that repaid their federal aid this month — a big step toward disentangling themselves from the government — are gearing up to pay outsize bonuses. For many, profits are up, despite the troubled economy. On Monday, Goldman Sachs, which returned $10 billion of bailout funds, denied reports that it planned to pay out the highest bonuses in its 140-year history.
Mr. Feinberg, the special master for compensation, is the person who ensures that companies receiving federal bailout money are abiding by executive pay guidelines. This week, Mr. Feinberg, who oversaw the federal government’s compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, held introductory meetings with Citigroup executives and their counterparts at several other companies that have received two federal bailouts. He will start reviewing pay packages for the 25 highest-paid employees, as well as compensation formulas for the next 75, in the next two months. He declined to comment on Tuesday.
For months, Citigroup executives have sought guidance from the Treasury Department about how to alter compensation. But after reviewing the new rules, the bank determined it did not need Mr. Feinberg or other government officials to sign off on pay for the rank and file. While Mr. Feinberg can request information on the pay polices at financial companies that have received two federal bailouts, the companies can reject his guidance.
Citigroup executives are so eager to keep employees from fleeing, that in some cases, they are offering them guaranteed pay contracts. Managers began notifying bank employees of the proposed changes this week. They could take effect shortly.
For some Citigroup investment bankers and traders, the changes could mean salary increases of as much as 50 percent, depending on their position. Legal and risk management employees, as well as those in the credit card and consumer banking units, whose pay is typically skewed toward salary, rather than bonuses, are expected to receive smaller increases.
Citigroup executives said the changes were aimed at retaining employees. Some Citigroup workers have already left for small, boutique investment banks or large rivals that are not so beholden to the government.
Citigroup officials declined to discuss the issue on the record, given its sensitive nature. But they said that the changes would bring the bank’s compensation plan in line with the widespread view on Wall Street that bonuses were not one-time payouts, but rather a form of deferred salary. They said the new system would let them adjust bonuses more sharply to reflect employees’ performance.
Stephen Cohen, a Citigroup spokesman, said that any changes would be intended to adjust the balance between salaries, which are fixed, and bonuses, which vary from year to year.
Citigroup also plans to introduce a new stock option program later this year. Under the plan, it will award employees one stock option for every share of restricted stock they have accumulated. The program could open the floodgates for the release of tens of millions of stock options.
It is unclear what the strike price will be. But the hope is that the options program will give employees another incentive to stay and make it more expensive for rivals to make competing offers.


Obama toughens his talk on Iran

President Obama says his tone on the Iranian election crisis has been consistent. WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama sharpened his language on Iran and stressed the urgency of overhauling the health care system at a news conference Tuesday.

President Obama says his tone on the Iranian election crisis has been consistent.

"The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments of the last few days," the president said, adding that he strongly condemns "these unjust actions."
Obama's Iran policy has received intense scrutiny amid growing concerns over Tehran's violent crackdown on street protests. The Iranian demonstrators believe the country's June 12 presidential election was a sham.
Obama earlier called on Iran to stop violent and unjust steps that stifle free speech, but some Republicans have criticized him for not siding more strongly with the demonstrators.
Asked why he held off on such strong language before, Obama insisted that his tone has been consistent. "Right after the election I said that we had profound concerns about the nature of the election, but that it was not up to us to determine what the outcome was," he said. Video Watch Obama's strong words for Iran »
Obama also blasted allegations of some in the Iranian government that the United States is "instigating protests" as "patently false and absurd."
"This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries won't work anymore in Iran. This is not about the United States and the West; this is about the people of Iran and the future that they -- and only they -- will choose."
In what was believed to be a first, Obama's comments were available in Farsi, the main language of Iran, through a simultaneous translation on the White House Twitter link.
Obama said the Iranian regime still has a clear, open path to international acceptance despite the violence of the recent crackdown.
"There is a peaceful path ... to legitimacy," Obama said, and "we hope they take it."
The president said Iran's "faith, sovereignty and traditions" can be accepted while the country's government nevertheless adheres to a set of "international norms and principles" regarding violence and the right of peaceful dissent.
Asked why he wouldn't spell out any consequences, the president replied, "Because I think that we don't know yet how this thing is going to play out. I know everybody here is on a 24-hour news cycle. I'm not."
On health care, the president said the status quo is "unsustainable" and defended his support for a public option.
Overhauling the health care system is the president's top domestic priority, but the initial proposals to reach Congress last week received a rocky reception.
The Congressional Budget Office determined that either of two similar bills written by Senate Democrats would cost more than $1 trillion, which was significantly higher than expected.
At issue is how best to reduce the cost and increase the reach of the health care system, which officials say is draining personal, corporate and government budgets while leaving 46 million Americans without health insurance.
Both parties in Congress agree on the need to slow the increase in health care costs while ensuring that all Americans can get health insurance, but they differ sharply on how to proceed.
The biggest sticking point so far has been the idea of a government-funded public option to compete with private insurers. Republicans are adamant that such a step will lead to a government takeover of health care, which they oppose.
Obama said Tuesday that having a public health insurance plan is "an important tool to discipline insurance companies" and will help control spiraling health care costs.
Republicans have argued that a public option will drive private insurers out of business, and they accuse Obama and Democrats of trying to rush through what they say is flawed legislation before the midterm elections in 2010 and the 2012 presidential race.
Obama said that there is a "legitimate concern" about the ability of private insurers to compete with a public plan "if the public plan is simply eating [from] the taxpayer trough." Video Watch Obama's push on health care »
If that's the case, it'd be tough for private insurers to compete, Obama said. If, on the other hand, the "public plan must collect premiums and provide [good] services" like private insurers, then private insurers should have no problem competing with a public option, he said.
Obama said he was hopeful that an efficiently run public plan could help push private insurers to make similar cost-cutting moves.
The president also said Tuesday that he expects nationwide unemployment to exceed 10 percent this year, reiterating that the United States is in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
"I anticipate this is going to be a difficult period," Obama said.
The president added, however, that he doesn't yet see the need for a second stimulus package.
The president also admitted Tuesday that while he is "95 percent cured" of his smoking habit, he does still smoke on occasion. Video Watch what Obama says about his struggle with smoking »
Obama noted he is not a daily smoker and "doesn't do it in front of" his children.
The president argued that a new law providing for the Food and Drug Administration's regulation of tobacco "is not about me. It's about the next generation of kids coming up."


North Korea Warns the world to stay out of part of its waters

A more and more defiant North Korea now is warning the world to stay out of part of its eastern waters for 16 days. Why? Because N. Korea claims that they will hold  yet another military drill. They have become openly defiant to the entire world. All the major countries in the region have outwardly stated that they do not condone N. Korea's actions with the missile firings. It will now be a matter of time that these countries will take offensive action against North Korea.
What are they trying to prove? Why are the N. Korean's so intent  with expanding their nuclear capabilites?
They must feel threatened. North Korea has been a reclusive communist nation for a long time now. What are the consequences if ships enter the designated waters during the drill? It just so happens that the dates fall within the timeframe cited by the Japanese midia last week for a possible North Korea missile launch toward Hawaii. If these findings are fact, then President Obama must take action against N. Korea now.
Just recently, the U.N. SecurityCouncil adopted a declaration condemning North Korea for their moves. The north claims that such a move is a declaration of confrontation and war.
But how can you be officially in a war if you do not attack the opposite side. At the present time, N.Korea's claim of war is no where near valid. Unless they continue agression against any other power, there is no war. There takes two to have an opposition, and if there is no opposition, there is no war. In order for a war to take place, the world must feel more threatened, and then someone will take action.
In another twist to the story, The U.S. military is tracking a North Korean ship in the Pacific that is believed to be carrying illicit weapons or technology, according to a U.S. senior official. It will now be a matter of time that the North Korean vessel will be boarded. As the world will watch, and further threats come from the communist country of N. Korea, hopefully N.Korea would come to its senses and stop launching the missles which are a direct threat to the world.


The Five Factors That Could Save “Government Motors”

[Editor's Note: This is the first of two parts. Next up: How China Could Save GM.]

By William Patalon III
And Jason Simpkins
Money Morning Editors

Critics have wailed about the years of mismanagement, which has created the company’s present plight. And they’ve howled about a government bailout, which they see as nothing but good money following bad. 
But when the company these critics sarcastically refer to as “Government Motors” - General Motors Corp. (OTC: GMGMQ) - emerges from bankruptcy as expected early next year, it could be leaner, meaner and perfectly positioned for the smaller, highly competitive and truly global auto-making market that has been one of the major outgrowths of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
General Motors “is going to light it back up before long,” says Gary Dilts, a DaimlerChrysler veteran who now serves as a senior vice president for global automotive analysis at J.D. Power & Associates, the marketing information heavyweight. “They’re going to be in a good position once they’re out of bankruptcy. GM has a pretty good product plan, and they’re leaving 10 years of debt on the side of the road.”
That’s somewhat of a contrarian viewpoint. But five factors favor a GM turnaround:
  • Bankruptcy will transform GM from a bloated company with too many products and too many dealers into an organization whose smaller size is better suited to the permanently crisis-diminished U.S. auto market.
  • The bankruptcy process will also allow the company to turn billions in liabilities into equity, taking cash that would otherwise have been used for debt service - or to finance healthcare or retiree benefits - and making it available for investments in new products, new auto technologies, new marketing initiatives, as well as for global expansion.
  • GM has a stronger stable of products than most observers realize.
  • The consumer backlash against the bankruptcy likely won’t be as damaging as had been initially feared. In fact, as rival U.S. carmaker Chrysler LLC already discovered in its own bankruptcy, potential defections and severed relationships can be avoided with aggressive discounts and strong marketing efforts.
  • And, in what many U.S. consumers may be surprised to find is a key to GM’s overall long-term success, General Motors has established an incredibly strong position in China - a strength that will let it capitalize on the world’s fastest-growing (and eventually, largest) overall market and that will enable it to utilize that low-cost market to produce vehicles and ship them back into the United States, in order to sell them at competitive prices.
The decline of the U.S. auto industry has been a drawn-out and difficult affair, inflicting pain on current workers, retirees, suppliers, and many others throughout the global economy. In some cases - such as with the many family owned and small-community GM and Chrysler dealerships that will be shuttered as part of the bankruptcy-induced streamlining and restructuring - that pain will only increase in the near term.
The long-term goal, of course, is to create an automaker that can sustain itself, meet its existing commitments and eventually even grow - as opposed to merely surviving. Without the bankruptcy and reorganization, in fact, GM wasn’t even going to hold its own, one economist says.
“I think everyone needs to keep in mind that if this company fails, that’s the worst case scenario," Michigan State University Economics Professor Charles Ballard told NBC affiliate WILX TV-10 in Lansing. “It would be really good for the people of Michigan and for Lansing for GM to become a viable company.
Right now, it’s not."
Adjusting to the Auto Market’s Long, Slow Decline
GM has struggled in recent years to compete, hurt by its truck and SUV-dominated vehicle line-up and a deep plunge in U.S. vehicle demand. The upshot: The No. 1 U.S.-based automaker - which once employed 500,000 people - has lost an aggregate $82 billion in the past four years even as it slashed production capacity, cut back on the number of nameplates it sold under and eradicated more than 100,000 U.S. jobs. It needs to cut another 19,000 workers by 2012 to bring its domestic employment down to 72,500 jobs. And some critics say even that won’t be enough.
But here’s one factor that should help: By downsizing, GM’s leadership has admitted that the financial crisis has reduced the size and makeup of the market for new cars and trucks in the United States - probably permanently.
The U.S. Big Three of GM,Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) will have to adjust to this post-financial-crisis “new reality.” Automakers will sell only 10 million cars and trucks in the U.S. market this year, the worst showing in at least three decades - and roughly 38% less than the 16 million vehicles that were sold in the United States annually in recent years before the financial collapse caused auto sales to nosedive.
Part of the reason for the slump in new vehicle sales is that consumers are increasingly turning to used cars. Pre-owned car sales are up 10% this year over last, as credit availability increases, but buyers focus on affordability. In fact, according to the most-recent report, used-car sales jumped in April, and that trend is expected to continue at least until the middle of the year as pent-up demand for affordable, pre-owned vehicles revs up the used-vehicle segment of the auto marketplace.

Goodbye GM, Hello “Government Motors”

Criticisms aside, GM actually has some highly alluring assets - some of which it’s already agreed to sell. By taking GM through bankruptcy, company leaders and the Obama administration expect to slash debt, free up cash flow to invest in those assets, and actually put the behemoth back on the growth path.
With a reported $82.3 billion in assets and $172.8 billion in debt at the time of the June 1, filing, GM was the fourth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and the largest ever by an industrial company.
The U.S. government is supposed to bankroll the “new” GM with an additional $30 billion in financing. That brings the government’s total investment to roughly $50 billion, which it will convert to a 60% stake in the new company. 
In a last minute change to the bankruptcy plan, Canada agreed to provide $9.5 billion in funding and would get a 12% stake. The United Auto Workers (UAW) union would have 17.5% share of the GM, and bondholders would get a 10% stake.
“The New GM will have a dramatically stronger balance sheet, with far less debt, which will allow us to better invest in our business and our future,” new Chief Executive Officer Frederick A. “Fritz” Henderson said in an open letter to customers and shareholders. “It will have fully competitive labor costs and the ability to generate sustained and positive bottom-line performance. From Day One, the New GM will be well positioned to capitalize on the award-winning vehicles we have developed and launched in past years.
The plan calls for General Motors to become a publicly traded company in the first or second quarter of next year - at the earliest, GM Chief Financial Officer Ray G. Young said last week.
“In terms of the timing of that, ‘09 would be impossible because we’re just starting up the new General Motors," Young told reporters last week. “There’s going to be a lot of accounting issues that we’re going to work through in order to get the books of new GM set up."
Young said he was unsure when the U.S. and Canadian governments would begin to sell their stakes, noting that both want “an orderly sell-down in order to both not hurt General Motors, the share price of General Motors and, frankly, also in order to maximize the value to the Canadian and U.S. taxpayers. So I think this is something that is going to be worked out into the future.”
Once that is worked out, GM will officially no longer be “Government Motors.”

Pedal to the Metal

Even as the company navigates the tricky rapids of corporate bankruptcy, Henderson, the new CEO, must develop a finely tuned operational plan, and start implementing it immediately.
Fortunately, Henderson - who took over after CEO G. Richard Wagoner Jr. was ousted in late March - has more to work with than most experts think.
The "new GM" will have a number of key vehicle launches in 2009, 2010 and 2011 - including the Chevrolet Camaro, Chevy Cruze, and "the revolutionary Chevy Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle that can travel up to 40 miles on battery power alone," GM said in a letter to customers and media interviews last week.
Though it’s a reincarnation of the late-1960s muscle car, the new Camaro (along with the Dodge Challenger) is one of the most-talked-about new offerings on the market today. The styling was spot-on and it’s fuel-efficient.
(It also doesn’t hurt that the Camaro has a nice role as “Bumblebee,” one of the characters in the soon-to-open movie, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”)
GM’s Chevrolet Malibu - a mid-sized that offers exceptional fuel mileage for its category - and the highly regarded Cadillac CTS are considered “world-class vehicles.” GM needs to realize this and showcase such offerings, says Daniel Roos, an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies the automobile industry.
"The quality of its cars was horrible in the ’70s and ’80s, but it’s much better now,” Roos told reporters. It has world-class vehicles [in] the Malibu and the Cadillac CTS. They should be [promoting] those and capitalizing on their strengths."
Taking a page from Chrysler, General Motors did move aggressively to reassure current GM vehicle owners that warranties would be honored. It will likely step up its marketing efforts and could offer incentives to GM vehicle owners who purchased models or brands that it is phasing out. GM has just launched a new ad campaign whose brutal frankness has sparked controversy about its potential effectiveness, Time magazine reported.
However, the point that even many of the media experts discussing the campaign are missing is that, well, everyone’s discussing the campaign. And in an era in which there literally are millions of competing media messages, getting noticed is half the battle.
All told, all these efforts could keep GM’s post-bankruptcy sales from plunging - and might even hold them somewhat steady. But to actually induce sales growth, the company will have to turn to its secret weapon.
And for GM, that secret is China.

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