Tag Archives: President Obama

No Pomp and Pageantry…Just a Fiat! Pope Francis’ Historic And Humble U.S. Arrival

Washington (CNN) – Pope Francis landed on U.S. soil for the first time just before 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, launching a six-day visit that will highlight his love for the poor and his willingness to tackle the nation’s most significant political, social and economic controversies.

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In an unprecedented welcome for a foreign dignitary, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters along with Vice President Joe Biden and his family traveled to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington to greet the pontiff, who arrived from Cuba.

The flags of the United States and the Vatican flapped from the cockpit windows of the pope’s chartered Italian jet as it rolled to a stop near a line of priests in black and red robes and a group of children from local Catholic schools. The Argentine-born pope appeared at the top of the stairs of the plane in a white cassock, smiled and removed his skullcap so it would not be blown away by the wind. Obama greeted him at the foot of the steps with a handshake and a warm smile.

The crowd chanted “Ho Ho, Hey, Hey Hey, Welcome to the U.S.A.” as Francis became the fourth head of the Catholic Church to visit the United States, nearly 50 years after Paul VI made the first visit by a pontiff to the country in October 1965.

On the plane en route to the United States, Francis told reporters, including CNN’s Rosa Flores, that he was happy to make his first U.S. visit. He dismissed suggestions that he was a socialist or a “lefty,” saying that despite his warnings of the inequities in the global economic system, his beliefs were consistent with the established social doctrine of the Church.

150922210918-12-pope-francis-usa-0922-tease-only-exlarge-169After a brief private meeting with Obama in a VIP suite, the pope climbed into a black Fiat hatchback car with the number plate SCV 1, which was much smaller than the limousine foreign visitors normally take in Washington — in keeping with his rejection of much of the pageantry that accompanies the papacy and his desire to live a humble life. After a busy few days in Cuba, Francis has no scheduled events on Tuesday night and will remain at the residence of the Apostolic Nuncio or Vatican ambassador to the United States.

Obama will roll out an official welcoming ceremony for Francis on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday. The pope will then parade through downtown Washington in his Popemobile, with thousands of people expected to line the sidewalks. He’ll hold a canonization later in the day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Thursday could be the most politically significant day of his trip, with the first-ever joint address to Congress by a pontiff. He’ll then head to New York, where he will host a religious service at the ground zero site of the September 11 attacks in 2001 and address the United Nations. His trip ends Sunday in Philadelphia.

The highly anticipated visit is triggering one of the largest security mobilizations in U.S. history, jointly run by the U.S. Secret Service and the F.B.I. and involving federal, state and city law enforcement. Officials have said, however, that they have not detected any specific terrorist threat to the pope while he is in the United States.

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President Obama’s Trip To Alaska

(SL) – The President is touring through Alaska this week, meeting with residents of the state and seeing the effects of climate change on the ground. He’s sharing what he sees along the way. Read his entry from yesterday below, and follow along with the trip here.

pres.jpgHi, everyone — checking in on day two. Right off the bat, I’ll note that I’ve got to come back here once I’m done being President.

You just can’t see Alaska in three days.

I spent the day hiking through Exit Glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park — where the mountains collide with the ocean and fields of ice. When the team handed over the camera, I did my best to do this place justice:

Visitors from around the world come here to see its Harding Icefield — one of the largest ice fields in the United States — covering hundreds of square miles. As the climate warms, glaciers are shrinking more and more rapidly — and throughout the park, there are signs marking where the glacier line used to be.jpg.jpg

This is as good of a signpost as any when it comes to the impacts of climate change.

I also had the chance to tour the area by boat and experience the beauty and wildlife of Resurrection Bay. It was spectacular to see the horizon of ice and snow, but it’s melting. And if we don’t act, this simply won’t be here for future generations to enjoy.

Glaciers in Alaska, and the greater Arctic, are shrinking and it’s changing the way Alaskans live. And considering the Arctic’s unique role in influencing the global climate, it will accelerate changes to the way that we all live. Since 1979, the summer sea ice in the Arctic has decreased by more than 40%, a decrease that has dramatically accelerated over the past two decades.bay.jpg

One new study estimates that Alaska’s glaciers alone lose about 75 gigatons — that’s 75 billion tons — of ice each year. What does a gigaton look like? To put that in perspective, one scientist described a gigaton of ice as a block the size of the National Mall in Washington — from Congress all the way to the Lincoln Memorial, four times as tall as the Washington Monument. Now imagine 75 of those ice blocks. That’s what Alaska’s glaciers alone lose…each year.

And the pace of melting is only getting faster.

It’s now twice what it was between 1950 and 2000 — twice as fast as it was just a little over a decade ago. And it’s one of the reasons why sea levels rose by about eight inches over the last century, and why they’re projected to rise another one to four feet this century.

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President Obama Scores Big With Iran Nuclear Deal

Washington (CNN) – In a major victory for President Barack Obama, Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced support for the Iran nuclear deal Wednesday, providing the White House the votes it needs to prevent Republicans from scuttling the agreement.

The announcement means that at least 34 senators — the number required by the Constitution to sustain a veto — will back Obama’s expected veto of a Republican resolution to disapprove of the deal. Mikulski is retiring at the end of her term.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.: Senate Democrats have rallied the 34 votes they need to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive in Congress, handing President Barack Obama a major foreign policy victory. Mikulski became the crucial 34th vote Wednesday morning, declaring the agreement is the best way to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.: Senate Democrats have rallied the 34 votes they need to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive in Congress, handing President Barack Obama a major foreign policy victory. Mikulski became the crucial 34th vote Wednesday morning, declaring the agreement is the best way to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

While majorities of both the GOP-controlled House and Senate are poised to vote against the agreement, supporters of the multinational accord that aims to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program are also hoping to get the 41 votes needed to filibuster the bill and prevent it from even getting to a final vote in the Senate.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the administration will continue to try and push support for the deal past the 34 votes they now have “until the last moment.”

“Thirty-four votes are obviously enough votes for the president’s veto to be upheld,” Kerry told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “That is not satisfactory for us. We do want to try to go further. We’ll continue to persuade.”

That prospect upsets some Republicans who believe the historic agreement deserves a final up-or-down vote.

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Which President Had The Highest IQ?

(SL) – The average IQ score in the general population is 100; about 118 for for a college graduate. All the U.S. presidents have higher IQs than that. But some are geniuses. Anything over 130 is considered high or a genius-level IQ. Inside Gov reports that while a high IQ does not guarantee success, it is true that intelligence is often associated with effective leaders. But does that trend hold true for U.S. presidents? Are the most successful presidents also the most intelligent?

Former President Bill Clinton

With that question in mind, InsideGov ranked the 27 smartest presidents in U.S. history, using data from UC Davis professor, Dean Simonton. In a 2006 study, Simonton used historiometric methods to estimate each president’s IQ, analyzing information from their biographies and writings that would indicate a higher-than-average intellect.

This list is by no means definitive, but it should give a good sense of which presidents were highly intellectual. Interestingly, eight of the presidents on this list either never attended college or dropped out before finishing their degrees. President Obama was not included in the study. Let’s look at the brain power countdown.

Who landed the top spot?

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