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Eid at the State Department

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am honored to be invited to celebrate Eid al Fitr at the State Department again this year. And I am relieved that this time, it’s actually taking place after Ramadan, which means I can actually attend for the first […]

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Statement by President Obama on the Occasion of Eid al-Fitr

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What is notable about this year’s remarks are the specifics in terms of dollar amounts. This isn’t likely to change anyone’s mind, but I think that it does show a responsiveness to the criticism. Michelle and I send our warmest […]

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Obama still wants to close Guantanamo #Gitmo

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

From today’s press conference: 8:15 AM PT: Bill Plante of CBS asks about the Guantanamo hunger strike. Obama says he still wants to close it. “It’s not necessary to keep America safe. It’s expensive. It’s inefficient. It hurts us” with […]

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President Obama’s remarks at the White House Iftaar Dinner

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama hosted the traditional Iftaar Dinner at the White House yesterday evening. Among the attendees was Huma Abedin, aide to Secretary Clinton and who was the target of vicious Islamophobic attacks by prominent Republicans such as Michele Bachmann and […]

President Obama’s Ramadan Mubarak wishes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Direct from the White House: Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world at the start of Ramadan. […]

A Muslim for Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I have long argued that as muslims, we must avoid allowing ourselves to declare an allegiance in politics. The Democrats have never seen Muslims as anything other than yet another swing vote to be courted when convenient, and in the […]

Transcript and word cloud of Obama’s “Moment of Opportunity” #mespeech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Courtesy of the White House, complete transcript of President Obama’s speech on the Arab Spring and the Middle East / North Africa (MENA), as prepared for delivery: I want to thank Hillary Clinton, who has traveled so much these last […]

Obama’s Arab Spring and MENA speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today, President Obama will deliver a major foreign policy address aimed not just at Americans but also at the Arab world (the Middle East and NOrth Africa, commonly abbreviated MENA). The themes are likely to touch upon the Arab Spring, […]

VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT: Obama remarks on Egyptian revolution and Hosni Mubarak

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Video is also at C-SPAN here. Scroll down for the transcript. Also see Democracy Arsenal on how well the President’s handling of the Egypt situation has been, overall. There are naysayers however like Daniel Larison and Joshua Trevino. Here is […]

Endgame in Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Far from dying down, the protests in Egypt have only grown – there’s a million marching upon Mubarak today: About 1,000,000 people have gathered for the planned “march of a million” in the Egyptian capital, calling for Hosni Mubarak, the […]

Federal government sues State over immigration

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yes, it happened at last. The Justice Department is filing suit against a State in the union, because that state (which did not vote for the sitting President) passed an immigration law that directly undermines the authority of the federal […]

accountability: Elizabeth Birnbaum fired from MMS (updated with video)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The official estimates of the Gulf oil spill have been revised upwards to 4x greater than previously stated, making this disaster far larger than the Exxon Valdez. It was partly pressure from liberals that forced BP to permit independent scientists […]

Confessions of an Obama-bot

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama has been riding high the past few weeks, moving forward on his agenda from health care to nuclear arms reduction to the prospect of appointing another judge to the Supreme Court. However, there’s a dark lining to this […]

political stimulus: Is Obama out of touch?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is the one-year anniversary of the landmark stimulus bill which most economists agree has staved off a second Great Depression. The evidence that the stimulus has worked is overwhelming – the New York Times has an in-depth article looking […]

State of the Union preview

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The White House has released some excerpts of the State of the Union speech and I am posting them below. My (brief) comments follow. THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary _______________________________________________________________________________________ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 27, 2010 EXCERPTS […]

Massachusetts Senate Race post-mortem: a progressive failure

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Congratulations to Senator-elect Brown – in the end, he was a better candidate and ran a better campaign against the hapless Martha Coakley, who thought she could coast on Kennedy-Obama coat-tails into office. A single statistic explains all – @marcambinder […]

Eid Mubarak from President Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This was posted to the White House blog this evening, on behalf of President Obama: Statement by the President on Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha Michelle and I would like to send our best wishes to all those performing Hajj this year, […]

Phil Carter resigns

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Woah. Phil Carter has resigned. Phillip Carter, who was appointed deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy in April, said in a brief telephone interview that he was leaving for “personal and family reasons” and not because of any […]

Government seizes 4 mosques and a skyscraper – alleges Iranian conspiracy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a bizarre development indeed: Federal prosecutors Thursday took steps to seize four U.S. mosques and a Fifth Avenue skyscraper owned by a nonprofit Muslim organization long suspected of being secretly controlled by the Iranian government. In what could […]

Obama takes troop reduction in Afghanistan off the table

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

John McCain: “I think the great danger now is a half-measure, sort of a – you know, try to please all ends of the political spectrum,” McCain told CNN chief national correspondent John King. “And, again, I have great sympathy […]

the economic Stimulus: behind the curtain

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ryan Lizza has a superb profile of Larry Summers, President Obama’s brilliant economic adviser, in The New Yorker. Lizza is one of my favorite political writers and he uses the profile on Summers as a backdrop for the larger story […]

Obama’s foreign policy record: beyond the waters’ edge

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Whatever happened to the Bush-era adoration by Republicans of the wise adage by Senator Arthur Vandenberg in the Truman era, that “politics stops at the water’s edge” ? Well, that is a naive question, of course. The only real theme […]

The CIA whines to Obama about being subject to rule of law

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is expected, but pathetic nevertheless: Seven former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency asked President Obama on Friday to shut down the new Justice Department inquiry into past abuses during interrogations of terrorism suspects, arguing that it “will seriously […]

transcript and word cloud: President Obama’s remarks on health care reform

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the full text and word cloud of Obama’s remarks to the joint session of Congress about health care reform on September 9, 2009. It’s kind of funny that the official transcript from the White House actually includes the […]

transcript and word cloud: President’s remarks to the nation’s school children

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

These are the prepared remarks for President Obama to deliver to the nation’s school kids tomorrow. The real controversy, in my opinion, is why it has been almost 20 years since a President spoke directly to kids in school. As […]

transcript: Obama Iftar at the White House

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Last night, President Obama hosted a traditional Ramadan dinner (iftar) at the White House, as has become customary with all Presidents since Bill Clinton. The guest list included many members of his cabinet, Congressional lesgislators, as well as prominent muslim-Americans […]

Ramadan Message from President Obama (video and transcript)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama has issued a Ramadan Message, on behalf of his Administrration and the American people, to muslims worldwide. The video and transcript follow. Also at the White House blog, the Ramadan Message is available, translated into a number of […]

the public option: some liberal skepticism on health insurance reform

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Over the weekend, the liberal blogsphere had a bit of a freak-out with news that Obama seemed to be dialing back his support for the “public option” – a non-profit insurance provider which would compete with the private insurers. The […]

Tricky Dick Cheney and the Shadow Government

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

For years, critics of the Bush Administration have noted that Vice-President Cheney wielded enormous power that was essentially beyond any oversihgt by Congress or the Judiciary. His infamous declaration that he was a “fourth branch of Government” was an attempt […]

Obama’s speech in Africa: transcript and word cloud

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama made the following address to the Parliament of Ghana on July 11th. It lays out in detail Obama’s approach to Africa as a whole, and I think provides a framework for moving forward that will result in genuine […]

What if the Green Revolution fails?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A remarkable thing happened yesterday at President Obama’s afternoon press conference – he took a question from an Iranian, relayed via Nico Pitney at the Huffington Post. Pitney solicited questions via the Iranian Farsi-language social networking site Balatarin and invited […]

Iran doesn’t need Obama to speak

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

John McCain, who at one time joked about bombing Iran in song, now has joined the Republican chatterwagon calling for President Obama to Do Something to help the Green Revolution in Iran along. It seems that the Republicans, who were […]

The Green Revolution in Iran doesn’t need US political fertilizer

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama pointedly did not comment on US preferences for the Iranian election during his Cairo speech, and was careful not to make any official statement of suppoort for reformist candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi over the weekend. Vice president Biden […]

rape at Abu Ghraib? Obama vs Taguba

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A British newspaper, The Telegraph, is claiming that the unreleased photos from Abu Ghraib include images of rape and sexual abuse of men and women, as Seymour Hersh alleged a few years back. What makes this claim more credible is […]

Sonia Sotomayor and empathy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the key traits that President Obama said he was looking for in a Supreme Court Justice was “empathy” – an ability to weigh the outcomes of decisions on the average man and woman, a pragmatic assessment of the […]

About those photos… (part 1)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Thomas Nephew. A few days ago, my friend Aziz Poonawalla published a couple of posts — “Obama is right not to release the prisoner abuse photos” and “release the prisoner abuse photos — but […]

TRANSCRIPT: Obama’s speech on security and values

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here is the complete transcript of Obama’s speech at the National Archives about the need to balance security and values. The word cloud shows the word “People” as most prominent, followed by Guantanamo and Security. This fits with the president’s […]

text SWAT to 20222 to donate $5 for Pakistan relief

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier I mentioned a few ways you can donate to various relief agencies working for Pakistani refugees in the Swat valley and other areas affected by the ongoing warfare with the Taliban. Now comes the most innovative initiative for fundraising […]

release the prisoner abuse photos – but not right now

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier, I argued that President Obama was right to change his mind, regarding the release of new photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. My good friend Hussein Rashid took issue with my position, arguing that a […]

Obama is right not to release the prisoner abuse photos

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is indeed a reversal of policy and campaign promises: President Obama said Wednesday that he would fight to prevent the release of photographs documenting abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan by United States military personnel, reversing his position […]

Walk like an Egyptian: Obama goes to Cairo

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama’s long-anticipated foreign policy address, from the venue of a major muslim capital, has been finalized – he will deliver his speech in Cairo on June 4th. In many ways this was the obvious, “safe” choice, though my personal […]

Phil Carter appointed as Assistant Secretary for Detainee Affairs

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a great step forward for civil rights and detainee policy – as well as a well-deserved achievement by a fantastic blogger: The Obama administration has chosen a lawyer and Iraq War veteran who has denounced U.S. detention policy […]

Obama and Africa policy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Africa always seems to get less attention than it deserves, which is remarkable given how enormous it is, in terms of sheer geography and population. I bitterly complained earlier how muslims worldwide favor injustices by Jews on muslims in the […]

The Specter of Souter’s retirement

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The news just broke¬†last night that Supreme Court Justice David Souter will retire. Souter was appointed by George HW Bush and proceeded to drive conservatives insane by refusing to bend to the right-wing agenda. Instead he has been what I […]

Obama’s credibility gap in the Muslim world begins at home

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I don’t think there’s much reason yet for anyone to complain about Obama’s foreign policy to the Muslim world, especially given that we haven’t even hit the 100-day mark yet. I personally would have preferred to see the “major speech […]

Mayor Karzai signs pro-rape bill in Afghanistan, scapegoats the Shi’a

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In an explicit bid to appease hard-line Islamists, Afghanistan’s “president” 1 Hamid Karzai has signed a bill into law that essentially legalizes rape of a woman by her husband: Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in […]

smart power: Obama’s video to Iran provokes fear

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke extensively of “smart power” in her description of how America’s foreign policy would seek to engage the world. Obama’s video message to Iran, on the occassion of Nowruz, is destined to become a case […]

TRANSCRIPT: Obama’s Nowruz message to Iran (with word cloud)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the transcript and word cloud of Obama’s video to the Iranian people for Nowruz, which goes far beyond the general Nowruz statements issued by previous Presidents Bush and Clinton.The word cloud is notable in that the words “New” […]

VIDEO: Obama’s Nowruz message to the Iranian People

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There is something simply amazing about this. The video even has subtitles in Farsi. It is often said that the Internet allowed Obama to bypass the Washington DC media establishment and reach out directly to the American people; now he […]

VIDEO: President Obama’s non-SOTU and Gov Jindal’s response

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Presidential Address was covered on Twitter of course, via hashtag #nsotu, whereas Jindal’s response was tagged #jindalwarmupact. What struck me was how much emphasis Jindal put on his own biography at the outset – yes, he’s clearly running for […]

Bush’s War on Terror, Obama’s WOMBAT

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Given that our President is a pretty sharp fellow, it’s not surprising that he’s also realized that the “War on Terror” branding needs to be retired: What’s being sought is a more precise phrase that can recast the U.S. government’s […]

CBO says stimulus will work

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has analyzed President Obama’s economic stimulus plan and concluded that it will have a definite positive impact in the short term, though with diminishing returns: In an analysis of the $900 billion version of the […]

Presidential M&Ms

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This story about President Obama’s first ride aboard Air Force One buried the most important part at the very end: Also unclear is when the new M&Ms will arrive. Air Force One has long stocked boxes with the presidential seal […]

the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

At the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, President Obama took the opportunity announce the creation of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. From the transcript of his remarks: Instead of driving us apart, our varied beliefscan […]

President Obama quotes Hadith

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

At the White House National Prayer Breakfast this morning, President Obama quoted (among other things) a Hadith of the Holy Prophet Mohammed SAW: We know too that whatever our differences, there is one law that binds all great religions together. […]

Obama: “I screwed up.”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Indeed, change has come to the White House. Our President is able to admit to mistakes: Barack Obama, the US president, has admited he made a “mistake” following the withdrawal of his nominee for US health secretary amid a controversy over […]

breaking: Tom Daschle withdraws from consideration

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: Tom Daschle has officially withdrawn his name from consideration. I heard it on Twitter first, actually. It turns out that Tom Daschle has even more explaining to do: Daschle’s tax problems were even more substantial than earlier reported. The […]

Obama mail

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama’s email address is the new status symbol in Washington DC – and the circle of who knows his email address is very, very selective indeed. There’s a great article in the NYT about Obama’s email, which includes this […]

What the GOP voted against

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

via Clammyc at Daily Kos, here is a partial list of what the House Republicans voted unanimously against in refusing to support the stimulus package that passed without them. An increase in the maximum benefit under the former food stamp […]

Obama’s Intelligence Director Dennis Blair and East Timor genocide

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Gary Farber sounded the alarm last month about President Obama’s nominee for National Intelligence Director, Denis Blair, who was complicit in genocide in East Timor during the Clinton Administration. Unfortunately, no questions were asked about East Timor during Blair’s confirmation […]

high expectations and healthy skepticism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Obama’s inauguration speech certainly set a high bar. Can his Administration live up to it? Or the expectations of Obama’s supporters? President Obama himself has been careful not to promise the moon, but rather emphasized that the job ahead is […]

Obama and oversight

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’m not a big fan of the “100 day honeymoon” period for new presidencies – if anything, the tone on day one is probably predictive of the entire term. In that regard, I don’t have a lot to complain about […]

Draft order to close Guantanamo Bay

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The ACLU has obtained a copy of the draft order to close Gitmo. I am embedding the document (PDF) below. Publish at Scribd or explore others: Other Academic Work obama Gitmo The ACLU will have an analysis soon. UPDATE: The […]

I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear again…

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Blame this on Chief Justice Roberts – Obama had a do-over today: WASHINGTON – After the flub heard around theworld, President Barack Obama has taken the oath of office. Again.Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the oath to Obama on Wednesdaynight […]

WhiteHouse.gov: open government

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Change came to the virtual White House as well as the physical one yesterday – WhiteHouse.gov has re-launched in true Obama fashion by featuring a blog as its centerpiece and promises to publish legislation and executive orders online for the […]

Obama to Ummah: message to the muslim world

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I posted President Obama’s inauguration speech video and transcript earlier, but I just want to highlight the part where he directly addressed the muslim world: We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are […]

transcript: President Obama inauguration speech (with word cloud)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(click to enlarge)This is the transcript of President Obama’s inauguration speech. I have edited out the applause lines and made other cosmetic changes for clarity. My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for […]

video: President Obama’s inauguration speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Part 1 of 2: Part 2 of 2:

Great speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

now, Mr. President – get to work. UPDATE: here’s video of President Obama’s inauguration speech (in two parts) from YouTube. And here’s the transcript and word cloud.

Defense Gates – Secretary Robert redux

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Obama will renominate currently-serving Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to the same position within his Administration. This is a pretty high-profile move that I think speaks volumes about Obama’s willingness to put policy and experience first and ideology second. Gates […]

Attorney General Eric Holder

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Obama has announced another top-level appointment, Eric Holder, who served as deputy Attorney-General under Clinton and now will be (pending Senate confirmation) the nation’s lead lawman. The relevant and important information about Holder is his record and reputation: A New […]

Hillary Clinton’s Foggy Bottom

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Hillary Clinton will be Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. This is significant for many reasons, not least of which because Hillary is perfect for the job and is supremely qualified for it. Arguably, the more important reason will […]

The Obama mandate: executive order

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I argued earlier that the evidence for an Obama mandate is compelling, especially in comparison to President Bush, who claimed a mandate and political capital after the 2004 election. Some may ask why a mandate matters, or that the margin […]

BREAKING: Rahm accepts Chief of Staff job

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Emannuel Rahm has accepted Obama’s offer to be Chief of Staff: “The chief” is sometimes known as the second most powerful person in Washington. The job has vast authority, as the boss of the hundreds of aides who work directly […]

Previous Posts

Obvious: The Iraq War created ISIS
This is something that is so obvious, it is in danger of never being said, in which case those who led us into war will try to ...

posted 1:48:22am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Eid at the State Department
I am honored to be invited to celebrate Eid al Fitr at the State Department again this year. And I am relieved that this time, it's actually taking place after Ramadan, which means I can actually attend for the first time! :) I am looking ...

posted 11:01:00am Jul. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The Empire State goes green for Eid
As is tradition, the Empire State Building - the most beautiful skyscraper in the world - was illuminated in green to mark Eid al Fitr. Of course, in 2015, this is announced via the official twitter account ...

posted 1:21:00am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls roundup
Here is a link to all the posts in the Ramadan Pearls series I did during Ramadan: Criterion Non-existence Mystery Angels Objective Expectant Reed Veils Lend Good I hope you enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom as much as ...

posted 3:01:31pm Jul. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Eid Mubarak!
By the Fatimid calendar, today is Eid al Fitr, 1436! I've explained my position on the calendar vs. moonsighting debate in detail - and this year there is a lot more divergence on the date than usual. Crescentwatch nicely ...

posted 7:53:00am Jul. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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