Tales from the Trail

Back at home, President Obama, family attend wedding

President Barack Obama got a brief respite from the euro zone debt crisis and an intensifying general election campaign on Saturday while attending the wedding of a top aide’s daughter with his family in his hometown.

The wedding of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett’s daughter, Laura, on a balmy night brought Obama administration allies and friends to Jarrett’s home in a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

Laura Jarrett was to marry fellow Harvard Law School graduate Tony Balkissoon, according to local news reports.

Notable guests included Attorney General Eric Holder; Ariel Investments chief executive and big-dollar Obama fundraiser John Rogers, Jr.; and business executive and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan, an adviser to former President Bill Clinton.

Obama and his family strolled to the wedding from their own home a few houses away. The president wore a light brown suit, first lady Michelle Obama was dressed in a cream-colored skirt, and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, wore green and yellow dresses, respectively.

Bin Laden’s death relieves U.S. of tough decision about legal prosecution

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is probably relieved that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed during the military operation in Pakistan rather than being captured.

A year ago, Holder drew some scrutiny when Republicans in the House of Representatives questioned him about how bin Laden would be prosecuted if captured, whether in a traditional federal criminal court or a special military court.

Republicans and even some Democrats have opposed federal trials for the foreign terrorism suspects because they would be afforded all traditional U.S. legal rights. Military courts have more relaxed standards for allowing certain evidence to be used during trials and do not require that suspects be advised of their legal rights, such as the right to a lawyer or to remain silent.

Wanted: New FBI director ‘ready to go’

The search for a new FBI director is under way, and Attorney General Eric Holder wants someone “ready to go” to fill some large shoes.

Robert Mueller, the current FBI chief who took office right before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, is limited by law to serving a 10-year term.

The goal was to have somebody nominated and “ready to go” by the time Mueller steps down, Holder said. President Barack Obama’s nominee must be confirmed by the Senate.

Republican puts crosshairs on Holder over WikiLeaks

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder  should quit if he can’t stop WikiLeaks from disclosing government documents, Darrell Issa, incoming chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee said Sunday on Fox News.issa

“He’s hurting this administration.  If you’re hurting the administration, either stop hurting the administration, or leave,” Issa said.

As chairman of the oversight panel when the new Congress convenes Wednesday, the California Republican has the authority to investigate the government for waste and fraud and will be able to issue subpoenas to obtain information he believes he needs.

United States 0-2 in world sports arena

The United States has now lost out on two huge world sporting events in the past two years. And in each instance to first-time winners.

It may be an unintended consequence of the fight against terrorism. The very security policies aimed at protecting the United States from attack, might be working to bench it in contests to host world sporting events due to some concerns that foreign fans, players, even officials may have trouble entering the United States for the games. SOCCER/WORLD

FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, the smallest country ever to host the soccer finals,  over competitors Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Backlash over WikiLeaks release of Afghan war documents

There may be more shoes to drop from WikiLeaks if it releases another 15,000 documents on the Afghanistan war that the whistleblower website is reviewing. It is already seeing some backlash after releasing 75,000-plus documents on the Internet.

The Times of London reported Wednesday that the leaked documents expose informers helping U.S. forces and have put hundreds of Afghan lives at risk.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange responded in an interview from London with NBC’s “Today” show. “We are checking to see whether this is in fact credible. It is probably unlikely. We have taken care to in fact hold back 15,000 for review that should it have this type of material in it. If there are those names in there and they are at risk, this would be because of a misclassification by the U.S. military.”

Singing frog chides Arizona immigration law opponents

Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer’s campaign is using a singing frog to chide high-ranking Democratic cabinet officials for criticizing the desert state’s controversial new immigration law without actually reading it.

The campaign to elect Brewer – who stepped up when former Democrat Governor Janet Napolitano became President Barack Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary – uses a Muppet-like hand puppet to deliver a crooned reading lesson.

“Reading is really super swell … Reading helps you know what you’re talking about,” the Kermit-like frog raspingly intones, cut in with clips of senior administration officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and Napolitano admitting that they hadn’t read the law they have spoken out about.
 

A long slog gives way to a ‘good week’ for U.S. Justice Department

After months of trying times, U.S. Justice Department officials are walking with a little spring in their step, describing it as a “good week” after the terrorism suspect accused of trying to detonate a car bomb in the heart of New York’s busy Times Square was nabbed only two days after the failed attack.

TIMESSQUARE/The department has been under fire since last fall over issues ranging from Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to prosecute the accused plotters of the Sept. 11 attacks in the heart of Manhattan to closing the military prison at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

And when a Nigerian man was able to sneak a bomb hidden in his underwear aboard a U.S. commercial jet, the dull roar of anger became white hot rage by both Republicans and President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats about how the administration handled the situation.

What did you expect from a financial meltdown hearing?

If anyone was looking for Wall Street executives to say “sorry” at the financial meltdown hearing, they would have been disappointed. FINANCIAL-COMMISSION/

If anyone was looking for the Justice Department to offer a firm “Yes” to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission‘s request for sharing information, they would have been disappointed. (Attorney General Eric Holder did pledge cooperation).

But one commission member declared “this is the happiest day of my life” (we’re thinking perhaps he needs to get out more).

Battle of the mustaches in the Obama administration

In every U.S. president’s administration, there is always some kind of in-fighting that spills out into the public domain and now a battle royale is shaping up between President Barack Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.USA/

The two are set to duke it out over who has done the most to contribute to the Mustached American way of life — and no, it’s not the contest of who has the best mustache (Ax might just win that between the two of them if that were the case).

“Axelrod and I both went to Stuyvesant high school in New York and I got an alumni magazine or print out or something that showed us mustache-less in high school,USA/” Holder said.