Tales from the Trail
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent the weekend in Switzerland and Ireland, but landed on the morning talk shows on Monday, fending off questions about whether she has been marginalized in the Obama administration. It’s not considered a good sign when people start asking this question in Washington, because the implication is that the answer is “yes.”
Iran is the topic at the Senate Banking Committee, where officials from the State and Treasury departments are set to testify on economic sanctions against Tehran.
Matt Latimer, who used to make a living writing speeches for former President George W. Bush, has decided to let loose in a book under his own name that describes the White House as more like the TV show “The Office” and less like “The West Wing.”
President Barack Obama heads for Capitol Hill tomorrow to address a joint session of Congress on one of the most pressing issues of the day, healthcare reform. For those with middling-to-long memories of Washington, this may have a familiar ring. Another Democratic president argued for healthcare reform on another September day some 16 years ago, and somehow healthcare remains unreformed.
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is having a hard time convincing the Obama administration he was deposed by a military coup.
Zelaya argues that being awakened at 5 a.m. by soldiers in your presidential palace, flown to another country by hooded and armed military guards and deposited on the tarmac in your pajamas pretty much fits the description of a military coup.
The Obama administration agrees the scenario is a coup but maybe not a military coup since the legislative and judicial branches were involved as well.
The Honduran president met Thursday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to prod her on the issue.
He was rewarded with a pledge to cancel $30 million in aid to the de facto government, but did not get a formal military coup declaration. Zelaya said the U.S. decision was nonetheless a sign the region is unified against the coup government.
While he awaits his restoration, Zelaya speaks out frequently on the situation in his country. He’s done the speech so often it has become a routine, delivered with a dry sense of humor.
“In Honduras, on the 28th of June, barely two months ago, a cruel coup d’etat took place,” he told a George Washington University audience Wednesday.
It was a poorly managed affair, Zelaya said, citing a Spanish constitutional law expert who labeled it “anti-aesthetic.”
“I can say that it was obscene and not aesthetic to pull out a president at 5 a.m., raiding his residence, shooting guns,” Zelaya said, adding that soldiers pumped 150 bullets into a metal door at the house.
He had his cell phone as he left his room, and made an effort to call his wife to let her know.
“When they saw my cellular, they didn’t want me to make a call to let the people know perhaps,” he said. “They surrounded me, 10 military men with their rifles.
Nearly naked, drunken guys dancing around a bonfire and engaging in lewd conduct. And there are pictures and videos. No it’s not a frat party gone wild. It’s downtime for some private security contractors hired to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul, according to the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight.
Sometimes prose doesn’t quite capture the goings-on in Washington. These haikus might not either, but at least they’re short, which is an appropriate length for many of the capital events these days and easily Twitterable. Poetry is supposed to reduce things to their essence. Just in case these go too far in that direction, there are highlighted links to take you to a fuller explanation, if not a deeper meaning.POTUS hits the roadTo parry health care criticsIn Bozeman. Yeehaw!Hitting a plateau?Feds say economy isLeveling. Really?African sojournEnds for Hillary ClintonA tough trip, completeGrand Canyon freebie,For Obamas and others,aims to lure touristsFor Mrs. Shriver,They gather in Hyannis.Eunice, rest in peaceAnyone can do this. You probably know the rules: three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, five in the third. Show us what you’ve got!Photo credit: REUTERS/Rickey Rogers (Grand Canyon, January 2, 2008)