Tales from the Trail

Trump accepts high marks for CPAC

USA-POLITICS/Donald Trump went to CPAC this week and aced his performance as a prospective White House Wannabe. Any doubts? Just ask him.

“I tell the truth. I tell it like it is, and people understand what I’m saying, and the place did go crazy,” The Donald tells MSNBC’s Morning Joe today.  ”That’s what I said in the speech. And that’s why I got 10 standing ovations.”

Remarks like that, taken out of context, might sound like the words of a talking ego.

But the billionaire New York real estate developer’s speech did get high marks from Politico. An A-minus, in fact,  which put him right up there with Newt Gingrich and out in front of former Senator Rick Santorum (C-plus) and House Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann (B).

Bully for him, especially when you consider the seemingly tenuous circumstances that brought him to Washington.

from Environment Forum:

The World Bank’s $6 billion man on climate change

BIRDFLU INDONESIAAs the special envoy on climate change for the World Bank, Andrew Steer might be thought of as the $6 billion man of environmental finance. He oversees more than that amount for projects to fight the effects of global warming.

"More funds flow through us to help adaptation and mitigation than anyone else," Steer said in a conversation at the bank's Washington headquarters. Named to the newly created position in June, Steer said one of his priorities is to marshall more than $6 billion in the organization's Climate Investment Funds to move from smaller pilot projects to large-scale efforts.

While the World Bank is not a party to global climate talks set for Cancun, Mexico, later this year, it is deeply engaged in this issue, Steer said. Acknowledging that an international agreement on climate change is a long shot this year, he said there are still opportunities to make changes to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that spur climate change.

Mexico’s Calderon admires Second Amendment, but wants U.S. gun control

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has no problem with the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the right to bear arms — he just wants the weapons flowing across the border into his country stopped.

MEXICO-USA/That’s what he told a joint session of the U.S. Congress, an honor not given to every foreign leader. And the way Congress received him — lengthy standing ovations — showed that Calderon was not just any foreign leader to speak from that podium but an especially close ally.

And perhaps it was the knowledge of that friendship between the two neighboring countries that allowed the Mexican president to fearlessly enter the lion’s den with red meat in hand.

Arizona law galvanizes U.S. Latinos

IMMIGRATION-USA/ARIZONAThe swastika made of refried beans smeared onto the glass doors of the Arizona State Capitol this week captured the anger of Hispanics at the law authorizing local police to question anyone reasonably suspected of being in the United States illegally. The controvesial law, which critics say is a mandate for racial profiling, has galvanized the country’s largest minority that is expected to turn out in large numbers at planned rallies in more than 70 U.S. cities.

Hispanics were disappointed that President Barack Obama failed to deliver on his campaign promise to overhaul the immigration system in his first year in office. The Pew Research Center says 76 percent of the estimated 11.9 million illegal immigrants in the United States are Hispanics. The Latino community sees the undocumented immigrants as contributing with their labor to the growth of the U.S. economy and deserve the right to be legal residents.

The Arizona measure was criticized by other minorities. “This law is un-American as it unjustly targets communities of color, in particular immigrant communities, which have been critical to the economic growth of our country throughout its history,” said Michael Honda, chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

from Global News Journal:

U.S. Hispanics riled over immigrants’ healthcare exclusion

By Tim Gaynor

President Barack Obama's signature battle to overhaul the United States' $2.5 trillion healthcare industry to extend coverage and lower costs for Americans has met fierce opposition from Republicans.

But a move by Democrat backers to exclude 12 million illegal immigrants from buying health coverage and restrict the participation of authorized migrants has drawn the ire of U.S. Hispanics -- a bloc that overwhelmingly turned out to vote for Obama in last year's election.

Hispanic lawmakers and activists are riled by the bill pushed in the U.S. Senate by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, which denies illegal immigrants the option to buy health insurance and places a five-year wait period on legal immigrants before they can access health benefits.

Are your documents in order for the summer holidays?

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is making a big push to make sure Americans are aware that effective June 1 new document requirements will be in effect for entering the United States by land or sea from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The promotional material handed out to reporters to show the different acceptable forms of identification all used the name in the example of  ”Happy Traveler.”

USA/

 

Verbal statements of American citizenship, birth certificates, or ordinary driver’s licenses will not comply with the new requirements for re-entry after camping in the wilds of Canada, sunning on the beaches of Mexico, or cruising the Caribbean.

Gaffes and protocol slips in the Obama/”Buden” White House

It’s May 4th, but the White House decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) a day early.
    That’s not exactly a breach of protocol, but introducing the Mexican ambassador and then not letting him speak kind of is.
USA/OBAMA    That’s what President Barack Obama did on Monday at a White House ceremony to highlight the Mexican holiday.
    “Welcome to Cinco de Cuatro — Cinco de Mayo at the White House,” Obama told a group of mostly Hispanic guests at the executive mansion. “We are a day early, but we always like to get a head start here at the Obama White House.”
    After making brief remarks Obama introduced the Mexican ambassador, Arturo Sarukhan, and his wife, Valencia.
    But as Sarukhan made his way to the podium, the president and first lady Michelle Obama made their way into the crowd and started shaking hands.
    As crowds go, shaking hands with Barack Obama has a way of trumping speeches from Mexican ambassadors, so the noise level in the White House’s Grand Foyer rose and the ambassador looked like he wasn’t going to get to that speech.
    Whoops. The president realized his mistake, stopped shaking hands, and came back to the podium to urge quiet.
    “In an incredible breach of protocol, I introduced my good friend, the Ambassador, but he has greetings from the people of Mexico,” Obama said. “So I take complete responsibility for that.  I apologize.  Will everybody please settle down, and let’s hear from our Ambassador from Mexico.”
    Applause, applause, and all was well. Sarukhan delivered his remarks and the crowd went back to partying.
    The gaffe was not the only one to come out of the White House on Monday. Earlier in the day Vice President Biden’s office sent out a statement that it had to correct minutes later. The mistake? The boss’s name was misspelled.
    “Vice President Buden Kicks Off $32 million Renovation and Restoration of Wilimington Train Station” the announcement read.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas (Obama with Sarukhan)

The First Draft: South of the Border

MEXICO/President Obama heads south to meet with Mexico President Felipe Calderon, to discuss drug-related violence, energy and trade. He leaves Andrews Air Force Base at around 10 a.m.

Before that, he announced plans to promote high-speed rail network.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also headed south, visiting Haiti before meeting up with Obama in Trinidad and Tobago for the Summit of the Americas.

Yes, Congress is still out of town.

The Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOPers, open their convention tonight with a dinner and drinks at a gay-friendly sports bar. Cindy and Meghan McCain host a reception for big-money sponsors tomorrow, but no current Republican officeholders are scheduled to address the group.