Tales from the Trail

Obama’s security tweaks unlikely to quiet political opponents

January 5, 2010

President Barack Obama will tighten airline security today in a bid to thwart any future attack like last month’s plot to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner. But will that silence his political opponents? Not likely. With congressional elections looming in November, the stakes may be too high.

Bomb plot thrusts Obama into political storm

January 4, 2010

President Barack Obama is weathering a political storm over last month’s suspected al Qaeda plot to bomb a Detroit-bound plane, particularly from Republicans who say he dropped the ball on security while pursuing healthcare and climate reforms. But how much substance there is behind the allegations may depend on who’s talking.

Want to be Obama’s neighbor? House in Chicago for sale

October 26, 2009

obama-familyCHICAGO – Be President Barack Obama’s neighbor for a cool $1.85 million. 

The 17-room, 6,000 square foot (557 sq metres) brick house for sale adjacent to Obama’s Chicago home needs work to update the kitchen and bathrooms, but there is no need to worry about break-ins, the seller says. 

Group accuses U.S. Kabul embassy guards of misconduct

September 2, 2009

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.

Eric Holder seems headed toward confirmation

January 16, 2009

WASHINGTON — What a difference a few days can make in the rough and tumble world of American politics, particularly in the U.S. Capitol. Just ask Eric Holder, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick to be U.S. attorney general. 
Last week, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell named Holder as the only one of Obama’s Cabinet nominees in possible trouble. 
There was Republican concern about Holder, particularly his decision, while President Bill Clinton’s deputy attorney general, to back a pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. 
But after receiving rave reviews at his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, Holder seems certain to be confirmed. USA-OBAMA/HOLDER
Under questioning, Holder admitted he erred in the Rich matter, broke with the Bush administration to call waterboarding “torture” and vowed to run a Justice Department free of political meddling. He also promised to make fighting financial crimes a top priority. 
At least two Republicans said afterward that they intend to support him, which should provide enough votes in the Democratic-led Senate to clear any procedural roadblock. 
Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, reiterated his support for Holder, predicting he would be a strong attorney general. 
And on Friday, Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida came out for Holder after what he described as “a very productive meeting with him.” 
“I adhere to the principle that, assuming qualifications, a president gets to choose the members of his Cabinet,” Martinez said. 
“Mr. Holder answered a number of questions to my satisfaction,” Martinez said. “I intend to support Mr. Holder’s confirmation and urge my colleagues to do the same.”

Inauguaral clampdown on cars

January 8, 2009

2WASHINGTON – The million or more people expected in Washington for Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration might want to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a whole lot of walking.

The First Draft: Monday, Dec 1

December 1, 2008

With the images of death and destruction in Mumbai last week fresh in everyone’s minds, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is set on Monday to name his national security team
At a 10:40 EST (1540 GMT) news conference in Chicago, Obama is expected to name former rival Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state and nominate Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on in that role. In addition he is expected to name Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary, Eric Holder as attorney general and adviser Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations.
After a series of three straight news conferences last week focused on the ailing U.S. economy, Obama will switch gears today as he will likely face questions about India and Pakistan and his proposed policies toward the two nuclear-armed nations.     
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to India on Wednesday. She has been in contact with the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in recent days to ease tensions between the states.

Inside the Tent: Twin Cities residents on protests and security

September 4, 2008

The Twin Cities have been the scene of sometimes violent protests and a heavy security presence during the Republican National Convention. Kelly Nuxoll of Huffington Post’s Off the Bus talked to two residents about what they think and how they’ve been affected.

Inside the Tent: Pedicab confessions

August 28, 2008

Pedicab driver Laura Caldwell shares her stories from the Democratic National Convention: Military helicopters, armored golf carts, and teenage anarchists with the utmost respect for traffic laws. This video was shot by fellow pedicab operator Teri Robnett, a contributor to Reuters Inside the Tent.