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President Obama Meets with President-Elect Donald Trump at the White House


AP- US President-elect Donald Trump has said it was a “great honor” to meet President Barack Obama for transition talks at the White House.

Mr Obama said he was “encouraged” by their “excellent” and “wide-ranging” conversation, which lasted for more than an hour.

Mr Trump has questioned Mr Obama’s US citizenship and vowed to dismantle his legacy in the past.

During the campaign, Mr Obama called Mr Trump “uniquely unqualified”.

However, Mr Obama said he was “rooting” for him after his shock defeat of Hillary Clinton.

After their behind-closed-doors meeting in the White House, Mr Obama said: “My number one priority in the coming two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful.”

He said they had discussed domestic and foreign policy and he had been “very encouraged” by Mr Trump’s interest in working with President Obama’s team on issues facing the US.

Mr Trump said he would “very much look forward” to dealing with President Obama in future.

Photo: President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval office.

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President Obama Delivers Final SOTU Address


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama delivered his eighth State of the Union address before a packed House chamber on Tuesday, pushing back on “negative attacks” toward his policies and the typical moniker that comes at the end of an incumbent president’s second term: lame duck.

Obama’s 58-minute speech illuminated his top priorities and challenges for the last seven years. He also honed in on his agenda to fix a broken immigration system, to push climate change and to tackle criminal justice reform, especially gun violence. Also, the Obama administration is aiming to expand the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States.

Recently, the president signed an education bill that he said will “fix some of the challenges of the No Child Left Behind and promises to invest more in early childhood education.” On December 10, 2015, Obama signed into law  a new education reform bill that shifts power from the federal government to the states. Each state will now set the agenda on issues of school performance and accountability. Under the Every Child Achieves Act, local districts will once again have power to determine how to improve troubled schools. In all, the new bill minimizes federal oversight of schools and doesn’t have an ambitous goal for education reform.

Margaret Spellings, who served as former Pesident George Bush’s education secretary from 2005 to 2009, sounded an alarm, saying Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, shephered a bill that removed the consequences to local school districts for failing to meet a federal educational standard or take the pressure off local officials to effectively fix low-performing schools.

Before Obama’s new bill, there was strict federal control on education. Now, the Senate bill nixed most of NCLB’s major accountability provisions.

RELATED: CNN’s State of the Union 2016: Full text

Obama also touted additional achievement, especially his health care bill. To date, six million people have signed up for Obamacare, which was passed in Congress and came into law in March 2010. And nearly 18 million people have gained access to healthcare, Obama said.

He also touted his accomplishments with the economy, climate change and bringing China, one of the world’s largest emission centers, to the table.  America signed a climate change deal at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change last month. The agreement calls for countries to reduce greenhouses emissions. Additionally, White House officials said unemployment was cut in half.

However, Obama signed a bill that aims to cut food stamps by $8.7 billion in the next 10 years. The cut was a part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

“All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done,”  he said.

He did not, however, set the agenda for the 2016 election as other presidents such as Dwight Eisenhower have done in the past. And he was faced with obstruction on many other issues, including Federal and Circuit Court judge appointments. On Monday, his last appointment, Felipe Restrepo of Pennsylvania, became the only the second Circuit Court judge approved in 2015. Restrepo was Obama’s last nominee to be confirmed.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration also said it would join a new push with the United Nations to allow police agencies help respond to terrorism. The Obama administration said Islamic terrorism is less worrying than “homegrown” terror. But reports are finding that domestic terrorism is just as dangerous as foreign terrorism. The Obama administration has issued reports that claim Tea Party groups and nativist groups are possible domestic terrorists.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was one of several guests who personify President Obama’s tenure in office.

While Malloy was with First Lady and Congressman John Larson (D-1) was also joined by a special guest: Geoffrey Tillman, who was wrongfully convicted of a crime and served more than 15 years.

Viewers, for the most part, saw an energetic president who pushed proposals for the coming year ending with a deep resolve that “America is emerging stronger and better.”

The speech was well-received.

According to a CNN poll, 53 percent of viewers had favored the President’s speech, matching the highest rating of his presidency reached following his 2013 address. Only 20 percent of viewers said they had a positive reaction to his speech and 25 percent reported a negative view.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley gave the Republican response, in which she criticized Obama’s policies and critiqued Trump for leading the campaign trail with anger and showmanship.

Haley also cast Obama and his administration in an unflattering light, saying  America “would soon have a chance to turn the page.”

“The President’s record has often fallen far short of his soaring words,” Haley said.

 House Speaker Paul Ryan also debut as House Speaker alongside Biden.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was designated as the Cabinet member who did not attend the State of the Union address.

Photo Courtesy of VOA.

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How to Get Un-Elected


LatinoLA, Commentary

I must say that the campaign for the 14th District seat on the Los Angeles City Council is already shaping up to be one of the best examples of how one LOSES a council seat. It’s been years since we’ve had incumbent eff things up this bad in quite a long time.

I mean it’s been years since Art Snyder had to “retire” from office because of his inability to keep city-owned cars from flying off the road and into various other vehicles, light poles, and stop signs after long nights “working” in his council office.

A City Council seat ($180K a year) in Los Angeles is as good as gold. Richard Alatorre served the 14th District moderately well until he no longer had any more friends he could “help.”

Antonio Villaraigosa used the district as a springboard to the mayor’s office.

I assume that incumbent 14th District Councilmember Jose Huizar has a sense of history and knows that with just a little bit of effort he might be able sit in that chair in City Hall for years to come.

But no — Huizar decided to show us all how NOT to get re-elected. I thought that his lack of attention to the “meat &potatoes” issues (papas &carne asada?) would only help him NOT get re-elected to a certain point. The pot holes, gangs, graffiti, lack of supermarkets and other retail and economic development, the bevy of massage parlors, and ineffectual schools (he was a school board member before the City Council) just wasn’t enough for Huizar.

In his infinite wisdom, Huizar decided a few years back that his campaign motto was going to be “if it was good enough for Nixon, then its good enough for me.” I can see him channeling the voice of Tricky Dick in ordering his staff to put together spreadsheets of his “friends” (boy just think if he had put that thought to a better use he could have beaten Zuckerberg to the punch).

Now I’m not a prima donna, so I know that in the realpolitik of our country politicians spend an inordinate amount of time raising money to get re-elected. So in that world, knowing who your “amigos” are is important.

I suppose that Huizar’s got a lot on his mind so it’s tough to remember who his friends are. So a list would be helpful.

Obviously, the organization that friends belong to is important to note…but I’m going to hazard a guess that assigning a rating scale to their level of importance and “friendship” is at a whole other level.

Thank god the staff also included a legend so that we could understand what the numbers meant (very thoughtful…again I suppose that the staff figured that Huizar would have so much on his mind that he would forget what the ratings meant).

This makes the recent revelation that Huizar’s campaign manager sent out a missive in which he said that he was going to put a political “bullet in the forehead” of challenger Rudy Martinez no surprise. The missive said “we are going to unleash the dogs of Satan on Rudy and he is going to wish he never heard the words ‘team huizar.'” (Funny but I don’t remember dogs in the whole heaven &hell thing…also doesn’t ‘team huizar’ sound like a real estate broker?).

Ok, so in light of the whole Tucson massacre, was “bullet in the forehead” the right way to go? I’m going to say

NO. Perhaps it was easy to laugh some of this stuff off a few months ago as locker room humor between the candidate and his consigliere but then you compound the problem by putting that in an email? As my abuelita would say, “¡Que tonto!”

If he’s trying to figure out how to get himself fired, or un-elected, from a $180,000 a year job, Huizar has done everything right. He almost makes the City Council members in Bell look like decent people (yeah, they stole money but at least I haven’t seen or read that they were advocating physical violence on their opponents).

It’s obvious that someone bought the Huizar campaign all six seasons of The Sopranos (Ralphie was my favorite character) and they decided that they were going to go Jersey on Rudy.

Here’s a note to Huizar and his campaign: Stop with the Lists and the Death Threats and figure out how to clean up the graffiti, fix the potholes, improve the schools and get some supermarkets in the neighborhood that have a bigger fresh produce selection than a tequila selection.

With a B.A. from Cal, a Masters Degree from Princeton and a Law Degree from UCLA, you just figure he’d be the right guy for the gig. Yeah it might be tough but that’s what you get paid to do.

Duh.

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