President Obama’s disaster schedule competes with issues
Floods, tornadoes, earthquakes
President Barack Obama returned from a whirlwind trip to Europe and headed straight to Joplin, Mo., where neighborhoods were reduced to rubble during a May 22 tornado. Some 134 deaths have been confirmed to date. The number of missing was dramatically reduced from 1,500 as late as May 24 to 10 this week.
At a memorial for lost loved ones on Sunday, the president lauded the heroism of some who lost their lives while saving others in Joplin: “And, in the face of winds that showed no mercy, no regard for human life, that did not discriminate by race or faith or background, it was ordinary people, swiftly tested, who said, “I’m willing to die right now so that someone else might live.”
Almost as much as dealing with domestic and international issues, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have found themselves comforting victims of natural disasters over the past several months. Among them:
• In mid-May, thousands of people, threatened by flooding from the Mississippi River, were forced from their homes into shelters to await the crest. Though thousands of acres of corn and other farmlands were lost, the river—swollen after severe weather—reportedly crested at 47.8 feet, 14.1 feet above flood stage, only a few inches below projections. The states of Tennessee and Louisiana were also hugely affected by the flooding. Still, Obama met with some who were affected.
• In late April, the president and first lady visited Tuscaloosa, Ala., after deadly tornadoes killed at least 300 people and more than 100 remained homeless.
• In Japan in March a devastating earthquake and tsunami that followed killed more than 250,000 people. President Obama met with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan during an international summit in France last week. Obama promised reporters that Japan will emerge “stronger than ever.”
That was also the hope as thousands gathered at the Missouri Southern University on Sunday to mourn lost loved ones in Joplin. Comforting the crowd, Obama mostly focused on how the best in people comes out during disasters.
“A university turned itself into a makeshift hospital,” he said to applause. “Some of you used your pickup trucks as ambulances, carrying the injured … on doors that served as stretchers. Your restaurants have rushed food to people in need. Businesses have filled trucks with donations. You’ve waited in line for hours to donate blood to people you know, but also to people you’ve never met. And in all this, you have lived the words of Scripture: We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; We are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
He concluded, quoting Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri: “As the governor said, you have shown the world what it means to love thy neighbor. You’ve banded together. You’ve come to each other’s aid. You’ve demonstrated a simple truth: that amid heartbreak and tragedy, no one is a stranger. Everybody is a brother. Everybody is a sister.… We can all love one another.”
By Hazel Trice Edney
Trice Edney NewsWire
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—First lady Michelle Obama spoke at a luncheon campaign fundraiser at the Calabasas home of actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and taped an appearance on the ABC late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live” today.
Early in her half-hour speech, Obama told the crowd of about 250 at the fundraiser that she fell in love with Barack Obama because of his character.
BURBANK, Calif.—President Barack Obama is scheduled to spend about two and a half hours in the Los Angeles area today to appear for the fifth time on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on the third stop in a whirlwind one-day visit to four states.
The visit will create delays on the streets around Los Angeles International Airport and in Burbank between 4:25 p.m. and 8:45 p.m., although “every effort will be made to minimize the traffic impact to the public,” according to a Los Angeles Police Department statement.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—First lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to conclude a two-day visit to Southern California today by taping an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and speaking at her third fundraiser in two days for her husband’s re-election campaign.
During her appearance on the NBC late-night talk show, Obama will discuss leading the U.S. delegation for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and life at the White House.
Longtime civil rights attorney Carl A. Earles celebrated his 90th birthday on June 24 at his home with a small group of friends and neighbors and congratulations from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Gov. Jerry Brown, Los Angeles County Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles City Council members Bernard Parks (8th District) and Jan Perry (9th District).
The prevalence of childhood obesity among African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Native Americans exceeds that of other ethnic groups. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reported that in the year 2000, 19 percent of non-Hispanic Black children and 20 percent of Mexican American children were obese compared with 11 percent of non-Hispanic White children.