Michelle Obama

The new dynamics of protecting a president: Most threats against Obama issued online

A Secret Service agent watches as U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands after speaking about jobs and the economy during a visit to Millennium Steel Service as part of Manufacturing Day in Princeton, Indiana October 3, 2014.

© Reuters/Kevin Lamarque A Secret Service agent watches as U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands after speaking about jobs and the economy during a visit to Millennium Steel Service as part of Manufacturing Day in Princeton, Indiana…

Having dealt first hand with one of those online threats to the POTUS, I have my opinion about The Secret Service’s ability to curb such threats.  I may be wrong or things may have improved in the last few years but when I was documenting a disturbed person who accused the POTUS of many things and was extremely angry with him, the Secret Service seemed to gently handle him and his threats (which were numerous.)

The Washington Post via MSN 

More than 60 percent of the threats against President Obama are made online, according to the Secret Service, posing a new set of challenges for an agency under fire for a series of critical security lapses.

Lawmakers and private security officials question whether the Secret Service has sufficiently adapted to a new social-media landscape in which it must sort through a blizzard of online references to the president, investigate those that raise flags and then reconcile them with the intelligence they are gathering on the ground.

“I don’t know if they’ve adapted to these new threats,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security. “The attacks are going to come, no matter what. Are there new and creative ways of detecting them? I’m not convinced they’ve tied those loops.”

Chaffetz noted that he was “pleasantly surprised” that in 2011 agents were immediately able to pick up a tweet a D.C. woman posted about a man shooting at the White House. But he questioned why that piece of evidence was not used to corroborate suspicions among several officers that shots had been fired. Instead, the agency forwarded the report to the U.S. Park Police for further investigation, and it would be four days before it was discovered that bullets had hit the White House.

“Why didn’t that show up in the system?” Chaffetz asked about the tweet.

During Obama’s first run for the presidency, the issue of clearest concern was his race, which made him a magnet for threats from people who thought it disqualified him from the office.

As Obama nears six years in the White House, the number of overtly racist threats have subsided but the threats in general continue. Today, the dominant theme of grievances against the president is government overreach, according to current and former Secret Service officials, as critics suggest Obama is abusing his power and trampling the Constitution.

Brian Leary, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said the agency has adjusted to the fact that most threats against the president now occur online.

“The capability is there, and we have to evolve with technology as well,” he said, adding that the number of threats against Obama “did spike a few months after the [2008] election, but they declined back to a level that is consistent with his predecessors, and they still are.”

Other sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Obama received triple the number of threats than previous presidents during his initial candidacy and first year in office. That number has declined significantly since then, they said, but is still elevated compared with Obama’s predecessors

What constitutes a threat?

Members of the protective intelligence division consider even the most minor suggestions of harm to the president worthy of investigation. One agent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal agency operations, described being instructed to interview people who were intoxicated in a bar and were overheard describing how they would like to hurt the president.

Since Obama took office, at least 65 people have been indicted on charges of threatening to harm him. In January, Daniel L. Temple, who had tweeted “im coming to kill you” and “so I gotta kill barack obama first,” was sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty.

Nicholas Savino was sentenced in March to a year in prison for posting this on the White House Web site in August 2013: “President Obama the Anti-Christ, As a result of breaking the constitution you will stand down or be shot dead.”

Police, who arrested Savino a few days after he posted the statement, found three guns and about 11,000 rounds of ammunition in his apartment and car.

Agents briefed on protective intelligence for presidents and presidential candidates say that the rise in threats has much to do with the advance of the technological age, with the agency now receiving a much larger number of electronic communications that contain threats.

Today, racially based threats constitute 5 to 10 percent of the those made against the president, said people familiar with the matter.

Marilyn Mayo, co-director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said her group has found that physical threats against Obama and racial remarks on white-supremacist sites peaked in 2008 and 2009.

During the early days of Obama’s initial candidacy and the first year of his presidency, according to several people familiar with the matter, many of the threats against him had a frightening racist quality.

“If you had seen the stuff we were reading, it would have made your jaw drop,” said one former agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topic.

Mayo said her group continues to see “a tremendous amount of anger against Obama,” adding that much of it focuses on assertions that he has overstepped his constitutional authority.

Some critics do turn violent. Jerad Miller had called for Obama’s impeachment on hisFacebook page; in June he and his wife, Amanda, shot two police officers in a pizza restaurant in Las Vegas. They placed a swastika and a “Don’t tread on me” flag on one officer’s body and a note on the other’s that read, “This is the start of the revolution.” Miller died in a shootout with police, while his wife committed suicide.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors white-supremacist organizations, said in an interview, “The fact that all of this is online makes the job in some way easier and in some way harder.

“All this ugliness is exposed to the light of day,” Potok said. “On the other hand, you typically have no idea who are the people posting on these sites, because they’re anonymous.”

Steve Atkiss, who served as special assistant for operations under President George W. Bush and is now a partner at Command Consulting, said his firm’s private and government clients are looking for ways to mine social media for these kinds of threats.

“One thing those clients have been clamoring for, for several years now, is a tool that would sort through the 50,000 tweets per second that are flying through cyberspace to find what is meaningful to them,” said Atkiss, adding that his firm has recently found software that puts keywords in context. “It’s been a struggle.”

One of the biggest challenges is finding the context to any violent or negative reference to the president, especially if agents are trying to track a plot in progress. In June, the Secret Service issued a work order seeking software that could detect sarcasm and identify social-media influencers online.

Early fears for Obama

Before Obama was elected president, the threats his Senate office received were so vituperative that Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) asked the Secret Service to review whether he needed federal protection. Then-Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told Congress that the agency was going to have to “pick him up” earlier than any presidential candidate in history, with the exception of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had an existing detail because of her husband’s time in the Oval Office.

The prospect of the first African American president being assassinated was such a serious concern among some black voters that the Obamas addressed it directly in the campaign. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) said he discussed the matter with Michelle Obama after a high school teacher in his home town of Sumter told him that some of her African American students “were not going to support him. They did not want to see him elected, because somebody would kill him.”

Michelle Obama — who privately talked to Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., about the possibility of a presidential assassination before her husband was elected — gave an answer similar to one she gave in a 2007 interview with CBS’s Steve Kroft: that her husband was just as vulnerable as a private citizen.

“I don’t lose sleep over it, because the realities are, as a black man, Barack can get shot going to the gas station, you know,” she said in the interview. “So you can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibilities of what might happen. We just weren’t raised that way.”

Secret Service officials also ask aides to Cabinet members to notify the agency if they receive any menacing communications that have racial overtones and mention the president, according to people familiar with the matter.

Government overreach has been a major theme in this year’s midterm campaigns as Republicans have accused Obama of overstepping the bounds of his executive authority. It also has had a violent tone at times, such as Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s campaign to take up arms against Bureau of Land Management officials who sought to round up his cattle after he refused to pay federal grazing fees for years.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of anti-government militia groups in the United States — which reached 858 during the Clinton administration — had dipped to a low point of 131 in 2007 under Bush. But it rose to 1,096 last year, a nearly tenfold increase since Obama took office.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said in an interview that “there’s a meanness in American society today that reminds me of the period in our history, the civil rights period, where it was dangerous to speak up and speak out.”

But Lewis, who spoke with the Obamas at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s recent annual dinner, said the revelations about potential vulnerabilities in the White House’s security system did not seem to be affecting the first couple.

“I don’t think they live in fear. None of us live in fear,” Lewis said, referring to prominent African American political figures. “You’re not preoccupied with what might or might not happen. You just do what you have to do.”

Fox News host brings Michelle Obama hate to Russell Wilson interview

Fox News' Neil Cavuto interviewing Russell Wilson. Chyron: 'Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson on his fight to end childhood hunger'

‘Please say you hate Michelle Obama. It’s all we have left here.’

Why? What the hell is Fox News’ “endgame” with the Obamas?  They have about 2 years more to be in the White House.  Talk about ‘overkill’…

Daily Kos

Quick, can you tie an interview with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to an irrational hatred for the First Lady? No? Well then I guess you can’t be on Fox News.

“Can this Seattle Super Bowl champ do what Michelle Obama could not?”  Cavuto asked during a teaser for the interview. “Food for thought from the guy dishing it out.”

I forget if Neil Cavuto is on the “real news” side of Fox News, but since that was never actually a thing, I guess not.

“Well, Russell, what are we doing wrong then as a nation though with this urging them to eat healthy or set up these school lunch programs where they’re urged to eat healthy. I mean, Michelle Obama’s trying. Many argue that she’s getting to be too much of a food police mommy,” Cavuto said. “Be that as it may, whatever she’s doing isn’t working and I’m wondering what you’re doing that is working. What’s the difference?”

When you’re a quarterback who Fox News will suck up to, that’s gotta count for something. No First Lady has gotten that since the last one before this one. The rest of the banter solidifies Cavuto’s reputation as being the guy on Fox you really do not want to have to sit for an interview with, aside from all the other people on Fox.

“Well, the first lady, I have so much respect for her. I was able to meet her and the President, obviously, you know when we went to the Super Bowl, we won the Super Bowl and got to go to the White House,” Wilson said. “You know, I think at the end of the day, you know the kids, it’s tough to eat healthy. You know, I remember when I was a little kid I was always struggling trying to eat healthy.” […]”Really? That was never my problem, Russell. I guess you have some issues,” Cavuto said.

We keep reminding Democratic politicians that appearing on Fox News will gain you nothing but trouble. We probably ought to extend that warning to every other person in America as well.

Hannity And His White Pals Agree: Obama And Holder Should Just Shut Up About Racism!


Instead of discussing the substance of recent comments on race by Attorney General Eric Holder and First Lady Michelle Obama, Sean Hannity used the opportunity to attack them. First, he gathered an all-white panel, then fed them race-baiting prompts.

First attack: Hannity compared Holder’s and Obama’s comments to Condoleezza Rice talking about how wonderful it was that, having grown up in the segregated south, she could now run for president. The implication was clear: that Obama and Holder are just resentful sourpusses who don’t love their country enough. However, both Obama and Holder, in their speeches, also made similar remarks marveling at the progress of race relations in their lifetimes. Funny how that got ignored, eh?

“Very interesting, isn’t it?” Hannity said about the cherry-picked clips. His innocent tone disingenuously hid the racial animosity he was clearly looking to engender.

Props to guest Deirdre Imus for immediately smacking down the agenda. “Everyone comes at life at a different angle and a different perspective… So I don’t think it’s fair to compare,” she said. “…Don’t deny that there’s racism and racial disparity!”

Hannity, perhaps trying to hide his own very ugly record on race, said, “There’s white on black racism, black on white racism but it is not the majority of Americans by any stretch.”

Well, that’s good to know. Because when Hannity’s pal, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson announced on Hannity & Colmes that “most blacks” in Tennessee are “so racist,” Hannity didn’t even let his other guest rebut. In fact, Hannity seems to have some kind of obsession with black racism – and a special affinity for white bigots. Check out the Fox Attacks Black America video below (I assisted in the making of it) and note which Fox host has a starring role.

Guest Katie Pavlich jumped at Hannity’s race bait. Which is no surprise given her blatantly condescending and hostile attitude toward African Americans. First, she sneered that Holder did not, like Rice, suffer segregation (suggesting he was more “black” than patriotic) and moved on to blame President Obama for opposing school choice (which, Pavlich questionably claimed, would erase school segregation). “So if anyone’s at fault here, it’s the Obama administration,” she said in a taunting, mean-girl voice.

But leave it to guest Gavin McInnes – who last week likened gay advocacy to sharia law – to be the most deliberately offensive. “That Eric Holder attitude is crippling for blacks. Because when you portray the world as ‘they’re out to get you. You can’t make it. It’s no use even trying,’ that’s much more harmful than any of this mythical racism.”

Well, that’s good to know, too. Because if there’s any group that continuously whines about their victimhood, it’s conservatives on Fox. So we’ll look for McInnes to speak out about their crippling attitude. But don’t hold your breath.

Meanwhile, Hannity quickly suggested Michelle Obama and Eric Holder were in some kind of racial cabal: “To me it was suspicious, her and Eric Holder, the same weekend? Why?”

Pavlich had a racially hate-filled answer at the ready: “Because they have to keep the bar lowered because they have a certain sector – voting block – that keeps them in office based on…” I couldn’t hear the rest of her answer but I think we can guess the gist.

Watch Hannity’s panel whitesplain racism in America below via Media Matters.

NRA comes out against #BringBackOurGirls campaign

attribution: None Specified

If the Obama’s are for it, then their detractors are against it…no matter how sensible the issue.  Once again, it’s called Obama derangement syndrome

Daily Kos

The NRA outrage of the moment.

Jeebus, NRA, isn’t there anyone left in your organization who realizes how nutty you sound?

“[T]his month, in response to terrorists kidnapping 300 girls in Nigeria, First Lady Michelle Obama locked and loaded for battle with her own ‘selfie,’ with the unconditional surrender demand #BringBackOurGirls,” the NRA’s lobbying arm wrote in an editorial on its website. “Tyrants and terrorists, like murderers, rapists and robbers, understand only one thing: force. They laugh at, and are emboldened by, weakness. That is why it is important topreserve and promote the right to keep and bear arms. An armed citizenry deters violence.” […]

“Ms. Psaki’s and Mrs. Obama’s naiveté–thinking that Vladimir Putin or Boko Haram terrorists will change their ways because of tweets–would provide ample fodder for their ridicule, were we so inclined,” the NRA said. “But while we appreciate the value of maintaining a sense of humor in the face of things that are disagreeable, we do so only within reasonable limits. There is nothing funny in this instance.”

So how would we fix this? Should First Lady Michelle Obama have been packin’ heat in her photo? Holding up a sign in one hand and an assault rifle in the other, maybe chomping down on a cigar while tigers ride orcas in the background?

Anyway, the NRA thinks that hashtags embolden terrorists, because of course they do.

Tyrants and terrorists, like murderers, rapists and robbers, understand only one thing:  force.  They laugh at, and are emboldened by, weakness. That is why it is important to preserve and promote the right to keep and bear arms.  An armed citizenry deters violence.

Well, then get your heavily armed asses over there, fella. Them freedom bullets ain’t gonna fire themselves. Oh right, I forgot you don’t actually give a damn.

However, those of us who understand and value the Second Amendment will not forfeit the right to keep and bear arms, and we will not stake our personal safety on “#PleaseDontHurtMe” tweets.  Instead, we will exercise our right to arms, by acquiring the best arms for defensive purposes and becoming proficient in their use. And we will do everything possible in 2016 to help elect a president who understands the importance of maintaining strength, whether dealing with common criminals here at home, or with international criminals on the world stage.

Sigh. Again—there’s nobody on staff who might pipe up with a “you know, maybe let’s not open our mouths on this one? I think we’ll just look like asses.”

Oh, while we have the NRA’s attention: A suggestion. It seems like the becoming-proficient-in-their-use part could use some work. That’s supposed to be your actual day job, right?

Quitter Queen says ‘no’ to Twitter diplomacy from her Facebook Fortress of Derpitude

Sarah Palin speaks to Fox News (Screen-shot)


The headline says it all about Sarah (“Half-term governor”) Palin.  Love it…

The Raw Story

When we last saw Sarah Palin,  — Half-Term Governor of The Northern Territories, Mother of GED Students, Destroyer of Words — she was fresh off of a featured speaker gig at the NRA’s annual Blood Frenzy Circle Jerk. Depending upon your point of view, her speech went over boffo or she put her Naughty Monkey-shod slingback in it when she proudly said that she would like to to throw a Baby Jesus shower for each and every swarthy type she could get her  hands on when they are not full of grifted rube bucks.

This did not sit well with the churchgoing folks who set about calling her a blasphemer and woman of ill will.  It’s almost as if they didn’t know her already.

So Sarah laid low for a few days after telling those namby-pamby turn-the-other-cheek fake Christians to ‘buck up or stay in the truck‘:

If some overly sensitive wusses took offense, remember the First Amendment doesn’t give you a right not to be offended. Perhaps hypocritical folks who only want Freedom of Speech to apply to those who agree with their liberal agenda might want to consider that the evil terrorists who were the brunt of my one-liner would be the first to strip away ALL our rights if given the chance.

Why do Christians hate America?

Many is the time I have asked myself that.

But now Sarah is back and talking trash about that #BringBackOurGirls thing that was a ‘thing’ about a week ago. Sure, she’s late to the party, but if you’re a Palin gal, ‘better late than never’ is more than something you say  once every month.

Dictating to someone with college level fancy type readin’ and cipherin’ skills, Sarah is hootin’ and hollerin’on her ShoutyFace internet hangout, once again  explaining what she would do if everyone in America suffered blunt head trauma and then  mass-elected her President and she had to deal with terrorists who weren’t close enough to dunk like an Oreo.

Short version: track them down and kill them like they were a baby wolf fleeing a low-flying Piper Cub full of drunken ‘sportsmen.’

More importantly she wants President Nobummer to quit Twittertwatting executive orders because that is no way to be an executive, which she briefly was before she up and quit-ed-ed.

Diplomacy via Twitter is the lazy, ineffectual, naïve, and insulting way for America’s leaders to deal with major national and international issues. It’s embarrassing.

Sarah is speaking of Michelle Obama’s tweet holding a #BringBackOurGirls sign and we have to assume that she thought Michelle Obama was Barack Obama because, everyone knows, all of those black people look alike or something.  Of course, Sarah disregards the fact that the US governmenthas already been providing help to Nigeria which icoincidentally is in Africa which Sarah thinks is a country. But Sarah is on a roll, so …. blabber on, dumb lady:

And what is the Obama administration’s weapon of choice in this battle for these young girls’ lives? Hashtagging tweets on social media! I kinda-sorta doubt a tweet will intimidate the kidnappers much. So, if you’re going to jump in and do something about these Islamic terrorists at all, then do it right, do it firmly, and kick their ass.

Lock and load, America! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! These colors don’t run!

Unless they are faced with an ethics investigation.

Or they hate working.

Or Katie Couric is stopping by to give a pop quiz.

So, hey Barry Bammer Coward Girly President Man, stop hiding behind those social media Twitter skirts  that you are totally not tweeting or Sarah Palin will have her scrivener scriven some more words together for her Facebook Wall of Sick Burns.

I, on the other hand, have no such limitations, so: #ShutUpDumbLady

10 things you need to know today: May 16, 2014

India's next prime minister Narendra Modi greeted supporters Friday. 

India’s next prime minister Narendra Modi greeted supporters Friday. (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)

The Week

India’s ruling party loses in a landslide, California wildfires flare up, and more

1. India’s ruling party goes down in defeat
Opposition leader Narendra Modi is set to become India’s next prime minister after his Bharatiya Janata Party won a five-week national election in the country’s biggest landslide in decades, according to partial results released Friday. The Indian National Congress, which has long dominated the government, conceded defeat “in all humility.” The result was seen as a protest against a wave of corruption scandals and economic setbacks. [The New York Times]


2. More evacuate as California wildfires flare up
California authorities issued 18,400 new evacuation notices in the San Diego suburb of San Marcos on Thursday after wildfires there flared up just as crews were making progress containing them. Nine unseasonably early fires have destroyed at least eight houses, an 18-unit condominium complex, and two businesses, and a badly burned body was found in a transient camp. Cooler temperatures are expected to help firefighters regain the upper hand despite the state’s worst drought in decades. [The Associated PressFox News]


3. Workers try to drive separatists out of Ukrainian cities
In a major setback for Russia and Ukrainian separatists, thousands of steelworkers and miners made a push on Thursday to retake several cities in eastern Ukraine from pro-Russian militants. Steelworkers reportedly managed to seize control of the city of Mariupol, which separatists took over several weeks ago. The nationalist workers, who are reportedly all employed by Ukraine’s richest man, also tried to win back the regional capital, Donetsk, but could not immediately drive out their rivals. [The New York Times]


4. VA watchdog reports more complaints of long hospital waits
The Veterans Affairs acting inspector general, Richard Griffin, told Congress on Thursday that new complaints had surfaced about long wait lists and falsified reports at VA hospitals and clinics. Griffin said, however, that he had not confirmed reports that dozens of veterans had died while awaiting treatment. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said he was “mad as hell” about the controversy and promised quick results of an internal audit. [The Associated Press]


5. Judge rules Arkansas gay marriages can resume
An Arkansas judge said Thursday that his ruling declaring the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional applied to all state laws, allowing gay marriages to resume a day after the state Supreme Court had said a law against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples remained in effect. In Idaho, a U.S. appeals court delayed a federal judge’s ruling overturning that state’s gay marriage ban while it considers motions for a longer stay. [Fox NewsReuters]


6. Protesters vent rage at Turkish government over mine disaster
Thousands of trade union members protested Turkey’s worst mining disaster ever on Thursday in cities around the country. Demonstrators clashed with police in the city of Izmir as the death toll in the mine reached 284, with 18 still missing. Public outraged rose against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is preparing a run for president, after one of his aides was caught on camera kicking a protester being held down by police. [BBC NewsMontreal Gazette]


7. The Obamas report $2 million to $7 million in assets
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama listed $2 million to $7 million in assets in a financial disclosure report released Thursday. In the report, required of presidents and other office holders, Obama declared holding $1 million to $5 million in U.S. Treasury notes, along with other holdings in bank accounts, index funds, and college savings plans. Vice President Joe Biden listed $276,000 to $940,000 in assets. [USA Today]


8. J.C. Penney shares rise after brightening quarterly report
J.C. Penney Co. stock jumped as much as 27 percent in late trading Thursday after the struggling department store chain reported its first quarterly sales gain in three years. Penney has lost more than $2.5 billion in three years and is still losing money — but less than expected. Analyst William Frohnhoefer of BTIG LLC said Mike Ullman, who returned as CEO last year, has stabilized the company: “The question is, ‘Can he grow it?” [Bloomberg Businessweek]


9. Clippers owner Donald Sterling fights NBA punishment
Disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is refusing to pay a $2.5 million fine issued by the NBA over secretly recorded racist remarks that have been attributed to him, according toSports Illustrated. Sterling has hired prominent antitrust lawyer Maxwell Blecher, who has written NBA leaders threatening to sue, saying Sterling did nothing to deserve the lifetime ban the league imposed in April, and “no punishment is warranted.” [Sports Illustrated]


10. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is not as great as it used to be
Jupiter’s most distinctive feature — the Great Red Spot — is shrinking, according to a NASA review of images form the Hubble Space Telescope. The spot is a gigantic storm in the planet’s atmosphere that was once as wide as three Earth’s side by side. It was 14,500 miles across in 1979, and a thousand miles thinner in 1995. Now its width is down to 10,250 miles. Scientists suspect eddies have been altering the storms internal dynamics. [CNET]

George Will Bashes #BringBackOurGirls As ‘An Exercise In Self-Esteem’ (VIDEO)


TPM LiveWire

“Power is the ability to achieve intended effects. This is not intended to have any effect on the real world,” he continued.

Watch the clip via the Daily Caller


Michelle Obama: ‘Barack and I see our own daughters’ in Nigeria’s kidnapped schoolgirls

 The Week

First Lady Michelle Obama took over her husband’s weekly radio and Internet address this morning, using Mother’s Day weekend to note that she and President Obama empathize with the families of Nigeria’s kidnapped schoolgirls. Terrorist group Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls from their dorm rooms on April 15, and the story has since gained international attention and calls for the girls’ safe return. The First Lady said the abduction is “a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions.”

She also noted, much as President Obama has in the past, that as parents, she and her husband were “outraged and heartbroken. In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters,” Michelle Obama said, referring to Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12. “We see their hopes, their dreams, and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”

Watch the full address, below:

10 things you need to know today: April 10, 2014

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett waits to speak about the stabbings. 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett waits to speak about the stabbings. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Week

A student is charged with a high-school stabbing rampage, Chris Christie catches a break, and more

1. Pennsylvania student charged with high school stabbings
A 16-year-old boy was accused of stabbing at least 21 people in a rampage at a Murrysville, Penn. high school on Wednesday. Four were in critical condition. Witnesses said the student, Alex Hribal, moved through the hallways with two kitchen knives before being tackled by a security officer and a vice principal. Another student, Nate Scimio, was praised as a hero for sending people fleeing by pulling a fire alarm, and defending a girl before being slashed. [Reuters]


2. Judge shields ex-Christie aides from Bridgegate subpoenas
A New Jersey judge ruled Wednesday that two former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie do not have to comply with subpoenas for records related to the Bridgegate scandal. Some state officials have complied and provided documents, but Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and his former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, were fighting a demand to turn over information on the allegedly politically motivated bridge-lane closures. [Asbury Park Press]


3. Russia didn’t tell the U.S. about Tsarnaev’s talk of jihad
The Russian government knew that one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, the late Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had discussed Islamic jihad in a phone call with his mother, but didn’t tell the FBI until after last year’s deadly attack. Russia had the information, which should have prompted heightened scrutiny of Tsarnaev, for two years before sharing it. Before the deadly bombing, all Russia had told the FBI was that Tsarnaev believed in radical Islam. [The New York Times]


4. Search chief says Malaysia Airlines plane will be found soon
Australian authorities shrank the area where crews are looking for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 on Wednesday after the detection of fresh pings believed to have come from the plane’s black-box recorders. “I’m now optimistic that we will find the aircraft… in the not too distant future,” said Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who’s coordinating the search. The area in the southern Indian Ocean is still as big as South Carolina. [CNN]


5. GOP senators reject equal pay bill
Republican Senators blocked a Democratic bill on pay equality on Wednesday, unanimously backing a filibuster to prevent the opening of debate. The bill sought to narrow the pay gapbetween men and women by making it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who ask about or disclose their wages. Democrats said the bill would increase fairness. Republicans said it would only increase lawsuits. [The Washington Post]


6. Car crashes into Florida day-care center
One girl was killed and 14 other children were injured on Wednesday when a car crashed into a central Florida day-care center. Authorities were searching for a man, Robert Corchado, whose SUV they believe sent another vehicle slamming into the building. Police said Corchado fled the horrific scene. “It was just kids on the ground and there was teachers giving CPR,” one witness said. “It was horrible.” [CNN]


7. Alleged cartel enforcer reportedly confesses to 40 killings
A man accused of nine contract killings in Central California has confessed to killing 40 people over several decades as a drug-cartel hitman, police said Wednesday. Jose Manuel Martinez, 51, was arrested last year after entering Arizona from Mexico, and allegedly told investigators about the murders while in custody. Martinez faces a June trial in Alabama, but says he is innocent of the charge there, a defense attorney said. [The Associated Press]


8. Embarrassed congressman decides not to ask who leaked damning video
Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) reportedly has decided not to ask the FBI to look into who leaked a surveillance video showing him kissing a staff member in his district office. McAllister, a first-term representative who ran as a devout family values Baptist, has apologized for his actions. The woman’s husband has called McAllister, saying he and his wife, who quit her job after a local paper posted the video online, are heading for divorce. [The Christian Science Monitor]


9. George H.W. Bush greets the Obamas in Houston
Former president George H.W. Bush went to Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport on Wednesday to greet President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. “When the president comes to your home town,” Bush said, “you show up to meet him.” After a brief visit with the Republican former president, Obama headed to a meeting with 30 members of the Democratic National Committee and a Democratic fundraiser. [Houston Chronicle]


10. UMass guard Derrick Gordon becomes first openly gay Division I player
University of Massachusetts basketball player Derrick Gordon announced to ESPN and Outsports that he was gay, becoming the first openly gay player in Division I men’s college basketball. Gordon, a starting sophomore shooting guard, said he told his parents, coaches, and teammates, then decided to make a public announcement because he didn’t want to hide. He said he had been waiting for a player to come out. “Finally I just said, ‘Why not me?'” [ESPN]

Columnist Blasts Obama For Acting Like ‘Hormone-Ravaged Frat Boy’ At Mandela Service

Barack Obama seems to be absorbing every moment in this picture with his wife, Michelle Obama.

What is this fascination with the unrealistic stereotype of the “virile, over sexed Black man and the angry Black woman?

Get over yourselves news people…move on, nothing to see here but your warped imaginations. The POTUS and FLOTUS do not need your intervention.

TPM Livewire

Employing an inordinate number of pastry puns and an inexplicable knowledge of the first family’s marital harmony, the New York Post’s Andrea Peyser unleashed a torrent of outrage toward President Obama for “using the solemn occasion of Nelson Mandela’s memorial service Tuesday to act like a hormone-ravaged frat boy on a road trip to a strip bar.”

The columnist’s evidence for such moral depravity? A series of photos showing the President smiling and laughing with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela’s service, all while First Lady Michelle Obama appears to be shooting her husband a scornful glare.

You might not be all that familiar if you aren’t a Twitter user, presumably because the photos were rightly treated as a goofy meme more than a news story. But Peyser, writing in her column on Thursday, somehow knows it’s a sign of trouble in paradise for Obama.

In front of 91 world leaders, the mourning nation of South Africa and Obama’s clearly furious wife, Michelle, the president flirted, giggled, whispered like a recalcitrant child and made a damn fool of himself at first sight of Denmark’s voluptuously curvy and married prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Later in the column, Peyser observed what she deemed a particularly unsavory interaction between Obama and Thorning-Schmidt.

Thorning-Schmidt placed her hands dangerously close to Obama’s side. The president’s cackling head moved inches from the Danish tart’s and yards away from his wife’s. Obama then proceeded to absorb body heat from the Dane, which he won’t be feeling at home for a long time.

It’s unclear how Peyser knows that the first lady was actually miffed, and not simply photographed at a few ill-timed moments. Peyser wasn’t at Mandela’s service, nor does she cite any source to back her assumptions. Nevertheless, Peyser insists that President Obama owes his wife — nay, the world — an apology.

President Obama has some ’splaining to do. To the woman he married. To his daughters. To the people of South Africa. And to the scandalized folks here at home. He owes the world an apology.

And don’t think Thorning-Schmidt was let off the hook either! Peyser cooked up a batch of sexually-charged labels drawn from both baked goods and Thorning-Schmidt’s nationality. The prime minister of Denmark, Peyser reminds readers throughout the column, is Danish.

Not just any Dane, but a “Danish pastry,” “Danish hellcat,” and “cross-legged Danish cupcake.”

Update: A photographer who actually attended the service made it clear that the first lady’s “stern look was captured by chance.”

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk from the Marine One helicopter to the White House as they return from the memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela to Washington, December 11, 2013

H/t: Obama Diary