Kathleen Sibelius is getting flak for her Plan B decision. But Michael Tomasky defends the administration’s position because of the ethical issues raised by minors using the pill.
I get the reasons for liberal outrage at the Obama administration’s Plan B decision. But I can’t quite join in the indignation. I know that I am a man – a fact I’ve been aware of for some time – and so readers male and female can factor that in here as they wish. But it seems to me that to call this merely a case of politics cynically trumping science is way too dismissive of some concerns that parents with all kinds of political views might have about their teenage daughters buying this pill without their knowledge…..
NPR: For the second week in a row, the Senate on Thursday voted down proposals to extend the payroll tax holiday through next year. In the case of the Democrats’ proposal, Republicans objected to the “millionaires surtax” that would be used to pay for it.
Ever since the idea of the surtax was introduced weeks ago, Republicans in Congress have railed against it, arguing that it is a direct hit on small-business owners and other job creators.
… We wanted to talk to business owners who would be affected. So, NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview.
USA Today: As the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is completed this week, President Obama will kick off a string of military-related events this month by attending the Army-Navy game Saturday.
The Cadets and the Midshipmen tee it up at 2:30 p.m. at Fed-Ex Field in Landover, Md.
Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill, will attend the game with Obama.
Wednesday, the president and first lady Michelle Obama will travel to Fort Bragg, N.C., where the president will address the troops stationed there.
President Barack Obama attends a National Security Council holiday party at Blair House, across the street from the White House, December 9
Steve Benen: Rick Perry unveiled a rather ugly campaign ad this week, condemning gays for being able to “serve openly in the military,” and promising voters he’ll “end Obama’s war on religion.”
The Texas governor talked to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this week, and to his credit, the host asked Perry to back up the language in the ad.
PERRY: [W]e’ve got a federal judge for instance in San Antonio that said these kids couldn’t say an invocation in school. I mean, they say you can’t even use the word invocation at their commencement. I mean, that’s —
BLITZER: Is that President Obama’s war on religion?
PERRY: I’m just giving you suggestions after what we are seeing from the left of which I would suggest to you, President Obama is a member of the left and substantial left of center beliefs that you can’t even have a Christmas party. You can’t say a prayer at school.
I’m beginning to think Perry was not blessed with an overabundance of intelligence….
Steve Benen: It’s generally not too much to ask that major party presidential candidates know how many Supreme Court justices there are. Alas, Rick Perry, who’s already struggled to be coherent on a wide range of issues, flubbed this one, too.
…. Let’s count the errors of fact and judgment, because this a doozy.
I’d swear this guy is getting dumber as the campaign progresses.
President Obama walks to the podium to speak about the situation in Egypt, Feb. 1
UK Independent (Mary Dejevsky): …Is President Obama succeeding where Bush and Blair so expensively failed? ….he took a very different approach … As presidential candidate, he campaigned against the Iraq war and expressly rejected the imposition of democracy….democracy, he argued, was still eminently good but had to come from within. Under his leadership, he said, the US would not dictate to other nations how they should organise their lives.
…Mr Obama did not just yank US foreign policy back in the realist direction taken by his Democrat predecessor, Bill Clinton. He combined that shift with an unusual degree of cultural awareness, most conspicuously in the early overtures he made towards the Muslim countries …. One of his first foreign-policy moves was … a wide-ranging speech addressed to Muslims everywhere. He delivered it in Cairo.
….More than a year and half later the choice of Cairo University looks prescient … revisiting the speech, it is immediately clear not only how far he has shifted the US agenda, but how far his commitment to home-grown democracy remains the same … Obama’s language shines out as consistent with everything that protesters across the Arab world are demanding now.
…Maybe Obama’s early overtures planted a seed that is starting to bear fruit across the Muslim world. Maybe it is simply that modern communications, plus the similar politics, economics and demographics across the region, are combining to galvanise discontent. What is evident, though, is that Obama’s words have gone with the grain of these societies in a way that the sermons of Bush and Blair did not.
Any social ferment of this order brings huge uncertainty. And it is embarrassing to watch Western leaders struggling to divest themselves of allies from a bygone age. But if you ask which American leader contributed more to the cause of change in the Muslim world, you might not agree – yet – that it was Barack Obama, but you could surely accept that George Bush set it back.
Read the full article here – it’s excellent, really interesting too on relations with Iran
President Barack Obama holds a Cabinet Meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Feb. 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)