First Lady Michelle Obama visits Savoy School, one of eight schools selected last year for The Turnaround Arts Initiative at the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, May 24
Text of the First Lady’s remarks at Savoy Elementary School here
President Obama signs a bill in the Oval Office designating the Congressional Gold Medal to commemorate the four young girls killed during the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, as (L-R) Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Dr Sharon Malone Holder, Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep Terri Sewell (D-AL), Thelma Pippen McNair, mother of Denise McNair, Lisa McNair, sister of Denise McNair, Dianne Braddock, sister of Carole Robertson, Rev Arthur Price, Jr, pastor 16th Street Baptist Church, and former U.S. Attorney Gordon Douglas Jones look on. The medal, the highest Congressional civilian honor, was given posthumously to Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair who died September 15, 1963 when a bomb planted by white supremacists exploded exploded at the church
1:10: President Obama returns from the United States Naval Academyto the White House
2:15: Signs a bill designating the Congressional Gold Medal commemorating the lives of the four young girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing of 1963
The Hill: President Obama will sign a bill Friday awarding the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to the four girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, the White House said Thursday.
The bombing at the church, which civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy used as a meeting place, by members of the Ku Klux Klan proved a pivotal turning point in the push for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The dynamite blast killed four girls — Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair — and injured an additional 22 others.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award bestowed by the legislative branch…
“These children, unoffending, innocent, and beautiful were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity,” said the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a eulogy for the four children–Addie Mae Collins, 14, Denise McNair, 11, Carole Robertson, 14, and Cynthia Wesley, 14. “They died nobly. They are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity.”
… the biggest test case was always going to be California …. well, the preliminary numbers are in – and they’re looking very good, with costs coming in below expectations. At this point, it looks as if this thing is indeed going to work.
….. the whole political calculus was supposed to be that Republicans in red states could point to the horrors of Obamacare and ride them to political victory. Instead, it looks as if we’re going to see blue-state residents reaping the benefits of a functional health care system, while red-state residents are denied many of those benefits, for what looks like no better reason than mean-spirited spite – because what’s going on is, indeed, mean-spirited spite.
Predictions that Obamacare will be a big political issue are probably right – but not in the way gleeful conservatives imagined.
CNN Money: Health insurers in California will charge an average of $304 a month for the cheapest silver-level plan in state-based exchanges next year, according to rates released Thursday by Covered California, which is implementing the Affordable Care Act there. But many residents will pay a lot less than that for coverage.
Rates will vary by region, age and level of coverage, and many lower-income Californias will qualify for federal subsidies that will greatly lower the premiums…..
…. Oregon and Washington recently posted their rates, as well. They were also lower than some had expected.
“Many people will see rates similar to what they’re paying now, or in some cases, lower – and with substantially better benefits,” the Washington Insurance Department wrote in a blog post. “We’re definitely not seeing the huge rate increases that some insurers had predicted.”
KaavyaWriting: “See that Discovery World building in the background? The line starts half a mile away from that building, snakes in a triple bend, then wraps around the building to come out the other side and snake onward. And people are still arriving. So huge, and I’m so PROUD Obama has such strong support. Long line, continue on!”
First lady Michelle Obama is joined by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the future site of a Northgate Market in Inglewood, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Michelle Obama says the proposed new supermarket in the middle of a blue-collar Hispanic neighborhood in Southern California is an example of how the effort to bring healthy foods to low-income communities is paying off.
AP: First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday said the campaign to bring healthy food to all Americans is happening neighborhood by neighborhood.
Standing in a vacant Southern California store set to be refurbished and reopened this summer, Obama lauded efforts to bring large grocery retailers to inner-city areas that traditional supermarket chains spurn.
…. Obama, who is on the second day of her two-day visit to the Los Angeles area, made the stop in the blue-collar, largely Hispanic neighborhood as part of her “Let’s Move!” campaign to boost healthy food and fitness.
Part of the campaign includes promoting initiatives such as the $264 million California FreshWorks Fund, which finances grocery businesses willing to open in urban areas.
…. After the Inglewood event, Obama was scheduled to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and to deliver a luncheon speech at the Democratic National Committee.
Washington Post: U.S. factories grew in January at the fastest pace in seven months, boosted by a rise in new orders. And builders ended a poor year for construction by spending more on homes and projects for the fifth straight month.
The reports bolster other data showing the U.S. economy started the year strong.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Wednesday that its manufacturing index rose last month to 54.1 from 53.1 in December. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
Consumers are buying more cars and trucks, while businesses ordered more machinery and other equipment. That has driven manufacturing, which expanded for the 30th straight month.
Both new orders and order backlogs rose to nine-month highs. Increasing order backlogs suggest manufacturers are lacking the capacity to meet demand. That could mean more growth in production and employment in the near future, economists said.
Export orders also rose, a sign that U.S. manufacturers haven’t yet been affected by Europe’s slowing economy.
“This is a very encouraging report on manufacturing activity that shows particular strength in leading indicators,” said John Ryding, an economist at RDQ Economics.
Steve Benen: For campaign watchers, Florida’s Republican presidential primary was the big draw yesterday, but there was another noteworthy race on the other side of the country: a U.S. House special election in Oregon’s 1st congressional district.
Just two weeks ago, the National Republican Congressional Committee took an interest in the race, airing attack ads against Democratic candidate Suzanne Bonamici. The GOP candidate, Rob Cornilles, even released an internal poll showing him trailing by only four points.
Yesterday, however, it became clear Republicans were chasing a mirage.
Democrat Suzanne Bonamici swept to victory Tuesday in Oregon’s 1st Congressional District, continuing her party’s nearly four-decade-long hold on the seat covering the northwestern corner of the state. With the bulk of ballots counted, Bonamici was defeating Republican Rob Cornilles by about 15 percentage points…..
TPM: The Obama administration announced Wednesday that the Medicare Advantage program, which allows seniors to receive health coverage through a private insurer, is enjoying lower costs and more customers as a result of the health care reform law.
Yahoo: If you watched President Obama’s Google+ hangout Monday night, you saw two interesting exchanges between the president and Jennifer Wedel, a 29-year-old Texas mother of two.
It turns out that Wedel’s digital meeting convinced her to vote for Obama in this year’s presidential election – despite her support for the GOP.
…. Afterwards, Wedel, who described herself as a “good Republican,” is now planning to vote for Obama in this year’s presidential election.
“I didn’t vote for him four years ago. But I have been so disappointed with the presidential race. I haven’t seen anybody who would have been a good replacement. I know how Obama is now. I know how he rolls. So I’d probably vote him back in,” said Wedel in an interview with The Atlantic. “I (feel) like I know him a little more,” Wedel said. “There was a connection. He should definitely do this with more people…..”
….. for those who watched the event, a slightly odd moment near the end might have jumped out. During that personal question round, Wedel asked Obama if he would do a little jig. Obama demurred. What was that about? It’s a YouTube meme thing, explained Wedel. An extremely popular video on the site is a minute-and-a-half clip of then-candidate Obama shaking it on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” back in 2007; one version has 12 million hits and counting.
“It’s so funny,” said Wedel. “You’ve got to watch it.”
Jon Taplin (TPM): Barack Obama learned a political trick from Muhammad Ali called Rope a Dope. For you youngsters, this refers to the epic Rumble in the Jungle Heavyweight fight against George Foreman in 1974….
Last summer during the debt ceiling hostage crisis, Obama appeared to be the loser, but yesterday Republicans woke up to the reality that they lost Big Time – that we were going to get $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions, with 50% of the cuts coming from the military and none of the cuts from Social Security and Medicare. The Congressional water carriers for the Military Industrial Complex are in a panic.
…. So why aren’t progressives celebrating this morning? Got me … If you had suggested to me last spring that a Republican House would pass a bill cutting $600 billion from the Pentagon budget over ten years, I would have called you crazy. But that is just what happened.
So there is only one election that matters a year from now. And that is that President Obama will be reelected and able to keep his veto threat….
This is an amazing victory and all we have to do to hold on to it is reelect the President.
The Hill: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Tuesday that President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package continues to benefit the struggling economy.
…. By CBO’s numbers, the $800 billion stimulus added up to 0.9 million jobs in 2009, 3.3 million jobs in 2010 and 2.6 million jobs in 2011. As the effects of the stimulus wind down, Obama has been pushing Congress to enact a $447 billion jobs bill that includes infrastructure spending and tax cuts.
Steve Benen: Romney’s willingness to lie to voters raises important questions about his integrity, but the question now becomes whether television stations will participate in the lie by airing a spot that’s proven to be deceptive.
Steve Benen: President Obama’s week-long trip to Asia didn’t generate a lot of attention from the domestic media, and based on Walter Russell Mead’s description, that’s a real shame. Americans have every reason to be pleased with the results of the president’s successful efforts:
The cascade of statements, deployments, agreements and announcements from the United States and its regional associates in the last week has to be one of the most unpleasant shocks for China’s leadership – ever …. Rarely has a great power been so provoked and affronted. Rarely have so many red lines been crossed. Rarely has so much face been lost, so fast…. [I]t was as decisive a diplomatic victory as anyone is likely to see. Congratulations should go to President Obama and his national security team.
…. I suspect the number of Americans who’ll vote in 2012 based on foreign policy can meet in a broom closet, but it’s getting tougher for even the harshest White House critics to deny President Obama’s impressive record on foreign policy…..