President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk in the Green Room of the White House before hosting a Smithsonian Museum of African American History reception in the East Room, Feb. 22, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama listens during the groundbreaking ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, February 22
LA Times: Sales of previously owned homes rose 4.3% in January and inventories fell to nearly seven-year lows as lower prices, unusually warm weather and an improving economy lifted demand.
….. January sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million …. Sales rose in all four major regions, including an 8.8% pop in the West.
Job creation, mild weather, rising rents and increased household formation contributed to the sales gains, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Realtors group. “Things are genuinely improving,” Yun said.
Steve Benen: …. It’s a safe bet the Bishops won’t be satisfied, but it’s a pretty straightforward fix: religiously-affiliated employers that don’t want to pay for contraception coverage as part of their benefits packages won’t have to, but these employees will still get the coverage because the White House will instruct insurers to pick up the costs.
…. several major stakeholders in this fight have already offered praise for the White House move. Planned Parenthood, for example, endorsed the compromise …. Similarly, EMILY’s List said it was “reassured” by the new policy, and NARAL Pro-Choice America’s statement struck a similar note.
What’s more, Sister Carol Keehan and the Catholic Health Association have also endorsed the administration’s position, which not only offers the White House some political cover, but also further isolates the Bishops…..
For the White House, having support from both the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood was critical…..
Greg Sargent: …. the Obama team is betting that any further objections to this policy will unmask opponents primarily as hidebound foes of birth control at any costs, a politically difficult position to sustain, rather than as defenders of religious liberty. Indeed, this looks like an effort to reframe the debate to Obama’s advantage: If Team Obama has its way, the argument will now be about whether all women should have access to contraception, and not about whether these institutions are having their religious freedom impinged upon.
For those who freaked out about a major compromise with the Catholic church (eh, me):
When will I ever learn?
Don’t miss Liberal Librarian’s first post at The People’s View – it’s predictably brilliant
President Obama signs the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012 as former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly look on. The bill was the last piece of legislation on which Giffords voted before she resigned in January, a year after she sustained a gunshot wound to the head.
First lady Michelle Obama high-fives the Dallas Cowboys mascot Rowdy as she arrived at the Kleberg-Rylie Recreation center in Dallas
Michelle Obama judges food, along with assistant White House chef and food initiative coordinator Sam Kass and “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio, during a taping of the TV cooking show “Top Chef” in Dallas