President Barack Obama is hitting the golf course in Hawaii with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. The two leaders teed off on a sunny and breezy morning on the island of Oahu. They’re at a course on a military base near Obama’s rented vacation home. Key’s son and Obama’s personal aide completed the foursome.
Four Years Ago Today: President Obama uses a light saber during a demonstration of fencing with Tim Morehouse who won a silver medal in Men’s Saber Fencing at the Beijing Olympics, part of the U.S. Olympians youth sporting event on the South Lawn of the White House
Today (all times Eastern):
11:40: President Obama delivers remarks to mark the five-year anniversary of the financial crisis
The Five Year Anniversary of the Financial Crisis: A Look Back at the Progress We’ve Made http://t.co/u3HLbtA5Vs
7:0: President Obama delivers remarks at Música Latina: In Performance at the White House; First Lady Michelle Obama also attends. The performance will be held in the East Room and will be live streamed at White House Live. More here
USA Today: Obama to speak on 5th anniversary of financial crisis
President Obama will deliver a speech Monday on the fifth anniversary of the event that helped elect him back in 2008: The financial crisis. Obama “will be joined on-stage and in the audience by people that have benefited from his economic recovery proposals over the last five years,” the White House said in a statement, “including small business owners, construction workers, homeowners, consumers and tax cut recipients.”
Obama will use the speech to kick off a week of events devoted to the economy and budget issues.
…. A Tuesday interview on the Spanish language television network Telemundo gives Obama a chance to talk about another major domestic issue, immigration. Budget issues are likely to dominate a Wednesday speech to the Business Roundtable. And Obama is likely to emphasize the auto bailout when he travels Friday to a Ford plant in the Kansas City area.
As soon as news hit the wires that Larry Summers has withdrawn his name from consideration for chair of the Federal Reserve, the media went on a full-spin mode, likely embarrassed that just Friday, they were pimping a Japanese newspaper report trumpeting Summers as the chosen one. Ezra Klein, who’d been part of the media build-up toward that ‘inevitability,’ if along with his opposition to it.
This is where a little Obama Derangement Syndrome seeped in. Ezra, along with his peers in the beltway media – dude, get out a little from you Post office and the MSNBC studios; it’ll do you some good – wasn’t just convinced that Summers would be a bad choice, but that Obama would pick him just to take pleasure in some hippie-punching, i.e. just to piss off establishment media liberals like Klein.
Had a good chuckle at these two headlines at Business Insider – here we go again: damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. Yawn:
TPM: Biden: ‘The Tail Is Wagging The Dog’ In Today’s GOP
Vice President Joe Biden warned donors and activists of a fundamental shift in the Republican party at an Iowa fundraiser Sunday, calling today’s GOP a “different breed of cat” and taking a shot at the leadership of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” he told a crowd just before Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) annual steak fry, according to a pool report. “We’re dealing with a different breed of cat as my uncle used to say. These guys aren’t bad. I’m not making moral judgments, but they have a fundamentally different view of America than we do – a fundamentally different view.”
Bob Cesca: The Goalpost for Success Was the Disarmament of Syria’s WMD, So the U.S. Won an Historic Victory
Saturday marked an historic event future generations will read about in books. Over the weekend, Russia and the United States reached an accord over the question of the Syrian government’s stockpiles of chemical weapons, most recently used against civilians late last month.
Whether the United States “won” depends entirely upon your definition of victory. Personally, I define victory in terms of the stated goal of the administration’s actions of the past three weeks: to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons to prevent another attack on Syrian civilians.
If Obama persuaded Assad to step down and move to Siberia, the critics would still find something to whine about. Michael Tomasky deflates the arguments against the new arms deal.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not very interested in being lectured that Bashar al-Assad has no real intention of giving up his chemical weapons by the very same people who a decade ago were pushing this country into war — and having the deranged gall to call the rest of us unpatriotic — on the argument that there was no possible way a monster like Saddam Hussein had given up his chemical weapons. Barack Obama has been forced to spend about 70 percent of his presidential energies trying to repair crises foreign and domestic that these people created, and forced to do so against their iron opposition on all fronts; and now that he’s achieved a diplomatic breakthrough, they have the audacity to argue that he sold America out to Vladimir Putin? It’s staggering and sickening.
Steve Benen: The right struggles to hide its disappointment with diplomatic progress
A couple of years ago, after the United States and its allies used military force to help remove the Gadhafi’s government from Libya, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued one of my favorite Republican press releases ever. The two senators, who had eagerly spent months touting U.S. military action in Libya, issued a joint statement commending the “British, French, and other allies, as well as our Arab partners, especially Qatar and the UAE.”
McCain and Graham eventually said Americans can be “proud of the role our country” played, but they nevertheless condemned the Obama administration’s “failure” to act in Libya the way the GOP senators preferred.
It was striking at the time for its bitterness – the United States had achieved its strategic goals, but instead of celebrating or applauding Obama’s success, Republicans pouted and whined.
Climate science skeptics have derailed a congressional proposal to create the honorary position of U.S. science laureate. But proponents haven’t abandoned the idea of giving someone a national platform to foster public understanding of science and serve as a role model.
….. the U.S. House of Representatives was expected to give swift approval to a bill introduced this spring by a bipartisan coalition of legislators in both the House and the Senate….
The bill was never discussed in any committee, however, and Larry Hart of the American Conservative Union hit the roof when he saw it on the House calendar for the next day. In a letter to other conservative organizations and every House member, Hart said the bill would give President Barack Obama the opportunity to appoint someone “who will share his view that science should serve political ends, on such issues as climate change and regulation of greenhouse gases.”….
For the record, I don’t think President Obama has any magical powers, or that he plays 11th dimensional chess, or that he bluffs, or that he’s merely lucky. What I do think is that he develops his North Star, takes the long view, and enters negotiations from the standpoint of finding both/and solutions (partnerships) rather than engage in the power games of either/or (dominance).
Several people are pointing to a fascinating blog post by Jim Stuart where he talks about President Obama being an integral leader. If you haven’t already read it, please do so!
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch Olympian Ryan Reser, in white, and Paralympian Myles Porter during a judo demonstration, part of the U.S. Olympians youth sporting event on the South Lawn of the White House, Sept. 16, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
….. watching a balance beam demonstration hosted by gymnast Dominique Dawes, far left, on the South Lawn of the White House, Sept. 16, 2009. Also pictured are Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett (second from left) and former Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner Kersee (in white shirt) (Pete Souza)
President Obama fist-bumps VP Biden, as Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett looks on, before a meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 16, 2010 (Pete Souza)
President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrive for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 32nd Annual Awards Gala dinner in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 16, 2009 (Pete Souza)
President Obama waits in his limousine after the motorcade arrived at Westchester County Airport, N.Y., on a rainy night, Sept. 16, 2010 (Pete Souza)
MooooOOOOoooorning, Happy Monday!
A gentle reminder: when you’re quoting posts from other blogs/sites in the comments, please only include a short extract followed by the link. Thank yoooOOOooou!
The White House began installing solar panels on the First Family’s residence this week, a White House official confirmed Thursday. The Obama administration has already undertaken a number of measures to increase the federal government’s energy efficiency and use of renewable energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change, a plan the president outlined in an executive order he signed in October 2009.
The administration has doubled the number of hybrid cars and truck in the federal fleet, increased the government’s use of renewable energy to 7 percent, cut the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent and committed $2 billion to upgrade federal buildings’ energy efficiency through contracting requirements at no up-front cost to taxpayers.
So far these measures have collectively saved 7 million gallons of gas and been equivalent to permanently removing 1.5 million cars from the road, according to the White House.
Heidi Mitchell: Stand And Deliver: After Her 12-Hour Filibuster, How Far Will Texas Senator Wendy Davis Run?
Just a week prior, the scene besieging the two-term senator was altogether less serene. On the final day of a special session of the Eighty-third Legislature, an omnibus antiabortion bill known as SB 5, which proposed new restrictions on family-planning clinics, was up for a vote in the Senate—and Davis arrived at the Capitol building in Austin prepared for a long fight.
Wearing pink Mizuno running shoes and a sky-blue Escada day coat concealing a back brace, the 50-year-old runner and cyclist held the floor for a twelve-hour filibuster that packed the rotunda with pro-choice defenders and had the nation biting its collective nails as coverage streamed online and the clock ticked down to midnight. In those hours, Davis’s Facebook likes spiked. The hashtag #StandWithWendy began trending as high as some 125,000 tweets per hour. Barack Obama used it. Lena Dunham tweeted her support. John Oliver made a joke about a new line of shoes, the Fila-busters, the next night on The Daily Show.
We’ve known for a few weeks now that conservative groups are attempting to sabotage Obamacare by planning and staging campaigns to dissuade young people and families from enrolling in state insurance exchanges. Via Greg Sargent, these efforts include a new radio spot from the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, and the good news is that in addition to being heartless and cruel, it’s also incredibly stupid. “Two years ago, my son Caleb began having seizures … if we can’t pick our own doctor, how do I know my family is going to get the care they need?”
Set aside for a moment that the one factual claim about the law in that quote — “we can’t pick our own doctor” — is false, and will be false until the president of Kaiser Permanente hypnotizes all of Washington and persuades Congress to ban PPOs. Set aside too that the single most well known and well liked provision of the Affordable Care Act is the one banning insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions. That’s the reason Caleb will never have to worry about being locked out of coverage for the rest of his life.
A spirited debate has unfolded within the Republican Party over the last several weeks about what the party intends to do to sabotage the federal health care system. A significant contingent within the GOP has demanded a hostage strategy: Republicans should tell Democrats that they’ll shut down the government unless Dems agree to deny health care benefits to millions of Americans. The strategy is, of course, destined to fail. Democrats will never agree to pay such a ransom, and Republicans don’t want to be on the hook for a shutdown that puts their control of Congress in jeopardy.
It seems increasingly obvious that congressional Republicans are less a governing party and more a group of intemperate children who like to play with matches — and it just so happens they’ve stumbled upon some explosives. To be sure, a government shutdown would be an awful development that would hurt the economy and severely undermine public services Americans rely on. But a debt-ceiling crisis is on a whole other level — it’s like comparing cutting your hand with a kitchen knife and needing stitches, and amputating your hand altogether. The former is serious; the latter is tough to recover from.
Maybe there’s something about presidential vacations that many folks find irksome on a reflexive level. Americans may think that presidents shouldn’t take off when there’s so much work to be done. But RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is taking these attitudes to a very silly level. First, President Obama is taking an eight-day break because, well, humans in stressful jobs occasionally need to take a breather. But for Republicans to make hay out of this is absurd — Obama has taken 87 days off since his first inauguration, and at the comparable point in George W. Bush’s presidency, Obama’s Republican predecessor had taken 399 days off. Remember this chart?
At this point, I imagine conservatives are asking, “Why is it Bush’s days off were fair game for criticism but Obama’s aren’t?” The answer is pretty straightforward: it’s because Bush’s time away from the office was extraordinary. No modern president ever took as much time off as he did. Bush’s vacation days, in other words, became noteworthy because they were record-breaking. For every day off Obama has taken, Bush took 4.5 days off over a comparable period of time.
CNBC: Housing Starts Up 5.9%; Q2 Productivity Beats Forecasts
The Commerce Department said on Friday that housing starts increased 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000 units. June’s starts were revised up to show a 846,000-unit pace instead of the previously reported 836,000 units.Permits to build homes rose 2.7 percent in July to a 943,000-unit pace. Meanwhile, productivity increased at a 0.9 percent annual rate, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had expected productivity to gain at a 0.6 percent rate.
Output rose at a 2.6 percent rate in the second quarter, while the number of hours worked increased at a 1.7 percent rate. Unit labor costs—a gauge of labor-related costs for any given unit of output—rose at 1.4 percent rate in the second quarter, slightly above forecasts of economists polled by Reuters. Builders have been complaining about a shortage of labor and materials. Still, residential construction remains on a firmer footing and should again contribute to economic growth this year.
President Barack Obama has breakfast with small business owners at Rausch’s Cafe in Guttenberg, Iowa, during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest, Aug.16, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama browses crafts and antiques at Grasshoppers store in LeClaire, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011, during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama talks with people at Grasshoppers store in LeClaire, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011, during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Tom Kludt: Obama To Continue Economic Tour In New York, Pennsylvania
President Barack Obama is expected to embark on a two-day bus tour next week to both New York and Pennsylvania where he’ll “discuss another cornerstone of his vision for a better bargain for the middle class,” a White House official told a pool reporter.
Obama will travel through the two states on Aug. 22-23. Politico’s Maggie Haberman, citing sources familiar with Obama’s plans, said the President will deliver the remarks in upstate New York.
Adam Peck: Missouri State Fair Apologizes After Mocks, Threatens Rodeo Clown In An Obama Mask
Officials from the Missouri State Fair are busy putting out fires after the organizers of the fair’s bull riding exhibit brought a clown in an Obama mask into the ring and goaded the bull into chasing him around the enclosure.
Videos of the racially-charged incident began circulating across local news organizations shortly after it took place on Saturday evening, and public consternation was quickly followed by condemnations from Republican Party officials and lawmakers across the state. Officials from the state fair issued a public statement via its Facebook page on Sunday evening, calling the performance “inappropriate and disrespectful.”
TPM: Biden To Attend Harkin’s Annual Iowa Steak Fry
Vice President Joe Biden is expected to deliver the keynote address at Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) annual steak fry this year in Iowa, The Des Moines Register reported. A Biden spokesperson told the Register that Biden has intended to attend the event, one of the biggest fundraisers for the Democratic Party in the Hawkeye State, ever since he was unable to make it last year.
San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julian Castro, who delivered the keynote address at last year’s Democratic National Convention, is also expected to attend the steak fry, scheduled to be held Sept.15, in Indianola, Iowa.
When Anastasia Tolmasoff went to a Planned Parenthood clinic in March to receive her quarterly injection of Depo-Provera, she discovered she could no longer afford to receive birth control there. “I’m living paycheck to paycheck, so getting pregnant and having another child is not an option for me,” said Tolmasoff, 33, who rehabilitates wildlife at a nonprofit organization. She and her husband cannot afford health insurance. Tolmasoff is one of thousands of women affected by the Texas Legislature’s 2011 decisions to drastically cut family planning financing and remove “abortion affiliated providers” — namely, Planned Parenthood — from state health programs.
In its 2013 session, the Legislature sought to mitigate the impact of those cuts with the largest financial package for women’s health services in state history, increasing spending to $214 million in the 2014-15 budget from $109 million. Still, women’s health advocates have raised concerns that the financing does not go far enough. Moreover, some advocates argue that strict abortion regulations approved during a special session will create additional burdens on women already struggling to access contraception……