President Barack Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, Mich., April 18, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
This will be a beautiful day……
Washington Post: President Obama will head to the Capitol next week for the dedication of a new statue honoring civil rights icon Rosa Parks, a White House official confirmed Wednesday.
The statue – which will be the first of an African American woman to be placed in the Capitol — will be unveiled next Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Statuary Hall, the exhibition space that sits just south of the Capitol Rotunda.
11:25: President Obama records radio interviews with Al Sharpton, Joe Madison and Yolanda Adams
12:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at a conference on gun violence at Western Connecticut State University
1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press
“I knew that I better keep my day job”:
Stephanie Cutter’s Organizing for Action call tonight on gun violence prevention
Vice President Joe Biden receives a bracelet from Paige Baitinger, wife of fallen St. Petersburg, Fla., police Sgt. Thomas Baitinger, following a Medal of Valor ceremony in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Feb. 20, 2013. The Vice President and Attorney General Eric Holder presented 18 recipients with the Medal of Valor, which is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others from harm. Baitinger accepted the award on behalf of her husband who was killed in the line of duty in 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Secretary of State John Kerry made his first public remarks regarding U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy Wednesday to students and faculty at the University of Virginia – see the speech here
BobCesca.com: Obamacare is Working …. Projections for Medicare spending between 2011 and 2020 have fallen by $500 billion.
…. The Affordable Care Act is bringing down the cost of healthcare by challenging a culture of waste, not by throwing momma from the train.
Hopefully, the full interview will be on Rachael Ray’s site soon – meanwhile, here’s a clip:
WH.gov: First Lady Michelle Obama to Embark on National Tour Celebrating Third Anniversary of Let’s Move!
On February 27, 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama will kick off a two day nation-wide tour celebrating the third anniversary of Let’s Move!, her initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. The tour will showcase progress and announce new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children. Mrs. Obama will also travel to New York City this week to talk about the third anniversary of Let’s Move! on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show.
Steve Benen: …… John Boehner has a 900-word op-ed in the Wall Street Journal … devoted almost entirely to a desperate attempt to avoid blame …. Reading this breathtakingly dishonest op-ed, I can’t help but wonder about the House Speaker’s frame of mind. Either Boehner actually believes the transparent nonsense he wrote, which would mean the Speaker is alarmingly ignorant about the basics of current events, he’s deliberately trying to deceive the public, counting on Americans to be foolish enough to buy demonstrable falsehoods.
Either way, Boehner’s mendacious piece is a profound disappointment, and beneath the dignity of his office. If the Speaker is still capable of shame, he should be embarrassed to peddle such nonsense.
See full post here – Benen shreds Boehner’s op-ed, point by point
Bloomberg: President Barack Obama enters the latest budget showdown with Congress with his highest job- approval rating in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents’ popularity stands at a record low.
Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance in office, his strongest level of support since September 2009, according to a Bloomberg National poll conducted Feb. 15-18. Only 35 percent of the country has a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest rating in a survey that began in September 2009. The party’s brand slipped six percentage points in the last six months, the poll shows.
ThinkProgress: Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), a former hospital CEO and ardent Obamacare critic, announced at a press conference Wednesday evening that he will accept Obamacare funding in order to expand his state’s Medicaid program for low-income Americans. The move comes after Scott secured a waiver to privatize the public insurance program.
The decision represents a marked departure from Scott’s previously held stance. Scott didn’t just initially oppose taking part in the expansion — which the Supreme Court ruled to be optional last summer — he knowingly cited wildly inaccurate figures to inflate the program’s cost to the state by 2500 percent in an effort to discredit it. He eventually dropped his estimate for the expansion by $23 billion in the face of intense media scrutiny…..
Not being, well, a drones ‘fan’ (is anyone??), I’m half reluctant to post this – one civilian death is too many. But, still, an interesting take on the issue:
William Saletan (Slate): In Defense of Drones – They’re the worst form of war, except for all the others.
“UN: Drones killed more Afghan civilians in 2012,” says the Associated Press headline. The article begins: “The number of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan jumped 72 percent in 2012, killing at least 16 civilians in a sharp increase from the previous year.” The message seems clear: More Afghans are dying, because drones kill civilians.
Wrong. Drones kill fewer civilians, as a percentage of total fatalities, than any other military weapon. They’re the worst form of warfare in the history of the world, except for all the others.
Start with that U.N. report. Afghan civilian casualties caused by the United States and its allies didn’t go up last year. They fell 46 percent. Specifically, civilian casualties from “aerial attacks” fell 42 percent….
Jet planes. Machine guns. Bombing. Drones aren’t the problem. Bombs are the problem.
Columbus Dispatch: President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address at Ohio State University’s graduation ceremonies this year, the White House announced today.
The trip is his first scheduled trip to Ohio since he stopped in Columbus with singer Bruce Springsteen and rapper Jay-Z.
Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for noon on Sunday, May 5 at Ohio Stadium. This will be the largest class in university history and the first spring graduation on the semester system. About 12,000 students are expected to graduate that day.
AP: The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that would mark a political victory for advocates of same-sex unions and a deepening commitment by President Barack Obama to rights for gay couples.
Obama raised expectations among opponents of the Proposition 8 ban when he declared in last month’s inaugural address that gays and lesbians must be “treated like anyone else under the law.” The administration has until Feb. 28 to intervene in the case by filing a “friend of the court” brief.
5:0 EST: President Obama departs West Palm Beach, Florida
7:30 EST: Arrives White House
NYT: The Obama administration is planning a decade-long scientific effort to examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics.
The project, which the administration has been looking to unveil as early as March, will include federal agencies, private foundations and teams of neuroscientists and nanoscientists in a concerted effort to advance the knowledge of the brain’s billions of neurons and gain greater insights into perception, actions and, ultimately, consciousness.
Scientists with the highest hopes for the project also see it as a way to develop the technology essential to understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as to find new therapies for a variety of mental illnesses.
The President will remain in Palm City, Florida through Monday, Feb 18. No public events are scheduled
President Obama greets supporters after arriving at West Palm Beach International Airport, Feb. 15
Paul Krugman: It looks as if President Obama has successfully set a political trap over the minimum wage. Raising the minimum is very popular — even a narrow majority of Republicans are for it. But Republican leaders are opposed. And they’d like people to believe that their opposition is driven by sincere concern for workers who might lose their jobs.
Well, this isn’t likely to work…..
….. Maybe once upon a time, when Republicans were less intellectually inbred, they could have pulled off the stunt of seeming to care about the people supposedly hurt by a higher minimum wage. But I really don’t think they’re up to it at this point.
Marketwatch: Job growth was unchanged in August, the weakest performance in almost a year, the Labor Department said Friday. The weak report was lower than the 53,000 gain expected by Wall Street economists. A strike at Verizon Communications cut 45,000 from payrolls in the month. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.1% as expected.
Steve Benen: …. For the first time in six decades, the U.S. simply broke even – no jobs were lost in the overall economy, and no jobs were gained…
…. It’s worth noting that the figures are skewed a bit by the Verizon strike, which has since been resolved. The labor dispute temporarily subtracted 45,000 jobs from the economy, so when that’s taken into consideration, the overall economy actually added 45,000 jobs in August, which was roughly in line with expectations.
But that’s cold comfort in the midst of a prolonged jobs crisis … This report reinforces the impression that the economy is just stalled, waiting for someone to give it a boost …. It’s a boost, of course, that congressional Republicans are desperate to prevent.
…. August, to be sure, was a brutal month all around. Wall Street took wild swings; Republican antics led to a downgrade in U.S. debt; the European debt crisis intensified, etc. The fact that hiring effectively halted in the month is not shocking.
But it is painful, and serves as yet another wake-up call to anyone who’ll listen: we have a jobs crisis, not a deficit crisis. If our political system were in any way sane, elected leaders would look at these numbers and conclude that the economy desperately needs an immediate jolt. Job creation should be the first, and arguably only, priority on the minds of policymakers.
Steve Benen: When the jobs reports were looking quite good in the early spring, Republican leaders were eager to take credit for the positive numbers they had nothing to do with. After all, as far as GOP officials were concerned, their mere presence in the House majority was enough to inspire job creators everywhere.
But if Republicans demanded credit for the job totals in the spring, these same Republicans are desperate to avoid blame for job totals in the summer. It’s a nice little scam Republicans have put together: when more jobs are being created, it’s proof they’re right; when fewer jobs are being created, it’s proof Democrats are wrong.