Three years ago today – Pete Souza: “Another snowstorm blanketed Washington for the second time in a few days. Because it was a Saturday, I hung around the White House thinking that the President might venture out in the snow with his daughters. Here they are playing in the Rose Garden in the midst of the storm.” Feb. 6, 2010
9:50: President Obama departs the White House
10:10: Arrives in Annapolis, Md.
10:30: Attends the Senate Democratic Issues Conference
11:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
12:25: President Obama departs Annapolis
12:45: Arrives at the White House
2:0 Will announce nomination of Sally Jewell to head the Interior Department
4:0: Secretary of State John Kerry is ceremonially sworn in by Vice President Biden in Washington
Washington Post: President Obama on Wednesday will nominate Recreational Equipment (REI) chief executive Sally Jewell to head the Interior Department….
The choice of Jewell, who began her career as an engineer for Mobil Oil and worked as a commercial banker before heading a nearly $2 billion outdoors equipment company, represents an unconventional choice for a post usually reserved for career politicians from the West.
But while she boasts less public policy experience than other candidates who had been under consideration, Jewell, who will have to be confirmed by the Senate, has earned national recognition for her management skills and support for outdoor recreation and habitat conservation.
ThinkProgress: Endorsements from the National Rifle Association might be doing political candidates more harm than good, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling.
In a national survey, 39 percent of voters said that they are less likely to vote for a politician whose candidacy has garnered NRA backing. Only 26 percent believe they’re more likely to support such a candidate.
But more importantly, the number of independent voters are far less likely to see the NRA nod as a good thing: 41 percent say they’re inclined not to support a candidate who’s backed by the NRA…..
NYT: The flaws in the American election system are deep and widespread, extending beyond isolated voting issues in a few locations and flaring up in states rich and poor, according to a major new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The group ranked all 50 states based on more than 15 criteria, including wait times, lost votes and problems with absentee and provisional ballots, and the order often confounds the conventional wisdom.
In 2010, for instance, Mississippi ranked last over all. But it was preceded by two surprises: New York and California.
ThinkProgress: During the November 2012 election, Black and Hispanic voters waited nearly twice as long to vote as whites, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis. New York Times graphs summarizing the analysis show that white voters waited an average of 12.7 minutes, while Black and Hispanic voters waited an average of 20.2 minutes
TPM: When President Obama won in November the electorate also rendered a verdict on the priorities of the two major political parties. Democrats, most voters believe, are more concerned with the plight of the middle class than Republicans, who ran on a platform of actually lowering income taxes on wealthy Americans.
In the intervening months, Republican operatives have become practitioners of a new kind of alchemy, attempting with little success to convince voters that the right’s long-standing agenda is actually an array of policies that coincidentally meets the needs of the middle class.
Enter House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who’s hit upon a new plan. If you can’t turn lead into gold, go out and buy some gold paint.
NYT: Essie Mae Washington-Williams, who lived for decades with a stunning secret — that she was the interracial daughter of Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, a former segregationist who never acknowledged her publicly as his child — died Monday in a nursing home near Columbia, S.C. She was 87.
Strom Thurmond never publicly acknowledged that he was Ms. Washington-Williams’s father.
Six months after her father died at age 100 as the longest-serving senator in history, Ms. Washington-Williams broke her silence.
“My father’s name was James Strom Thurmond,” she said at a news conference in a hotel ballroom in Columbia on Dec. 17, 2003
This is really the big story of the moment: The full-on comeback in everything related to consumers and households.
Let’s just break it down really fast.
1. New housing starts are shooting straight up … 2. Retail sales growth: Re-accelerating …. 3. The Unemployment Rate: Collapsing (according to the government) …. 4. And the unemployment rate is collapsing according to Gallup …. 5. And car sales are surging …. 6. Revolving Consumer Credit. Back to growth …. 7. Gallup Economic Confidence is the best since May …. 8. Consumer discretionary stocks surging towards all-time highs …. 9. Homebuilder stocks highest since 2007 …. 10. Wal-Mart has finally busted out, and surged past its 2000 high …. 11. Even more impressive: Home Depot! Surging to multi-year highs …. 12. University of Michigan Consumer Confidence hits a 5-year high …. 13. Restaurant owners are saw a recent spike up in their outlook (they’re a great measure of consumer discretionary spending …. 14. Case-Shiller home prices are clearly on the rise.
Reuters: Groundbreaking on new homes surged in September to its fastest pace in more than four years, a sign the housing sector’s budding recovery is gaining traction and supporting the wider economic recovery.
Housing starts increased 15 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 units, beating even the most optimistic forecasts on Wall Street, Commerce Department data showed on Wednesday.
It was the quickest pace of groundbreaking since July 2008…
Steve Benen: For all the Romney/Ryan efforts to convince Americans the economy is getting worse, reality stubbornly keeps getting in the way…
Groundbreaking on new homes surged in September to its fastest pace in more than four years, a sign the housing sector’s budding recovery is gaining traction and supporting the wider economic recovery…..
…. The unemployment rate is at its best point in four years; consumer confidence is at its best point in five years; the federal budget deficit is at its best point in four years. Just this week, reports on retail sales, industrial production, and new housing construction showed sharp and unexpected improvements.
This probably isn’t what Republicans wanted to hear…..
10:35: President Obama departs the White House en route Woodbridge, Va.
11:05: Arrives in Woodbridge, Va.
11:30: Delivers remarks via satellite at the AARP Life@50+ National Event & Expo at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge
12:45: Delivers remarks at a campaign event at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge (C-Span)
1:30: VP Biden and Jill Biden travel to Hanover, N.H., to deliver remarks at a campaign event at Dartmouth College
2:30: President Obama arrives at the White House
3:0 First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at Morgan State University, Baltimore (need to check the time on this)
5:15: VP Biden and Jill Biden travel to Concord, N.H., to deliver remarks at a campaign event at the New Hampshire State House
Washington Post: The last of the 33,000 “surge” troops President Obama ordered to Afghanistan in December 2009 have left the country, the Pentagon announced Friday, just ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline.
The number of U.S. troops in the war zone now stands at 68,000, Secretary of State Leon E. Panetta told reporters traveling with him during a week-long visit to the Asia-Pacific region. The troop count is down from a peak of 101,000 U.S. forces last year and marks the end of a critical phase in Obama’s war strategy.
…. The drawdown of U.S. forces is in keeping with Obama’s timetable to pull out all conventional combat forces by the end of 2014…
USA Today: Medicare beneficiaries have saved a total of about $4.5 billion on prescription medications because of the 2010 health care law since January 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services plans to announce today.
“We’re seeing consistent, steady savings for seniors thanks to the health care law,” said Jon Blum, director of the Center for Medicare. “In just 21/2 half years, seniors have seen billions in savings, and those savings will continue to grow as the doughnut hole is fully closed.”
Washington Post: In 3 1/2 years in office, President Obama has set in motion a broad overhaul of public education from kindergarten through high school, largely bypassing Congress and inducing states to adopt landmark changes that none of his predecessors attempted.
He awarded billions of dollars in stimulus funding to states that agreed to promote charter schools, use student test scores to evaluate teachers and embrace other administration-backed policies. And he has effectively rewritten No Child Left Behind, the federal law passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, by excusing states from its requirements if they adopt his measures.