President Barack Obama smiles as he walks down the steps of the Capitol with Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny after attending a “Friends of Ireland” luncheon
President Barack Obama holds a book of poetry given to him by Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny during their meeting in the Oval Office
Vice President Joe Biden listens during a meeting between President Barack Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, on St. Patrick’s Day in the Oval Office
President Barack Obama greets the family of Make-a-Wish child Diego Diaz, not pictured, before their visit to the Oval Office, June 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Washington Post: President Obama will announce Tuesday in a speech at Georgetown University that he plans to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, according to individuals who have been briefed on the plan but asked not to be identified.
According to individuals familiar with the White House plan, who asked not to be identified since the president has yet to deliver his speech, Obama will couch the effort not only in terms of the nation’s domestic priorities, but as a way to meet the administration’s international pledge to reduce the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels.
What has Attorney General Eric Holder done lately? Oh…just this huge big freaking deal
US DOJ: The former chief executive officer of a Virginia-based security contracting firm was sentenced in the Eastern District of Virginia to 72 months in prison for creating a front company to obtain more than $31 million intended for disadvantaged small businesses and for bribing the former regional director for the National Capital Region of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) as part of the scheme. The front company obtained the contracts through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Section 8(a) program, which allows qualified small businesses to receive sole-source and competitive-bid contracts set aside for minority-owned and disadvantaged small businesses. Keith Hedman used his expertise gleaned from decades as a government contractor to cheat the system and steal tens of millions from minority-owned small business owners,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “Today’s sentence shows that those who resort to deceit and bribery to secure federal contracts will be caught and held accountable.”
“Keith Hedman tried to game the system and take advantage of a government program designed to help minority-owned small businesses,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride. “He committed fraud, he undermined the trust of the U.S. government and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. My office is committed to prosecuting those who cheat the government to the fullest extent of the law.” Keith Hedman, 53, of Arlington, Va., was sentenced today after pleading guilty to major government fraud and conspiracy to commit bribery on March 13, 2013. Hedman was also ordered to forfeit approximately $6.1 million.
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, June 23, 2011. Joining the First Lady are, from left: the First Lady’s niece Leslie Robinson, Malia Obama, Marian Robinson, the First Lady’s nephew Avery Robinson, and Sasha Obama. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
It’s the weekend, so let the wonderful Henry Healy aka “Henry The Eighth” give you behind the scenes details of the week that was
First Lady Michelle Obama talks with young people at the U.S. Consulate meet and greet at the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, June 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
SmartyPants: There are those who are trying to cast Edward Snowden’s actions as civil disobedience. I suspect that this argument will be intensified now that he has been charged under the Espionage Act by the DOJ. There is some acceptance among his supporters that he has broken the law. But they want to claim the mantle of it being an “unjust law” that requires civil disobedience.
I’m sure there are legal cases to be made on both sides of this claim. But the fact that Snowden fled to Hong Kong to avoid the consequences of his law breaking – more than anything else – disqualifies him from claiming that mantle.
First Lady Michelle Obama, joined by Marian Robinson, Sasha Obama and Malia Obama, tours the District 6 Museum in Cape Town, South Africa, June 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
Jennifer Medina: Granting any kind of access to health care for immigrants is becoming a focal point in the current Congressional debate, as many Republicans have said they would refuse to support change if it included providing care for immigrants who have been living in the country illegally. Representative Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, for instance, walked out of bipartisan negotiations in the House, arguing that illegal immigrants should be denied emergency room care and that unpaid medical bills should become a deportable offense.
But not in California, where there are an estimated 2.6 million illegal immigrants. Here, public health officials, elected representatives and advocacy groups are going in the opposite direction, trying to cobble together ways to provide preventive care for such immigrants, who are expected to make up the largest share of the remaining uninsured once the state’s expanded Medicaid program takes full effect.
President Barack Obama listens as Vice President Joe Biden makes a point during a meeting with the Democratic leadership in the Oval Office, June 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Welcome to delusional grandeur, Mitt Romney style. Still shaking my head in disgust that he didn’t prepare a concession speech; only a victory speech. That’s hubris.
Rick Klein et al.,: Though Mitt Romney’s candidacy never turned into a presidency, there was a temporary Romney White House complete with a fully operational staff who were building the blueprints for the early days of a Romney administration months before the election that decided his defeat. In this special edition of Top Line, the chair of the Romney transition efforts, Gov. Mike Leavitt, R-Utah, takes us on a tour of the White House that never was—where he says the Romney transition team built “a federal government in miniature.”
“If you had walked down these halls in the day before the election, you would see the State Department, the Treasury Department, the Department of Defense,” Leavitt says, standing inside what was the former transition headquarters in Washington, D.C. “A whole series of executive orders had been written,” he says. “There were regulations that were being developed. There was a list of things we wanted to change. There was a checklist. It was a tick-tock, if you will, of things we wanted to see unfold in a very orderly way.”
President Barack Obama speaks to soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division during a visit to Fort Drum in New York, June 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama’s America, is wonderful indeed
Trudy Ring: Eric Fanning, undersecretary of the Air Force, became acting secretary of the branch Friday with the retirement of Michael Donley, making Fanning the highest-ranking LGBT person in the Department of Defense. “President Obama is yet to nominate Donley’s replacement, so Fanning should be serving in the dual roles for a while,” notes BuzzFeed.
The interim assignment makes Fanning the civilian head of the Air Force. The Senate confirmed him as undersecretary in April. Before that, he had been deputy undersecretary and deputy chief management officer for the Navy since 2009. His résumé also includes stints with communications firms, think tanks, and broadcast media, along with several political posts. He is a former Victory Fund board member and a donor to various LGBT causes.
“I left the Pentagon before the reelection [of President Clinton] and then didn’t come back until this administration when we had a president who said he was going to end it,” he told the Blade. “It was very difficult when we were getting to the end of the first two years and it wasn’t clear if we were going to be able to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ I didn’t know what I was going to do if we didn’t get the repeal through because some people couldn’t work because they were openly gay or lesbian.”
President Barack Obama greets a little girl following his remarks during the Irish celebration at College Green in Dublin, Ireland, May 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
BusinessWeek: Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), labeled a “loser” by Mitt Romney during the U.S. election, is giving President Barack Obama’s green-energy strategy its biggest win after almost two years of failures pounced upon by Republicans.
The maker of the electric Model S car as early as today will become the first recipient of a U.S. Energy Department vehicle loan to pay off its debt. The Palo Alto, California-based company will do so nine years ahead of schedule, with taxpayers making at least $12 million on the $465 million lent.
People cheer as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are introduced during an Irish celebration at College Green in Dublin, Ireland, May 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama’s 1979 Prom Photos
TIME Magazine: Tucked away in someone else’s shoe box of adolescent artifacts, there might be a picture of you in garish clothes and with an outdated ‘do, your arm around a high school squeeze. The President of the United States is no different. These previously unpublished photos, obtained exclusively by TIME from Obama’s schoolmate Kelli Allman (née McCormack), show a 17-year-old Barack Obama on the night of his senior prom.
Tom Kludt: President Barack Obama on Thursday will outline his administration’s counterterrorism policy in a major speech to be given at National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Obama will use the speech to announce new restrictions on unmanned drones.
According to the New York Times, the policy changes signed by Obama include a reduction of the “instances when unmanned aircraft can be used to attack in places that are not overt war zones, countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” The new rules will also establish “the same standard for strikes on foreign enemies now used only for American citizens deemed to be terrorists,” the Times reported.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Henry Healy, the President’s distant cousin, after arriving in Moneygall, Ireland, May 23, 2011. The President and First Lady were also welcomed by Counselor Danny Owens, Chair Offaly County, and Counselor John Kennedy, Chair Tipperary County, center. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Today was a dark day in European history – Ireland finished last in the Eurovision Song Contest ….. out of 26 countries ….. with this epic tune.
They got five points, just 276 fewer than the winners, Denmark.
Their only votes came from Cyprus (2), Sweden (2) and the UK (1) – nothing from Greece, for example, which Ireland will remember next time there’s a European Union vote on bailing them out.
This is the musical equivalent of the fall of the Roman Empire, because Ireland have won more Eurovision Song Contests than any other country in the entire, total and complete history of Europe.
What’s gone wrong? Democracy, that’s what. Before the break up of the Soviet Union, everything was fine, Ireland kept winning, but then about 95,000 new Eastern European countries won independence, got to enter the Eurovision Song Contest, didn’t like Ireland’s music, gave them no votes, and that was that.
So tonight I say: “Mr. Gorbachev, put that wall back up.”
10:45 President Obama will call on Congress to avert the automatic spending cuts coming next week
3:30: VP Biden participates in a Facebook Town Hall on gun violence
President Obama returning to the White House, Feb 18
USA Today: President Obama will urge congressional Republicans to avoid automatic budget cuts next month by appearing Tuesday with a group of emergency responders who might have to absorb some of those cuts.
The group of emergency responders who will stand beside Obama at 10:45 a.m. are “the kinds of working Americans whose jobs are on the line if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise on a balanced solution,” said an addition to the White House schedule.
Michael Tomasky: Whose “idea” was the sequester, and why should it matter? My Twitter feed these last couple of weeks has been overflowing with people going beyond the usual “communist” and “idiot” name-calling that I get every day and throwing the occasional “liar” in there because I “withhold” the information that the sequester was the Obama administration’s idea. Very well, consider that nugget hereby unwithheld. Let’s grant that this is true. But it’s true only because the Republicans were holding a gun to the administration’s head—and besides, the Republicans immediately voted for it. In any case the important thing now is that outside of Fox News land, it’s an unimportant fact whose “idea” it was. The Republicans are partial owners of this idea, and as the party that now wants the cuts to kick in, they deserve to – and will – bear more responsibility for the negative impacts.
Steve Benen: Over the weekend, USA Today published the leaked blueprint of the White House’s comprehensive immigration reform plan, built around an eight-year pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), demonstrating the kind of devotion to serious policymaking we’ve come to expect over his brief career, immediately condemned the unfinished plan he had not yet seen.
Deaniac (The People’s View): So, after USA Today reported on a White House draft legislation on immigration reform – something the president has always said he would do in the event Congress follows its usual path of doing nothing – Republicans began melting down faster than wax in a lit candle. Suddenly after months of complaining that the president won’t put his own plan out to deal with the debt, Republicans are seething that the president has his own plan on immigration.
Sen. Hydration, I mean Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida accused the White House proposal of following some sort of failed path even though he wouldn’t say just what in the White House draft he disagreed with……
Comment on YouTube by ‘Jack194343’: Before Mississippi could ratify the amendment, they had to learn how to read the amendment. That only took 147 years. Wait until they discover addition. That will knock their socks off. Imagine, not having to count by their fingers. What a leap forward that will be. But first, they have to learn to count to ten, so they know how many fingers they have. First things first, you know.
Join Organizing for Action’s Stephanie Cutter and other supporters online at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time this Wednesday for a policy briefing on gun violence prevention – see here
The First Lady will be on the Rachael Ray Show tomorrow