I think most of you have probably seen this video already, but for some reason HuffyPo and others think it’s only just appeared – it’s been on YouTube since March 2009, someone else just copied it and posted it two days ago!
AP: Dresses, china and mementos dating back to days when Americans referred to the first lady as “lady presidentress” or “republican queen” will return to view Saturday at the National Museum of American History, along with Michelle Obama’s dashing inaugural gown as a centerpiece.
The new exhibition “The First Ladies” features 26 dresses and about 160 other objects ranging from Martha Washington’s White House collection to a first look at Laura Bush’s china. It’s the 10th version of the first ladies exhibit in nearly 100 years. The last one closed in October as the museum moves historic objects out of its west wing for a major renovation beginning early next year.
Jonathan Bernstein (Washington Post): What can you say about a debate in which one candidate had perhaps the worst moment ever in a presidential debate – Rick Perry’s brain freeze about the third of the three government agencies he wants to eliminate – and he didn’t even give the most embarrassing performance?
No, that would be Herman Cain …. after dragging American political rhetoric to a new low, referring to the House Minority Leader and a former speaker as “Princess Nancy,” it’s about time that Cain was called to account for insulting the American people and the political process for the farce that he’s engaging in….
Paul Begala: The only knockout punch in the CNBC debate was the one Rick Perry administered to himself. His tiny Texas Aggie brain froze when he tried to repeat his talking point about the three federal agencies he would close …. I have never seen a more devastating moment of self-destruction. What’s next, Perry endorsing Cain’s 9-9…ummm, what’s the third number?
Michael Tomasky: Barack Obama is winning the Rust Belt back. The overwhelming repeal in Ohio of Governor John Kasich’s anti-labor bill from last year shows that the GOP has gone way, way too far—too far for Democrats, obviously, but also for independents. It shows the potential for something else, too: the populist message can stick. “Class warfare” can work. It can take hold even with the people who allegedly despise our Kenyan leader the most: the white working class. And if this turns out to be right, then the Washington conventional wisdom will be proven as wrong as it’s been since 1998, when the Cokie Roberts caucus convinced itself that the American people wanted to throw Bill Clinton out of the White House over Monica.
…. If Romney is going to be the Republican standard bearer, is this really the right time for a nominee who’s worth $250 million and is going to be walking around talking about lower taxes on everyone, including the rich, and who presumably pays at the 15 percent rate, since most of his income is from capital gains and not compensation?
Washington Post: Reggie Love, a key member of the Obama entourage, is planning to leave the White House by the end of the year, people close to the administration said.
Love, 30, is a popular, gregarious figure in the White House. A onetime forward for the Duke Blue Devils basketball team, Love started out as a staff assistant in Obama’s Senate office after college, rising to become his personal assistant, known as the “body man.”
MSNBC: NBC News has confirmed that one woman received a settlement from the National Restaurant Association after complaining about inappropriate sexual conduct by Herman Cain.
NBC News is not disclosing the name of the woman nor characterizing who she is. Cain denied the allegations, saying on FOX this morning he was “falsely accused.” “I have never sexually harassed anyone, anyone,” he said, “and absolutely, these are false accusations.”
Despite being the chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association, he said he was unaware of any settlement with the accusers, though he didn’t deny it. “If the restaurant association did a settlement, I wasn’t even aware of it,” he claimed, “and I hope it wasn’t for much. If there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers at the restaurant association.”
TPM: On Fox News this afternoon, Herman Cain dismissed the Politico story dogging his campaign this week in the strongest possible terms. There’s only one problem with his story of how the Politico piece came to be: his chief of staff blew a large hole in it already.
On Fox, Cain said that Politico came to him with two anonymous tales of sexual harassment settlements reached while he was the head of the National Restaurant Association. And that’s why he didn’t respond to Politico’s request for comment.
….. That line of reasoning is fine, as far as it goes, except Cain neglected to mention one thing …. his Chief of Staff and famous smoker Mark Block confirmed to TPM that Politico’s reporting of the events was accurate.
…. So Cain’s strong words to Fox are already being found to be less-than-true. That’s not a good sign for a campaign trying to put a tough story behind it.
As you regulars know, I’ve been stamping my feet for some time now about big news orgs that amplify the GOP’s claim to having a “jobs plan” without asking independent experts whether Republican fiscal prescriptions would actually … create jobs.
So kudos to the Associated Press for weighing in with a bracing analysis that calls BS on the GOP’s ideas for job creation, though this one is focused on the 2012 GOP presidential candidates:
Key proposals from the Republican presidential candidates might make for good campaign fodder. But independent analyses raise serious questions about those plans and their ability to cure the nation’s ills in two vital areas, the economy and housing.….
President Barack Obama signs an executive order, to head off drug shortages and to prevent price gouging, in the Oval Office, October 31. In attendance was Pharmacy Manager for perioperative services Bonnie Frawley (L), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (2nd L), Jay Cuetara (2nd R), a 49-year-old cancer patient who lives in San Francisco, CA, and FDA Commissioner Peggy Hamburg (R).
Daniel Bice (JS Online): Herman Cain’s two top campaign aides ran a private Wisconsin-based corporation that helped the GOP presidential candidate get his fledgling campaign off the ground by originally footing the bill for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses ….. something that might breach federal tax and campaign law, according to sources and documents.
….. Election law experts say the transactions raise a host of questions for the private organization, which billed itself as a tax-exempt nonprofit, and the Cain team. “If the records accurately reflect what occurred, this is way out of bounds,” said a Washington, D.C.-based election lawyer….
Michael Maistelman, a Wisconsin campaign attorney, agreed. “The number of questionable and possibly illegal transactions conducted on behalf of Herman Cain is staggering” ….
Steve Benen: This looks awfully bad for Team Cain. The report points to evidence that two of Cain’s top aides set up a now-defunct non-profit entity that illegally financed the campaign, effectively helping it get off the ground. There’s nothing in FEC filings to suggest the campaign ever paid Prosperity USA back for the substantial funds it spent on Cain’s behalf.
LA Times (March, 1990): Barack Obama stares silently at a wall of fading black-and-white photographs in the muggy second-floor offices of the Harvard Law Review. He lingers over one row of solemn faces, his predecessors of 40 years ago. All are men. All are dressed in dark-colored suits and ties. All are white.
It is a sobering moment for Obama, 28, who in February became the first black to be elected president in the 102-year history of the prestigious student-run law journal.
The post, considered the highest honor a student can attain at Harvard Law School, almost always leads to a coveted clerkship with the U.S. Supreme Court after graduation and a lucrative offer from the law firm of one’s choice.
Yet Obama, who has gone deep into debt to meet the $25,000-a-year cost of a Harvard Law School education, has left many in disbelief by asserting that he wants neither.
“One of the luxuries of going to Harvard Law School is it means you can take risks in your life,” Obama said recently. “You can try to do things to improve society and still land on your feet. That’s what a Harvard education should buy – enough confidence and security to pursue your dreams and give something back.”
After graduation next year, Obama says he probably will spend two years at a corporate law firm, then look for community work. Down the road, he plans to run for public office…..
Vanity Fair (June 1990): The new president of the Harvard Law Review was somewhat taken aback by the deluge of media coverage that followed hard on the heels of his election. The New York Times ran a “First Black” headline, which probably won’t be the last time that label is affixed to Barack Obama.
The twenty-eight-year-old law student says he wasn’t going to run for the office until a black friend talked him into it. “There’s a door to kick down,” the friend argued, “and you’re in a position to kick it down.”
The job does give him a great forum, but there’s a trade-off. “I like to read novels, listen to Miles Davis,” he says. “I don’t get to do that anymore. I don’t get dates anymore.” Still, he’s philosophical, even briskly cheerful, about his lost leisure….
…..he responds warily to the assumption that he himself will run for office. “If I go into politics it should grow out of work I’ve done on the local level, not because I’m some media creation.” Though, as media creations go, he’d be a pretty good one.
Salon: Donald Trump added a blatantly race-baiting component to his already racially charged campaign against Barack Obama’s Americanness this week when he claimed – based on things he’s “heard” – that Obama was a “terrible student” who got into Columbia and then Harvard based solely on affirmative action:
“How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard? I’m thinking about it, I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records,” he said, without providing backup for his claim. Trump added, “I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can’t get into Harvard.”
Leaving aside the fact that Obama, who went on to graduate Harvard Law magna cum laude, seems like he was probably a very good student, Mr. Trump might need a refresher course in how unqualified people actually do manage to get into the prestigious Ivy League Universities.
Let us take, as an example, the story of a student so obviously unqualified, so transparently unworthy, that a book was written about what his admittance into Harvard said about the sorry behavior of supposedly elite colleges.
That student was Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Kushner’s father, real estate developer Charles Kushner, bought Jared his Harvard acceptance. It cost him $2.5 million. (Kushner later went to jail for tax evasion and witness tampering, so it was also, technically, dirty money that bought Trump’s daughter’s husband’s entry into the Ivy League.)
The Guardian: Arianna Huffington, her website and AOL were on the receiving end of a $105m lawsuit by a group of angry bloggers unhappy that she sold the Huffington Post for $315m without them being paid a penny.
The class action is led by Jonathan Tasini, a writer and trade unionist, who wrote more than 250 posts for Huffington Post on an unpaid basis until he dropped out shortly after the news and comment site was sold to AOL earlier this year.
Tasini complained that “Huffington bloggers have essentially been turned into modern day slaves on Arianna Huffington’s plantation” and said he was bringing the action because “people who create content … have to be compensated” for their efforts.
The complainant and his lawyers estimate about 9,000 people wrote for the Huffington Post on an unpaid basis – and argue that their writings helped contribute about a third of the sale value of the site, the basis of their $105m claim for compensation ….Tasini promised to wage a passionate campaign, saying he was “pissed off and angry” and that he would “picket her home” in his campaign….
Joe Klein (Time): ….It is excruciating watching the Republican Party presidential candidates who, on a daily basis, pronounce some ignorant racist or irreligious twaddle…today’s example primo is Newt, who really needs to get back on his meds, worrying about his grandchildren:
“I have two grandchildren – Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”
There is genius in this: no other human had located the secular humanist wing of radical Islam before. And then there is Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza who is pretending to run for President, proving that a black man can be as gutter-cheap bigoted as anyone. If elected, he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or the federal bench because: “There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government.”
…This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism. … this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012…
Here’s a reply from Steve Benen to Klein’s ‘plea’ for Mitch Daniels and Jeb Bush to run (see the link above, Klein mentions them at the end of his article):
“….where I part ways with Klein is his expectation that Daniels and Jeb Bush could somehow put things right. For one thing, when it comes to the major issues of the day, the substantive differences between these two and the Seven Dwarves (Romney, Pawlenty, Huckabee, Barbour, Gingrich, Santorum, and I suppose Bachmann) are quite narrow.
For another, Klein doesn’t explain how a sensible, self-respecting, qualified Republican is going to win primaries without also becoming some ridiculous caricature. Indeed, note that Klein made no mention of Jon Huntsman — who presumably would qualify as a reasonable GOP candidate unwilling to “behave like a public clown” — probably because no one seriously believes the party base will tolerate him.”
Arizona Daily Star, March 13, 2011 – By Barack Obama
Time: It’s been more than two months since the tragedy in Tucson stunned the nation. It was a moment when we came together as one people to mourn and to pray for those we lost. And in the attack’s turbulent wake, Americans by and large rightly refrained from finger-pointing, assigning blame or playing politics with other people’s pain.
But one clear and terrible fact remains. A man our Army rejected as unfit for service; a man one of our colleges deemed too unstable for studies; a man apparently bent on violence, was able to walk into a store and buy a gun.
He used it to murder six people and wound 13 others. And if not for the heroism of bystanders and a brilliant surgical team, it would have been far worse.
But since that day, we have lost perhaps another 2,000 members of our American family to gun violence. Thousands more have been wounded. We lose the same number of young people to guns every day and a half as we did at Columbine, and every four days as we did at Virginia Tech.
Every single day, America is robbed of more futures. It has awful consequences for our society. And as a society, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to put a stop to it.
…I know that every time we try to talk about guns, it can reinforce stark divides. People shout at one another, which makes it impossible to listen. We mire ourselves in stalemate, which makes it impossible to get to where we need to go as a country.
….our focus right now should be on sound and effective steps that will actually keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.
….Clearly, there’s more we can do to prevent gun violence. But I want this to at least be the beginning of a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people.
I know some aren’t interested in participating. Some will say that anything short of the most sweeping anti-gun legislation is a capitulation to the gun lobby. Others will predictably cast any discussion as the opening salvo in a wild-eyed scheme to take away everybody’s guns. And such hyperbole will become the fodder for overheated fundraising letters.
But I have more faith in the American people than that. Most gun-control advocates know that most gun owners are responsible citizens. Most gun owners know that the word “commonsense” isn’t a code word for “confiscation.” And none of us should be willing to remain passive in the face of violence or resigned to watching helplessly as another rampage unfolds on television.
As long as those whose lives are shattered by gun violence don’t get to look away and move on, neither can we.
We owe the victims of the tragedy in Tucson and the countless unheralded tragedies each year nothing less than our best efforts – to seek consensus, to prevent future bloodshed, to forge a nation worthy of our children’s futures.
BBC: Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will visit the UK on their first official state visit in May. US presidents who have met the Queen have mostly stayed in London, but where else in the UK might the Obamas travel?
The Obamas’ planned visit to the UK in May is their second trip to the country, but the first as official guests of the British Royal Family.
Since the turn of the 20th Century, 11 American presidents have made the trip across the Atlantic. Most have stayed in London, visiting Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and other sights on the diplomatic tourist trail.
….President Obama might consider a trip to Bracknell where his half sister Auma used to live and, it is thought, his step mother Kezia still does. A short train ride from London, the commuter town might not be an obvious choice for a world leader, but Mr Obama has already made a trip to the area. Before he became president he attended his former brother-in-law’s stag do in nearby Wokingham…..