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
Shortlisted for a Sony World Photography Award: President Barack Obama speaks in the rain during a campaign rally in Glen Allen, Virginia, July 17, 2012. Photo by Brooks Kraft
1:15 ET: The President will deliver remarks at the White House calling on Congress to pass a short-term budget package that would delay automatic, across-the-board cuts known as the sequester
USA Today: President Obama will seek to build support for another ambitious agenda item – a major immigration bill – on Tuesday when he meets with labor and business leaders at the White House.
…. “… the president will hold meetings at the White House with labor leaders and progressive leaders, as well as a number of CEOs from across industries, to discuss his commitment to getting a bipartisan bill passed in 2013, and how immigration reform fits within his broader agenda for economic growth and competitiveness,” a White House statement said.
This morning, Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden met with U.S. Embassy staff and families in London. Afterwards, the Vice President visited 10 Downing Street for meetings with British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron.
This afternoon, the Vice President will attend a meeting of the United Kingdom National Security Council. In the evening, he and Dr. Biden will depart London en route Washington, DC.
Eugene Robinson: The moment that most deserves to be remembered from Sunday’s thrilling Super Bowl came before the game, when Jennifer Hudson joined students from Sandy Hook Elementary School in singing “America the Beautiful.” It was a heart-rending elegy for the fallen — and a stirring call to action.
…. It was a reminder that life goes on but also that we must not lose sight of unfinished business: reducing the awful toll that barely regulated, insufficiently monitored commerce in powerful weapons takes on innocent victims, day after day after day.
Despite the best efforts of the NRA and like-minded groups to make sure this business remains unfinished, reducing gun violence remains stubbornly high on the nation’s agenda. This is partly due to the ravings of Wayne LaPierre …. who almost single-handedly, or single-mouthedly, is making the pro-gun argument sound even crazier and more irresponsible than it is. And that’s saying something.
ThinkProgress: What We Can Learn From Minneapolis’ Progressive Approach To Reducing Gun Violence
Monday afternoon, President Obama [delivered] his first speech on a tour promoting his plan to reduce gun violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The choice of location is anything but accidental: Minneapolis has, in recent years, developed a progressive, highly effective approach to gun violence prevention that has seen firearm crime plummet.
Trayvon Martin would have been 18 today. Rest in peace.
Three years ago today: President Barack Obama greets a young visitor in the Oval Office, Feb. 5, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
“…. unless you’re a secretly gay married Muslim bulldozing Reagan” …. love it.
ThinkProgress: Eight Senators on Monday voted not to consider the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that protects victims of domestic violence. The Senators who voted against moving to debate on the bill were: Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and James Risch (R-ID)
Steve Benen: In its decision last year on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court majority ruled that Medicaid expansion can proceed, but it must be entirely optional for states. Almost immediately, right-wing groups delivered a stern message to Republican governors: to accept expansion would be an outrageous betrayal of conservative principles.
Some GOP governors are doing it anyway, and yesterday, Ohio’s John Kasich joined the group….
Steve Benen: We’ve no doubt had plenty of Supreme Court justices who’ve been widely recognized, and some who’ve kept a relatively high public profile, but I can’t remember the last time a sitting justice reached a level of celebrity on par with Sonia Sotomayor.
…. The NYT piece is a fascinating read, largely because I can’t think of a modern judge who can illicit the kind of reactions Sotomayor is currently receiving….
Reading about these public receptions, I kept thinking back to Sotomayor’s 2009 confirmation process, and the ugliness of some of the criticisms she received from the right …. Given her popularity, I wonder how many of them would care to explain their opposition to Sotomayor’s confirmation now?
Charles Pierce: I guess I’m supposed to be rolling around in schadenfreude at the news that Karl Rove has found a new brand of cheap aluminum siding to sell to the rubes and suckers of what is laughingly referred to as the Republican Establishment. It seems that the money boys are getting tired of losing winnable Senate races because the Help keeps hiring candidates out of the Chronic ward, so Karl’s going to (reluctantly) take their money this time to teach them how to craft winning campaigns on the general theme of Ix-Nay on the Apey-ray. That the Republican party actually should need to pay someone to explain this to its candidates is a measure of a rather more systemic problem. That the feral children in the wilder precincts are birthing cows all over the landscape is entertaining as all hell, but it doesn’t move us any greater distance along toward the day when we once again will have two sane political parties.
LA Times: Jon Favreau’s career took off when, at age 23, he interrupted U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama during a speech rehearsal to offer some suggestions for improvement.
That cheeky move led to a seven-year tour as Obama’s lead speechwriter, an assignment that ends March 1 as Favreau considers trying his hand at another form of drama — as a screenwriter, perhaps in Los Angeles.