Houston Chronicle: Marcus Davis is resolute. As many times as vandals paint over a mural of President Barack Obama, he will repair the damage over and over again.
“There is an endless supply of paint,” said Davis, 41, who opened The Breakfast Klub in 2001. “This mural is symbolic of the presidency of Barack Obama. He wakes up every day to obstacles and challenges far greater than a doggone mural being defaced. If he has the level of courage and type of character that causes him to continue to go on, I’ll be damned if I stop.”
Steve Benen: That ought to be interesting: “President Obama will fly to Cleveland hours after the Iowa caucuses for an address on the economy, the White House announced Monday. Obama will travel to the Ohio city aboard Air Force One on Wednesday and will deliver remarks on the economy at Shaker Heights High School. His remarks will come shortly after Hawkeye State voters kick off the 2012 presidential nominating race.”
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her husband Marcus sing and pray while attending services at the Jubilee Family Church on January 1, 2012 in Oskaloosa, Iowa
Clean Technica: With two years of the Obama administration, almost four times as much clean energy has been put on the grid on public lands as in all the previous 40 years.
All the renewable energy ever permitted on public lands totaled 1,800 MW by the end of 2008. In the last two years, the Department of the Interior has approved 6,600 MW of new projects.
President Obama on Wednesday announced a plan to allow college graduates to cap federal student loan repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income starting in January, two years before the cap was due to take effect under federal law.
The accelerated “pay as you earn” program, which Obama will authorize through executive order, could benefit up to 1.6 million borrowers and reduce their payments by as much as a couple hundred dollars a month, administration officials said. All remaining debt on the federal loans would be forgiven after 20 years – five years earlier than under current law.
Reuters: …. President Obama’s appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” lifted the show to its highest Tuesday-night ratings since March 2, 2010, the night after Leno returned to the show.
Tuesday’s episode received a 4.1/11 metered-market household rating, a 52 percent leap over his Tuesday-night average so far this season. With Obama’s appearance,” The Tonight Show” handily surpassed “Late Show with David Letterman,” which posted a 2.7/7 household rating, “Nightline,” which drew a 3.6/9, and “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” which received a 1.8./6.
Ruth Marcus (Washington Post): In an interview with Parade magazine, the Texas governor declared Obama’s place of birth a “distractive” issue even as he happily latched on to the opportunity to distract ….. It was classic Perry, combining logical incoherence and a smarmy cheap shot.
…. Is this a presidential campaign or a middle-school playground? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours? By the way, if I had Perry’s grades, I wouldn’t be mentioning them. Certainly not if I were running against a former president of the Harvard Law Review.
…. You might think this was the candidate cannily trying to have it both ways: a nod to the birther crazies with a simultaneous wink at those who know this is a ridiculous distraction. Except that Perry managed to step on his real message of the day: his unaffordable and unfair proposal to “simplify” the tax code – by grafting a flat-tax alternative onto the existing system.
…. The matter of Obama’s birth certificate should be a closed case. It is astonishing that a sitting governor, no less a serious candidate for president, would stoop to playing this game.
… The country is facing serious problems. This will be a fateful election. Voters deserve better than scare tactics and drivel.
Ruth Marcus (Washington Post); Rick Perry is no George W. Bush. This is not a compliment … his 2010 Tea Party-steeped manifesto, “Fed Up!,” makes George Bush look like George McGovern. Perry has said he wasn’t planning to run for president when he wrote the book, and it shows:
● He floats the notion of repealing the 16th Amendment, which authorized the federal income tax. Perry describes the amendment as “the great milestone on the road to serfdom” because it “was the birth of wealth redistribution in the United States.”….
●He lambastes the 17th Amendment, which instituted direct election of senators, as a misguided “blow to the ability of states to exert influence on the federal government”….
● He laments the New Deal as “the second big step” – the 16th and 17th amendments being the first – “in the march of socialism and….”
● He specifically targets Social Security for “violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles of federalism and limited government”….
● … he is even less happy about the Great Society, suggesting that programs such as Medicare are unconstitutional….
…. Perry’s views on the role of judges may be the most alarming given a president’s ability to shape the Supreme Court for decades to come. He writes about the current court with venomous disdain …. Disagreeing with liberal justices is one thing. Accusing them of not caring about the Constitution is like denouncing the opposing party as unpatriotic …
…. The subtitle of Perry’s book is “Our Fight to Save America from Washington.” Reading it summons the image of another, urgent fight: saving America from Rick Perry.
Pjstar: Forgive Tim and Diana Wheeler if they sometimes slip and refer to President Obama by his first name. After all, the Wheelers are quite possibly the only townsfolk in Alpha to know the leader of the free world on a first-name basis.
“Barack is coming to Alpha!” Tim Wheeler, 53, crowed with a chuckle Tuesday at Caterpillar Inc.’s Building HH, where he is a section manager.
Not that the Wheelers would be so informal Wednesday, when there’s a good chance – yet again – that they’ll get a few minutes to chat with their presidential pal. “We knew him before he was president,” Diane Wheeler, 50, said from Alpha. “We got in the habit of calling him by his first name. Out of respect, now it’s ‘Mister President.'”
Mind you, the Wheelers are no heavy-hitting politicos or deep-pocket contributors. They’re just workaday people who just happen to have the ear of the most powerful man on the planet. And when Obama saunters into the Country Corners Farm Market, the Wheelers stand the best chance of the Alpha’s 671 residents for a presidential one-on-one. It’s a special relationship, stretching from a hardscrabble farming burg to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. “We consider him a friend,” Diane Wheeler said.
The connection comes via son Marcus Wheeler, who in 2004 was a 19-year-old in dire need of a liver transplant. At the time, Tim Wheeler faced the loss of his 28-year job at Butler Manufacturing, which would leave Galesburg the next year. No job meant no insurance.
Meanwhile, Obama, then a state senator from Chicago, was campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat. On May 15 of that year, he made an unplanned stop at Galesburg’s Labor Temple, to talk with 25 local labor leaders. One was Wheeler, of United Steelworkers Local 2629.
When he got a chance with Obama, Wheeler sobbed as he told of his son’s need of a second transplant and expensive drugs. Obama promised to seek help via Medicare.
Two months later, die-hard Democrats Tim and Diana Wheeler flipped on their TV to see Obama address the Democratic National Convention, as John Kerry’s keynote speaker. A riveting speech bolstered his national gravitas, in part with the heartfelt plea, “We have more work to do. More work to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs. … More to do for the father that I met who was losing his job and choking back the tears, wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits that he counted on.”
Stunned to tears, the Wheelers vowed to support Obama the next week at a Kewanee rally. Tim Wheeler approached Obama, who immediately said, “I want you to know: Every day I say a prayer for Marcus.” Thereafter, Obama would use the Wheeler story on the stump. Meanwhile, Tim Wheeler got a new job, at Cat, where insurance covered another two liver transplants for his son. In 2006, Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope” mentioned Galesburg several times, including the value of on-the-road encounters with people like the Wheelers: “Those were the stories you missed on a private jet at 40,000 feet.”
Later, they there were more meet-ups. When Marcus had treatment at the University of Chicago Hospitals, his dad met Michelle Obama in a hallway. She said her husband often prayed for the family. Later, as a U.S. senator, Obama gave a speech at the University of Illinois. Marcus Wheeler, en route to a bachelor’s degree in math, got a front-row seat. To start the speech, Obama mouthed, “Hi, Marcus.”
And in 2009, before Obama toured Cat here, Tim Wheeler was picked to join 200 workers to meet with Obama. Through the throng, the president summoned Wheeler for a few personal words for the first time since inauguration.
“How ya doing?” Wheeler asked.
“Oh,” Obama said with a grin, “I’ve been kinda busy these days.” ….
Think Progress: When trying to figure out where presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) gets her stringent, anti-gay views, you only have to look as far as her husband. Dr. Marcus Bachmann, who has described himself as his wife’s “strategist,” runs a Christian-based counseling center in Minnesota that has been rumored to offer reparative treatment for those looking to “ungay” themselves….
….After seeing her husband’s virulent remarks, it’s no surprise then that Michele Bachmann has fiercely disparaged the gay community and has announced she’s in favor of an anti-gay marriage amendment on the campaign trail. What’s the most terrifying isn’t what Dr. Bachmann said, but the threat that the United States could elect a president who believes that homosexuality can be disciplined out of someone.
Steve Benen: …..Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace apparently faced some criticism from the right over this, and he apologized, telling Fox News viewers, “I messed up. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any disrespect.” ….It’s a shame Wallace felt the need to apologize for this, because he accidentally asked a good question, even if he regrets it now.
Societal norms apparently dictate that unhinged candidates who have no business running for president be shielded from such unpleasantness, but Michele Bachmann is arguably the most ridiculous person in Washington. She proudly embraces bizarre conspiracy theories; she routinely says crazy things on national television; she pretends to grasp public policies she doesn’t understand; and her worldview is comparable to someone who’s suffered a serious head trauma. Even as the Republican Party leaps off a right-wing cliff, Bachmann stands out for unique brand of madness.
Given this, of course response hosts should ask whether she’s a serious person. Bachmann doesn’t deserve deference; she deserves ridicule. I thought “are you a flake” was actually a rather polite way of asking a legitimate question about an unqualified candidate.
LA Times: Rep. Michele Bachmann has been propelled into the 2012 presidential contest in part by her insistent calls to reduce federal spending….
But she and her family have benefited personally from government aid, an examination of her record and finances shows. A counseling clinic run by her husband has received nearly $30,000 from the state of Minnesota in the last five years, money that in part came from the federal government. A family farm in Wisconsin, in which the congresswoman is a partner, received nearly $260,000 in federal farm subsidies.
And she has sought to keep federal money flowing to her constituents. After publicly criticizing the Obama administration’s stimulus program, Bachmann requested stimulus funds to support projects in her district….
….despite her broadsides against “socialized medicine,” Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, applied for public funds for his counseling clinic, Bachmann & Associates. Since 2006, he has received nearly $30,000, according to Minnesota state records…
Michele Bachmann lists the Lake Elmo, Minn.-based clinic – which aims to provide “quality Christian counseling in a sensitive, loving environment,” according to its website – as one of her assets on her financial disclosure forms.
Another of Bachmann’s assets – a family farm owned by her late father-in-law, Paul Bachmann – received nearly $260,000 in federal money between 1995 and 2008, largely from corn and dairy subsidies …. Paul Bachmann died in May 2009, but the congresswoman retains a partnership in the farm.
Bachmann said in December that the subsidies went to her in-laws and she never received “one penny” from the farm, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. However, in financial disclosure forms, she reported receiving between $32,503 and $105,000 in income from the farm, at minimum, between 2006 and 2009.
AP: ..…Examining 24 of her statements, Politifact.com, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking service found just one to be fully true and 17 to be false (seven of them “pants on fire” false)….. A look at some of her recent statements and how they compare with the facts:
BACHMANN: “The farm is my father-in-law’s farm. It’s not my husband and my farm. It’s my father-in-law’s farm. And my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm.” — On “Fox News Sunday.”
THE FACTS: In personal financial disclosure reports required annually from members of Congress, Bachmann reported that she holds an interest in a family farm in Independence, Wis., with her share worth between $100,000 and $250,000…..
BACHMANN: “Overnight we are hearing that potentially 10 to 30,000 people could have been killed in the strike.” — Criticizing Obama in May for the “foolish” U.S. intervention in Libya, and citing what she said were reports of a civilian death toll from a NATO strike as high as 30,000.
THE FACTS: The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, said in late April that U.S. officials have seen reports that 10,000 to 30,000 people may have died in Moammar Gadhafi’s crackdown on protesters and the fighting between rebels and pro-government forces, but it is hard to know if that is true. He was speaking about all casualties of the conflict; no one has attributed such a death toll to NATO bombing alone, much less to a single strike.
BACHMANN: “It’s ironic and sad that the president released all of the oil from the strategic oil reserve. … There’s only a limited amount of oil that we have in the strategic oil reserve. It’s there for emergencies.” — On CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
THE FACTS: Obama did not empty all the oil from the strategic reserve, as Bachmann said. He approved the release of 30 million barrels, about 4 percent of the 727 million barrels stored in salt caverns along the Texas and Louisiana coasts….
BACHMANN: “One. That’s the number of new drilling permits under the Obama administration since they came into office.” — Comment to a conservative conference in Iowa in March.
THE FACTS: The Obama administration issued more than 200 new drilling permits before the Gulf oil spill alone. Over the past year, since new safety standards were imposed, the administration has issued more than 60 shallow-water drilling permits. Since the deep water moratorium was lifted in October, nine new wells have been approved.