Sam Moore, of the legendary group called Sam and Dave, and Mavis Staples, of the Staple Singers, enjoy a light moment during the Memphis Soul Workshop in the State Dining Room of the White House. Mavis had mentioned that it was easy to transition to soul music from gospel music by substituting ‘baby’ for ‘Jesus’.
7:30: The President and First Lady host a concert celebrating Memphis Soul music as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series
Justin Timberlake congratulates Sam Moore after he performed “Soul Man”
Senator Tim Kaine: Nearly four months after the horrific Newtown shootings, the Senate is poised to do something that hasn’t been done for a long time in Congress – actually have a meaningful floor debate on reducing gun violence. Some senators and lobbyists are trying to make sure that no vote can take place. This should outrage the strong majority of American citizens who believe in reasonable gun rules to protect public safety.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and 11 other senators have promised to filibuster any discussion of gun safety rules. Instead of just voting against restrictions they don’t like, they are trying to block any vote whatsoever….
…. There are those who believe the National Rifle Association and its allies are so powerful that no legislation will pass. But the power of the organization’s leadership is vastly overrated. I’ve run three statewide races in the NRA’s home state. Its leadership campaigned vigorously against me each time, spending nearly $800,000 against me in my 2012 Senate race. I won all my races anyway.
Steve Benen: I’ve long believed we can learn a lot about politicians by how they conduct their campaigns. Candidates who are honest and above board before the election tend to be honest and above board after the votes are tallied. Those who choose to be dishonest and sleazy during the race are often less than forthright once in office.
And if this adage is true, we’re learning some unsettling things about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell…
Greg Sargent: …. The suggestion by the McConnell campaign that Mother Jones engaged in “Watergate-style tactics to bug campaign headquarters” is intriguing; it constitutes a suggestion that Mother Jones broke the law. To my knowledge, the McConnell campaign didn’t provide CNN with any evidence of this. (The Mother Jones story only says that a “recording” of the strategy session “was obtained by Mother Jones.”) It’s a serious charge, and if it were made without evidence by the campaign of the Senate minority leader — perhaps the most powerful Republican elected official the country — it’s a big deal.
Since late last week, we have been fed a steady diet of grandma on catfood and the eeeebil Obama that is trying to make that happen. As usual, focusing on the method of inflation adjustment (that isn’t simply applicable to Social Security but all of government), our venerable Leftist talking heads are missing the forest for the trees. Well, more like they’re missing the forest for the branches. While people are howling at a revised method of calculating inflation, they are completely missing broader perspective on how this president is devising a more expansive social safety net.
So let’s get some perspective. This president has expanded the social safety net in more broadly than anyone since the passage of Social Security – through health care reform, through expanding children’s health insurance, through student aid expansion and through Medicare reforms. Let’s talk about those.
WH.gov: As part of their “In Performance at the White House” series, the President and First Lady will invite music legends and contemporary major artists to the White House for a celebration of Memphis Soul music.
The program will include performances by Alabama Shakes, William Bell, Steve Cropper, —-> Al Green <—-, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples and Justin Timberlake, with Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader.
The entire event will be streamed live on White House live starting at 6:55 PM ET – and will be broadcast Tuesday, April 16 on PBS ….
As she has done with previous White House music events, the First Lady will host a special daytime event for students.
The First Lady will welcome 120 middle and high school students from across the country to take part in an interactive student workshop event: “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul.” Beginning at 11:00 AM in the State Dining Room, Robert Santelli, Executive Director of The GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, will lead the students in an overview of the origins of Memphis Soul, discuss important artists from throughout its history, and explore the elements of soul and gospel that helped contribute to the genre’s unique sound.
The workshop, “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul,” will stream live on White House live
Paul Krugman (NYT): So the Supreme Court – defying many expectations – upheld the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare …. this a big victory for President Obama … But the real winners are ordinary Americans – people like you.
How many people are we talking about? You might say 30 million, the number of additional people the Congressional Budget Office says will have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. But that vastly understates the true number of winners because millions of other Americans — including many who oppose the act — would have been at risk of being one of those 30 million.
…. In short, unless you belong to that tiny class of wealthy Americans who are insulated and isolated from the realities of most people’s lives, the winners from that Supreme Court decision are your friends, your relatives, the people you work with — and, very likely, you. For almost all of us stand to benefit from making America a kinder and more decent society.
…. the law that the Supreme Court upheld is an act of human decency that is also fiscally responsible. It’s not perfect, by a long shot … but it’s still a big step toward a better – and by that I mean morally better – society.
Which brings us to the nature of the people who tried to kill health reform – and who will, of course, continue their efforts despite this unexpected defeat …. what was and is really striking about the anti-reformers is their cruelty …. it has long been obvious that the opposition’s goal is simply to kill reform, never mind the human consequences. We should all be thankful that, for the moment at least, that effort has failed.
…. The cruelty and ruthlessness that made this court decision such a nail-biter aren’t going away.
But, for now, let’s celebrate. This was a big day, a victory for due process, decency and the American people.
Greg Sargent: Romney supported a tax increase, remember? GOP strategists are predicting that by calling the mandate a “massive tax increase,” they’ll be able to win over independents in battleground states. Perhaps, but as noted above, they may also be alienated by the drive for full repeal. Either way, this is made even more absurd by the fact that Romney supported precisely the same tax increase as Governor of Massachusetts.
Washington Post: …. “The most effective argument for Romney is that this is a massive tax increase that will impact hardworking Americans,” said GOP strategist Ron Bonjean…..
Romney’s history, however, may make it difficult for him to capitalize on that argument.
The health-care system that he put into place as Massachusetts governor – which was a model for the federal law – included a mandate with a similar penalty for noncompliance.
At the time, Romney also denied that it was a tax, preferring instead to refer to it as a “fee” or an “incentive.”
11:15 The President meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan
12:05 The President and King Abdullah deliver statements to the press
2:50 The President hosts a White House reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month
Photo from Florida, 2008
Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whom President Obama has picked to lead the Democratic National Committee, introduced the president at the first of two DNC events in Washington last night.
“How about my new DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz,” Obama said, to applause. “She is tireless, tireless. And she’s got the most adorable kids, and I don’t know how she keeps up with everything.”
“But as Michelle said, if you want something done, put a woman in charge. So, all right, everybody got….women, you got a little too excited on that.”