…. not forgetting: In June 2010, Joe Williams was the first African American editor hired at Politico after an outcry erupted over the news organization’s lack of diversity …. he ‘left’ last year (Poynter)
AP: The U.S. economy grew at a faster 2.7 percent annual rate from July through September, although the strength may fade in the final months of the year.
The Commerce Department says growth in the third quarter was much better than the 2 percent rate estimated a month ago and more than twice the 1.3 percent rate logged in the April-June quarter.
The two biggest factors in the upward revision were larger gains in business stockpiles and a boost in export sales. That offset weaker consumer spending.
Economists believe growth is slowing to a rate below 2 percent in the current October-December quarter because of disruptions from Superstorm Sandy and worries about sharp tax increases and spending cuts that would occur in January without a budget deal in Washington.
Steve Benen: Initial unemployment claims spiked a few weeks ago after Hurricane Sandy slammed the Northeast, but the new figures from the Department of Labor points to a steady improvement:
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 393,000 in the week ended Nov. 24, the Labor Department said Thursday. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 416,000 from an original reading of 410,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to drop to 390,000 as the effects of Hurricane Sandy fade.
CNBC: Buyers are coming back to the housing market in ever greater numbers, as an industry index measuring contracts to purchase existing homes surged 5.2 percent in October from September.
The monthly gauge of pending home sales from the National Association of Realtors was also revised higher in September and is now up 13.2 percent from October of 2011. This is a forward looking indicator for closed sales one to two months from now.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with business leaders to discuss the actions needed to keep the economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce the deficit, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
An angry President Obama admonishes Bo for eating Romney’s White House lunch:
E.J. Dionne: Here’s the first lesson from the early skirmishing over ways to avoid the fiscal cliff: Democrats and liberals have to stop elevating Grover Norquist, the anti-government crusader who wields his no-tax pledge as a nuclear weapon, into the role of a political Superman.
Pretending that Norquist is more powerful than he is allows Republicans to win acclaim they haven’t earned yet. Without making a single substantive concession, they get loads of praise just for saying they are willing to ignore those old pledges to Grover … kudos for an openness to compromise should be reserved for Republicans who put forward concrete proposals to raise taxes.
The corollary is that progressives should be unafraid to draw their own red lines. If you doubt that this is a good idea, just look at how effective Norquist has been.
CNN: In the final race deemed too close to call, Republican David Rouzer conceded Wednesday after a recount in the race for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District showed incumbent Rep. Mike McIntyre won by a razor-thin margin.
…. Despite facing a newly-drawn district that appeared to have been created to end his career, McIntyre showed strong signs of life in the race and ran a competitive race in the district that skews heavily Republican. He led in fundraising over Rouzer, a state senator, and kept even with ad spending by pro-Republican outside groups and the national Republican Party. Rouzer, however, stayed off the airwaves.
The contest was considered the final unresolved House race from Election Day that could make a difference in the makeup of the 113th Congress…. McIntyre’s victory gives Democrats a net gain of eight House seats from the November election, and the next Congress will consist of 234 Republicans and 201 Democrats.
President Barack Obama stands with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Kristiani Herawati during a family photo before the East Asia Summit Gala dinner in Nusa Dua, on the island of Bali
President Obama and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono talk as Balinese dancers perform on stage at the East Asia Summit dinner
What a beautiful difference five years makes. Just sayin':
President George W. Bush chats with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of the Asian-Pacific leaders meeting in Hanoi, 19 November 2006.
President Obama speaks after announcing a commercial deal between Boeing and Indonesia’s Lion Air at a signing ceremony in Nusa Dua, on the island of Bali, Indonesia.
Boeing and Lion Air have reached agreement on the purchase of 201 Boeing 737MAX and 29 Next Generation 737ER aircraft. The order will support over 110,000 U.S. jobs at Boeing and at suppliers in 43 states. This represents one of the largest trade deals between the United States and Indonesia in history….
Boeing and Singapore Airlines have reached agreement on the purchase of eight Boeing 777-300ER widebody aircraft with a total list price value of $2.4 billion, $2 billion in U.S. export content and supporting an estimated 11,000 U.S. jobs….
The Hill: A senior military official says U.S. forces soon will begin winding down counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan, signaling a major shift in the decade-old conflict.
U.S. forces are working to “set the conditions” for Afghan government officials and security forces to assume control of key provinces by next fall as American troops begin to exit, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos told The Hill.
NYT: Chrysler said Wednesday that it would add 1,100 jobs at a sport utility vehicle plant here as it spends $1.7 billion developing new models for its Jeep brand.
…. Chrysler is one of several carmakers adding large numbers of jobs in the United States after years of steep employment declines in the auto industry. On Thursday, Toyota is scheduled to begin production at a new plant in Mississippi that will employ about 2,000 people.
The mayor of Toledo, Mike Bell, described Chrysler’s announcement as “the equivalent of a blood transfusion” for this heavily industrial city along the Michigan border.
FactCheck: Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney both claim President Barack Obama said that “Americans are lazy.” He didn’t. To the contrary, Obama has consistently and repeatedly praised American workers as the “most productive in the world,” a bit of boosterism he has repeated dozens of times. His recent words — “we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades” – actually referred to collective efforts to promote foreign investment in the U.S., and not to American workers or voters as individuals. Perry and Romney simply rip those words out of their context in order to mislead.
Washington Post: A think tank founded by GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich collected at least $37 million over the past eight years from major health-care companies and industry groups, offering special access to the former House speaker and other perks, according to records and interviews.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Boeing Senior Vice President Ray Conner as they announce a commercial deal at a signing ceremony in Nusa Dua, on the island of Bali, Indonesia
The Boeing Company and Lion Air have reached agreement on the purchase of 201 Boeing 737MAX and 29 Next Generation 737ER aircraft. The order will support over 110,000 U.S. jobs at Boeing and at suppliers in 43 states. This represents one of the largest trade deals between the United States and Indonesia in history.
The Boeing Company and Singapore Airlines have reached agreement on the purchase of eight Boeing 777-300ER widebody aircraft with a total list price value of $2.4 billion, $2 billion in U.S. export content and supporting an estimated 11,000 U.S. jobs.
President Obama meets with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali
Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!
…. with Philippines President Benigno Aquino
… with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak
President Barack Obama makes a statement announcing that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Myanmar
Steve Benen: ….. “It’s safe to say Speaker John Boehner does not agree with President Obama’s suggestion on Tuesday that Americans are better off now than they were when he took office. “Are you kidding me?!” Boehner said loudly in response to a reporter’s question on the comment.”
…. Obviously, national conditions aren’t close to where they need to be. …. Maybe, if guys like Boehner would start passing jobs bills and stop holding the economy back on purpose, the public would start to feel like the country is on the right track again.
But for those who take reality seriously, there’s no real question as to whether the country is better off now than in January 2009:
Then the nation was hemorrhaging jobs; now it’s gaining jobs.
Then the economy was shrinking; now the economy is growing.
Then the American automotive industry was on the verge of collapse; now it’s starting to thrive.
Then taxpayers were sending money to Wall Street; now taxpayers are being paid back.
Then Osama bin Laden was targeting Americans and our allies; now he’s dead and al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated.
Then U.S. troops were headed into the Middle East in greater numbers; now they’re headed home with their heads held high.
Republicans, including John Boehner, drove the United States into a pretty deep ditch during the Bush/Cheney era, and conditions are still pretty ugly. That doesn’t change the simple fact that the nation is much stronger now than the day the president was inaugurated ….
AP: A third former employee considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she deemed aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.
The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.
Washington Post: Car buyers were out in force in October, snapping up trucks and SUVs and taking advantage of deals on Japanese cars.
U.S. car and truck sales were expected to top 1 million in October, a surprising number for a month when sales are usually slow. When adjusted for seasonal factors, that would be the best pace since the Cash for Clunkers program in August 2009.
Mediaite: In a Quinnipiac poll taken Oct. 25-31, embattled GOP juggernaut Herman Cain continued to show amazing staying power …. (but) The real news from this poll, taken before most of the fallout from Politico‘s alleged sexual harassment expose, might be that some rays of sunshine are finally hitting President Obama.
….. President Obama gained six points on his approval rating … and is now beating all Republican challengers by margins of 5-16 points. The President has seen steady progress in the polls since rolling out his American Jobs Act in September, taking it on the road, and taking the fight to the Republicans who oppose it.
Elsewhere in the poll, Democrats opened up a lead on the generic House ballot, beating Republicans 42-36, after tying them at 39 in October.
AP: Michelle Obama has presented national arts and humanities awards to 12 community-based, after-school programs, including for at-risk kids.
The programs use dance, theater, writing, music, history and other art mediums to inspire teen moms and other young people and help them reach their potential. The first lady said at a White House ceremony Wednesday that the programs show that the arts are a lifeline – not a luxury – for many of these kids.
Most of the participants graduate from high school or earn a GED and go on to college.
The 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are presented on behalf of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies.
First Lady Michelle Obama escorts John Sexton Elementary School students William Porter and Breann Rouse across the tarmac at Tampa International Airport, Oct. 27
March 2010: A 100-square-meter brick art tribute to President Barack Obama unveiled in Sydney, Australia. The tribute wall was erected as a lead-up to Obama’s visit to Australia, which was later cancelled
AFP: President Barack Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Australia’s Northern Territory next month, the White House said on Thursday.
Obama will visit Darwin after making a previously announced address to the Australian parliament in Canberra during his one night stay in Australia, a trip that has been postponed twice under the pressure of US domestic politics.
The president’s visit on November 16 and 17 will mark the 60th anniversary of the military alliance between Australia and the United States and stress an increasing US diplomatic and military focus on the Pacific region.
Obama will travel to the Indonesian resort island of Bali following Australia for the East Asia summit and will begin his visit by hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit (APEC) in his native Hawaii.
ABC: With Father’s Day drawing near, the President opened up about what it was like to become a father for the first time, describing a scene that he says unfolded like the “the classic comical father situation.”
When his wife told him she believed it was time to go to the hospital, he said his reaction was “like out of a sitcom”. “You know, I jump up and I’m looking for the bag. And fumbling for the car keys … .” But, when he saw his daughter for the first time “it was love at first sight,” he said. He chuckled as he recalled being up with her at 2 a.m., “feeding her and burping her. And changing her diapers. And now she’s 5’10”.”
….”I could not ask for better kids. And so, I’m not anticipating complete mayhem for the next four, five years,” he said. He jokingly added: “I should also point out that I have men with guns that surround them often … ,” adding that that security was “a great incentive” for running for re-election.
Any potential future boyfriends might want to take note. “I might invite him over to the Oval Office,” Obama said of any boys who could be in the girls’ future, “ask him for his GPA. Find out what his intentions are, in terms of career.
He added: “Malia, Sasha, if you’re watching this, I’m just joking.”