Steve Benen: Jobless claims plummet, but there’s a catch
Occasionally, when economic news is so great that you’re left thinking, “This can’t be right,” it’s wise to trust your instincts. The newly released figures from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims offer an example of this….
Whatever the twisted path, whether by design or accident, the Obama administration has ended up in a better place on Syria than looked possible even days ago….
…. Obama’s aim is solely to affirm an international norm. To this end, he already has achieved something important. He has mobilized world attention, and there is now a chance, albeit small, that he might get a process in place that monitors and even destroys Syrian chemical weapons. Almost certainly he has ensured that such weapons won’t be used again by the Assad regime. That’s more than he could have achieved through airstrikes — which are unlikely to have destroyed such weapons. (Bombing chemical weapons facilities could easily release toxins into the atmosphere.) This is a significant success.
…. The Obama administration is right to carefully and thoroughly pursue the diplomatic path — even though it will be difficult. While Syria and Russia are doing so as a way to avert an attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin might also be happy to see Assad’s weapons locked up or destroyed. In fact, this gambit might be a way for Russia to achieve its real goals in Syria: no regime change and no chemical weapons…..
Max Fisher: No, Obama did not just confer international legitimacy on Assad
…. there’s one argument against Obama’s approach that’s generating increasing attention but maybe shouldn’t be. The case goes like this: Obama has previously called on Assad to step down. But if he strikes this deal for the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons, he’ll be implicitly acknowledging Assad’s authority and thus conferring greater international legitimacy on the Syrian dictator, thus undermining his own effort to isolate Assad.
The problem with this argument is that Obama never actually sought to remove Assad from power against his will and has consistently acknowledged him as Syria’s head of state…
Here’s a hot new entry in the “Is nothing sacred?” category:
Conservatives are using Sept. 11, that most somber day for the nation, as yet another occasion to condemn President Obama.
Rather than join in the bipartisan ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, they rallied on the West Lawn of the Capitol, carrying signs that said “Impeach Obama” and, over a cartoon of the president trampling Uncle Sam, “Americans Don’t Support Terrorists or Their Minions.”
…. One might dismiss the partisan antics of those tarnishing the solemn anniversary. But some of the most prominent figures in the Republican Party joined in marring the memorials with Benghazi politics.
Steve Benen: Republican leaders vs. the GOP’s ‘Neanderthals’
House Republicans, perhaps tired after four days in the six weeks, will wrap their work week today around noon, leaving just five days in September in which the chamber will be in session. And as House members depart this afternoon, they’ll leave increasing odds of a government shutdown in their wake.
Part of the problem is simply a matter of logistics: the government will run out of money on Sept. 30, and House leaders haven’t left themselves much time to get their work done.
But just as important is the fact that Republican leaders have absolutely no idea how they intend to govern. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the GOP leadership team thought they’d worked out a viable solution, which House Republicans rejected less than a day after it was introduced. Party officials are looking for someone to blame.
Obama Foodorama: First Lady Michelle Obama To Ask Everyone To “Drink Up” With More Water
Today, First Lady Michelle Obama will join the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and actress Eva Longoria in Watertown, Wisconsin to announce PHA’s new effort to encourage everyone to drink more water, an easy choice to improve health and well-being every day. The effort brings together more than a dozen organizations committed to encouraging everyone to drink more water more often. According to the CDC, approximately one fourth of children do not drink any water on a given day. This new effort will remind people that drinking more water helps you have more energy to do more, longer and with better focus.
WH.gov: Upcoming Guidance on Música Latina: In Performance at the White House
Monday, September 16 * White House – As part of their In Performance at the White House series, the President and First Lady will invite music artists to the White House for a celebration of Latin music during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Música Latina: In Performance at the White House will showcase Latin musical heritage, reflecting the influence of richly diverse Latino communities from throughout the Americas. The program celebrates the beauty and diversity of that music. From the lively rhythms of Central America and the Caribbean to the beautiful sounds of South America, Latin music is known for blending a wide variety of styles.
The evening will feature artists Natalie Cole, Lila Downs, Gloria Estefan, Raul Malo, Ricky Martin, Prince Royce, Arturo Sandoval, Romeo Santos, Alejandro Sanz and Marco Antonio Solis. The entire event will be streamed live on http://www.whitehouse.gov/live starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.
“Over 1400 people were gassed, over 400 of them were children ….. I was elected to end wars, not start them, but there are times we have to make hard choices if we’re going to stand up for the things we care about.”