Welcome to Whitesplaining Palooza: a magical time where white folks will explain issues dealing with people of color so that finally everyone can understand! The latest magical Whitesplainer: Tim Allen.
You may remember Tim Allen as the lovable dad on the ’90s TV show Home Improvement. You may remember him as a co-star with Martin Lawrence in the 2007 movie Wild Hogs. Or you may not remember him at all, but Tim Allen wants to explain to you about how to deal with the word “ni**er” Tim Allen explaining how to deal with the word ni**er is hilarious. Not because he’s a comedian, but because he has no understanding of how racism works.
Racism doesn’t come with a barcode scanner that checks each person for their actual feelings when they use problematic language. Another thing that perhaps Allen didn’t know: you can participate in racism without taking on the mantle of “racist.” Racism doesn’t come in only one flavor. Poorly executed but well-meaning acts can still add to the problem.
Roll Call: ObamaCare Defunding Fight Could Threaten Boehner Leverage, Message
The effort by conservatives in the House and Senate to threaten a government shutdown over Obamacare could force Speaker John A. Boehner into the arms of House Democrats.
With 60 Republicans already pushing Boehner to defund Obamacare in any spending bill, the speaker may not be able to cobble together a House majority on a bill that President Barack Obama would sign without Democratic votes. And he’s not likely to get those votes for free.
But senior aides from both sides of the aisle say the threat would surely backfire on Republicans if they carry it out. For one thing, most of Obama’s new health care program is mandatory spending that is not affected by appropriations bills, so it would continue to receive funding in any event. “Even if you shut down the government, Obamacare will continue to be funded, and all you will have accomplished in that scenario is a government shutdown,” a senior Republican appropriations aide said.
WSJ: Regulator Outlines J.P. Morgan Electricity – Market Violations
Federal energy regulators laid out their first formal accusations that traders at J.P. Morgan Chase JPM -0.64% & Co. manipulated electricity markets, providing new details of their case against the bank ahead of an expected settlement.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said that between September 2010 and June 2011, J.P. Morgan engaged in “eight manipulative bidding strategies” that were designed to improperly obtain excessive payments from electricity-system operators in California and the Midwest.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the commission and J.P. Morgan are expected to settle the case for roughly $410 million in a deal that would also include the bank relinquishing roughly $200 million in unpaid claims from electricity buyers in California. That settlement could come as early as Tuesday.
The Grio: Obama, Holder Meet With Activists On Voting Rights Act
President Barack Obama is promising not to let one election go by without protecting minority voting rights. The president met privately Monday with more than a dozen civil rights leaders to talk about strengthening the Voting Rights Act. Last month the Supreme Court struck down the most powerful provision of the 48-year-old law.
The participants told reporters afterward that they are pleased with the administration’s response so far. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was also at the White House meeting, announced support last week for a lawsuit asking for advance court approval for voting changes in Texas.
Participants said the president and Holder promised more action to protect the right to vote. The attendees stressed than any legislative response to the Supreme Court ruling must have broad bipartisan support.
USA TODAY: Health Care Costs Rise At Slowest Rate In 50 Years
Personal health care costs rose last year at the slowest rate in the last 50 years, the White House announced Monday, citing statistics aimed at bolstering the case for the 2010 health care law.
The 1.1% increase in personal consumption spending over the 12 months ending in May was due to decreases in hospital and nursing home services, according to a statement from Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Hospital readmissions rates dropped from an average of 19% to 17.9% for Medicare patients since the passage of the 2010 health care law, Krueger said.
ThinkProgress: Governor Accepted Gifts From Individuals Who Later Landed Lucrative State Contracts
Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) campaigned for his office pledging to prohibit gifts to government officials from those seeking state contracts. But his own financial disclosures show he accepted thousands of dollars worth of gifts from friends who could benefit from his position.
Last week, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) apologized for bringingembarrassment to Virginia as a result of tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts and loans he and his family took from a tobacco executive. Like McDonnell and others, Corbett received gifts from several benefactors in recent years
OPB: Health Reform Will Bring Insurance To Oregon’s Homeless
When the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in January, most of Oregon’s homeless people will have health insurance. That means they’ll have access to drug and alcohol treatment, regular doctor visits and counseling.
Traci Manning, the director of the Portland Housing Bureau, says that will change things dramatically. “Having health insurance will prevent some people from becoming homeless in the first place,” Manning says. “Because if you don’t have insurance and you have a serious health care crisis, and perhaps are already struggling to make ends meet, you suddenly have a lot of bills, maybe you start missing a lot of rent. You run through your savings and for some people right now, that may be the cause of their homelessness.”
Manning says that fact that homeless people will have insurance could also free up money for other things. “There is the opportunity for services that are currently provided directly by the public to be paid for directly through Medicaid.
President Obama jokes with players from the Oregon State University basketball team in the Oval Office on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22. The team’s head coach is Craig Robinson, brother of First Lady Michelle Obama. (Photo by Pete Souza)
Chat away – unless your mouth is full with turkey.
President Obama arrives at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos
NYT: President Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, finally had their face-to-face meeting on Monday, as Mr. Obama pressed Mr. Putin to work with him to ease President Bashar al-Assad of Syria out of power, a move increasingly viewed by the West as the only way to end the bloodshed that has been under way there for more than a year.
But after a two-hour meeting, it was unclear whether Mr. Obama had had any success bringing Mr. Putin around. “We agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war,” Mr. Obama said, sitting next to the Russian leader.
Mr. Putin said, “We have found many common points on this issue.” He said the two countries would continue discussions.
Mr. Obama described the meeting — rescheduled after Mr. Putin canceled his trip to an economic summit meeting Mr. Obama hosted at Camp David last month — “candid, thoughtful and thorough.”
Steve Benen: President Obama’s announcement on immigration policy clearly has sweeping implications. The substance of the measure, which will benefit hundreds of thousands of families, is what matters most, but it’s an election year and moves like these affect the electoral landscape in a big way – especially for the president’s opponent.
While Obama’s willingness to implement the goals of the DREAM Act is likely to boost his support among Latino voters, Republican Mitt Romney has found himself in a far more uncomfortable position. This was evident on yesterday’s “Face the Nation” where he didn’t want to talk about the president’s move.
Four times CBS’s Bob Schieffer asked whether Romney, if elected, would keep Obama’s new policy in place and four times Romney refused to give a straight answer.
Daily Beast: What really happened at the Obama fundraiser at Sarah Jessica Parker’s house? … it was Bravo host Andy Cohen who stole the show when he played Plead the Fifth with the president …. Under the rules of the game, Cohen asks the guests three questions, and they get to plead the fifth only on one of them.
Obama asked: “Are you going to give me all three questions up front?” When Cohen said no, the president, gesturing to aides, replied: “Well, there are going to be some nervous people in the back of the room.”
Undeterred, Cohen launched into his first question, an easy one: “What’s your best perk? You know, like having beers with Hillary Clinton or being able to call any person in the world in the middle of the night?”
Obama said the best perk of the presidency for him was the Truman Balcony, because he got to sit out there with his wife on their “date night” and look at the view.
Then came what the world of fashion and entertainment would consider a curveball: “Choose an outfit that Michelle wears that you don’t like. What is it and why?”
“I plead the fifth!” the president said, to hearty laughter.
“Now I want to know what it is,” Michelle Obama said.
First lady Michelle Obama is joined by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the future site of a Northgate Market in Inglewood, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Michelle Obama says the proposed new supermarket in the middle of a blue-collar Hispanic neighborhood in Southern California is an example of how the effort to bring healthy foods to low-income communities is paying off.
AP: First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday said the campaign to bring healthy food to all Americans is happening neighborhood by neighborhood.
Standing in a vacant Southern California store set to be refurbished and reopened this summer, Obama lauded efforts to bring large grocery retailers to inner-city areas that traditional supermarket chains spurn.
…. Obama, who is on the second day of her two-day visit to the Los Angeles area, made the stop in the blue-collar, largely Hispanic neighborhood as part of her “Let’s Move!” campaign to boost healthy food and fitness.
Part of the campaign includes promoting initiatives such as the $264 million California FreshWorks Fund, which finances grocery businesses willing to open in urban areas.
…. After the Inglewood event, Obama was scheduled to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and to deliver a luncheon speech at the Democratic National Committee.
Washington Post: U.S. factories grew in January at the fastest pace in seven months, boosted by a rise in new orders. And builders ended a poor year for construction by spending more on homes and projects for the fifth straight month.
The reports bolster other data showing the U.S. economy started the year strong.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Wednesday that its manufacturing index rose last month to 54.1 from 53.1 in December. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
Consumers are buying more cars and trucks, while businesses ordered more machinery and other equipment. That has driven manufacturing, which expanded for the 30th straight month.
Both new orders and order backlogs rose to nine-month highs. Increasing order backlogs suggest manufacturers are lacking the capacity to meet demand. That could mean more growth in production and employment in the near future, economists said.
Export orders also rose, a sign that U.S. manufacturers haven’t yet been affected by Europe’s slowing economy.
“This is a very encouraging report on manufacturing activity that shows particular strength in leading indicators,” said John Ryding, an economist at RDQ Economics.
Steve Benen: For campaign watchers, Florida’s Republican presidential primary was the big draw yesterday, but there was another noteworthy race on the other side of the country: a U.S. House special election in Oregon’s 1st congressional district.
Just two weeks ago, the National Republican Congressional Committee took an interest in the race, airing attack ads against Democratic candidate Suzanne Bonamici. The GOP candidate, Rob Cornilles, even released an internal poll showing him trailing by only four points.
Yesterday, however, it became clear Republicans were chasing a mirage.
Democrat Suzanne Bonamici swept to victory Tuesday in Oregon’s 1st Congressional District, continuing her party’s nearly four-decade-long hold on the seat covering the northwestern corner of the state. With the bulk of ballots counted, Bonamici was defeating Republican Rob Cornilles by about 15 percentage points…..
TPM: The Obama administration announced Wednesday that the Medicare Advantage program, which allows seniors to receive health coverage through a private insurer, is enjoying lower costs and more customers as a result of the health care reform law.
Yahoo: If you watched President Obama’s Google+ hangout Monday night, you saw two interesting exchanges between the president and Jennifer Wedel, a 29-year-old Texas mother of two.
It turns out that Wedel’s digital meeting convinced her to vote for Obama in this year’s presidential election – despite her support for the GOP.
…. Afterwards, Wedel, who described herself as a “good Republican,” is now planning to vote for Obama in this year’s presidential election.
“I didn’t vote for him four years ago. But I have been so disappointed with the presidential race. I haven’t seen anybody who would have been a good replacement. I know how Obama is now. I know how he rolls. So I’d probably vote him back in,” said Wedel in an interview with The Atlantic. “I (feel) like I know him a little more,” Wedel said. “There was a connection. He should definitely do this with more people…..”
….. for those who watched the event, a slightly odd moment near the end might have jumped out. During that personal question round, Wedel asked Obama if he would do a little jig. Obama demurred. What was that about? It’s a YouTube meme thing, explained Wedel. An extremely popular video on the site is a minute-and-a-half clip of then-candidate Obama shaking it on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” back in 2007; one version has 12 million hits and counting.
“It’s so funny,” said Wedel. “You’ve got to watch it.”
…. en route to the Oregon State v Towson college basketball game
… with actor Bill Murray
Washington Post: President Barack Obama … brought his family Towson University near Baltimore for an afternoon game that pitted the Towson Tigers against the Oregon State Beavers. Obama’s brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is Oregon State’s head coach.
The crowd inside Towson’s arena erupted in cheers as Obama and first lady Michelle Obama entered and shook fans’ hands as they made their way to a pair of courtside seats.
Daughters Malia and Sasha sat in the first row of the bleachers. Also attending were Obama’s mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a former professional basketball player and friend of Obama’s from Chicago.
“Groundhog Day” actor Bill Murray, was in attendance, too, and he greeted Obama before play got under way.
President Barack Obama talks with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon about developments in the Middle East, backstage at Intel Corporation in Hillsboro, Oregon, Feb. 18. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)