President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at a reception hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee on India’s Republic Day at the presidential palace
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wave as they pose with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi smile as they talk during a reception in the Mughal Gardens of the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi, India
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet guests
President Barack Obama speaks during the India-U.S business summit in New Delhi. President Obama urged business leaders to find ways to seize the “untapped potential” that could unleash greater trade between the U.S. and India
Honeywell CEO Dave Cote and Prime Minister Narendra Modi laugh at a remark by President Barack Obama during a CEO Roundtable and Forum at the India-U.S. Business Summit
President Barack Obama began a two-day visit to Minneapolis on Thursday sharing cheeseburgers with a local working mother and bringing a middle-class message tailor made to aid Democrats fearful of massive losses in the upcoming election. Obama said he shares the frustrations of people who went to college, work hard, and still struggle to buy homes, pay for child care, and dig out from student loan debt. “You are the reason I ran for office,” he told a crowd of about 350 people gathered for a town hall forum near Minnehaha Falls. In his early life, he said, “I was you guys … You are the ones I am thinking about every single day.”
Obama talked about progress his administration has made curbing greenhouse gases and making college more affordable, but devoted much of his time to touting the need for a higher minimum wage and equal pay and benefits for women. Those issues resonate strongly in Minnesota, where Gov. Mark Dayton (D) and a Democratic-controlled Legislature enacted the largest minimum wage increase in state history this year and approved a menu of economic protections for women in the workplace. “The idea that they would not be paid the same or not have the same opportunities … is infuriating,” Obama said of female workers. “If you are doing the same job, you should get the same salary. Period. Full stop.”
On whether she thinks having an African-American family in the White House has moved the needle.
Absolutely. Children born in the last eight years will only know an African-American man being president of the United States. That changes the bar for all of our children, regardless of their race, their sexual orientation, their gender. It expands the scope of opportunity in their minds. And that’s where change happens.
Michael Tomasky: The GOP Plan to Steal Elections. Republicans are proposing a radical rule change in swing states – one that would have handed Romney the election. Michael Tomasky on this jaw-dropping outrage.
….. We could toss all this information onto the ever-growing “Oh, those crazy Republicans” slag heap, have a laugh, and let it go. But this is concerted and serious. Rules, laws, customs, and norms that we have all abided by for centuries (the Electoral College and the primacy of federal law) or decades (recess appointments) have simply been producing too many outcomes conservatives don’t like. Most people, and movements, would try to change themselves so that they could maybe win under the long-agreed-upon rules. But conservatives have a cleverer way. Just make new rules. You better believe things can get worse.
NYT: For most of President Obama’s first term, Republicans used legislative trickery to try to prevent the functioning of two federal agencies they hate, the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. First they would filibuster the president’s nominees ….. Then they would create fake legislative sessions for the Senate during its recess, intended solely to prevent Mr. Obama from making recess appointments as an end run.
Astonishingly, a federal appeals court upheld this strategy on Friday …. The court even broke with the presidential practice of 150 years by ruling that only vacancies arising during a narrow recess period qualify for recess appointments.
…. The situation demonstrates how dysfunctional Washington has become because of these Republican abuses….With no sign that Republicans are willing to let up on their machinations, Mr. Obama was entirely justified in using his executive power to keep federal agencies operating.
ThinkProgress: Conservatives are outraged over Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to lift the ban on women in combat … CNN’s Soledad O’Brien caught one such critic [Professor Kingsley Browne] off guard …..
O’BRIEN: I’m going to read a little bit from this colonel who said this: ‘The army is not a sociological laboratory; to be effective it must be organized and trained according to the principles which will ensure success…Experiments are a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.’
BROWNE: I think that that’s true….
O’BRIEN: That was from a guy in 1941. And that argument was about not allowing black people in the military….
President Obama will on Friday, February 1, bestow the National Medal of Science upon 12 researchers and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation upon eleven inventors, in a ceremony at the White House. The awards are the nation’s highest in science and technology. See the list of award winners here
A clean-up crew wave to President Obama at the end of the parade (Stephen Crowley, New York Times)
You’ll note Crowley – a professional – failed, unlike some Inauguration photographers I could mention, to capture any actual horse manure in his image. Just saying:
Christine King Farris, sister of Martin Luther King, Jr, smiles as President Barack Obama is sworn in on her brother’s bible as she watches from Ebenezer Baptist Church following the 45th Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service in Atlanta, Georgia, January 21
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden pay their respects at the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in the Capitol rotunda
Parade: If you were female, we would ask, “How has being female affected your ability to govern?” So, how has being black affected your ability to govern?
PO: I’m sure it makes me more determined in assuring that everybody’s getting a fair shot—in the same way that being a father of two daughters makes me want to make sure that every woman is getting equal pay for equal work, ’cause I don’t want my daughters treated differently than somebody else’s sons. By virtue of being African-American, I’m attuned to how throughout this country’s history there have been times when folks have been locked out of opportunity, and because of the hard work of people of all races, slowly those doors opened to more and more people. Equal opportunity doesn’t just happen on its own; it happens because we’re vigilant about it. But part of this is not just because we’re African-American—it’s also because Michelle and I were born into pretty modest means. And so I think about my single mom and what it was like to go to school and work at the same time. And I think about Michelle’s dad, who had a disability and was working every day and didn’t have a lot of money to spare. But somehow our parents or grandparents were able to give us these opportunities partly because they lived in a society that said that was important. And as president, I want to affirm that that’s important and reject the idea that if we just reward those at the top, that somehow that’s going to work for everybody—’cause that hasn’t been how America got built.
Rachel Maddow made my heart move faster than one of my attacks, so I had to let her go when she got on PBO about the parade thing. She pisses me off when she goes on about it.
I wish Rachel would let it rest and honor the call of the Pentagon and PBO. He shared with Bob Woodruff last evening his feelings when Bob asked the question of him. I respect his decision and the Pentagon’s.
She could really get the viewers that she wants if she had taken her call into another level of how we all could respect our troops’ returning. This could be “A Country Showing Appreciation”. Then when all are home, we can have a parade.
I could see towns and cities all over the country having a “date night” for our troops and their spouses. Invite our local eateries in each state to donate their restaurants, lounges, music halls, theaters, concert halls to open up for one night with everything on the house. Then her viewers could donate a dinner, movie tickets and dinner, basketball game and dinner, broadway show and dinner, Sunday Brunch with family, town picnics with town and city halls sponsoring the food and entertainment for a weekend.
Beauty salon and spa treatments for family, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, cable companies, donating repair service for homes that have been neglected because of spouses were not able to be home to make some much needed repairs. Gutter cleaners service donated. Companies donated shopping sprees for clothing for the families for the spring. Some families may need a new automobile to get around, so have car dealers go in together and give out a limited number of cars for those needed families.
Sat. breakfasts and a gift from their our local hardware stores, local Macy’s to get a gift for the house, bed and bath gift baskets for their homes, furniture stores donating a home furnishing piece, local water companies picking up a two three month water or gas bill, grocery stores donating 250.00 dollars of groceries for a year, a car mechanic repair for a family car of at least 500.00, a retailer donating home appliances for the families, etc. School supplies and bookstores donating books and supplies for a year to each family. Enrollments for students in a sport, a year of piano lessons, dance lessons, healthy cooking classes from famous chefs a duration of time, donating musical instruments and lessons for 1 full year to children who have not been able to do so because mom or dad were away fighting for us.
Anything that would lighten the load for the family readjusting into the family’s home again with new and durable goods and services. Cleaning service for a home for a month. Phone service for at least two months, a computer for the family with internet service for a year. And the list could go on and be generous. These brave men and women were generous with their lives in their commitment to keep us safe. It may sound way out there, but nothing is way out there when you put your life on the line over and over in duties daily for all of us. Really. Yes, really.
Encourage a nation to get involved at this point to help and give back where it really counts. Then we can all step back and have our wonderful parade for all of our servicemen/women when they ALL are finished.
Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi and Sen. Carmelo Rios unveil a bronze statue of President Barack Obama, along the “Avenue of Heroes” outside the Capitol building, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Feb. 20. Puerto Rican officials unveiled statues of Obama and former President Lyndon B. Johnson. Every sitting U.S. president who has ever visited Puerto Rico is honored with a statue, dating back to Theodore Roosevelt. Obama became the eighth when he visited in June.
Steve Benen’s growing list of achievements by PBO’s administration on gay rights:
* announced it will not defend the constitutionality of statutes blocking same-sex military spouses from receiving marriage benefits
* successfully repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law
* expanded federal benefits for the same-sex partners of executive-branch employees
* signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law
* cleared the way for hospital-visitation rights for same-sex couples
* lifted the travel/immigration ban on those with HIV/AIDS
* ordered the Federal Housing Authority to no longer consider the sexual orientation of applicants on loans
* expanded the Census to include the number of people who report being in a same-sex relationship
* directed U.S. agencies abroad to ensure our humanitarian and diplomatic efforts “promote and protect” the rights of gays and lesbians
* endorsed repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act
* stopped trying to defend DOMA against federal court challenges
A carnival float depicts US President Barack Obama as Captain America during the traditional parade in Cologne, Germany, Feb. 20
Charles P. Pierce (Esquire): ….. Having aligned itself in the mid-1960’s with the angry remnants of American apartheid, the Republican party – and the conservative “movement” which is its only real energy – is now scrambling, one state at a time, to undo the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement on the wrong side of which it decided to place itself for political advantage…..
….. The shift is driven by the fact that people do not want black people, or poor people, or Democrats in general, to vote. This was obvious from the voter cadging in Florida in 2000, and in the mischief with the voting machine placements in Ohio in 2004. It was energized recently by the fact that black people and poor people helped elect a black person president, and a substantial portion of the Republican party and its conservative base found that to be an illegitimate outcome and has worked ever since his inauguration to delegitimize him on the grounds that he is a black man who was elected and is, therefore, not really president.
SmartyPants: One of the things that concerns me as we watch the Republicans revert to their old culture wars against women, people of color, gays & lesbians, poor people, unions, etc. is that we will all divide again into our camps to defend our root causes and forget the bigger picture that binds us. Other than fear, the right’s most effective weapon against us is division.
What will keep us united is to always remember the big picture of what’s happening. As I’ve been saying, keeping an eye on the forest means recognizing that the old white male heterosexual patriarchy is dying and the Republican Party is in chaos. What we can expect is that the old beast is going to strike out at anything it perceives as a threat and therefore the cause of its demise.
Carter Eskew (Washington Post): I was thinking of taking today off, but Rick Santorum wouldn’t let me.
Rick Santorum went and said another stupid thing. “The Earth is not the objective,” he told “Face The Nation.” “Man is the objective. And, I think a lot of radical environmentalists have it upside down.”
I think he says these things not because he is, in fact, stupid, but because he is angry, and anger fuels his supporters.
Ed Kilgore: A good deal of the excitement over the recent contraception coverage mandate has resulted from the hopes of Republicans, and the fears of some Catholic liberals, that the controversy could prove to be a “wedge issue” that would drive significant numbers of Catholic voters into the GOP column in November.
The assumption behind such scenarios, of course, is that there is a self-conscious “Catholic vote” that operates independently of the rest of the electorate, and that can be moved by the pronouncements of Catholic religious leaders.
My latest column for The New Republic examines this assumption, and finds it uncompelling in several respects: Catholic voters are remarkably similar to all voters in their partisan inclinations; they do not have any overall inclination to follow the Church hierarchy on hot-button cultural issues; and in fact, they are not responding differently from other Americans to the contraception coverage mandate controversy. “The Catholic Vote” looks just like America.
Tuesday: 11:35 AM – PBO hosts a payroll tax cut event, VP Biden also attends.
The President and First Lady will invite music legends and contemporary major artists to the White House for a celebration of Blues music and in recognition of Black History Month as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series.
Wednesday: The President will deliver remarks at the construction site of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Thursday: The President will travel to the University of Miami to continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last.
Friday: The President will host Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark for a meeting in the Oval Office.
Reverend Keith A. Gordon: Blues fans, circle Monday, February 27th, 2012 on your calendars, ’cause we’re going to paint the White House blue! The Emmy Award-winning PBS series In Performance At The White House is going to document a historic celebration of the blues with a taping of a February 21st concert to be held in the East Room of the White House, the event hosted by President and Mrs. Obama in recognition of Black History Month.
In Performance At The White House program host Taraji P. Henson will oversee the concert, which will feature performances by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark, Jr., Keb’ Mo’, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Shemekia Copeland, Warren Haynes, and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. Stax Records legend Booker T. Jones will serve as the concert’s music director and bandleader.
….. The concert will be streamed live (from 7:20) on the White House, Public Broadcasting, and Black Public Media websites….