Huuuuuuuuge thanks to both LL and Zizi for their wonderful posts today, both of which got an amazing response on the Twitter machine. Add this one to your collection of today’s must-reads, in case you missed it:
A year ago: “The President hugs Stephanie Davies, who helped her friend, Allie Young, left, stay alive after she was shot during the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo. The President visited patients and family members affected by the shootings at the University of Colorado Hospital. Photo by Pete Souza, July 22, 2012
The Week Ahead:
3:0: The President meets with Secretary of State Kerry
7:25: Delivers remarks at an Organizing for Action event, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, DC (Open Press)
8:10: Delivers remarks and answers questions at an Organizing for Action dinner, Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Print Pool for Remarks Only)
Tuesday: The President will welcome NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals to the White House to honor the team and their 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship
Wednesday: He will travel to Galesburg, Illinois and Warrensburg, Missouri for events on the economy
Thursday: He will welcome President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam to the White House. In the afternoon, the President will travel to Jacksonville, Florida for an event on the economy. On Thursday evening, he will host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House
Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.
Time: Drawing renewed attention to the economy, President Barack Obama will return this week to an Illinois college where he once spelled out a vision for an expanded and strengthened middle class as a freshman U.S. senator, long before the Great Recession would test his presidency.
The address Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., will be the first in a new series of economic speeches that White House aides say Obama intends to deliver over the next several weeks ahead of key budget deadlines in the fall. A new fiscal year begins in October, and the government will soon hit its borrowing limit.
…. The president will also speak Wednesday at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo.
AP: Survey: Brighter U.S. Economic Outlook Boosts Hiring
Companies are increasingly confident the economy will grow at a modest pace over the next year and are hiring more, according to a survey of business economists.
Nearly one-third of the economists surveyed said their companies added jobs in the April-June quarter …. That’s the highest percentage in nearly two years. And 39 percent expect their firms will hire more in the next six months. That’s near the two-year high of 40 percent reached in the January-March quarter.
…. Optimism about future economic growth increased. Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents forecast growth of 2.1 percent or more over the next 12 months. That’s up from two-thirds in the first quarter survey, released in April, and the most in a year.
ThinkProgress: No, Obamacare Won’t Raise Insurance Premiums In Indiana By 72 Percent
On Friday, the Indiana Department of Insurance announced that initial rates submitted by individual health plan providers for the state’s Obamacare insurance marketplace would cost 72 percent more than currently available plans …. Gov. Mike Pence’s (R) administration was quick to use the figures to criticize the health law….
The problem is, the Department of Insurance didn’t really release “data” in the plural — it released a single data point. The $570 per month figure is the average of all of the submitted rates, including cheaper plans with less benefits (so-called “Bronze” and “Silver” level plans) as well as the more generous and expensive “Gold” and “Platinum” level plans. That’s like saying the average cost of a car in an Indiana dealership is $100,000 because it sells $20,000 Fords, $60,000 BMWs, and $220,000 Lamborghinis — technically true, but highly misleading.
A red ribbon is hung from the North Portico of the White House, Nov. 30, to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Michael Grunwald (Time): It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan….
This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party…..
…. we’re not supposed to be stenographers. As long as the media let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it. Every day.
David Firestone (NYT): Republicans reportedly laughed when they saw the Obama administration’s initial offer in the fiscal negotiations yesterday. The idea that President Obama might actually want to enact his campaign promises – tax hikes on the rich, modest Medicare cuts, investments in infrastructure – is apparently considered a joke to the party that has shown virtually no flexibility in the last four years.
But some of that laughter may contain nervousness, because there is more going on here than just a pathway to splitting the difference. The White House made clear yesterday that it is approaching these talks from a position of responsibility, and that it actually takes seriously the notion of old-fashioned bargaining. That’s something Republicans have refused to do — and now they realize they’ve been called out.
Deaniac (The People’s View): The president is in a fighting mood. Starting today, he’s barnstorming the country, getting the American people to pressure Congress to extend the middle class tax breaks, and to do so now. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented the leaders of Congress with the Administration’s opening offer. That offer is heavy on revenue, tax fairness, and Medicare savings without affecting benefits. Here’s a short summary of what the president has proposed, from leaked details.
Liberal Librarian (The People’s View): Yesterday’s vote in the UN on Palestine has stirred a lot of emotions on the left; I’ve taken the time to read the responses across a few blogs this morning, and for the most part they’ve been considered and judicious. So here are my two pfennigs.
When the world’s three most powerful faiths declare a piece of real estate “holy”, that causes problems of a sort not found anywhere else. To the Jews, it is the “Promised Land”, vouchsafed to them by God unto the last generation. To Muslims, it’s holy because God walked in it with the Hebrew patriarchs, whom they consider earlier prophets; and, of course, they believe Muhammad made his Night Journey to heaven from the Temple Mount. To Christians, obviously, it was the land where Jesus lived, preached, and died. The deep emotional and religious attachments are not to be disregarded.
Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): There’s one particular strain of Republican reaction to their election loss that’s always given me the biggest chuckle, and today Paul Waldman highlights it: the absurd proposition that Mitt Romney never forthrightly defended conservative principles….
…. For months, conservatives yelled from the rooftops about how 2012 presented the sharpest choice ever in governing philosophies …. [they] claimed that this one was truly an ideological turning point, America’s last chance to choose what kind of country we should be. But literally within hours of defeat, they turned on a dime and insisted that the American people weren’t given a real chance to decide between two competing visions. And they’ve maintained this claim despite losing the popular vote in the House, the Senate, and the presidency, and despite the fact that demographic trends very clearly spell even further trouble in the future for their hardnosed brand of social intolerance and slavish dedication to the interests of the rich.
Greg Sargent: ….. anyone who comes out against the proposal Obama outlined today will be asked a simple question: Are you saying that employers should dictate to female employees whether they should or shouldn’t have access to birth control coverage?
…. What kind of impact do you think GOP opposition to free contraception for female employees of these institutions will have on that gender gap?
….. a new poll came out just today illustrating how perilous this position may be ….. It found that a big majority, 61%, approve of “requiring employer health plans to cover birth control for women.” Only 34% disapproved. Independents approve 58-34; women, 67-29 …. The polling organization that published these findings? Fox News.
Amanda Marcotte (Slate): …. The fun part of this is that Obama just pulled a fast one on Republicans. He drew this out for two weeks, letting Republicans work themselves into a frenzy of anti-contraception rhetoric, all thinly disguised as concern for religious liberty, and then created a compromise that addressed their purported concerns but without actually reducing women’s access to contraception, which is what this has always been about.
…. what most people will remember is that Republicans picked a fight with Obama over contraception coverage and lost. This also gave Obama a chance to highlight this benefit and take full credit for it.
…. hijacking two weeks of the news cycle to send the message that he’s going to get you your birth control for free is a big win for him in that department … It’s all so perfect that I’m inclined to think this was Obama’s plan all along.
Ed Kilgore: …. make no mistake: it just got an awful lot harder for conservatives to frame the mandate (as now formulated) as an assault on religious liberty that will drive Catholics back into the catacombs – or even affect the operations of Catholic hospitals and charities. Indeed, it will look a lot like one of those interminable disputes between “modern” and “traditionalist” Catholics – with the latter backing a church hierarchy with a rather notably reduced credibility these days – in which Catholic lay opinion is decisively, if often quietly, with people like Sister Keehan who actually do the charitable work of the church.
The Economist: …..For the past three years America has been walking softly, and it’s working very, very well. Ten years back, America often found itself isolated, struggling to pull together “coalitions of the willing” packed with small client states. Lately, we have been finding ourselves in the majority, along with the democratic world, while Russia and China front a dwindling coalition of the unwilling …. this reflects a smart, subtle foreign-policy presence in which we have done a vastly better job of looking at what other countries actually want, and seeing where our interests align, rather than trying to bully other countries into supporting our goals…
And to some extent, there’s a personal factor. Look through the Pew Global Attitudes project data on confidence in the US president. In almost every country, you’ll see a dramatic or startling increase in confidence between 2008 and 2011.
…. When Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice try to win backing for American positions at the UN, the exceptional popularity of the president they represent in other countries is obviously a factor ….
Protesters from the Occupy movement and labor unions gather with an inflatable ‘fat cat’ outside the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference prior to an address by Mitt Romney
TPM: The awkward elements of Mitt Romney’s speech at CPAC Friday began even before the flailing GOP frontrunner opened his mouth.
….. he stood behind a pair of teleprompters and in front of a pair of fake Grecian columns … Just the other night, when he was giving his address amid the defeats in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, Romney took a shot at the man he’s trying to oust from the White House for – well – using teleprompters and standing in front of fake columns.