June 2, 2010 – Pete Souza: “Paul McCartney sings “Michelle” to First Lady Michelle Obama during an event honoring McCartney as winner of the annual Gershwin Prize. I knew this was a special moment but didn’t have a full realization of its significance until when I later heard the President telling others that his wife could never have imagined as an African-American girl growing up on the South side of Chicago that someday a Beatle would be singing this song to her as First Lady of the United States.”
Steve Benen: Key ‘Obamacare’ provision delayed until 2015
News from the Obama administration about the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act caused quite a stir last night, but it’s worth pausing to appreciate the extent of the impact …. I think some of the reactions to the one-year delay have been a little excessive. Maybe it’ll be easier to tackle this in Q&A form.
* What’s the employer mandate? In practical terms, the policy name is a bit of misnomer — there is no actual “mandate.” Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees are told they need to offer health care coverage to their employees, but those who choose not to pay a fairly modest tax penalty. As of last night, that penalty won’t kick in, at the earliest, before 2015.
* Won’t this mandate discourage those businesses from hiring? It’s been an important part of the criticism, but Obamacare extends all kinds of breaks to these employers to help subsidize the insurance and soften the blow of increased costs.
Spandan (The People’s View): How the Professional Left’s Blind Obama Hatred Got them Played by a Far-Right Nutjob
Some outlets reported last week that NSA leaker and fugitive Edward Snowden was caught into a bit of hypocrisy: public chat records indicate that back in the ancient times of 2009, he wanted leakers “shot in the balls.” Yeah, he said that. But that’s not all he said. Oh, no. The Technology site Ars Technica posted extensive public chat logs from Snowden, then using the monkier TheTrueHOOHA, that confirms what I had suspected since finding his campaign contributions to Glenn Greenwald’s straight crush Ron Paul.
So let’s talk about this man that has been granted hero status by the Left’s loudest prognosticators and provocateurs….
As we watch the Republicans in states like North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Texas attempt to pass draconian bills affecting things like women’s right to chose and citizen’s access to the ballot, I can’t help but say that I smell a sense of desperation. Its almost as if they know they are a dying beast and are in a hurry to do as much damage as possible prior to their demise.
Despite a heavy period of news that included the Boston Marathon bombings and the Jodi Arias trial, MSNBC’s second-quarter ratings plunged to their lowest level since 2007.
…. “The Rachel Maddow Show” suffered its lowest-rated quarter in terms of total viewers since 2008. And June alone was the lowest rated month ever for Maddow in both total viewers and in the 25-54 group.
—-> New host Chris Hayes continues to pull in sluggish ratings for “All In With Chris Hayes,” which in its first full quarter on air provided MSNBC with the lowest-rated 8 p.m. hour in the 25-54 demographic since 2006.
WH: As part of their “In Performance at the White House” series, the President and First Lady will host a concert in the East Room honoring singer-songwriter Carole King, who will be awarded the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The program will include performances by King, as well as Gloria Estefan, Billy Joel, Jesse McCartney, Emeli Sandé, James Taylor and Trisha Yearwood.
The entire event will be streamed live on White House Live. “Carole King: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize In Performance at the White House” will be broadcast Tuesday, May 28 at 8:00 PM ET on PBS stations nationwide…
This will be the first time the Gershwin Prize honor has been awarded to a woman…
Joseph E. Stiglitz (NYT): This election has rightly been characterized as one that will deeply affect the future direction of the country: Americans are being given a choice with potentially large consequences. One arena in which there are profound differences that has not been adequately debated is the future course of inequality.
…. Every other advanced country has recognized the right of everyone to access to health care, and extending access was central to President Obama’s health care reform. Romney and Ryan have criticized that reform, but have said nothing about how or whether they would ensure universal access. Most important, the macroeconomic consequences of the Romney-Ryan economic program would be devastating: growth would slow, unemployment would increase, and just as Americans would need the social protection of government more, the safety net would be weakened.
…. let no one be deceived: their tax policies will lead to even more inequality at the top, the continued hollowing out of the middle, and more poverty at the bottom. Worst of all, they will lead to a more divided society that endangers our future – our economy, our democracy and our sense of identity as a nation.
(Joseph E. Stiglitz, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and a former chief economist of the World Bank, is University Professor at Columbia University)
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney has been barnstorming the country, telling voters that he has a five-point plan to restore prosperity …. Mr. Romney’s “plan” is a sham. It’s a list of things he claims will happen, with no description of the policies he would follow to make those things happen…..
Actually, if describing what you want to see happen without providing any specific policies to get us there constitutes a “plan,” I can easily come up with a one-point plan that trumps Mr. Romney any day. Here it is: Every American will have a good job with good wages. Also, a blissfully happy marriage. And a pony.
So Mr. Romney is faking it. His real plan seems to be to foster economic recovery through magic, inspiring business confidence through his personal awesomeness. But what about the man he wants to kick out of the White House?
…. Mr. Obama may not have an exciting economic plan, but, if he is re-elected, he will get to implement a health reform that is the biggest improvement in America’s safety net since Medicare. Mr. Romney doesn’t have an economic plan at all, but he is determined not just to repeal Obamacare but to impose savage cuts in Medicaid. So never mind all those bullet points. Think instead about the 45 million Americans who either will or won’t receive essential health care, depending on who wins on Nov. 6.
President Obama has his drivers license checked prior to casting his vote in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago
President Obama has a laugh when an election official’s cell phone rings …
Greeting people as he leaves a campaign office in Chicago (Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune)
Eugene Robinson (Washington Post): This election is only tangentially a fight over policy. It is also a fight about meaning and identity – and that’s one reason voters are so polarized. It’s about who we are and who we aspire to be.
President Obama enters the final days of the campaign with a substantial lead among women – about 11 points, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll – and enormous leads among Latinos and African Americans, the nation’s two largest minority groups. Mitt Romney leads among white voters, with an incredible 2-to-1 advantage among white men … it would be disingenuous to pretend not to notice the obvious cleavage between those who have long held power in this society and those who are beginning to attain it.
When Republicans vow to “take back our country,” they never say from whom. But we can guess.
…. Some of Obama’s opponents have tried to delegitimize his presidency because he doesn’t embody the America they once knew. He embodies the America of now.
Paul Krugman: …. If you’re new to this, there are two basic approaches to election analysis at this point. One is the campaign reporter style, full of impressionist reporting about who won the news cycle and who has “momentum”, whatever that means ….. The other is poll-based. And that mostly means state-level polls at this point: there are more of them, and we have an electoral-college system, not a popular-vote system.
The impressionistic style has been all about Romney on the rise, a narrative that is to a large part being fed by the Romney campaign itself. But the state-level polling doesn’t show it…..
NYT Editorial: …. For Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama’s decision to bail out the auto industry and his own rejection of it is proving to be an Electoral College challenge. Several states are also feeling the benefits of an improved economy. Obama campaign officials say that to win, Mr. Romney would have to pick off voters already committed to the president in states where Mr. Romney has never been ahead. “We think we maintain a lot more plausible pathways to 270 than Governor Romney, who we think has to essentially pull an inside straight,” said David Plouffe, the president’s chief strategist.
Those pathways exist because millions of voters still harbor doubts about Mitt Romney. He has apparently decided that in the final days of the campaign, he will do little to dispel them.
Washington Post: …. this is an interesting case in which Mitt Romney has taken two moments from the third presidential debate – both of which were faulted by fact checkers – and turned them into television ads. In both cases, Romney also misspoke, making his statements even less accurate. The campaign commercial for the “apology tour” selectively snips out Romney’s errors, but apparently it was impossible to clean up Romney’s error on the size of the Navy.
…. The net effect is to suggest Obama made those supposed apologies to Arabs, without actually saying so, because that would be incorrect. But even careful editing still does not fix the basic problem in the first place – there was no apology tour.
This ad also repeats the criticism that Obama has never visited Israel. As we have noted, only four of the last 11 presidents visited Israel during their presidency — and only two visited in their first term…
For doubling down on claims that have been repeatedly called out by fact checkers, even to the point of editing out the candidate’s misstatements, the Romney campaign earns Four Pinocchios.
Adam Serwer (Mother Jones): GOP’s Benghazi Smoking Gun Goes Up in Smoke …. When a set of State Department emails were released Wednesday, one reporting that a local Islamist militia had claimed responsibility for the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya, conservatives thought they had the smoking gun that the Obama administration had lied about what had occurred.
…. There’s only one problem — well, actually, there are many, but one big one: The email appears to have been incorrect…..
….. in the future it’s a good idea to remember that just because someone posts something on Facebook, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Even better: Just because someone said someone posted something on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s true. Even if you really, really want it to be.
Think Progress: The Pima County GOP – which is in the same district where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot early this year – is holding a very insensitive fundraiser this week. The party is holding a raffle fundraiser, and the prize is a Glock handgun, the same category of weapon that was used to shoot Giffords.
Steve Benen: Last year, the Senate Banking Committee twice approved Peter Diamond’s nomination to the Federal Reserve. And twice, the Senate wasn’t allowed to vote on Diamond because Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and a handful of his far-right colleagues threw tantrums for unknown reasons. So, this year, President Obama resubmitted the Diamond nomination. And once again, the petulant Republican from Alabama led a small contingent that decided they’re entitled to veto power over the process.
After more than a year of waiting for a simple vote, Diamond has given up. In a New York Times op-ed, the respected Nobel laureate explained why he’s withdrawing:
Instead of going to the Fed, however, I will go about my congenial professional existence as a professor at M.I.T., where I have taught and researched since 1966, and I will take advantage of some of the many opportunities that come to a Nobel laureate. So don’t worry about me … But we should all worry about how distorted the confirmation process has become, and how little understanding of monetary policy there is among some of those responsible for its Congressional oversight.
… Diamond is among the most accomplished economists of his generation, and last year, was awarded a Nobel Prize in economics. And yet, there was Richard Shelby & Co., insisting that Diamond lacked the qualifications to join the board of governors of the Federal Reserve ……The result of this fiasco isn’t just the loss of a qualified nominee to an important post; it’s also a lost opportunity to have the Fed take actions to bolster the economy. We can only hope that this wasn’t part of a larger campaign by Republicans to hurt the economy on purpose.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are introduced during the Pritzker Architecture Prize award ceremony at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
The Prize, often referred to as the Nobel Prize for architecture, was won by Eduardo Souto de Moura of Portugal.
“I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That is why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.”
President Barack Obama in his Nobel Lecture in the Oslo City Hall, 10 December 2009
BBC: The UN Security Council has passed a resolution authorising “all necessary measures” to protect civilians in Libya from pro-Gaddafi forces. The resolution expressed grave concern at the deteriorating situation, the escalation of violence, and the heavy civilian casualties…the widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity…