Posts Tagged ‘progress


President Obama: Changing The Face Of Government For The Better



Juliet Eilperin: Obama Has Vastly Changed The Face Of The Federal Bureaucracy

Friday afternoon announcements in Washington are usually aimed at attracting as little attention as possible, but last Friday was different. President Obama’s decision to nominate Eric Fanning — an openly gay man — to head a branch of the military which only four years ago did not allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, was both historic and attention-grabbing. And it underscored an often-overlooked feature of the Obama presidency: Obama has presided over the most demographically diverse administration in history, according to a new analysis of his top appointments. The majority of top policy appointments within the executive branch are held by women and minorities for the first time in history. The shifts are significant enough, experts say, that they may have forever transformed the face of government. The Obama White House, by contrast, has established specific programs to boost diversity among appointees.

The Presidential Personnel Office targets historically black colleges and universities, as well as minority-serving institutions, as part of a new campus recruitment program. It has a liaison to identify candidates by working with leaders from underrepresented groups, including those who are LGBT or have disabilities. The impact of Obama’s diversity efforts could reverberate for decades in people such as Michael Blake, a son of Jamaican immigrants who was homeless as a child but worked on Obama’s two presidential campaigns and in the White House as associate director of public engagement. Last year, Blake won election to the New York State Assembly, with the help of a lot of other Obama alumni, including Marlon Marshall, who is now Hillary Rodham Clinton’s director of state campaigns and political engagement. Blake’s campaign slogan was about his transformation: “No House to the White House.”  Obama, Blake said, has helped create a new network of people of color now climbing the ranks of government. “He did that,” Blake said. “He grew that.”

More here



President Barack Obama: Doing So Much Good For The Country

Obama New Yorker


Keith Boykin: Why Obama May Be The Best President Since WWII

I woke up this morning to a disturbingly silly headline. President Obama is the worst president since World War II, according to a plurality of voters in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. When you look beneath the numbers, it’s not what it looks like. Only about 33 percent of those polled called Obama the worst president, but that number roughly mirrors the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Republicans, a group which has tried to sabotage, block, sue and impeach the president in recent years. So for the moment, forget what the polls say. The facts tell the real story of the Obama presidency, and the facts are damn good, especially compared to his predecessor. Under President Obama, the unemployment rate has fallen from 10 percent in 2009 to 6.3 percent today. Under George W. Bush, on the other hand, the unemployment rate rose from 4.2 percent to 7.8 percent. Under President Obama, the U.S. economy is gaining 200,000 jobs a month.

When Bush left office, however, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. Under President Obama, at least 24 million people have gotten health insurance. The rate of uninsured has declined from 18 percent to 13.4 percent and the rate for Blacks has dropped dramatically from 20.9 percent to 14.7 percent. And despite all the exaggerated GOP claims that Obamacare would be a “job killer,” we’ve actually added more than 9 million new private sector jobs since the president signed the law. Under President Obama, businesses are also booming again. In the first few weeks of his presidency, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was sitting at 6547. Today it’s close to 17,000, a 10,000 point increase in five years!


And corporate profits hit an all-time record high just last year. President Obama ended the war in Iraq, drew down troops in Afghanistan, captured Osama Bin Laden, averted a second depression, helped to rescue the financial sector, stabilized home prices and saved more than a million jobs in the auto industry. At the same time, he enacted the most sweeping health care reform legislation in 50 years, something Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton couldn’t do, and which Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes never wanted to do. as a student of history, as an unapologetic liberal, as an African-American, as a gay man, as a supporter of equal rights for women and as someone who knows what it’s like to lose a job and live without health insurance, I’d say President Obama has done more good for this country than any president before him.

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America Under President Obama Means Progress



White House: A Historic Day For Our Judiciary

This morning, the Senate confirmed three federal judges. On the one hand, they are not unique; like all of the President’s judges and judicial nominees, they have the necessary intellect, experience, integrity, and temperament. But they are special in that each of them is a trailblazer on their courts:


Judge Darrin Gayles, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is the first openly gay African American man to be confirmed as a lifetime-appointed federal judge in our nation’s history.


Judge Salvador Mendoza, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, is the first Hispanic judge to serve on his court.

Staci Yandle, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, is the first African American to serve on her court and the first openly gay lifetime-appointed federal judge in Illinois.


Today’s confirmations also set historic milestones: For the first time in history, the Senate has confirmed two openly gay judges on the same day. President Obama has now appointed more female judges than any other President, breaking the record previously set by President Clinton. President Obama also has now appointed more Hispanic judges than any other President, breaking the record previously held by President George W. Bush. As we’ve said before, these “firsts” — and these milestones — are important, not because these judges will consider cases differently, but because a judiciary that better resembles our nation instills even greater confidence in our justice system, and because these judges will serve as role models for generations of lawyers to come. Congratulations to our newest federal judges, who we are confident will serve with honor, distinction, and fidelity to the rule of law.



Have we gotten any better?

Channing Kennedy unearthed a little tidbit from 1982, in which President Ronald Reagan’s spokesperson Larry Speakes is asked about the disease which had been recently declared an epidemic by the CDC: AIDS. Amid much laughter from Mr. Speakes and the White House Press Corps, all parties participate in a callous back and forth on what the Reagan Administration’s position was on the new disease.

One part of the dialogue stuck out to me:

Q: Does the President, does anybody in the White House know about this epidemic, Larry?
MR. SPEAKES: I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s been any—
Q: Nobody knows?
MR. SPEAKES: There has been no personal experience here, Lester.
Q: No, I mean, I thought you were keeping—
MR. SPEAKES: I checked thoroughly with Dr. Ruge this morning and he’s had no—(laughter)—no patients suffering from AIDS or whatever it is.

“There has been no personal experience here.”

No one in the White House, or among the White House Press Corps, knew anyone who was afflicted with AIDS. It hadn’t touched them. And the concerns of a despised minority reaping what they had sown were not their concerns.

Continue reading ‘Have we gotten any better?’


afternoon all (updated)

Thank you ObamaBuilt2LastNZ!


First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a tug of war with Jimmy Fallon in the Blue Room of the White House during a “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” taping for the second anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” initiative, Jan. 25. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

** NBC tonight at 12:35 am ET **



AP: The number of available jobs in the United States jumped in December to near a three-year high, supporting other data that show a brighter outlook for hiring.

Companies and governments posted 3.38 million jobs in December, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That’s up from the 3.12 million advertised in the previous month and nearly matches the three-year high reached in September. Job openings in the private sector reached the highest point in almost three and a half years.

…. The report on job openings follows Friday’s optimistic employment figures. Those showed employers added 243,000 net jobs in January, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent.

….. It generally takes one to three months for employers to fill job openings. December’s big jump in postings is likely one reason January’s jobs report was healthy. But it also suggests job growth may continue in the coming months.

More here


TPM – thanks Loriah


Steve Benen: For months, Republican presidential candidates have been eager, if not desperate, to accuse President Obama of waging a “war on religion”….

…. Mitt Romney seems to have settled on a policy to match the attack: the Obama administration’s decision to require coverage of contraception as preventive care under the Affordable Care Act is, according to the former governor, an “attack on religious liberty”.

…. As a substantive matter, Romney’s lying. The administration’s policy already exempts churches and other houses of worship and “doesn’t require any individual or employer to violate a religious belief – it simply ensures that their employees with different beliefs have the same access to birth control as all other women.”

…. he’s not only lying; he’s also denouncing Obama for adopting a policy similar to one Romney used to support …. as governor, a previous iteration of Romney required all Massachusetts hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.

More here



USA Today: Pundits and bishops warn President Obama he could lose the white Catholic vote over requiring a contraception option for insurance plans. But Catholic women say they want birth control covered in employee health plans.

…. The Catholic bishops, backed by conservative evangelicals, say the Obama administration shouldn’t include contraception coverage as part of free preventive care options in employers’ health insurance plans …. here’s where the Catholic women come in. According to the Public Religion Research Institute poll released today:

….58% of all Catholics agree employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception. That slides down to 52% for Catholic voters, 50% for white Catholics.

… the numbers might bring pause to pundits mulling the “Catholic vote”.

More here



Steve Benen: For months, Republican super PACs have been raising vast sums from wealthy donors …. the political world, however, hasn’t heard much from Democratic super PACs, which have raised far less money.

That will apparently soon change … Jim Messina argued overnight that the Obama campaign just doesn’t have a choice.

He added that Republican super PACS, in aggregate, are “expected to spend half a billion dollars, above and beyond what the Republican nominee and party are expected to commit to try to defeat the President.” That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s a reasonable estimate. The Koch brothers alone are prepared to spend $100 million later this year to defeat Obama.

…. Democrats had a choice: stick to principle, refuse to play by the new rules, and make defeat far more likely, or level the playing field …. The only surprise here is that anyone would be surprised by the decision.

Full post here


Thanks Mary


NYT: The delicate Karl Rove said he was “frankly, offended” …. (by)…. the Chrysler ad that Clint Eastwood narrated, which many people who don’t share Mr. Rove’s political worldview thought was rather uplifting.

…. he suggested the words were dictated by “the President of the United States and his political minions,” who bailed out Detroit with taxpayer dollars. It’s just another example of “Chicago-style politics,” he said, whatever that means.

The White House said it had nothing to do with the ad, but it had a great deal to do with Detroit’s resurgence, and that’s what’s really offensive to Mr. Rove and other Republicans. They’d prefer to drown out the good news coming from the carmakers, such as these recent headlines…

More here


Flashback … from 2004:


I’m still catching up with the news – and all the comments! – after being out today, will post again soon-ish ;-)







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