First Lady Michelle Obama speaks alongside actors Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman as she welcomes high school and college students from across the country for a workshop with the cast and crew of the film 42
10:45 President Obama will call on Congress to avert the automatic spending cuts coming next week
3:30: VP Biden participates in a Facebook Town Hall on gun violence
President Obama returning to the White House, Feb 18
USA Today: President Obama will urge congressional Republicans to avoid automatic budget cuts next month by appearing Tuesday with a group of emergency responders who might have to absorb some of those cuts.
The group of emergency responders who will stand beside Obama at 10:45 a.m. are “the kinds of working Americans whose jobs are on the line if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise on a balanced solution,” said an addition to the White House schedule.
Michael Tomasky: Whose “idea” was the sequester, and why should it matter? My Twitter feed these last couple of weeks has been overflowing with people going beyond the usual “communist” and “idiot” name-calling that I get every day and throwing the occasional “liar” in there because I “withhold” the information that the sequester was the Obama administration’s idea. Very well, consider that nugget hereby unwithheld. Let’s grant that this is true. But it’s true only because the Republicans were holding a gun to the administration’s head—and besides, the Republicans immediately voted for it. In any case the important thing now is that outside of Fox News land, it’s an unimportant fact whose “idea” it was. The Republicans are partial owners of this idea, and as the party that now wants the cuts to kick in, they deserve to – and will – bear more responsibility for the negative impacts.
Steve Benen: Over the weekend, USA Today published the leaked blueprint of the White House’s comprehensive immigration reform plan, built around an eight-year pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), demonstrating the kind of devotion to serious policymaking we’ve come to expect over his brief career, immediately condemned the unfinished plan he had not yet seen.
Deaniac (The People’s View): So, after USA Today reported on a White House draft legislation on immigration reform – something the president has always said he would do in the event Congress follows its usual path of doing nothing – Republicans began melting down faster than wax in a lit candle. Suddenly after months of complaining that the president won’t put his own plan out to deal with the debt, Republicans are seething that the president has his own plan on immigration.
Sen. Hydration, I mean Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida accused the White House proposal of following some sort of failed path even though he wouldn’t say just what in the White House draft he disagreed with……
Comment on YouTube by ‘Jack194343′: Before Mississippi could ratify the amendment, they had to learn how to read the amendment. That only took 147 years. Wait until they discover addition. That will knock their socks off. Imagine, not having to count by their fingers. What a leap forward that will be. But first, they have to learn to count to ten, so they know how many fingers they have. First things first, you know.
Join Organizing for Action’s Stephanie Cutter and other supporters online at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time this Wednesday for a policy briefing on gun violence prevention – see here
The First Lady will be on the Rachael Ray Show tomorrow
Shortlisted for a Sony World Photography Award: President Barack Obama speaks in the rain during a campaign rally in Glen Allen, Virginia, July 17, 2012. Photo by Brooks Kraft
1:15 ET: The President will deliver remarks at the White House calling on Congress to pass a short-term budget package that would delay automatic, across-the-board cuts known as the sequester
USA Today: President Obama will seek to build support for another ambitious agenda item – a major immigration bill – on Tuesday when he meets with labor and business leaders at the White House.
…. “… the president will hold meetings at the White House with labor leaders and progressive leaders, as well as a number of CEOs from across industries, to discuss his commitment to getting a bipartisan bill passed in 2013, and how immigration reform fits within his broader agenda for economic growth and competitiveness,” a White House statement said.
This morning, Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden met with U.S. Embassy staff and families in London. Afterwards, the Vice President visited 10 Downing Street for meetings with British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron.
This afternoon, the Vice President will attend a meeting of the United Kingdom National Security Council. In the evening, he and Dr. Biden will depart London en route Washington, DC.
Eugene Robinson: The moment that most deserves to be remembered from Sunday’s thrilling Super Bowl came before the game, when Jennifer Hudson joined students from Sandy Hook Elementary School in singing “America the Beautiful.” It was a heart-rending elegy for the fallen — and a stirring call to action.
…. It was a reminder that life goes on but also that we must not lose sight of unfinished business: reducing the awful toll that barely regulated, insufficiently monitored commerce in powerful weapons takes on innocent victims, day after day after day.
Despite the best efforts of the NRA and like-minded groups to make sure this business remains unfinished, reducing gun violence remains stubbornly high on the nation’s agenda. This is partly due to the ravings of Wayne LaPierre …. who almost single-handedly, or single-mouthedly, is making the pro-gun argument sound even crazier and more irresponsible than it is. And that’s saying something.
ThinkProgress: What We Can Learn From Minneapolis’ Progressive Approach To Reducing Gun Violence
Monday afternoon, President Obama [delivered] his first speech on a tour promoting his plan to reduce gun violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The choice of location is anything but accidental: Minneapolis has, in recent years, developed a progressive, highly effective approach to gun violence prevention that has seen firearm crime plummet.
Trayvon Martin would have been 18 today. Rest in peace.
Three years ago today: President Barack Obama greets a young visitor in the Oval Office, Feb. 5, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
“…. unless you’re a secretly gay married Muslim bulldozing Reagan” …. love it.
ThinkProgress: Eight Senators on Monday voted not to consider the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that protects victims of domestic violence. The Senators who voted against moving to debate on the bill were: Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and James Risch (R-ID)
Steve Benen: In its decision last year on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court majority ruled that Medicaid expansion can proceed, but it must be entirely optional for states. Almost immediately, right-wing groups delivered a stern message to Republican governors: to accept expansion would be an outrageous betrayal of conservative principles.
Some GOP governors are doing it anyway, and yesterday, Ohio’s John Kasich joined the group….
Steve Benen: We’ve no doubt had plenty of Supreme Court justices who’ve been widely recognized, and some who’ve kept a relatively high public profile, but I can’t remember the last time a sitting justice reached a level of celebrity on par with Sonia Sotomayor.
…. The NYT piece is a fascinating read, largely because I can’t think of a modern judge who can illicit the kind of reactions Sotomayor is currently receiving….
Reading about these public receptions, I kept thinking back to Sotomayor’s 2009 confirmation process, and the ugliness of some of the criticisms she received from the right …. Given her popularity, I wonder how many of them would care to explain their opposition to Sotomayor’s confirmation now?
Charles Pierce: I guess I’m supposed to be rolling around in schadenfreude at the news that Karl Rove has found a new brand of cheap aluminum siding to sell to the rubes and suckers of what is laughingly referred to as the Republican Establishment. It seems that the money boys are getting tired of losing winnable Senate races because the Help keeps hiring candidates out of the Chronic ward, so Karl’s going to (reluctantly) take their money this time to teach them how to craft winning campaigns on the general theme of Ix-Nay on the Apey-ray. That the Republican party actually should need to pay someone to explain this to its candidates is a measure of a rather more systemic problem. That the feral children in the wilder precincts are birthing cows all over the landscape is entertaining as all hell, but it doesn’t move us any greater distance along toward the day when we once again will have two sane political parties.
LA Times: Jon Favreau’s career took off when, at age 23, he interrupted U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama during a speech rehearsal to offer some suggestions for improvement.
That cheeky move led to a seven-year tour as Obama’s lead speechwriter, an assignment that ends March 1 as Favreau considers trying his hand at another form of drama — as a screenwriter, perhaps in Los Angeles.
President Barack Obama signs an accompanying letter to Congressional leaders after signing H.R. 152, which provides fiscal year 2013 supplemental appropriations to respond to and recover from the severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Jan. 29, 2013. (Photo by Pete Souza)
10:0 Senate Judiciary Hearing on Gun Violence: Live on C-SPAN
3:55: President Obama is interviewed by Jose Diaz Balart of Telemundo
4:15: Interviewed by Maria Elena Salinas of Univision
(Interviews will be released at 6:30)
Washington Post: President Obama is riding a wave of personal popularity into his second term, with his highest favorability ratings since his first year in office, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Fully 60 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Obama in the new poll, up slightly from October but a clear shift in opinion from an election year in which his ratings hovered in the mid-to-low 50s.
Washington Post: In hailing an emerging bipartisan consensus in the Senate on immigration reform, President Obama added Tuesday to the momentum to fix a broken-down system that long ago stopped making sense and serving the country…
….. the president did the sensible thing by standing aside, for the time being, to let Congress take the lead on crafting a bill in the coming months…..
But Mr Obama also made clear that if progress slows toward a deal, the administration will submit its own bill. The implication, and the threat to Republicans, is clear: Act soon to forge a reasonable deal, or risk being seen — once again — as impeding progress on the issue that will shape political attitudes for the nation’s fastest-growing group of minority voters.
On Thursday, learn more about President Obama’s vision for a 21st century immigration system as the White House hosts the next in an ongoing series of conversations with administration officials on Google+. Starting at 1:00 p.m. ET on January 31, Cecilia Muñoz, the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, will join the latest “Fireside Hangout”– a 21st century take on FDR’s famous radio addresses – to talk about immigration reform.
The conversation will be moderated by Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of Define American….
Washington Post: Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is expected to testify Wednesday at a Senate hearing on gun violence, lending the emotional resonance of her experience with the issue to what had already promised to be a dramatic exchange between lawmakers and advocates for and against stricter gun-control laws.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on gun-related violence in 14 months on Wednesday morning, and observers expect that it will help set the tone for congressional debates over legislation introduced in the wake of the deadly shooting last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people, including 20 young children.
Washington Post: By Mark Barden and Jackie Barden, parents of Daniel who died in the Sandy Hook shootings
Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence is the latest in a series of events following the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our 7-year-old son, Daniel, 19 of his first-grade classmates and six educators were killed in the tragedy. We believe this hearing is an opportunity to rise above the hard-line rhetoric and intransigence that too often lead to inaction and hopelessness, and we hope that our leaders and our nation will start a new conversation with a chance of achieving real change.
…. We have joined with other families, neighbors and friends in making the Sandy Hook Promise (www.sandyhookpromise.org). We hope every member of Congress and Americans nationwide will join us in pledging to honor the lives lost last month by coming together to end these violent tragedies.
11:55: President Obama and VP Biden hold an event at the White House to unveil a package of proposals to reduce gun violence
Washington Post: President Obama on Wednesday will formally announce the most aggressive and expansive national gun-control agenda in generations as he presses Congress to mandate background checks for all firearms buyers and prohibit assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
…. Obama will begin this effort Wednesday in the presence of children who wrote him letters after last month’s mass shooting at a grade school in Newtown….
In addition to background checks and restrictions on military-style guns and ammunition magazines, Obama is expected to propose mental health and school safety initiatives such as more federal funding for police officers in schools….
….. the proposals amount to the most comprehensive federal regulations of the firearms industry since 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson acted in the aftermath of high-profile assassinations…..
BBC: The mother of a British boy shot in the Newtown school massacre has wept as she told how she learned of his death. Dylan Hockley, six, was one of 20 children and six teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, on 14 December.
Speaking to BBC News, Dylan’s mother Nicole recalled “shaking” and not being able to stop as police revealed their son was among the gunman’s victims …. Dylan’s body was found in the embrace of his classroom assistant, Anne Marie Murphy.
…. Mr Hockley urged Washington to act on a number of different areas, saying: “The unthinkable has happened. All the shootings that have come before have indeed been terrible tragedies, but now it’s sunk so low that very small children have now been the target of this.
“How could it possibly get worse? If they cannot address this now, it’s as if they think they can never address it and they will give up and this will go on.”
Michael Tomasky: The NRA’s new ad is beyond anything we’ve seen, in political propaganda terms, in the modern history of this country….
…. It’s designed to make people who despise the president despise him even more; and it’s designed to make them despise his children, 14 and 11 years old, because they live a cosseted life that you and your kids don’t; they are ergo elitist hypocrites just like their father.
It’s not even the logic, though, that’s most disturbing … Just mentioning the president’s daughters in an ad full of violent imagery and sounds – silhouettes of assault rifles, profiles of heavily armed soldiers, martial music – is an invitation to certain viewers to make certain mental connections. I’ll stop there. But it’s really a shocking thing…..
Josh Marshall (TPM): It takes a lot for the NRA to shock. But this is just beyond disgusting …. There are so many vile things about this ad. But one thing to note is the ad is really only designed to appeal to people who have a deep – really deep – animosity toward the President. The sort of people who don’t think he and his daughters should be in the White House and wish him the sort of ill citizens should never wish upon a freely elected head of state.
Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns tells TPM: “At some point the NRA’s Washington lobbyists may realize that this kind of thing is making them irrelevant. It does nothing but offend the reasonable people who make up the bulk of their country – and the bulk of their own membership.”
Economy Watch: Retail sales rose more than expected in December as Americans shrugged off the threat of higher taxes and bought automobiles and a range of other goods, suggesting momentum in consumer spending as the year ended….
Economy Watch: For nine straight months, national home prices have been in the positive, and the gains are only getting larger. The latest reading for November shows a 7.4 percent jump from a year ago, according to CoreLogic. That includes sale prices of distressed properties, bank-owned homes and short sales. This is the largest year-over-year jump since 2006 when we were at the height of the housing boom
Chicago Sun-Times: The Chicago Public Library today unveiled artist Steve Musgrave’s new portrait of President Obama to celebrate the upcoming inauguration …. the portrait reflects Obama’s efforts as a community organizer in the South Side Chicago neighborhood prior to seeking public office.
…. the portrait features images of people who have influenced the president’s life including his First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia, his mother and grandmother, Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Harold Washington, David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, among others.
President Barack Obama talks with Kathryn Ruemmler, Counsel to the President, in the Outer Oval Office, Jan 15, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)