Artist Robert Trujillo holds his son Saja Duchicela-Trujillo in front of a mural of Trayvon Martin he is working on at the Youth Radio Building in Oakland, Calif. Trujillo is with the group “Trust Your Struggle,” an artist collective in the Bay Area.
Puneet Kollipara: President Barack Obama has drawn a line in the sand in his ongoing fight with budget-cutting lawmakers when it comes to future federal funding for research and development. He’s calling for reversing recent spending cuts to most sectors of R&D spending and adding new funds for many areas next year — despite tough fiscal times.
Big winners in the president’s budget include the Department of Energy, whose funding would rise 18 percent. The National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey and National Institute of Standards and Technology would also see healthy increases. The Health and Human Services Department, which houses the National Institutes of Health, would see a slight increase from 2012 — again, all before accounting for inflation.
2:10: President Obama Awards Chaplain Emil Kapaun the Medal of Honor
David RothKopf: America is rightly on edge. When a man with the power to make life-or-death decisions affecting thousands of U.S. citizens recklessly shows contempt for decency and international norms of behavior, it is no wonder the American people would be both angry and fearful. When his threats are so clearly contrary to the interests of those he represents and even those who might otherwise support him, it is natural to wonder whether he has somehow become unhinged.
But Kim Jong Un is no Mitch McConnell. Because Kim, even with his nuclear weapons, is hardly likely to launch an attack on Americans anywhere given that the response would produce the instant and certain obliteration of his regime. What that means is that for all his bluster, the chubby little autocrat is very unlikely to cost one American his life. But in vowing to block any vote on even the most modest legislation to rein in America’s out-of-control gun culture, the Senate minority leader all but guarantees that the toll in America’s street-corner war will continue to rise.
Robert Greenstein: The news that President Obama’s new budget will propose adopting the “chained” Consumer Price Index (CPI) for cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and other retirement programs, and annual inflation adjustments in the tax code, has intensified the debate on this issue. Some commentators portray this proposal as a test of fiscal rectitude, arguing that the chained CPI more accurately measures inflation — period — and that if you’re opposed to it, you aren’t really serious about addressing deficits. Others, including many progressives, strongly reject the proposal, believing it would impose serious hardship on seniors with modest incomes.
I’m not comfortable with either position. There are legitimate reasons not to adopt the chained CPI, and many people who aren’t affluent would indeed be worse off. At the same time, fears that the chained CPI would impose severe hardship are overblown, especially if policymakers accompany it with a robust package of protections and mitigating measures for those who are very old or have low incomes.
CNN: A majority of Americans generally favor stricter gun control laws, and there has been a big jump in the number of Americans who say that gun policy is extremely important, according to a new national poll.
Overall, 40% of Americans say that it is extremely important for government officials to deal with gun policy this year and another 31% say it is very important. That’s substantially higher than the number of thought gun policy was important in previous years – a reflection of the amount of attention gun policy has gotten in the wake of December’s horrific shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 young children and six adults dead.
Greg Sargent: This afternoon on CNN, GOP Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the NRCC, opened fire on Obama’s budget by claiming it is an assault on seniors. For one thing, it directly contradicts what GOP leaders themselves said earlier today. Remember, John Boehner and Eric Cantor effectively endorsed Chained CPI by claiming we should proceed with those cuts while not raising taxes. Boehner said Obama “deserves some credit” for embracing it. But now the NRCC chair is calling it an assault on seniors?
You could not illustrate the farcical nature of the GOP position on all this more perfectly. Folks should acknowledge and call out how truly farcical and deeply unserious this really is.
Kate Sheppard: It was clear in both the lead up to and the aftermath of the November 2012 election that Republican candidates are not faring well among women voters. From Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin to Mitt Romney’s 11-point loss among women voters, it became painfully clear that the GOP has a lady problem. A new memo from a pair of liberal groups that pulls together some of the polling figures makes a strong case for paying more attention to this divide.
The memo points to the unprecedented attack on access to abortion underway in states like North Dakota and Arkansas, the 160 Republicans that voted against the Violence Against Women Act at the federal level, and the ongoing fights over both contraception coverage and cuts to the federal family planning budget.
Ed Kilgore: It’s no secret that political scientists as a tribe tend to downplay the importance of ideology and even of “issues” as active factors in American politics. Elections, they say (as an often-welcome corrective to Game Change-style overinterpretation of campaign events), are largely determined by “the fundamentals,” especially economic conditions and the identity of the party in power. Partisan attachments by voters, they often point out, are far more durable than anything you can explain by the day’s, month’s, or year’s controversies and positioning.
So it didn’t totally shock me that in a Salon piece on the “broken” nature of our political system, my esteemed friend the political scientist Jonathan Bernstein issues a disclaimer about the role that conservative ideology plays. I don’t disagree with any of those insights, but when Jonathan comes up with his list of the GOP’s bad habit, I can’t help but notice ideology would explain every single one.
Bloomberg: A rebound in homebuilding after a six-year slump should generate as many as 500,000 jobs in 2013 and 700,000 in 2014 including related services, estimates Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit and the top forecaster of employment for the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Robert Shrum: Obama’s gay-marriage endorsement is a moral and political win – Pundits are eager to pontificate on how supporting same-sex marriage will cost Obama in November. They couldn’t be more wrong
Forty-nine years ago this spring, as he proposed the landmark civil rights reforms of the 1960s, John F. Kennedy became the first president to declare that ending racial discrimination was a moral issue …. Now Barack Obama has taken the next step in the unfinished journey toward that ideal: He cut through a cacophony of political advice, the calculus of pre-election caution, to become the first president to endorse marriage equality – and thus to affirm that gay rights are fundamental human rights.
It was fitting that this historic moment came, as JFK’s did, from a president who himself had to overcome generations of prejudice to be in the White House in the first place.
…..this president, who has repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, pushed through a hate crimes law, and refused to defend the shameful Defense of Marriage Act has now sealed his legacy as the champion of a 21st century birth of freedom in America.
That should be rewarded, not punished, in November – and I think it will be. Americans are a decent people; sometimes it just takes time.
Robert Shrum: As he finally claims the nomination that was his all along, but which was so reluctantly yielded to him, Mitt Romney enters his Etch A Sketch period. He may twist the knobs to try and shift his professed beliefs as easily as the aluminum granules on the screen of one of the last century’s most famous toys. But it’s hard for the epic flip-flopper to reframe himself again – or it should be.
Romney is only doing what comes naturally to a man who once said he was “better” on gay rights than Ted Kennedy, but then later donated $25,000 to the homophobic National Organization For Marriage – through a conduit that was designed to hide his contribution. Romney’s public life across two decades has been a ceaselessly revised Etch A Sketch.
Quarterback Phillip Sims takes a picture of President Barack Obama as he poses for a photo with members of the BCS National Champion University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team following a ceremony to honor their 14th national championship and their 2011-2012 season, on the South Lawn of the White House, April 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Washington Post: LORAIN, Ohio — Just a day after President Obama visited this crucial swing state, Mitt Romney spoke at a shuttered drywall company visited four years ago by then-candidate Obama to make the argument that Obama’s record has yet to live up to his lofty rhetoric.
On an empty warehouse floor, Romney laid the blame for the company’s fate squarely on Obama.
…. The company actually shut down in June 2008, months before Obama took office and his economic policies took effect.
…. Romney campaign aides said that Obama hasn’t delivered on the promise to jump-start the economy.
… But in Ohio, the economy is improving.
With an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent in February, Ohio’s jobless stats are lower than the national average of 8.2 percent. The unemployment rate, which peaked at 10.6 percent in December 2009, has steadily fallen since then — it was at 8.6 percent when Obama took office in January 2009.
ThinkProgress: If It’s Sunday, It’s Meet The Republican White Men
ThinkProgress: Yum! Brands, the owner of fast food brands KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut told Color of Change that they will no longer support the American Legislative Exchange Council, the right-wing front group that, until recently, was a driving force behind state voter suppression and “stand your ground” gun laws. Yum!’s decision means a dozen corporations (plus the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) have now dropped the conservative group.
Robert Shrum: Will a Tea Party Supreme Court guarantee Obama a second term? The court’s conservative wing appears ready to engage in some despicable judicial activism on ObamaCare….
Recall the scorn toward health reform dripping from the lips of Injustice Antonin Scalia. Or think of the tight-lipped Clarence Thomas, who could send a mannequin to sit in his place at the court’s oral arguments for all the difference his brooding presence makes… Some observers, and administration officials, hold out hope that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy will decide to save health reform from the revanchist claims of right-wing constitutionalism. I’m pessimistic because I lived through Bush v. Gore, when the court acted like a political ward committee…
…. Largely missing from the coverage of the health reform case are the most important consequences of nullifying the law: The tragedy of tens of millions who would again be left without insurance… It took a hundred years to remedy all of this by passing health reform; it could take decades to pass it again….
…. The president certainly doesn’t want to see his landmark achievement, unequaled since the New Deal and the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, left in the judicial dust. But ironically, such a result could rebound to his benefit…. So far, Republicans have been able to demagogue health reform without providing any real plan of their own …. Romney and his party would have to say something more, but they have nothing coherent to offer….
…. I hope my pessimism about a right-wing revolution dressed in judicial robes will be proved wrong …I hope that John Roberts, who at President Obama’s swearing-in couldn’t remember the Oath of Office, at least remembers his own….. I hope for this, but I fear the alternative, a decision that would live in infamy….
…. Perhaps the GOP presidential candidates are right about the boilerplate echoing off the walls at their rallies — that this is “the most important election of our lifetime.” And unless they draw back from the brink, a slim Republican majority on a debased Supreme Court will help Obama win it.
The Hill: President Obama will embark on a four-state tour next week to highlight his energy plan amid intensifying GOP attacks on the White House over soaring gas prices.
…. Obama will travel to Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Ohio on Wednesday and Thursday, and will deliver remarks in all four states. On Wednesday, the president will visit a solar facility in Boulder City, Nev. …. later Wednesday, he will tout the administration’s efforts to expand domestic oil-and-gas production at oil fields in Carlsbad, N.M.
Obama will travel to Cushing, Okla., Wednesday, where he will underscore the administration’s support for a major portion of the Keystone XL pipeline …. Lastly, Obama will speak about energy research at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
USA Today: St. Patrick’s Day is coming late to Washington this year. The actual “holiday” is Saturday but the White House announced today that President Obama will host Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on Tuesday.
“The president looks forward to commemorating his fourth St. Patrick’s Day in the White House with the Taoiseach and Mrs. Kenny, and to reciprocating the warm hospitality the Irish people extended to the president and Mrs. Obama during their visit to the Emerald Isle in May 2011,” the White House announcement said.
Also Tuesday, Obama will meet with First Minister Peter Robinson of Northern Ireland. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced he will host Obama, Kenny and other officials at the speaker’s annual Friends of Ireland luncheon, also Tuesday.
Robert Shrum: Republican voters are now the political equivalent of Mitt Romney’s famously abused dog Seamus. Mitt has put voters on the roof of his car, and he’s driving for the nomination whether they like it or not. More accurately, he’s sputtering toward the nomination as the roof-bound electorate periodically poops on his parade…..