11:0: VP Biden Addresses Attorneys General on Gun Control
3:0: First Lady Michelle Obama will join Rachael Ray in Clinton, Mississippi as part of the Let’s Move national tour
7:30: President Obama delivers remarks at the Business Council dinner and answer questions, Park Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC (Pooled Press for Remarks)
Reuters: The Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider whether to strike down a key provision of a federal law designed to protect minority voters.
During the one-hour oral argument, the nine justices will hear the claim made by officials from Shelby County, Alabama, that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is no longer needed.
The key issue is whether Congress has the authority under the 15th Amendment, which gave African Americans the right to vote, to require some states, mainly in the South, to show that any proposed election-law change would not discriminate against minority voters.
Steve Benen: Defense Secretary-designate Chuck Hagel will take the oath of office later today, which will likely be a satisfying resolution to a difficult confirmation process. But before he’s sworn in, Senate Republicans issued one last challenge to their former colleague…..
… This has to be one of the more amusing things I’ve heard from Senate Republicans in quite a while. In effect, the line from the GOP minority is, “We smeared Chuck Hagel, we questioned his patriotism, we questioned his loyalties, and we accused him without proof of having ties to America’s enemies. Now that he’s confirmed, we expect Hagel to start mending the relationship we destroyed on purpose as part of our partisan scorched-earth campaign.”
Even by Republican standards, this is pretty nutty.
… listening to Gladys Knight perform during the Governors Dinner, Feb. 27, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Sunday: The President and the First Lady will welcome the National Governors Association to the White House for the 2013 Governors’ Dinner (7:10 EST). The Vice President and Dr Biden will also attend.
Monday: The President and the Vice President will deliver remarks to the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room. The First Lady and Dr Biden will also deliver remarks.
Tuesday: The President will travel to Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, in Newport News, Virginia, to highlight the devastating impact that the sequester will have on jobs and middle class families if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise to avert the sequester by March 1.
Wednesday: The President will deliver remarks at the unveiling of a statue of Rosa Parks at the United States Capitol. In the evening, he will deliver remarks at the Business Council Dinner in Washington, D.C.
First Lady Michelle Obama will join Rachael Ray in Clinton, Mississippi (3:0 EST) as part of the Let’s Move national tour.
Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House
First Lady Michelle Obama will return to her hometown of Chicago to make a major announcement to bring physical activity back to schools. The First Lady will be joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker, Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas, Allyson Felix, Bob Harper, Bo Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Sarah Reinertsen, Paul Rodriguez, Serena Williams, a surprise musical guest and thousands of Chicago area teachers and students at the event. (12:0 EST)
Later on Thursday (3:25 EST), the First Lady will travel to Springfield, Missouri to see changes Walmart has made to reduce sodium and added sugars from packaged food items, to make healthier food more affordable. More details here on the Let’s Move! national tour schedule.
Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House
President Barack Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, Mich., April 18, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
This will be a beautiful day……
Washington Post: President Obama will head to the Capitol next week for the dedication of a new statue honoring civil rights icon Rosa Parks, a White House official confirmed Wednesday.
The statue – which will be the first of an African American woman to be placed in the Capitol — will be unveiled next Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Statuary Hall, the exhibition space that sits just south of the Capitol Rotunda.
11:25: President Obama records radio interviews with Al Sharpton, Joe Madison and Yolanda Adams
12:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at a conference on gun violence at Western Connecticut State University
1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press
“I knew that I better keep my day job”:
Stephanie Cutter’s Organizing for Action call tonight on gun violence prevention
Vice President Joe Biden receives a bracelet from Paige Baitinger, wife of fallen St. Petersburg, Fla., police Sgt. Thomas Baitinger, following a Medal of Valor ceremony in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Feb. 20, 2013. The Vice President and Attorney General Eric Holder presented 18 recipients with the Medal of Valor, which is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others from harm. Baitinger accepted the award on behalf of her husband who was killed in the line of duty in 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Secretary of State John Kerry made his first public remarks regarding U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy Wednesday to students and faculty at the University of Virginia – see the speech here
BobCesca.com: Obamacare is Working …. Projections for Medicare spending between 2011 and 2020 have fallen by $500 billion.
…. The Affordable Care Act is bringing down the cost of healthcare by challenging a culture of waste, not by throwing momma from the train.
Hopefully, the full interview will be on Rachael Ray’s site soon – meanwhile, here’s a clip:
WH.gov: First Lady Michelle Obama to Embark on National Tour Celebrating Third Anniversary of Let’s Move!
On February 27, 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama will kick off a two day nation-wide tour celebrating the third anniversary of Let’s Move!, her initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. The tour will showcase progress and announce new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children. Mrs. Obama will also travel to New York City this week to talk about the third anniversary of Let’s Move! on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show.
Steve Benen: …… John Boehner has a 900-word op-ed in the Wall Street Journal … devoted almost entirely to a desperate attempt to avoid blame …. Reading this breathtakingly dishonest op-ed, I can’t help but wonder about the House Speaker’s frame of mind. Either Boehner actually believes the transparent nonsense he wrote, which would mean the Speaker is alarmingly ignorant about the basics of current events, he’s deliberately trying to deceive the public, counting on Americans to be foolish enough to buy demonstrable falsehoods.
Either way, Boehner’s mendacious piece is a profound disappointment, and beneath the dignity of his office. If the Speaker is still capable of shame, he should be embarrassed to peddle such nonsense.
See full post here – Benen shreds Boehner’s op-ed, point by point
Bloomberg: President Barack Obama enters the latest budget showdown with Congress with his highest job- approval rating in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents’ popularity stands at a record low.
Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance in office, his strongest level of support since September 2009, according to a Bloomberg National poll conducted Feb. 15-18. Only 35 percent of the country has a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest rating in a survey that began in September 2009. The party’s brand slipped six percentage points in the last six months, the poll shows.
ThinkProgress: Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), a former hospital CEO and ardent Obamacare critic, announced at a press conference Wednesday evening that he will accept Obamacare funding in order to expand his state’s Medicaid program for low-income Americans. The move comes after Scott secured a waiver to privatize the public insurance program.
The decision represents a marked departure from Scott’s previously held stance. Scott didn’t just initially oppose taking part in the expansion — which the Supreme Court ruled to be optional last summer — he knowingly cited wildly inaccurate figures to inflate the program’s cost to the state by 2500 percent in an effort to discredit it. He eventually dropped his estimate for the expansion by $23 billion in the face of intense media scrutiny…..
Not being, well, a drones ‘fan’ (is anyone??), I’m half reluctant to post this – one civilian death is too many. But, still, an interesting take on the issue:
William Saletan (Slate): In Defense of Drones – They’re the worst form of war, except for all the others.
“UN: Drones killed more Afghan civilians in 2012,” says the Associated Press headline. The article begins: “The number of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan jumped 72 percent in 2012, killing at least 16 civilians in a sharp increase from the previous year.” The message seems clear: More Afghans are dying, because drones kill civilians.
Wrong. Drones kill fewer civilians, as a percentage of total fatalities, than any other military weapon. They’re the worst form of warfare in the history of the world, except for all the others.
Start with that U.N. report. Afghan civilian casualties caused by the United States and its allies didn’t go up last year. They fell 46 percent. Specifically, civilian casualties from “aerial attacks” fell 42 percent….
Jet planes. Machine guns. Bombing. Drones aren’t the problem. Bombs are the problem.
Columbus Dispatch: President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address at Ohio State University’s graduation ceremonies this year, the White House announced today.
The trip is his first scheduled trip to Ohio since he stopped in Columbus with singer Bruce Springsteen and rapper Jay-Z.
Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for noon on Sunday, May 5 at Ohio Stadium. This will be the largest class in university history and the first spring graduation on the semester system. About 12,000 students are expected to graduate that day.
AP: The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that would mark a political victory for advocates of same-sex unions and a deepening commitment by President Barack Obama to rights for gay couples.
Obama raised expectations among opponents of the Proposition 8 ban when he declared in last month’s inaugural address that gays and lesbians must be “treated like anyone else under the law.” The administration has until Feb. 28 to intervene in the case by filing a “friend of the court” brief.
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.