Darlene Superville: Michelle Obama says 54 kids who earned a trip to the White House by winning a nationwide recipe contest are showing how talented, creative and brilliant young people can be. It’s the second year the first lady has hosted the kids’ “state dinner.”
The contest for 8- to 12-year-olds is sponsored by the Epicurious food website and the departments of Agriculture and Education. It drew a batch of more than 1,300 entries that were whittled to 54 winners — one from each of the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.
Mrs. Obama singled out a few of the champion culinary creations during Tuesday’s meal, including Confetti Peanut Ginger Party Pasta from Missouri, Pan-seared Mississippi Catfish on a Bed of River Rice and Slam Dunk Veggie Burger from Texas.
President Barack Obama also made an unannounced appearance at the dinner in the White House East Room. He told the junior chefs they are showing that food can be both healthy and fun.
President Barack Obama smiles with Makenna Hurd of Mascot, Tennessee, and Noah Koch of Waterville, Maine, during the second annual ‘Kids’ State Dinner’, in the East Room of the White House July 9, 2013 in Washington DC.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama kiss each other at the second annual “Kids’ State Dinner”, to honor the winners of a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches, at the White House.
First Lady Michelle Obama joins in a wave during the Kids’ State Dinner
Heather Gerken (Slate): Goodbye to the Crown Jewel of the Civil Rights Movement – People died to pass Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, but that didn’t save it at the Supreme Court.
…. To understand why Section 5 was special, you have to know a bit about its history. The brutal attacks on civil rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge provided the push needed to pass the Voting Rights Act. When the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, almost no African-Americans were registered to vote in the Deep South due to brutal repression and sickening legal chicanery.
Civil rights litigators and the Department of Justice were doing their best to help. They filed lawsuit after lawsuit to make it possible for blacks to register. But every time a court deemed one discriminatory practice illegal, local officials would switch to another. Literacy tests, poll taxes, burdensome registration requirements – these techniques were all used to prevent African-Americans from voting. Southern voting registrars would even resign from their positions as soon as a lawsuit was on the cusp of succeeding, thereby sending the case back to square one. The Voting Rights Act aimed to change all of this.
Section 5 was the most important and imaginative provision in the law….
Sahil Kapur: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg penned the fierce dissent against the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision Tuesday to invalidate a key section of the Voting Rights Act, accusing the conservative justices of displaying “hubris” and a lack of sound reasoning. “[T]he Court’s opinion can hardly be described as an exemplar of restrained and moderate decision making,” wrote the leader of the court’s liberal wing. “Quite the opposite. Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the VRA.”
Joined by the three other liberal-leaning justices, Ginsburg scolded the conservative majority and its rationale for throwing out Section 4 of the law — which contains the formula Congress has used to determine which states and local governments must receive federal pre-approval before changing their voting laws. “Congress approached the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA with great care and seriousness. The same cannot be said of the Court’s opinion today,” she wrote. “The Court makes no genuine attempt to engage with the massive legislative record that Congress assembled. Instead, it relies on increases in voter registration and turnout as if that were the whole story.” “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” Ginsburg wrote.
Texas Tribune: The nation watched on Tuesday — and into Wednesday — as Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis and hundreds of impassioned reproductive rights advocates stalled proceedings and ultimately defeated controversial abortion legislation in a storm of screams and shouts as the clock struck midnight.
“I am overwhelmed, honestly,” Davis said after standing for nearly 13 hours to filibuster Senate Bill 5, the abortion legislation. The outpouring of support from protesters at the Capitol and across the nation, she said, “shows the determination and spirit of Texas women and people who care about Texas women.”
…. Republican senators made a last-ditch effort to approve SB 5, voting 19-10, but by then the clock had ticked past midnight. Under the terms of the state Constitution, the special session had ended, and the bill could not be signed, enrolled or sent to the governor.
… Conservative lawmakers tried every tool in the Senate rulebook to derail the filibuster. A “three strikes, you’re out” precedent in the Senate grants lawmakers two warnings about staying germane to the bill topic … Davis received the three strikes: two were on the germaneness of the discussion and one was related to Davis receiving assistance from another senator to put on a back brace….
First lady Michelle Obama embraces honorary degree recipient and former Bowie State University President Freeman Hrabowski during the university’s graduation ceremony at the Comcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland, May 17
Any problems with the video, see here – text of remarks at same link
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Hello, Buckeyes! O-H!
THE PRESIDENT: O-H!
THE PRESIDENT: O-H!
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you so much. Everybody, please be seated. Thank you, Dr. Gee, for the wonderful introduction. I suspect the good President may have edited out some other words that were used to describe me. (Laughter.) I appreciate that. But I’m going to let Michelle know of all the good comments.
To the Board of Trustees; Congresswoman Beatty; Mayor Coleman; and all of you who make up The Ohio State University for allowing me to join you — it is an incredible honor.
And most of all, congratulations, Class of 2013! (Applause.) And of course, congratulations to all the parents, and family, and friends and faculty here in the Horseshoe — this is your day as well. (Applause.) I’ve been told to ask everybody, though, please be careful with the turf. Coach Meyer has big plans for this fall. (Laughter.)
I very much appreciate the President’s introduction. I will not be singing today. (Laughter.)
President Obama talks with Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel Pendleton Sr., following the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 12, 2013. Mr.and Mrs. Pendleton, whose 15-year-old daughter Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed last month in Chicago, were guests in the First Lady’s box at the speech
President Obama signs two copies of his State of the Union address in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House before departing for the U.S. Capitol, D.C., Feb. 12
President Obama waits with Sergeants at Arms and Members of Congress before entering the House Chamber to deliver the State of the Union address. Standing with the President are, from left: Paul Irving, House Sergeant at Arms: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.; Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif; and Terrance Gainer, Senate Sergeant at Arms
President Obama and Vice President Biden look toward the guests in the First Lay’s box at the State of the Union
Sun Times: President Barack Obama will speak at the Hyde Park Academy on Friday, returning home to push his second-term economic agenda and curbs on gun violence just a few blocks from his Kenwood home – and not far from where 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was gunned down on Jan. 29.
Obama makes the afternoon trip at the school, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave., as the last of a three-city swing to bolster the plans he discussed in his Tuesday night State of the Union Address. Today Obama is in Asheville, N.C. and tomorrow he is in the Atlanta area.
Boston.com: This image provided by Vogue shows former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., left, with her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, during a photo shoot at their home in Tucson, Ariz. The image and accompanying article by John Powers will be published in the March 2013 issue of Vogue
President Obama arrives to speak at the Linamar factory in Asheville, N.C., Feb 13
President Barack Obama listens to Jeffrey Brower and Dwayne Moore explain the machining of the axle components made for Caterpillar’s large mining trucks during a tour of the Linamar Corporation auto-parts plant in Arden, North Carolina, Feb. 13 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Steve Benen: The available research shows that no cabinet nominee has ever faced a filibuster. This week, however, as Chuck Hagel’s Defense Secretary nomination reaches the Senate floor, a new level of Republican obstructionism may very well be reached.
“We’re going to require a 60-vote threshold,” [Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma] told [Josh Rogin] …. [Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas] told The Cable, “There is a 60-vote threshold for every nomination.”
Well, no, actually there isn’t. Cornyn has been in the Senate for 11 years, and I have a strong hunch he knows that “every nomination” doesn’t have to clear a “60-vote threshold,” and many haven’t. Why Cornyn is comfortable saying the opposite is anyone’s guess.
9:35: The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
11:0: First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts an Interactive Student Workshop with the Cast and Crew of the Film Beasts of the Southern Wild
11:10: The President arrives Asheville, North Carolina
11:35: Tours Linamar North Carolina Factory
12:0: Delivers remarks
1:25: Departs Asheville
2:55: Arrives the White House
Steve Benen: Every State of the Union address carries its own contextual significance. President Obama’s 2011 speech was the first after his party lost the House, and observers were eager to see how he’d adapt to a changed landscape. His 2012 address came against a backdrop of his re-election campaign.
But last night was the first SOTU of Obama’s second term, and it offered the president an opportunity to present a new way forward. The address also served as something of a book-end speech – Obama delivered an ambitious inaugural address just three weeks ago, articulating a broad vision of collective action, and last night was a chance to start filling in the principled gaps with policy specifics.
So what did we learn? That the president with arguably the most consequential first term in generations doesn’t intend to rest on his laurels….
Greg Sargent: Obama’s Inaugural Address laid out an expansive progressive agenda that was focused heavily on civil rights and rooted in the founding values of the country. His State of the Union speech was Chapter Two of this story. It laid out a progressive economic blueprint that was focused heavily on nuts-and-bolts policy ideas and rooted in a much more basic call for economic fairness, shared sacrifice in bringing down the deficit, and aggressive government action to help struggling Americans gain access to the middle class.
Obama — having been lifted to reelection by an ascendant majority coalition of minorities, young voters, and college educated whites, mostly women — gave very little ideological ground to his opponents. His speech built on the Inaugural address in the sense that it continued to reshape the conversation around the priorities of these core groups — only with a more direct focus on the economy.
After watching that fascinating State of the Union Address last night I am more inspired than ever to help push President Obama’s agenda through this Congress.
Our very own superstar TODer CollegeKay had the honor of being at the White House last night for the WH Chat. How incredible is that???
There is so much talent on display here at TOD each and everyday. You have no idea how far your reach is to people who never post but they watch and they learn. PBO has decided with great confidence to put his faith in us. He is counting on the coalition that was built in the 2012 election to make it happen. It’s going to be up to us to pressure this congress into “having a vote” on his policies. And not just in making a phone call to Congress (although it starts with that) but by also using the social skills that each of you exhibit here everyday to spread the word and to get our friends, family and Internet associates engaged in doing the same.
Do you remember the excitement and passion you felt about voting for PBO? You couldn’t wait to share with family and friends that you were being a part of history. That same excitement will be needed in order to pass his policies. It does no good for the public to complain about the economy, jobs, climate change, gun control and immigration if they plan to sit on their hands and just “hope” that PBO and Congress get it done.
Consider picking a topic that you feel passionate about and drive it home. Beat us over the head with it each and everyday. Your leadership on the topic will influence others to become engaged and before you know it you will have an army of supporters out there helping you to push the topic. You have more power than you can imagine. Join OFA and then take it to twitter, facebook and the blogs and Lets. Get. It. Done!
Washington Post: When she set out to her local library in North Miami to cast her vote in the presidential election last year, Desiline Victor had no way of knowing the journey would lead all the way to the White House.
On Tuesday night, Victor, a 102-year-old Haitian immigrant, will sit in the ornate House chamber as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama to listen to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
Victor voted for the president, but it was not easy. On her first visit to the polls on the morning of Oct. 28, the first day of early voting, she waited in line for three hours. Poll workers eventually advised her to come back later, and she did.
….. The whirlwind trip has taken Victor out of her element. She had to buy a coat, since a heavy winter jacket isn’t usually needed in balmy Miami. And here, she’s “Ms. Victor” instead of “Granny”….
But when she meets the president, perhaps the address may be less formal. Victor already feels a kinship with the commander in chief.
“I call him ‘my son,’ ” she says. “I feel like he is my son.”