Posts Tagged ‘trade

27
Mar
14

Rise and Shine

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President Barack Obama and Pope Francis laugh while exchanging gifts after their meeting at the Vatican

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at Quirinal Palace in Rome

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USA Today: Obama’s Gift To Pope Francis: A Seed Chest

President Obama presented Pope Francis with a custom-made seed chest on Thursday, containing fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House Garden. The gift was inspired by the pope’s decision to grant public access to the gardens of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer residence, according to a White House statement. Obama and Pope Francis met for 52 minutes at Vatican City.

Pope Francis, meanwhile, presented the president with a plaque of some kind, and an encyclical. “I will treasure this,” Obama said. “I actually will probably read this (encyclical) in the Oval Office when I’m deeply frustrated. I’m sure it will give me strength and calm me down.” The seed chest from Obama is made from American leather and wood reclaimed from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals built in the United States.

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Jason Millman: Young Adults Signing Up At Higher Rates Off Obamacare Exchanges

A higher rate of young adults and uninsured people are signing up for coverage through a private insurance website as next week’s enrollment deadline approaches, according to information released by the company Tuesday. The enrollment data, issued by eHealthInsurance, provides a snapshot of how some customers are shopping for insurance away from Obamacare exchanges during the law’s first enrollment period. EHealth, a national online insurance broker predating the health care law, operates similar to the Obamacare exchanges, offering customers a selection of health plans from competing insurers.

However, shoppers on eHealth’s website can’t access federal subsidies to help purchase insurance, though the company says it has helped people enroll in subsidy-eligible plans by telephone. Since Jan. 1, about 45 percent of those picking new health plans through eHealth were between 18 and 34 years old, the company says. By comparison, the all-important demographic accounted for 27 percent of signups on Obamacare exchanges the past couple of months. EHealth says its rate of youth enrollment has increased from 39 percent of signups between October and December.The rate of eHealth customers who identified themselves as previously uninsured has also increased since the first three months of the enrollment, the company says. Since January, 51 percent of the website’s shoppers say they were previously uninsured, up from 34 percent between October and December.

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America Blog: They Stole Her Photo, Then Claimed She Hated Obamacare. She Doesn’t

Helene isn’t having the best week. The Texas blogger was visiting Las Vegas for a bachelorette party this past weekend, and woke up on Saturday to find that she’d become the latest anti-Obamacare poster child. The thing is, Helene never signed up for the job. In fact, she told me yesterday that she’s quite happy with the Affordable Care Act (ACA),

and with the “affordable” health care it helped her find. “Not only do I not agree with what the image is portraying,” Helene wrote me, “I actually have Affordable Healthcare!” So, if anything, Helene is an Obamacare success story. But that didn’t stop over 17,000 people on Facebook from sharing an image of her face, posted just days ago, with a caption complaining about Obamacare. To add insult to injury, the people who stole her image couldn’t even spell “conspiracy” right.

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SmartyPants: President Obama’s Speech In Brussels – One Of The Most Important Of His Presidency

One of the things we know from reading about President Obama’s life story is that while he was practicing law in Chicago, he taught classes on the topic of “power.” I’ve always wished that either he or someone who attended one would outline the content of what he taught. Perhaps the President will do that once his second term is over.

He doesn’t tend to speak directly about the topic, but from listening to him refer to it in other contexts, what I’ve deduced is that he embraces the power of partnership as the alternative to our more traditional concept of the power of domination. Today the President began his speech in Brussels with a history lesson on the power of partnership vs the power of domination.

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Paul Krugman: Data As Slogan. Data As Substance

Noah Smith has the definitive piece on what’s wrong, so far, with the new FiveThirtyEight. For all the big talk about data-driven analysis,what it actually delivers is sloppy and casual opining with a bit of data used, as the old saying goes, the way a drunkard uses a lamppost — for support, not illumination.So what would real data-driven reporting look like (beyond what goes on at the sites Noah mentions, and also at the Times)? Well, here’s an example: Charles Gaba’s ACASignups.net.

Gaba, a website developer, realized that nobody was systematically keeping track of enrollment data for Obamacare, and has turned himself into one-stop shopping on the law’s progress. And he really fills a need: when you read news reports on Obamacare, you can tell right away which reporters have been reading Gaba and know what’s happening and which reporters are relying solely on official announcements — or, worse, dueling political spin.

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NYT: Obama Juggles Itinerary In Bid To Ease Tensions Between Two Allies

When President Obama brings together the estranged leaders of Japan and South Korea for a peacemaking session in The Hague on Tuesday evening, it will be the culmination of three months of intense behind-the-scenes American diplomacy. The unusual effort included a phone call from Mr. Obama to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan; a follow-up lunch that the American ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, had with Mr. Abe; a decision to put both Tokyo and Seoul on Mr. Obama’s itinerary when he visits Asia next month; and a plan to resolve this neighborhood quarrel on the ultimate neutral ground: a stately Dutch city accustomed to litigating international disputes.

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In this case, Mr. Abe and President Park Geun-hye of South Korea have barely been on speaking terms since coming to power just over a year ago. Their antagonism is complex and deeply personal, rooted in World War II history as well as their own conservative and nationalist political leanings, which make old animosities even harder to overcome. Convinced the two were not going to mend relations on their own, the White House proposed a “trilateral” meeting with Mr. Obama at the nuclear security summit in the Netherlands. The European locale and nonproliferation theme made sense. “It’s a multilateral meeting not in Asia,” said a senior administration official, “and a multilateral meeting about the one thing Japan and South Korea are in agreement on.” Mr. Obama’s participation was critical: In a call on March 6, the president told Mr. Abe he wanted to bring his two allies together. At a lunch that day, Ambassador Kennedy fleshed out the idea.

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Sy Mukherjee: Anti-Obamacare Governor Now Encouraging Residents To Enroll Under Health Law

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), an ardent Affordable Care Act critic, is now encouraging residents to transition into new health plans under the very reform law that he once refused to help implement. Walker told the Washington Examiner’s Philip A. Klein that he has instructed state agencies to work with individuals who are transitioning into plans offered on Wisconsin’s Obamacare marketplace. That includes both the previously uninsured and poor residents just above the poverty level who are being siphoned out of the state’s Medicaid program, BadgerCare,

and into private ACA plans under Walker’s conservative alternative to Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion.  Just two years ago, Walker was singing a very different tune. He had refused to create a statewide ACA marketplace — thereby also forgoing significant federal funding for Obamacare outreach efforts — and said he wouldn’t lift a finger to help implement the law until the Supreme Court decided the law’s fate. In fact, Wisconsin’s spending on ACA outreach is the lowest in the nation at just 46 cents per capita.

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Bloomberg: WTO Panel Sides With U.S. In Dispute Over China Minerals

The World Trade Organization backed the U.S. in a dispute with China, agreeing that limits on exports of rare-earth elements used in hybrid-car batteries and wind turbines violate trade rules. A Chinese industry group said it regrets the ruling against China. A dispute-settlement panel at the Geneva-based trade arbiter yesterday determined that China, the world’s largest producer of the minerals, didn’t adequately justify imposing export duties and quotas on the goods, as well as the elements tungsten and molybdenum. China’s export limits “have been putting American manufacturers at a disadvantage and preventing full and fair competition,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters yesterday on a conference call.

The WTO decision follows a 2011 ruling in which the trade arbiter sided with the U.S. in determining that China’s export limits on raw materials for steel and chemical production, such as bauxite, magnesium and zinc, broke trade law. The U.S., the 28-nation EU and Japan in 2012 filed complaints with the WTO, saying that China’s restrictions on exports of rare-earth minerals — a group of 17 chemically similar elements used in electronics, autos, helicopter blades and other goods — disrupted trade flows and caused global prices to jump, in some cases as much as three times as much as what Chinese companies pay.

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Tara Culp-Ressler: Hobby Lobby Inspired New York Lawmakers To Fight To Protect Birth Control In Their State

If the craft chain Hobby Lobby and the furniture company Conestoga Wood Specialties successfully win their Supreme Court challenges, it could open the door to allow businesses across the country to compromise their workers’ access to reproductive health care. In response to that potential future, New York lawmakers are taking the opportunity to reaffirm their state’s commitment to providing insurance coverage for essential preventative health services like birth control.

Earlier this month, New York Sen. Liz Krueger (D) and Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee (D) introduced the so-called “Boss Bill,” which would close a loophole in the state’s existing workplace anti-discrimination laws to protect women’s access to birth control. Under the legislation — which was written in direct response to the multiple lawsuits against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive provision — New York’s labor law would be amended to prevent employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of their reproductive health care decisions, even if those employers are trying to cite their religious beliefs.

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Owen Matthews: Sanctions Will Work, All Right. Just Ask The Oligarchs

President Barack Obama, who has supposedly taken the toughest line in condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “aggression,” has merely declared banking sanctions on a dozen Russian businessmen personally close to Putin. But in truth, there’s some deep thinking behind Washington’s sanctions regime, and they could ultimately prove deadly to Putin’s future. The key to the sanctions strategy is to drive a wedge between Putin’s shrinking inner circle and the wider Russian elite. “People aren’t ready to sacrifice their holidays in the Alps and in Antalya for the sake of an idea of a Great State,” says Nina Khrushcheva, a historian at New York City’s New School and a granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader who ceded Crimea to Ukraine in 1954. “That was fine in Stalin’s time, but it’s not fine in Putin’s time.”

In other words, the sanctions are smart because they so precisely target Kremlin insiders and personal friends of Putin—men such as such as billionaire Gennady Timchenko, whose Gunvor company trades most of Russia’s oil and who has major interests in gas pipe-building companies, and Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s former judo partner, whose construction company hugely benefited from the $50 billion Sochi Olympics. The share prices of companies associated with the sanctioned billionaires have been badly hit, and Visa and Mastercard suspended operations with two banks linked to those on Washington’s list. In other words, Putin has become a liability for Russia’s rich—and they’re getting nervous.It’s easy to see why Putin’s moves worry them. Even without direct personal sanctions, all of Russia’s businesspeople will pay a price for the Crimea annexation in the form of steeply higher borrowing costs. Most international ratings agencies have downgraded Russia’s outlook from stable to negative. The ruble has slid further; capital is fleeing Russia fast.

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Brian Beutler: Republicans Losing It Over New Obamacare Data: Why Their Position Is Collapsing

It’s a complete accident of legislative and administrative history that the fourth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act should fall the week before the end of the law’s first ever, six-month-long open-enrollment period. But it’s a great coincidence for those of us in the business of cutting through all the hyperbole that accompanies each ACA anniversary, because, for the first time since the law passed, there are real data, and real beneficiaries, to hold up against the spin.

And as I’ve been arguing for months now, the GOP’s position on the law can’t actually withstand on-the-ground realities. Case in point: Terri Lynn Land — Michigan’s one-time Republican secretary of state, turned Senate candidate — held a first-ever conference call with reporters to trash the ACA on its fourth birthday. But confronted with the question of what happens to people with preexisting medical conditions if the GOP repeals the law (and thus eliminates the individual mandate) — Land’s press aide, Heather Swift, commandeered the call, and tried to take the whole thing off the record.

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Coral Davenport: Obama Turns To Web To Illustrate The Effects Of A Changing Climate

President Obama wants Americans to see how climate change could deluge or destroy their own backyards — and to make it as easy as opening a web-based app. As part of an effort to make the public see global warming as a tangible and immediate problem, the White House on Wednesday inaugurated a website, climate.data.gov, aimed at turning scientific data about projected droughts and wildfires and the rise in sea levels into eye-catching digital presentations that can be mapped using simple software apps. The project is the brainchild of Mr. Obama’s counselor, John D. Podesta, and the White House science adviser, John P. Holdren.

The effort comes as Mr. Obama prepares to announce a set of aggressive climate change regulations aimed at limiting emissions from coal-fired plants.“Localizing this information gives a sense of how this affects people and spurs action,” Mr. Podesta told a small group of reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “If you’re thinking about this from the perspective of how your local community will be affected, it’s likely to change that question of salience.”

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Sahil Kapur: Kagan Throws Scalia’s Own Religious Liberty Arguments Back In His Face

During oral arguments Tuesday about the validity of Obamacare’s birth control mandate, Justice Elena Kagan cleverly echoed Justice Antonin Scalia’s past warning that religious-based exceptions to neutral laws could lead to “anarchy.” “Your understanding of this law, your interpretation of it, would essentially subject the entire U.S. Code to the highest test in constitutional law, to a compelling interest standard,” she told Paul Clement, the lawyer arguing against the mandate for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. “So another employer comes in and that employer says, I have a religious objection to sex discrimination laws;

and then another employer comes in, I have a religious objection to minimum wage laws; and then another, family leave; and then another, child labor laws. And all of that is subject to the exact same test which you say is this unbelievably high test, the compelling interest standard with the least restrictive alternative.” Kagan’s remarks might sound familiar to the legally-trained ear. In a 1990 majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, Scalia alluded to the same examples of what might happen if religious entities are permitted to claim exemptions from generally applicable laws. He warned that “[a]ny society adopting such a system would be courting anarchy.”

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The Bump: A Message From Michelle Obama For The Bump Moms (Really!)

Back when Barack and I were expecting our first daughter, we were overwhelmed with so many emotions: excitement, wonder, hope… and occasional moments of panic at the prospect of bringing this little person into the world. We had all the usual first-time parent worries: How would we balance the needs of our growing family with the demands of our jobs? How would the stresses of caring for a new baby affect our marriage? Would our little girl be able to tell that we had no idea what we were doing? But there was one thing we never worried about: ensuring that I would have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. That’s because, while we were still struggling to pay off our student loans and pay down our mortgage, we both had jobs that provided health insurance.

So while our finances weren’t perfect, we had the security of knowing that I could get the maternity care I needed. Every mother and every father in this country deserves this kind of peace of mind – and that’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about.Every plan on HealthCare.gov covers maternity care, pediatrician’s visits, preventive care (things like flu shots, mammograms and vaccines for kids), birth control and more. And these plans are affordable – the majority of people without insurance today will be able to get covered for $100 a month or less, and many young adults will be able to get covered for as little as $50 a month. Also, if you’re pregnant now, and you get signed up by March 31st, when your baby is born, you’ll both be covered.

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Greg Sargent: Is Obamacare Repeal Fatigue Setting In?

Views of the ACA remain unfavorable, but the gap is narrowing. The new poll finds that in March, 38 percent viewed the law favorably, versus 46 percent who saw it unfavorably. That’s a substantial narrowing from the 34-50 spread during the dark days of January, and a return almost to where opinion was in September (39-43), before the rollout disaster began. – Support for repeal continues to shrink. Only 18 percent want to repeal the law and not replace it, while all of 11 percent want to repeal and replace it with a GOP alternative — a grand total of 29 percent. Meanwhile, 49 percent want to keep the law and improve it, and another 10 percent want to keep it as is — a total of 59 percent.

Among indys, that keep/improve versus repeal/replace spread is 52-31. Republicans are all alone here, with their spread at 31-58. That overall keep-versus-repeal spread has improved for the law since February (when it was 56-31), and even more so since December and October, suggesting a clear trend. – Crucially, a majority, 53 percent, say they are tired about hearing about the law and want to move on to other issues. Only 42 percent think the Obamacare debate should continue. A majority of independents has had enough (51-45). Even 47 percent of Republicans are done with it. – Most of the ACA’s individual provisions are wildly popular. Virtually every one of them — the Medicaid expansion; the preexisting conditions piece; subsidies for low income people’s coverage – has overwhelming majority support, and all of those are even backed by a majority of Republicans.

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Pope Francis takes a picture with President Barack Obama and his delegation after his meeting at the Vatican with the President

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Jonathan Cohn: John Bohener’s Hypocritical Griping About The Obamacare Deadline Delay. Conservatives’ Real Beef: That People Want To Sign Up

The Obama Administration has made another adjustment to the Affordable Care Act and the critics are making another fuss. The adjustment, first reported (I think) by Amy Lotven for Inside Health Policy, is an extension of the open enrollment period for buying private insurance through the new Obamacare marketplaces. Officially, most people have until March 31 to sign up for a plan. (The exception are people who lose a job or have some other, similar life-altering experience. They can sign up throughout the year.) But on Wednesday, the administration announced that it will be offering some extra time to consumers who don’t finish their applications in time. They’ll be able to use the websites, just like they can now, only they’ll have to check a box attesting to the fact that they started the application process before April 1.

“What the hell is this? A joke?” House Speaker John Boehner said at a press conference. “Another deadline made meaningless. If he hasn’t put enough loopholes in the law already, the administration is now resorting to an honor system to enforce it.”For each one of these extensions or delays, the ultimate question is whether they change the law’s ability to realize its basic goals—which, in this case, means encouraging people to buy new private health plans while maintaining a stable insurance market. Giving people a little extra time to enroll wouldn’t seem to impede this kind of progress. If anything, it would seem to enhance it. And maybe that’s what really bothers some of the law’s fiercer critics.

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Market Watch: Jobless Claims Fall To 4-Month Low Of 311,000

The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to 311,000 last week to mark the lowest level in four months, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to total 320,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended March 22. The average of new claims over the past month declined by 9,500 to 317,750. That was the lowest level since last September, when claims fell sharply because of a major errors related to a computer upgrade in California’s system for processing claims. The four-week average is the lowest since 2007 if the reports distorted by California’s computer problems are excluded. The monthly figure smooths out the jumpiness in the weekly report and offers a better look at the underlying trend.

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On This Day:

Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL, listens to testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs about the health care needs of returning service members on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 27, 2007

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President Obama makes a point during an interview in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 27, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

 President Obama preps with staff in the Cabinet Room of the White House before interviews, March 27, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama laughs as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder jokes about his basketball skills during his ceremonial installation at George Washington University on March 27, 2009

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President Obama travels aboard Air Force One en route to Afghanistan, March 27, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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 First Lady Michelle Obama helps to plant a cherry blossom tree during an event celebrating the centennial anniversary of the 1912 gifts of cherry blossom trees to the United States from Japan, in Washington, D.C. on March 27, 2012

President Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani of Pakistan during the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 27, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

 President Obama talks with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon during a break in the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 27, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine during a pull aside at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 27, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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 President Obama watches as Vice President Biden administers the oath of office to Julia Pierson, as she is sworn-in as the new director of the U.S. Secret Service, March. 27, 2013, in the Oval Office

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06
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago today: President Obama greets the family of Make-A-Wish child Francisco “Paqui” Lopez Pena, outside the Oval Office, Aug. 6, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

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10:10 AM The President departs the White House

MST

11:40: Arrives Phoenix, Arizona

12:10: Tours Erickson Construction

1:05: Delivers remarks at Desert Vista High School, Phoenix (4:05 EDT, White House Live)

2:10: Departs Phoenix

PDT

3:25: Arrives Los Angeles

4:30: Tapes an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”

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Bloomberg: Americans With Best Credit in Decades Drive U.S. Economy

Americans have made progress putting their finances in order and are ready to borrow again – giving the world’s largest economy another driver of spending and growth.

Household net worth soared to a record high in the first quarter, Federal Reserve data show, and the financial-obligations ratio relating consumer debt to income matched the lowest in 33 years. Consumer loans are rising, and the American Bankers Association reports the share of delinquencies on bank cards is the smallest since 1990.

“Household finances are in the best shape in decades,” said Joseph Carson, director of global economic research at AllianceBernstein … “We now have a creditworthy borrower. It’s a powerful ingredient” ….

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Marketwatch: Home-price growth near seven-year high

Annual home-price growth in June was close to the fastest pace in seven years, as inventories of existing and new homes remained low, according to data released Tuesday.

Home prices, including distressed sales, rose 1.9% in June, and were up 11.88% from a year earlier … In May, prices were up 11.93% from the prior year, the fastest annual growth since February 2006.

Excluding short sales and other distressed properties, prices rose 1.8% in June, and were up 10.97% from the year-earlier period, reaching the fastest annual pace since February 2006.

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USA Today: President Obama heads west Tuesday, to talk housing in Phoenix and the economy on a late-night talk show in Hollywood.

Obama starts in Phoenix, where he tours a home construction company and delivers a speech on housing policy.

…. After Phoenix, Obama travels to the Los Angeles area for an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where he hopes to talk about the economy in between jokes.

The president will spend the night in Los Angeles.

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Steve Benen: PolitiFact finds its pants on fire

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) appeared on Fox News on Sunday, and when the discussion turned to a possible self-imposed budget crisis, the Virginia Republican said lawmakers should be “focused on trying to deal with the ultimate problem, which is this growing deficit.”

What Cantor said was the opposite of the truth – he said the nation has a “growing deficit,” when in reality, we have a shrinking deficit. We can have a discussion about whether the House Majority Leader was deliberately trying to deceive the public – Republicans have an incentive to convince the public that U.S. finances are in worse shape than they really are – or whether Cantor simply doesn’t know the basics of current events. But I’m afraid it’s either one or the other.

Unless, that is, you’re PolitiFact…..

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VotingRightsMatter.com

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From The Last Word:

From Mississippi to the Ivy League: Two students reflect on their unique journeys – video here

Sister Simone schools ‘Catholic school boy’ Paul Ryan – video here

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Former baseball players in the Negro League, from left to right, Pedro Sierra, Minnie Minoso, and Ron Teasley, talk outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington following their meeting with President Obama.

USA Today: Obama praises Negro League veterans

While Major League Baseball grapples with performance enhancing drugs, President Obama and some special guests spent Monday evening talking about the old days in the Negro League.

Obama thanked Negro League veterans for helping pave the way for African-Americans in professional sports, as well as other walks of life.

….. The Negro League delegation also included a woman owner, Minnie Forbes of the old Detroit Stars.

Forbes pointed out that in the old days African-American ballplayers — and African-Americans in general — couldn’t stay in certain hotels or restaurants.

“Now,” she said, “we are able to come to the White House and see the president,” himself an African-American.

Forbes also reported that the the president gave her a kiss on the cheek — “and I’m not washing my face!”

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Greg Sargent: Keep An Eye On Georgia Senate Race

A new survey from the robo-firm Public Policy Polling finds that Democrat Michelle Nunn is locked in a close battle for the Georgia Senate seat with several of the main potential GOP challengers. This — combined with the fact that the GOP primary is a crowded affair — has Dems looking at this race as a potential firewall: If Dems can somehow win in Georgia (or even Kentucky), Republicans will have to sweep four Dem incumbents out of office to take the Senate.

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National Journal: Republicans Confront Lady Problems in Congress

When the House Judiciary Committee passed a late-term abortion ban in June, Republican leaders scrambled to find a female, media-savvy legislator to bring the legislation to the floor. Their biggest problem: Not a single Republican woman was represented among the committee’s 23 Republican members. They eventually settled on Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who isn’t on the Judiciary Committee.

The episode underscored a growing problem that is worrying Republicans: Women are badly underrepresented within their party in the Congress. Only eight percent of House Republicans are women, and there are only four female Republican senators. Of the long list of potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders, there’s not a single woman.

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On this day….

President Obama visits with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in the Blue Room of the White House, prior to Kagan’s confirmation reception in the East Room, Aug. 6, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 6, 2010: The President walks newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan into the Oval Office (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

13
Mar
12

afternoon all

President Obama meets with the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search finalists in the Eisenhower Building

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Michael Tomasky on GOP Plans to Sink the Economy: Every month brings improved job news – and bleaker prospects for the Republicans in November. Which is why they’re contemplating economic sabotage as their only hope.

We’re just under eight months away from Election Day now, which means that the GOP is starting to run out of time to think up new ways to ruin the economy so that Barack Obama doesn’t get reelected …. There are three fronts – gas prices, jobs, and the budget…

….. By opposing everything Obama wanted with such ferocity; by saying all those thousands of times that he had no clue about the economy; by sending out a parade of presidential candidates, from the semi-serious to the clown posse, all of whose central criticism of Obama is that he killed the economy – in all of these ways the party has more invested in economic failure than any out-party I can remember in my lifetime. Its best hope for now is gas prices, but even they eventually get lower, usually by late summer. Beyond that, all the GOP has to rely on is Mitt Romney’s unstoppable charisma.

Full post here

Thanks Loriah

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Marketwatch: U.S. stocks rose Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index extending an advance into a fifth session, after retail sales climbed the fastest in five months in February.

“The rising sales were pretty impressive in that rising gas prices hasn’t hurt the consumer,” said Nick Raich, director of research at Key Private Bank in Cleveland …. The Commerce Department reported retail sales climbed 1.1% to $407.8 billion in February, while the prior two months were revised higher.

The upward revisions imply first-quarter economic growth could be “a bit stronger” than first estimated, noted Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC in New York.

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National Journal: More Americans trust President Obama than congressional Republicans to make the right decisions to bring down the price of gasoline, according to a new poll, although neither side commands a majority.

What’s more, as prices continue to rise and the specter of $5-per-gallon gas for the summer driving season looms over the political landscape, the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll shows the public slightly more supportive of the energy priorities of the Democrats and the president than those of the GOP.

Forty-four percent of respondents trust Obama more “to make the right decisions to help bring down the price of gasoline,” versus 32 percent for Republicans in Congress….

More here

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Deaniac (The People’s View): After Washington Post/ABC News put out their poll drastically over-representing GOP and Republican leaning voters, New York Times and CBS News have come up with brand new blunders of their own on their poll released late afternoon yesterday, showing the president at an approval rating of “all time low” 41%. This poll has the most glaring, dumbfounding proof that its sample is rigged staring at you in the very front page of the poll’s crosstabs.

More here

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Jeez, I just don’t understand why the media is suddenly ignoring its favorite polling company, it’s a mystery!

Gallup

****

Raw Story: The Republican fight against health care rights for women may end up hurting the party on election day, according to a new poll. A Washington Post survey released Monday found that Democrats are perceived as caring more about issues that are important to women by 25 points, 55 percent to 30 percent.

The poll also showed that a large majority of all voters support the idea that businesses should be required to cover the “full cost” of contraception for female employees. Among all voters, 61 percent supported a mandate for birth control coverage, while 35 percent did not.

As MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted, 53 percent of voters were women in 2008 … “The gender gap was pretty enormous four years ago,” Benen wrote. “Don’t be surprised if it’s even bigger in November.”

Full post here

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Steve Benen: In Arizona, Democratic Senate candidate Don Bivens released a new ad yesterday, targeting Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, and hoping to take advantage of the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh. It’s probably not the last 2012 spot we’ll see highlighting the right-wing radio host.

****

Liberal Librarian (The People’s View): According to Rick Santorum, I’m doubly un-American.  I was born in New York City and lived there until I was 16, at which time my family moved to Los Angeles, where I’ve lived ever since.  According to Rick Santorum, I have no values.  I don’t know the worth of an honest day’s work.  I don’t know the benefits of charity (in which he engages very sparingly).  I don’t know the duties of good citizenship.  My vote shouldn’t count, because as both a New Yorker and and Angeleno, I was never exposed to rock-ribbed, middle American values.  I’m an other.  And everyone who lives in my two cities are similarly lacking in American moral fiber.

Let me tell you a bit about my America.

Full post here

****

Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): In the upcoming issue of the Washington Monthly, Paul Glastris has a cover story called “The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama,” a headline almost guaranteed to set your teeth on edge….

….. A sidebar to Glastris’ piece lists Obama’s top 50 accomplishments …. Better to pare it down to 10 really top achievements in order to highlight how many truly major accomplishments Obama has been responsible for. So I did. Except I couldn’t get there. I cut it down to 13 and got stuck. Here they are, in the same order as the original Washington Monthly list (see post)

…. These are all big deals. Big fucking deals, to quote our vice president. Unless you’re just bound and determined to sulk in your tent while insisting that health care was a sellout and the stimulus was too small and Dodd-Frank was feeble and the mini stimuli were more like micro stimuli, there’s just no way around the fact that this is a historically colossal set of progressive accomplishments, especially in the face of a historically hostile political environment.

….. Unlike Paul Glastris, I’m not ready to start chiseling Obama’s mug on Mount Rushmore. But unless national security is pretty much your sole obsession, I really have a hard time understanding progressives who are disappointed in him. Obama has gotten more done for the progressive cause than Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, JFK, or Harry Truman – and, on balance, nearly as much as LBJ, since he doesn’t have any epic disasters to weigh down his successes. For an actual, existing human being, that’s pretty damn good.

Full post here

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Chefs Kevin Saiyasak and Jeremy Kapper harvest winter greens from the Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House, March 13

13
Mar
12

chat away

President Barack Obama, followed by Commerce Secretary John Bryson and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the White House, March 13

12
Nov
11

down at the farm

Star Advertiser: College interns who help run one of the island’s largest organic farms guided first lady Michelle Obama through fields of budding salad greens today, then sat down to swap stories with her about their efforts to improve the health of their communities.

Wearing a sleeveless navy dress, Obama traded hugs and laughs with the students, immediately disarming them. “She was so outgoing, just the easiest person to talk to,” said Ku’uleilani Samson, one of the young co-managers at the farm, who completed an internship and earned an associate’s degree. “She made you feel totally comfortable.”

The nonprofit MA’O Farms, on 24 acres of Lualualei Valley, is devoted to raising healthy crops for local consumption while also growing a new generation of leaders in touch with the land and their heritage.

“I’ve heard about all that’s going on here for years and years,” Obama told the students. “I jumped at the opportunity to come and not just see for myself but also allow the world to see what you all are doing.”

…. MA’O’s mission dovetails with Obama’s nationwide “Let’s Move” campaign, which aims to raise a healthier generation of children through better nutrition and exercise.

Full article here

First lady Michelle Obama with interns after touring the Ma’o Organic Farms in Waianae, Hawaii, November 12

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A Quiet Saturday:

President Obama shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda during the APEC Summit in Honolulu

…. with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

…. with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk

…. speaking to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit

… with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

… with Chinese President Hu Jintao

****

Leaders’ statement: We, the Leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam, are pleased to announce today the broad outlines of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement among our nine countries.

We are delighted to have achieved this milestone in our common vision to establish a comprehensive, next-generation regional agreement that liberalizes trade and investment and addresses new and traditional trade issues and 21st-century challenges.

We are confident that this agreement will be a model for ambition for other free trade agreements in the future, forging close linkages among our economies, enhancing our competitiveness, benefiting our consumers and supporting the creation and retention of jobs, higher living standards, and the reduction of poverty in our countries.

****

Lara Sutton places a kiss on a cut out poster of President Barack Obama in Waikiki, Hawaii, Nov. 12

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Tonight (11:20 ET): The President and First Lady welcome APEC leaders and spouses in an arrival ceremony

Sunday: The President delivers opening comments at the APEC Summit and attends sessions through the day; holds a press conference to wrap up the summit. In the evening meets with the Mexican President and the Canadian Prime Minister at the North American Leaders Summit. The First Lady hosts a luncheon with APEC leaders’ spouses at Kualoa Ranch.

Monday: Holds a fundraiser in the morning. That will be his only event for the day before he leaves on Tuesday morning for Canberra, Australia.




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