President Barack Obama greets neighbors outside the home of William and Endia Eason in Cleveland, Ohio, Jan. 4, 2012
(Despite having the latest version, I can’t see these Videopress videos with Firefox any more, but I can with Safari. What’s up with Firefox?!)
NYT: For the first time in many years, manufacturing stands out as an area of strength in the American economy.
When the Labor Department reports December employment numbers on Friday, it is expected that manufacturing companies will have added jobs in two consecutive years. Until last year, there had not been a single year when manufacturing employment rose since 1997.
David Rothkopf (Foreign Policy): …. the Obama track record on many fronts is much better than the administration gives itself credit for. They could be doing much, much more to tout what is an impressive litany of successes.
While the list of those successes is long and compelling-defeating Bin Laden, getting out of Iraq, helping to oust Qaddafi, restoring our reputation internationally, resetting our international priorities to better coincide with our long term interests (the “pivot” to a focus on Asia), producing meaningful healthcare reform, producing significant financial services reforms, stopping the downward spiral in the economy and laying the foundations of recovery, etc. – let me focus on three areas that deserve much more attention and appreciation ….. ** See article **
…. the president is actually doing remarkably well in the world’s toughest job right now, and he is and has been doing so under truly extraordinarily adverse circumstances. This is one of those circumstances in which the substance is better than the PR – and it’s time for the White House’s political and communications brain trust to get out a clean sheet of paper and begin to make new and better plans for claiming the credit the Obama team deserves.
Jonathan Cohn: Should President Obama use the recess appointment power when Republicans in Congress refuse even to consider his nominees? You better believe it.
Not only are Republicans blocking Obama’s nominations at a record rate. They are doing so in order to impose their own ideological agenda and, in some cases, to undermine duly passed laws they don’t like but can’t repeal.
That’s a modern-day form of nullification … Obama would be derelict in his duties if he did not use every inch of executive branch authority to overcome it.
…. based on a series of conversations today, I think Obama was within his rights after all.
TPM: Mitt Romney’s tax plan is more complex than those of his current and erstwhile primary competitors. But in broad effect it accomplishes the conservative goal of dramatically lowering taxes on the wealthy at the expense of the lower and middle classes.
Time: …. Admiral William McRaven speaks respectfully of Bush as Commander in Chief, saying he “made some very, very tough decisions.” About Obama, without a question to prompt him, he waxes lyrical and at length. The planning and decision-making for the bin Laden raid, he volunteers, “was really everything the American public would expect from their national leadership.”
“The President was at all times presidential,” he says. “I would contend he was the smartest guy in the room. He had leadership skills we’d expect from a guy who had 35 years in the military.”
TPM: …. in a new poll from Public Policy Polling President Obama bests former Mitt Romney 48 percent to 42 and Newt Gingrich 50 to 43 in Virginia … Only 31 percent see Gingrich favorably against 55 percent, and it’s nearly as bad for Romney at 33 – 52.
Jonathan Freedland (The Guardian): Whoever wrote the political rulebook needs to start rewriting it …. in the US Barack Obama is mired in horrible numbers – except for the ones showing him beating all-comers in the election now less than 11 months away. Even though the US economy is slumped in the doldrums, some of the country’s shrewdest commentators make a serious case that Obama could be heading for a landslide victory in 2012.
How to explain such a turnaround? In the United States, at least, there is one compellingly simple, two-word answer: Fox News.
…. it is Fox that is, in effect, picking the party’s nominee to face Obama next November …. If one is to flourish rather than wither in the Fox spotlight, there are several articles of faith to which one must subscribe – from refusing to believe in human-made climate change, and insisting that Christians are an embattled minority in the US, persecuted by a liberal, secular, bi-coastal elite, to believing that government regulation is always wrong, and that any attempt to tax the wealthiest people is immoral. Those who deviate are rapidly branded foreign, socialist or otherwise un-American.
….It was this process that led the former speechwriter David Frum to declare last year: “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us – and now we’re discovering we work for Fox.”
…. The extremism, anger, paranoia and sense of victimhood that Fox incubates are all unhealthy for the United States. But it’s inflicting particular damage on the Republican party, which could well lose a winnable election because of its supine relationship to a TV network. It turns out it is not liberals who should fear the Fox – it’s conservatives.
Washington Post: A President Obama impersonator brought down the house Saturday at the Republican Leadership Conference, telling a string of racially themed jokes about the president.
The impersonator, Reggie Brown, took the stage at the annual presidential cattle call to the Bruce Springsteen song “Born in the USA” – an allusion to the birther controversy.
A sampling of what followed:
• On Black History Month: “Michelle celebrates the full month. I celebrate half.”
• “My mother loved a black man,” but “she was not a Kardashian.”
• A picture was shown of Obama and the first lady when he took office. The impersonator then showed a picture of what the Obamas will look like when the president leaves office, and it was the characters of Fred Sanford and his sister-in-law, Ethel, from the show “Sanford and Son.”
• Of Tim Pawlenty’s decision not to criticize Mitt Romney at Monday’s debate: “[CNN’s] John King served him up a ball softer than Barney Frank’s backside.” (Frank is a gay member of Congress from Massachusetts.)
….Eventually, Brown was ushered offstage by the man who introduced him. Conference organizers did not immediately respond to questions about why Brown was ushered offstage or whether his jokes were approved in advance.
Thanks to Lisa for this – from GOPolitico: “Brown didn’t just limit his jokes to Obama, though. He also mocked Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, ridiculed Newt Gingrich’s faltering campaign and suggested Tim Pawlenty needed a spinal transplant.
As Brown was preparing to make a Michele Bachmann joke, one of the conference’s officials came out to the lectern and told the comedian to leave the stage.”
So they were okay with the racist, homophobic stuff, they drew the line at him making jokes about Bachmann?
Our very own GGail contacted Reggie Brown’s agent (email@example.com) – this is the reply she got:
“We’ve done the same speech in Harlem for a black advocacy group that we support and they laughed. It’s called comedy and I’m sorry that you don’t understand. The press is spinning this out of control and we would appreciate support from the public rather than falling into a media trap. Reggie is being used by the media both on the right and the left so that they can score political points at his expense. Our show was nothing more than political comedy that goofed on both sides; it wad no worse than what President Obama did at his own White House Correspondence Dinner.