First lady Michelle Obama greets RyAnne Noss at the Labor Department, Jan. 30, where she announced proposed rules to help caregivers of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans, giving them the ability to provide care for their loved ones need without fear of losing their jobs. RyAnne Noss left school to take care of her husband SFC Scot Noss, who was injured in Afghanistan in Feb. 2007 during his eighth tour of duty as an Army Ranger. Mrs. Obama was joined by Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
The first family walk together to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, Jan. 29
The Obamas were visiting the gallery to view the ’30 Americans’ exhibition – they also toured an exhibit on Civil War photography and contemporary art.
30 Americans is a wide-ranging survey of work by many of the most important African American artists of the last three decades. Selected from the Rubell Family Collection, the exhibition brings together seminal figures such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Hammons with younger and emerging artists such as Kehinde Wiley and Shinique Smith. Often provocative and challenging, 30 Americans focuses on issues of racial, sexual, and historical identity in contemporary culture. It explores how each artist reckons with the notion of black identity in America, navigating such concerns as the struggle for civil rights, popular culture, and media imagery. At the same time, it highlights artistic legacy and influence, tracing subject matter and formal strategies across generations.
You’ve heard it from the pundits: “Obama is cloistered in the White House.” “He’s aloof.” “He’s in the bubble.” “He’s not connecting.” And that’s why one of my big goals this year was to get out and be among everyday, ordinary Americans – like the men and women of the Alfalfa Club.
And Speaker (John) Boehner, it is good to see you at the head table. I know how badly Eric Cantor wanted your seat. But, John, I want you to know: I am eager to work with members of Congress to be entertaining tonight. But if Congress is unwilling to cooperate, I will be funny without them.
I’d like to acknowledge a very good friend of mine – Warren Buffet’s secretary’s boss is in the house.
AP: President Barack Obama will address the 99th annual Alfalfa Club dinner in Washington Saturday evening (7:15). First lady Michelle Obama will join the president at the prestigious event being held at the Capital Hilton.
The dinner is closed to the media.
President Barack Obama plays with his dog Bo after returning to the White House from a Democratic fundraiser, January 27
USA Today: Republicans were quick to rebuke the Obama administration after a third clean-energy company to receive taxpayer dollars, Ener1, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this week.
But absent from their critique of Ener1 — which was awarded a $118.5 million grant from the Department of Energy in 2009 to expand an Indianapolis manufacturing plant — has been any mention that the electric battery manufacturer was also championed by one of the GOP’s rising stars, Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic): All parties agree that Ron Paul is not, personally, racist and that he didn’t write the (newsletters) passages …. As I’ve said before, we all must make our calculus in supporting a candidate or even claiming he is “good” for the debate. But it must be an honest calculus.
If you believe that a character who would conspire to profit off of white supremacy, anti-gay bigotry, and anti-Semitism is the best vehicle for convincing the country to end the drug war, to end our romance with interventionism, to encourage serious scrutiny of state violence, at every level, then you should be honest enough to defend that proposition.
What you should not do is claim that Ron Paul “legislated” for Martin Luther King Day, or claim to have intricate knowledge of Ron Paul’s heart, and thus by the harsh accumulation of evidence, be made to look ridiculous.
TPM: Out of the three officials who met President Obama on an airport tarmac near Phoenix earlier this week, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is now the only one who has characterized the president as anything other than cordial.
In numerous TV and radio interviews since the meeting, Brewer has said the president was “tense to say the least” and took issue with a book she wrote last year. She said Obama walked away from her while she was in mid-sentence and even told one Phoenix television station she felt “a little bit threatened” by the encounter.
But Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who was standing just feet away from the president and the governor on Wednesday during their now-infamous encounter, told TPM that Obama seemed calm the whole time.
“He wasn’t tense at all,” Stanton said on Friday. “The guy’s a pro.”