Archive for February, 2012

29
Feb
12

a promise kept

President Barack Obama speaks during a dinner honoring members of the Armed Forces who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn and their families at the White House

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey

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ABC

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29
Feb
12

today at gallup

29
Feb
12

toon time

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The Week

Cagle

Cartoon Politics

29
Feb
12

rise and shine

Bloomberg: The U.S. economy expanded more than forecast in the fourth quarter as companies rebuilt inventories in anticipation of growing demand. Gross domestic product climbed at a revised 3 percent annual rate, the most since the second quarter of 2010 …

Income gains in the second half of 2011 were stronger than previously reported as employment growth accelerated, which may set the stage for a pickup in consumer spending that accounts for about 70 percent of the economy…..

“The U.S. economy looks decent,” Drew Matus, senior U.S. economist at UBS Securities LLC, said before the report. “There are certainly risks out there, but it looks better than what people are giving it credit for. The combination of job growth and credit creation and better spending numbers all seem to be feeding off themselves.”

More here

Business Insider: New data out of the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows the U.S. economy expanded at a much faster pace than originally reported, jumping 20 basis points to 3.0 percent.

Economists polled by Bloomberg forecast no change from the first reading of 2.8 percent, and more than 35 percent predicted a further revision lower.

More here

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Reuters: The United States said on Wednesday that North Korea had agreed to implement a moratorium on nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and nuclear activities including enrichment at its Yongbyon nuclear complex and to allow U.N. nuclear watchdog inspectors in to ensure compliance.

The State Department said that the United States in return had agreed to finalize details of a proposed food aid package and to take other steps to improve bilateral ties.

“The United States still has profound concerns regarding North Korean behavior across a wide range of areas, but today’s announcement reflects important, if limited, progress in addressing some of these,” a State Department statement said.

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iVillage: …. First Lady Michelle Obama will announce today that the American Society of Travel Agents, the largest travel agency association in the world, is committed to hiring 3,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014, iVillage has learned exclusively.

“This commitment means that thousands of our heroes can build meaningful careers and provide for their families,” said Mrs. Obama. “And we’re especially excited that many of these jobs are tailor-made for our military spouses, who can keep their job as they move to new duty stations around the country and the world.”

The companies who have pledged to hire veterans and military spouses include Enterprise Holdings, Avis Budget, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Hertz Corporation, American Express Consumer Travel Network, and Orbitz Worldwide.

More here

Thanks Hopefruit

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Jonathan Cohn: Did Mitt Romney win the Michigan primary? Or did he merely survive it? That really depends on your perspective … Romney succeeded, but the exit polls suggested a familiar class divide. Romney won among voters who attended at least some college and those making more than $100,000 a year. But he lost among voters who attended no college and among those making less than $100,000 a year.

…. In a Republican primary, or at least this Republican primary, you can prevail by losing among all voters making less than $100,000. But it’s tougher in the general election … Romney has to win over at least some middle class votes to win in November. And he’s shown very little ability to do that.

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Steve Benen: …. It’s easy to forget, but as recently as three months ago, Romney led Rick Santorum in Michigan by 32 points…. What’s more, Romney outspent Santorum in Michigan – a state where Romney was born and where his father was governor – by nearly a two-to-one margin.

And Romney still only beat Santorum by three points. The sports cliche “a win is a win” is being bandied about, but so is the phrase “winning ugly.” Only Mitt Romney can win two major contests and reclaim the momentum in the race, and somehow look worse anyway.

More here

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Ezra Klein: … after outspending his opponent by 2-1, Mitt Romney managed to win his home state by four points. That’s a win. But it’s a win that makes Romney look weak, not strong.

…. If Romney won in a way that made him look weak, Santorum lost in a way that made him look strong. It’s not the sort of a result that leads an overperforming longshot to drop out of the race.

…. independent voters will continue to see a side of Romney they don’t much like. You can argue that Michigan produced three kinds of winners last night. Romney, who didn’t lose. Santorum, who almost won. And the Obama campaign, which gets to sit back and watch this primary go on for that much longer.

More here

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Harold Meyerson: The longer the Republican presidential contest drags on, the more uncomfortable Mitt Romney seems around blue-collar Americans, and the more antagonistic Rick Santorum seems toward America’s professionals, current and aspiring, and their ideals. This does not portend Republican success in November. Romney’s victories in Arizona and Michigan on Tuesday do not alter this dynamic.

Romney’s stabs at seeming a regular guy have provided the most painful moments of his campaign. How to come off as a car buff in Michigan? Mention your wife’s Cadillacs. How to be a good ol’ boy at Daytona? Say you’re friends with some of the race car owners. Not since Richard Nixon has a national political leader appeared so excruciatingly ill at ease with the simplest public encounters.

More here

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JeffersonObama

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The Week

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12:00: PBO and VP Biden meet for lunch with Congressional Leadership.

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Morning everyone 😉

28
Feb
12

we take care of our own

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President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the United Auto Workers Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Wednesday:

12:00: PBO and VP Biden meet for lunch with Congressional Leadership.

8:20: PBO and Michelle Obama host a dinner in honor of the Armed Forces and their families; VP Biden and Jill Biden also attend.

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Chat away 😉

28
Feb
12

afternoon all

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Greg Sargent: In a speech to the United Auto Workers just now, Obama defended his decision to bail out the auto industry, lacing into Mitt Romney with withering derision. But this speech was about more than the auto-bailout. It was Obama’s case for reelection.

This speech constituted Obama’s most ambitious effort yet to weave his defense of the auto rescue into the larger contrast he will try to draw between his vision and the “you’re on your own” ideology he will accuse Republicans of representing.

…. today’s speech was important: It revealed that the alternate reality Romney has been functioning in throughout the GOP primary is soon going to give way to another reality entirely, a general election reality — and Romney, presuming he will be the nominee, will soon collide with it.

More here

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TPM

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The American Prospect

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Michael Tomasky: Ideological rigidity and Obama hatred led Republicans to reject the auto bailout. Now they’re doubling down on their opposition – and surrendering Michigan in the general election.

Michiganders, take pride: your 2012 primary will go down in American political history as perhaps the single most eye-popping case ever of a party’s demands on its candidates during the primary fight reducing its chance of winning the state in November from something not far from half to near zero. This is especially true if Rick Santorum manages to pull the upset and go on to be the nominee; Barack Obama’s campaign wouldn’t have to spend one thin dime in Michigan and would still win by at least 15 points. But it’s true also if unfavorite son Mitt Romney manages to win. Horse-race polls that once showed a tough battle between the two now project an Obama blowout.

More here

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The People’s View

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Business Insider: U.S. consumer confidence in February surged to 70.8. Economists were expecting the measure to rise to just 63.0 from January’s reading of 61.1…..

More here

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Grist

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President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order entitled “Establishment of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center,” in the Oval Office, Feb. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

28
Feb
12

the united auto workers: “four more years”

Text of speech here

A person holds up four fingers for four more years as President Barack Obama speaks at the United Auto Workers conference in Washington, Feb. 28

… with UAW President Bob King

“I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time. You want to talk about values? Hard work: That’s a value. Looking out for one another: That’s a value. The idea that we’re all in it together and I’m my brother’s and sister’s keeper: That’s a value.”

28
Feb
12

rise and shine

11:30 AM: PBO delivers remarks at the United Auto Workers conference at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.

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AP: It’s looking like President Barack Obama may be back in the good graces of women. His support dropped among this critical constituency just before the new year began and the presidential campaign got under way in earnest. But his standing with female voters is strengthening, polls show, as the economy improves and social issues, including birth control, become a bigger part of the nation’s political discourse.

…. Among women, his approval ratings on handling the economy and unemployment have jumped by 10 percentage points since December…. An AP-GfK poll conducted Feb. 16-20 showed that on overall approval Obama has gained 10 percentage points among women since December, from 43 percent to 53 percent…

Women also are the reason behind Obama’s lead over Republican hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum: In one-on-one matchups, Obama beats Romney 54 percent to 41 percent and tops Santorum 56 percent to 40 percent among women, but virtually ties each Republican among men….

More here

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Richard Cohen (Washington Post): Mullah Rick has spoken.

He wants religion returned to “the public square,” is opposed to contraception, premarital sex and abortion under any circumstances, wants children educated in what amounts to little red schoolhouses and called President Obama a “snob” for extolling college or some other kind of post-high school education. This is not a political platform. It’s a fatwa.

More here

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Mediaite: Monday night, Stephen Colbert turned his gaze upon the impending Michigan primary, bringing up a some recent statements by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and digging a little deeper into their meanings.

Colbert began with Romney, who spoke last week at Ford Field in front of tens of thousands of empty seats. “Yeah, there were a lot of empty seats,” Colbert said, “but the important thing is Mitt really connected with those empty seats by also being plastic and uncomfortable.”

More here (see video at the link)

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USA Today: President Obama is creating a new agency to challenge what officials see as unfair trade practices, including those by China.

“The President believes that we can’t wait to crack down on unfair trade violations and ensure a level playing field for American workers,” says a White House statement.

Later this morning, the president will sign an executive order creating an Interagency Trade Enforcement Center.

More here

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Morning everyone 😉

27
Feb
12

evening all

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden talk outside the State Dining Room before addressing the National Governors Association annual meeting at the White House, Feb. 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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Tuesday: PBO will deliver remarks at the United Auto Workers conference in Washington, DC.

Wednesday: PBO and the First Lady will host a dinner at the White House to honor Armed Forces, who served in Iraq, and their families.

Thursday: PBO will travel to Nashua, New Hampshire, and deliver remarks on the economy. In the evening, the President will attend campaign events in New York City.

Friday: PBO will travel to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to visit with wounded service members.

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Toronto Star: When Mitt Romney regaled a Michigan audience this week with childhood memories of a landmark moment in Detroit history, it was a rare instance of emotional candour.

And, perhaps, an even rarer example of time travel.

Romney recalled he was “probably 4 or something like that” the day of the Golden Jubilee, when three-quarters of a million people gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile.

“My dad had a job being the grandmaster. They painted Woodward Ave. with gold paint,” Romney told a rapt Tea Party audience in the village of Milford Thursday night, reliving a moment of American industrial glory.

The Golden Jubilee described so vividly by Romney …. took place June 1, 1946 – fully nine months before Romney was born…..

More here

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Slate: …. In January, workers in the manufacturing sector worked an average of 41.9 hours per week. That same figure was reached for a few months during the winter of 1997-1998, but the last time it was actually higher than that was July of 1945 when America’s factories were working overtime to fight and win World War II….

We’re at the point, in other words, where just to sustain current levels of output American factories are going to need to start adding workers.

More here

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Change You Can Believe In:

Yahoo: Five months after the military’s ban on openly gay service expired, a photo of a young gay Marine’s homecoming kiss has gone viral. Nearly 15,000 people have liked the picture on Facebook, which was posted in a group for gay Marines on Saturday.

The Marine, Brandon Morgan, posted a response on his Facebook wall according to the JoeMyGod blog. “To everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you. Dalan, the giant in the photo, can’t believe how many shares and likes we have gotten on this. We didn’t do this to get famous,or something like that we did this cause after 3 deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt,” Morgan wrote.

More here

Thanks Bob and Lisa

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ThinkProgress: An article in The Hill today describing the results of a new poll inaccurately reports that voters want “a lower tax bill” for wealthy individuals and businesses. If anything, the poll shows the opposite.

In tax policy, it’s critical to distinguish between marginal tax rates and effective tax rates … The Hill article fails to sort out this very basic distinction, then proceeds to make a number of apples-to-oranges comparisons that paint a misleading picture of what wealthy people and corporations are paying in taxes now and what people want them to pay.

….. Having repeatedly confused marginal and effective rates, the article misinterprets the poll results to conclude that people want “a lower tax bill” for individuals and corporations….

….Here’s a better explanation: Voters understand what The Hill does not – that wealthy people and corporations actually pay taxes at much lower rates than the top marginal rates on the books. And when asked what they think the “most appropriate” rates should be, a majority of people cite rates that are higher than what the wealthy and corporations are actually paying now.

More here

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Washington Post (Editorial): At a time of record debts and deficits, the two leading Republican presidential candidates are proposing a path on taxes and spending likely to add trillions more. That’s the sobering conclusion of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), whose board includes six Republican former lawmakers with expertise in budget issues, three Republican former heads of the Congressional Budget Office, and two former Office of Management and Budget directors under Republican presidents.

Full article here

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NY Mag: Of the various expressions of right-wing hysteria that have flowered over the past three years –  goldbuggery, birtherism, death panels at home and imaginary apology tours by President Obama abroad – perhaps the strain that has taken deepest root within mainstream Republican circles is the terror that the achievements of the Obama administration may be irreversible, and that the time remaining to stop permanent nightfall is dwindling away.

… The GOP has reason to be scared. Obama’s election was the vindication of a prediction made several years before…. that demographic and political trends were converging in such a way as to form a ­natural-majority coalition for Democrats.

… if they lose their bid to unseat Obama, they will have mortgaged their future for nothing at all. And over the last several months, it has appeared increasingly likely that the party’s great all-or-nothing bet may land, ultimately, on nothing. In which case, the Republicans will have turned an unfavorable outlook into a truly bleak one in a fit of panic. The deepest effect of Obama’s election upon the Republicans’ psyche has been to make them truly fear, for the first time since before Ronald Reagan, that the future is against them.

Full article here

Thanks Loriah

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The Week

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Anti-Romney Robocall From “Democrats For Santorum”:

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Yikes, I can’t remember who posted this today – whoever you are, thank you!

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Nick Anderson

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Thanks Symmetry!!!

27
Feb
12

afternoon all

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie looks at his email while First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a meeting of the National Governors Association

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer snacks on an apple while Vice President Joe Biden addresses a meeting of the National Governors Association

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USA Today: Auto sales are growing so fast that Detroit can barely keep up.

Three years after the U.S. auto industry nearly collapsed, sales of cars and trucks are surging. Sales could exceed 14 million this year, above last year’s 12.8 million.

The result: Carmakers are adding shifts and hiring thousands of workers around the country. Carmakers and parts companies added more than 38,000 jobs last year, reaching a total of 717,000. And automakers have announced plans to add another 13,000 this year, mostly on night shifts.

…. the surge in hiring bolsters the argument of those who supported the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler in 2008…..

More here

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Don’t miss Liberal Librarian at The People’s View

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SmartyPants

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The Week




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