President Barack Obama speaks about raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. The wage increase to $10.10 an hour goes into effect next year, and applies to new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts
Two key questions loom over 2014: How will Dems fend off attacks over the health law that will only intensify, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars? And how much damage will be done by the early ad blitz hitting Dems right now, bankrolled by Americans for Prosperity, the group backed by the Koch brothers?
This new Obamacare ad begins to answer those questions. The Dem-aligned Patriot Majority USA is airing it in North Carolina on behalf of Senator Kay Hagan – one of the top targets of the AFP — and it hits her opponent, North Carolina Rep. Thom Tillis, over the consequences of repeal:
Exactly three weeks ago today, House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) made a straightforward declaration: “A ‘clean’ debt limit increase simply won’t pass in the House.”
So much for that idea. Late yesterday, the House did, in fact, raise the debt limit through March 2015. After several weeks in which Republican lawmakers said they would block an increase unless Democrats paid some kind of ransom, the GOP-led chamber threw in the towel, allowed the increase to pass with mainly Democratic support, and quickly left town for two weeks.
There’s no shortage of interesting angles to this entirely predictable fiasco….
USA Today: Obama to unveil project to help minority men
President Obama will unveil a new project Thursday designed to help young African-American and Hispanic men find jobs and get a good start in life.
The “My Brother’s Keeper” program involves partnerships with foundations and businesses to help “make sure that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential,” the White House says.
Michael Sam’s announcement that he is gay is a watershed moment. He won’t be the first gay player in professional football, for sure, but he’ll be the first one to declare so openly. And the best part? The reaction has been mostly positive, even in places you might expect to be full of negativity.
Among the first to announce their support publicly were officials at the NFL league offices and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, who just happens to be the reigning Super Bowl MVP. “There is no room for bigotry in American sports,” Smith tweeted. “It takes courage to change the culture.”
Yes, some players groused and a bunch of anonymous NFL insiders gave Sports Illustrated quotes warning that Sam would struggle and disrupt locker-room chemistry. But the anonymity of those comments were quite a tell — once upon a time, not so long ago, an NFL scout or general manager wouldn’t think twice about suggesting a gay player had no place in professional sports.
Washington Post: Michelle Obama lifts up U.S. designers, elegantly around her shoulders
First lady Michelle Obama eschewed Chanel, bypassed Dior and said no to the allure of Balenciaga. Instead, as she stood alongside her tuxedo-clad husband to greet French President François Hollande, she celebrated American style at Tuesday night’s state dinner in honor of fashion’s heartland.
She selected a ballgown by the New York-based designer Carolina Herrera. The bodice of the dress, which was sewn by hand in Herrera’s New York atelier, was crafted of black lace — beaded, embroidered and appliqued. It formed a delicate scrim over a corset in a pale, dusty blue that the designer described as “liberty blue.” The elegant skirt, with its inverted pleats, flowed into a modest train.