ThinkProgress: As of April, there are now more private sector jobs in the United States than there were in January 2009, when President Obama took office. You read that right. We have now replaced all of the private sector jobs lost while Obama has been president. And that was no mean feat, given that over the course of 2009, the private sector shed about 4.2 million jobs.
Unfortunately, the news is not nearly so good when it comes to the public sector, where there are currently 607,000 fewer people working than there were when President Obama took office.
The chart below tells the whole story. Under President Obama, the private sector has experienced a relatively robust recovery, and is now back to where it started when he took office. The public sector continues to shed jobs, and as a result, the overall jobs picture in the US remains weak. If you want to understand why conservative efforts to slash funding for teachers, firefighters, cops is bad for the economy, look no further than this graph.
Andrew Sullivan: How Obama’s Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics ….It’s not that I don’t understand the critiques of Barack Obama …. it’s that I don’t even recognize their description of Obama’s first term in any way. The attacks from both the right and the left on the man and his policies aren’t out of bounds. They’re simply – empirically – wrong.
….. there have been many times when I have disagreed with decisions Obama has made …. but given the enormity of what he inherited, and given what he explicitly promised, it remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb. Their short-term outbursts have missed Obama’s long game – and why his reelection remains, in my view, as essential for this country’s future as his original election in 2008.
…. If I sound biased, that’s because I am. Biased toward the actual record, not the spin; biased toward a president who has conducted himself with grace and calm under incredible pressure, who has had to manage crises not seen since the Second World War and the Depression, and who as yet has not had a single significant scandal to his name …. What I see is a president whose character, record, and promise remain as grotesquely underappreciated now as they were absurdly hyped in 2008. And I feel confident that sooner rather than later, the American people will come to see his first term from the same calm, sane perspective. And decide to finish what they started.
Bob Cesca: Andrew Sullivan wrote a spectacular cover-story for Newsweek about the president’s achievements ….. he underscores something I’ve been trying to outline here for some time now. President Obama’s strategic planning and, specifically, the roll-out of his agenda, is a long term process that requires us to not miss “the screen for the pixels.”
…. Of course Sullivan continues to repeat the myth that the NDAA authorizes indefinite detention of U.S. citizens when, in fact, it simply does not ban it. There’s a difference, and if we want an explicit ban on indefinite detention of citizens, as I do, contact your member of Congress or make a rational case for such a ban to the White House. I assure you, a liberal president will listen to a reasonable argument from liberals (on the other hand, a paleoconservative who’s locked into a fictitious ideology, like Ron Paul, will not). The president has done so before, and he will act. Steve Benen, for example, wrote a measured and rational memorandum to the White House during the healthcare reform debate and some of Benen’s strategic advice was adopted by the administration….
Steve Benen: ….. “It’s safe to say Speaker John Boehner does not agree with President Obama’s suggestion on Tuesday that Americans are better off now than they were when he took office. “Are you kidding me?!” Boehner said loudly in response to a reporter’s question on the comment.”
…. Obviously, national conditions aren’t close to where they need to be. …. Maybe, if guys like Boehner would start passing jobs bills and stop holding the economy back on purpose, the public would start to feel like the country is on the right track again.
But for those who take reality seriously, there’s no real question as to whether the country is better off now than in January 2009:
Then the nation was hemorrhaging jobs; now it’s gaining jobs.
Then the economy was shrinking; now the economy is growing.
Then the American automotive industry was on the verge of collapse; now it’s starting to thrive.
Then taxpayers were sending money to Wall Street; now taxpayers are being paid back.
Then Osama bin Laden was targeting Americans and our allies; now he’s dead and al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated.
Then U.S. troops were headed into the Middle East in greater numbers; now they’re headed home with their heads held high.
Republicans, including John Boehner, drove the United States into a pretty deep ditch during the Bush/Cheney era, and conditions are still pretty ugly. That doesn’t change the simple fact that the nation is much stronger now than the day the president was inaugurated ….
AP: A third former employee considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she deemed aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.
The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.
Washington Post: Car buyers were out in force in October, snapping up trucks and SUVs and taking advantage of deals on Japanese cars.
U.S. car and truck sales were expected to top 1 million in October, a surprising number for a month when sales are usually slow. When adjusted for seasonal factors, that would be the best pace since the Cash for Clunkers program in August 2009.
Mediaite: In a Quinnipiac poll taken Oct. 25-31, embattled GOP juggernaut Herman Cain continued to show amazing staying power …. (but) The real news from this poll, taken before most of the fallout from Politico‘s alleged sexual harassment expose, might be that some rays of sunshine are finally hitting President Obama.
….. President Obama gained six points on his approval rating … and is now beating all Republican challengers by margins of 5-16 points. The President has seen steady progress in the polls since rolling out his American Jobs Act in September, taking it on the road, and taking the fight to the Republicans who oppose it.
Elsewhere in the poll, Democrats opened up a lead on the generic House ballot, beating Republicans 42-36, after tying them at 39 in October.
AP: Michelle Obama has presented national arts and humanities awards to 12 community-based, after-school programs, including for at-risk kids.
The programs use dance, theater, writing, music, history and other art mediums to inspire teen moms and other young people and help them reach their potential. The first lady said at a White House ceremony Wednesday that the programs show that the arts are a lifeline – not a luxury – for many of these kids.
Most of the participants graduate from high school or earn a GED and go on to college.
The 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are presented on behalf of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies.
Think Progress: Today, Bradblog’s Brad Friedman reports for Mother Jones about a secret meeting that the right-wing oil billionaire Koch brothers held at a Colorado resort in June with hundreds of wealthy donors who plotted to finance right-wing causes and elect conservative politicians.
Friedman reports that audio he obtained from the conference reveals that Charles Koch alarmingly referred to President Obama as “Saddam Hussein,” saying that the right had to fight the “mother of all wars”. He rallied his guests to donate millions of dollars to help defeat Obama and boost other right-wing causes….
…… Koch read off a list of 32 donors who gave a million dollars or more to his efforts to build up far-right infrastructure…
ThinkProgress: At the main square in Benghazi, people have been gathering to celebrate the end of the rule of Muammar Qaddafi. As euphoric Libyan rebels advanced into Tripoli on Sunday, there were scenes of jubilation in the rebels’ de facto capital, Benghazi, where thousands celebrated in the streets.
One large sign in the middle of the square in Benghazi features a picture of the “Fantastic 4” (from right to left): Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and U.S. Ambassador the U.N. Susan Rice. The text on the sign reads: “God Bless You All. Thanks For All.”
Men take part in Friday prayers behind a banner honoring U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, British Prime Minister David Cameron, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and U.S. President Barack Obama, at the main square of the rebel-held town of Benghazi, Libya, Friday, Aug. 12
Lexington (The Economist): I am on holiday for three weeks in a faraway corner of Cornwall, but the momentous news from Libya has reached even here. Barack Obama received a lot of stick for his cautious approach to the uprising in Libya. Liberals traumatised by Iraq could not believe he had started another war. Republicans mocked him for “leading from behind”. But with the collapse of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime now in prospect, his critics ought to eat at least some of their words.
Like many others, I had strong misgivings, but the president remained supremely calm throughout and the speech he made in March looks pretty good in light of what has now happened. The intervention could not have taken place without America’s technological help; it was conducted mainly by allies; it had the blessing of the UN Security Council and the Arab League; and for those reasons it has generated almost no blowback from the Arab world. In short, a job well done – though I don’t expect his Republican critics to be willing to admit this.