President Barack Obama stands with Helen Loring Ensign, 85, from Palm Desert, Calif., after awarding the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing for conspicuous gallantry during a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at a ceremony to present the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing for conspicuous gallantry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. First Lieutenant Cushing received the Medal of Honor for his actions during combat operations in the vicinity of Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863
President Barack Obama stands with Helen Loring Ensign, 85, from Palm Desert, Calif., after awarding the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing for conspicuous gallantry during a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. With them, from left to right, are Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., Army Secretary John McHugh and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald.
U.S. Army First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing is pictured in a military academy graduation photograph dated 1861, obtained on October 28, 2014. President Barack Obama posthumously awarded the Civil War artillery officer the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. award for bravery, 151 years after Cushing was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg.
President Barack Obama stands with Helen Loring Ensign, as the citation for her relative, U.S. Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing is read
Margaret Zerwekh of Delafield, Wis. raises her hand as she is acknowledged by President Barack Obama during a ceremony awarding the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing for conspicuous gallantry. President Obama acknowledged the work of Zerwekh, a 94-year-old amateur historian from Cushing’s hometown who painstakingly researched his story and lobbied Wisconsin’s congressional delegation for decades
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a special daytime workshop for high school students from military communities in the greater Washington area
Willie Nelson, right, and fellow panelist, songwriter Ted Peterson, left, hip hop recording artist Common, second from right, listen as Army Sgt. Christiana Ball responds to a question
Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled. (7.0 ET: The President and Hillary Clinton’s 60 Minutes interview)
Monday: The President will welcome the NBA Champions Miami Heat to the White House to honor the team and their 2012 victory
Tuesday: The President will travel to Las Vegas where he will deliver remarks. He will return to Washington, DC in the evening
Wednesday and Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House
Friday: The President will award 12 eminent researchers the National Medal of Science and eleven extraordinary inventors the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at the White House, the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors
NYT: A brand new conservative group calling itself Americans for a Strong Defense and financed by anonymous donors is running advertisements urging Democratic senators in five states to vote against Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee to be secretary of defense, saying he would make the United States “a weaker country.”
Another freshly minted and anonymously backed organization, Use Your Mandate, which presents itself as a liberal gay rights group but purchases its television time through a prominent Republican firm, is attacking Mr. Hagel as “anti-Gay,” “anti-woman” and “anti-Israel” in ads and mailers…..
AP: Thousands of people, many holding signs with names of gun violence victims and messages such as “Ban Assault Weapons Now,” joined a rally for gun control on Saturday, marching from the Capitol to the Washington Monument.
Leading the crowd were marchers with “We Are Sandy Hook” signs, paying tribute to victims of the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and other city officials marched alongside them. The crowd stretched for at least two blocks along Constitution Avenue.
Participants held signs reading “Gun Control Now,” “Stop NRA” and “What Would Jesus Pack?” among other messages. Other signs were simple and white, with the names of victims of gun violence.
About 100 residents from Newtown, where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six teachers, traveled to Washington together….
President Barack Obama’s statement on Sen. Tom Harkin’s announcement that he would not seek re-election:
“By the time Senator Harkin finishes his fifth term, he will have represented the people of Iowa in the United States Congress for an incredible 40 years. He has served in the U.S. Senate longer than any Democrat in Iowa’s history. During his tenure, he has fought passionately to improve quality of life for Americans with disabilities and their families, to reform our education system and ensure that every American has access to affordable health care. Senator Harkin will be missed, and Michelle and I join Iowans in thanking him for his long-standing service and wish him and his wife, Ruth, all the best in the future.”
Michael Tomasky: The GOP Plan to Steal Elections. Republicans are proposing a radical rule change in swing states – one that would have handed Romney the election. Michael Tomasky on this jaw-dropping outrage.
….. We could toss all this information onto the ever-growing “Oh, those crazy Republicans” slag heap, have a laugh, and let it go. But this is concerted and serious. Rules, laws, customs, and norms that we have all abided by for centuries (the Electoral College and the primacy of federal law) or decades (recess appointments) have simply been producing too many outcomes conservatives don’t like. Most people, and movements, would try to change themselves so that they could maybe win under the long-agreed-upon rules. But conservatives have a cleverer way. Just make new rules. You better believe things can get worse.
NYT: For most of President Obama’s first term, Republicans used legislative trickery to try to prevent the functioning of two federal agencies they hate, the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. First they would filibuster the president’s nominees ….. Then they would create fake legislative sessions for the Senate during its recess, intended solely to prevent Mr. Obama from making recess appointments as an end run.
Astonishingly, a federal appeals court upheld this strategy on Friday …. The court even broke with the presidential practice of 150 years by ruling that only vacancies arising during a narrow recess period qualify for recess appointments.
…. The situation demonstrates how dysfunctional Washington has become because of these Republican abuses….With no sign that Republicans are willing to let up on their machinations, Mr. Obama was entirely justified in using his executive power to keep federal agencies operating.
ThinkProgress: Conservatives are outraged over Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to lift the ban on women in combat … CNN’s Soledad O’Brien caught one such critic [Professor Kingsley Browne] off guard …..
O’BRIEN: I’m going to read a little bit from this colonel who said this: ‘The army is not a sociological laboratory; to be effective it must be organized and trained according to the principles which will ensure success…Experiments are a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.’
BROWNE: I think that that’s true….
O’BRIEN: That was from a guy in 1941. And that argument was about not allowing black people in the military….
President Obama will on Friday, February 1, bestow the National Medal of Science upon 12 researchers and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation upon eleven inventors, in a ceremony at the White House. The awards are the nation’s highest in science and technology. See the list of award winners here
A clean-up crew wave to President Obama at the end of the parade (Stephen Crowley, New York Times)
You’ll note Crowley – a professional – failed, unlike some Inauguration photographers I could mention, to capture any actual horse manure in his image. Just saying: