President Barack Obama holds Arianna Holmes, 3, before taking a departure photo with members of her family in the Oval Office, Feb. 1, 2012. Arianna’s mother, Angela Holmes, is a departing Special Assistant in the International Economic Affairs office of the National Security Staff. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Obama holds up a book that he was given by author and keynote speaker Eric Metaxas at the National Prayer Breakfast
Steve Benen: The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, though there have been setbacks. Last week, for example, was a step in the wrong direction. This week’s report, however, was a little more heartening:
U.S. jobless claims dropped by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000 in the week ended Jan. 28, the Labor Department said Thursday….
…. when these jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape. When the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly.
Washington Post (editorial): Higher education is both crucial to America’s economic competitiveness and hard for many students and their families to afford … As President Obama quite rightly insisted in his State of the Union address, institutions of higher learning must do more to hold down their costs if college education is to remain affordable for the next generation of young people. What’s more, he’s talking about using the federal government’s financial clout to encourage cost containment.
…. he is proposing long-overdue reforms to existing formulas for distributing hundreds of millions of dollars in campus-based aid, such as Perkins loans and work-study funds. Current policy skews in favor of better-off students at relatively pricier colleges. The president wants to shift dollars in favor of schools that restrain tuition and graduate more low-income students. Meanwhile, he would establish a $1 billion fund to encourage cost-saving innovations, complemented by $55 million for research, evaluation and dissemination of the best practices….
Needless to say, a lot depends on how the president and Congress would end up defining what constitutes a good value in higher education … what’s important is that the president has put the prestige and power of his office behind this effort.
Jonathan Cohn: Romney’s political strategy here seems clear to me: He’s trying to drive a wedge between the poor and the middle class, convincing the latter that they lose out to the former when Democrats are in charge. And the strategy may work. It’s certainly helped Republicans before. But the big beneficiary of Romney’s plan to reorder fiscal priorities is not the middle class. It’s the very wealthy, who would get substantial tax benefits and who will usually be fine with weakened public services.
MSNBC: ….. presidential hopeful Rick Santorum took a hard line on Wednesday against government getting involved in offsetting the cost of drug prices. Before exiting the stage, Santorum was prodded by members of the 300-person crowd to take one last question from a young boy standing in the front row. The child asked what the candidate would do to lower the cost of medicine. But the former Pennsylvania senator said it was the cost of drugs that allowed for the innovation that keeps Americans with life-threatening illnesses alive.
“People have no problem going out and buying an iPad for $900. But paying $200 for a drug they have a problem with – that keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned in thinking health care is something you should get and not have to pay for. Drug companies, health care companies need to have a profitability, because if they don’t, then how are we going to regulate costs?…..”
While some of in the audience applauded Santorum’s tough stance against government involvement in drug prices, others protested. The mother of the child yelled out that she was going bankrupt just to pay for her child to keep breathing.
Charles P. Pierce (Esquire) read a a swooning piece about Fox ‘News’ in Politico…. he didn’t like it very much:
“Stuff in Politico That Makes Me Want to Guzzle Antifreeze…. I say only that, in my own, personal, constitutionally protected opinion, this may very well be the worst bag of pulverized, unexpurgated, beat-sweetening chickenshit in the history of American political journalism. It makes Peggy Noonan read like Thuycidides….
Charles P. Pierce (Esquire): No matter what Willard Romney said on Tuesday night, a tough primary can really damage you. If these latest PPP numbers are in any way accurate, the rockfight between Romney and N. Leroy Gingrich, Definer of Civilization’s Rules and Leader (Perhaps) of the Civilizing Forces, has pushed Romney’s unfavorability ratings in Ohio northward toward 60 percent……
….. Eighty-four percent of the respondents are white and, even with that, Romney is six points down with a 57 percent disapproval rating. He better tack like hell, is all I’m saying.
Columbus, Ohio, Oct 17, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Why have I posted this 2010 photo? Hey, because I love it!
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July 22, 2010: “It’s always fun to observe how the President interacts with little kids, in this case the very shy daughter of Sen. Jack Reed who had brought his family by for an Oval Office visit.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Oct. 17, 2010: “Waiting backstage to be introduced, the President wrapped his arms around the First Lady before an outdoor rally in Columbus, Ohio.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Feb. 6, 2010: “Another snowstorm blanketed Washington for the second time in a few days. Because it was a Saturday, I hung around the White House thinking that the President might venture out in the snow with his daughters. Here they are playing in the Rose Garden in the midst of the storm.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
March 22, 2010: “The day after the health care bill passed, the President greeted Sen. Tom Harkin at the door of the Oval Office before a meeting with the Senate Democratic Leadership.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
July 17, 2010: “On a weekend trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, the President showed his daughters, Malia and Sasha, how to skip stones during a hike in the park.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
May 5, 2010: “After doing a series of posed photos, the President started joking around with the First Lady in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House before a Cinco de Mayo event.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Dec. 10, 2010: “The President had just met with former President Clinton late on a Friday afternoon. When they emerged from the Oval Office, the President said, “We’re going to the press briefing room.” I had walked ahead of them and, upon reaching the briefing room, found that the door was locked: the press office staff were all attending a White House Christmas party in the residence. So we went to find Robert Gibbs. “We’re looking for some reporters,” the President said, when we found Robert Gibbs in his office. Returning to the briefing room, the two Presidents waited until someone found a key, before doing an impromptu news conference.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Oct. 31, 2010: “It was Halloween at the White House for military families and the First Lady began dancing with some of the their children.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Sept. 11, 2010: “We were at the Pentagon to mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. After the formal ceremony, the President stopped to shake hands with family members of victims attending the event. Here he is holding hands with a little girl.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Oct. 30, 2010: “The President has lunch with Sen. Bob Casey at the Famous 4th Street Deli in Philadelphia. I love the woman in the background on the phone, probably alerting her family about her lucky seat.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)