Saturday and Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled
Monday: Attends meetings at the White House
Tuesday: Addresses the nation from the White House
Wednesday: The President, the Vice President, the First Lady, Dr Jill Biden and White House staff will gather on the South Lawn of the White House to observe a moment of silence to mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The President will then travel to the Pentagon Memorial to attend the September 11th Observance Ceremony
Thursday: The President will hold a Cabinet Meeting. The Vice President will attend
Friday: Welcomes to the White House the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Shaykh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah
…. If congressional Republicans ignore President Obama, it’s evidence of Obama failing. If congressional Republicans ignore their own party’s leaders, it’s still evidence of Obama failing.
If the president bypasses Congress to pursue his national security strategy, he’s dictatorial. If he seeks congressional authorization for his national security strategy, he’s weak and undermining the stature of his office.
If lawmakers reject a resolution authorizing force in Syria, Obama will struggle to get anything through Congress for the rest of his term. If lawmakers approve a resolution authorizing force in Syria, Obama will struggle to get anything through Congress for the rest of his term.
If the president uses the military to intervene in Syria, Obama will have undermined the credibility of the United States on the global stage. If the president honors a congressional vote against using the military to intervene in Syria, Obama will have undermined the credibility of the United States on the global stage.
I’m starting to think this game is rigged in a heads-I-win; tails-you-lose sort of way…..
It passed the Senate by a 58-41 vote, and failed in the House in a 213-213 tie. 93% of Democrats in the Senate voted for it, as did 86% of House Democrats – that made for 42 Democratic senators and 180 Democratic House members. It was the Congressional resolution to allow the United States to intervene militarily, unilaterally if needed, to end a humanitarian catastrophe – under a Democratic president. It was the humanitarian catastrophe of death and displacements in Kosovo. President Clinton lead an airstrike despite the failure of the vote in Congress, under the NATO umbrella.
Kosovo’s civil war was a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions, but in the perspective of Syria, it is in danger of looking miniscule….
Yet, Congressional Democrats remain largely skeptical of an intervention in Syria while roughly 90% of Democrats in Congress in 1999 voted to allow Bill Clinton to intervene in Kosovo. I am left wondering why this is….
Smartypants: Rep. Keith Ellison asks us to listen to Syrian Americans
While an awful lot of liberals are jumping in front of TV cameras to announce their collaboration with tea party libertarians to oppose military intervention in Syria, one of the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (and one of only two members of the House who are Muslim) seems to be struggling a bit more deeply with the issues involved.
PEACE community, consider thoughtful words of Syrian Americans as you think about Congress’ vote next week. http://t.co/yduqX4kIt0
It was hard to imagine Alan Grayson could sink any lower this week – see ‘Alan Grayson Conspires with Far Right Lunatics to Lie and Fundraise off of Syria’ at The People’s View and ‘Rep Alan Grayson Cackles That Syrian Atrocities ‘Simply Not Our Problem’ at Mediaite) – but then there was this:
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) announced just days ago that he would support President Obama’s call for military intervention in Syria. “We have to keep our word; this is about our credibility,” the New York Republican said last weekend. “We can’t permit a precedent where there is a use of chemical weapons and there is no response.”
Four days later, Grimm changed his mind, and announced yesterday he opposes the policy he’d previously endorsed.
I’ll leave it to others to speculate as to why, exactly, the congressman reversed course so quickly and completely …. The fundraising appeal, sent within a few hours of Grimm’s newly announced position, asks donors, “Will you stand with me in opposing President Obama’s plan with a donation of $25 or more right now?” It adds, “Stand with me today with a donation of $25 or more to strongly oppose military action in Syria.”
The whole concept of reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction was seriously discredited when Bush/Cheney used it as an excuse to lie us into an unnecessary war. Its clear by now that some people simply cannot have a rational conversation about the topic as a result.
But since President Obama has been trying to convince the US and the world to live up to their commitments about responding to the use of chemical weapons, I’ve been thinking about how that position is linked to a rather bold promise he made back when he was running for president in 2008….
The PCTC Blog: Pacifists and Liberals ; When Do We Actually Stand Up For Those We Allegedly Care About?
Being a pacifist isn’t easy. Not easy at all.
A lot of self-described pacifists think it is easy. Essentially, the equation for many is, if it maims or kills, you don’t do it. Period. That’s easy, isn’t it?
There’s just one problem. It’s not pacifism.
Like everything else in life, being pro-peace is complicated. It’s a constant calculation, based on the circumstances in each situation. It’s not a blanket belief that no one should ever do anything violent, but a calculation of which actions will bring us closer to peace, and save the most innocent lives? Unfortunately, sometimes, the necessary action may be a violent one. Sometimes, in the grand peace calculation, there is little choice but to act violently. It’s a sad but true fact of life….
Lots of reporting on the new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of what we know so far about premiums under Obamacare. It definitely looks as if there will be a mild “rate shock” — in the right direction….
What’s going on here? Partly it’s a vindication of the idea that you can make health insurance broadly affordable if you ban discrimination based on preexiting conditions while inducing healthy individuals to enter the risk pool through a combination of penalties and subsidies. But there’s an additional factor, that even supporters of the Affordable Care Act mostly missed: the extent to which, for the first time, the Act is creating a truly functioning market in nongroup insurance.
…. In an alternative universe, conservatives would be celebrating this good … But in this universe, conservatives claim that creating a real market for health insurance, and making sure that everyone can afford it, is the moral equivalent of slavery.
The House of Representatives has voted 40 times to repeal Obamacare. To mark the occasion, here’s a quick rundown of 40 ways that Obamacare is already working for millions of Americans and will impact more beginning in 2014.
1. Say goodbye to lifetime limits: Insurance companies will no longer be able to place an arbitrary cap on coverage.
2. Children can no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
3. Starting in 2014, adults will no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
ThinkProgress: North Carolina Hospital Will Shut Down In Six Months Because The State Won’t Expand Medicaid
On Wednesday, residents of Belhaven, North Carolina got a taste of how stubborn GOP opposition to the Affordable Care Act can affect them personally when executives at Vidant Health System unanimously voted to shut down the local Vidant Pungo Hospital within six months. Vidant officials said the move was necessary as a consequence of North Carolina’s refusal to participate in Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion.
Belhaven is a small town of 1,688 where more than 55 percent of the population is African-American and approximately 28 percent of residents live in poverty….
….. Obamacare reduced reimbursements to these so-called “disproportionate share hospitals” — one of which is Vidant Pungo — since the law originally intended all states to expand Medicaid for every American living up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. If things had unfolded that way, these hospitals wouldn’t need the additional government payments since their patients would finally be able to pay for their own care through Medicaid.
ThinkProgress: Washington State Is Getting Flooded With Hundreds Of Phone Calls About Signing Up For Obamacare
Obamacare’s state-level insurance marketplaces open for enrollment on October 1, and state officials are trying to get out the word about the new health care options that will be available soon. But many uninsured Americans still aren’t aware that they’ll be able to qualify for assistance to buy new plans under Obamacare, and lots of people in general remain confused about what the health law means for them. Health reform skeptics aren’t convinced that the marketplaces’ roll-out will be smooth enough to successfully reach all of those people.
If Washington State is any indication, however, some of those fears may be overblown. Washington hopes to target about one million uninsured residents with information about signing up for Obamacare. And it’s off to a relatively good start, as state officials there say that hundreds of people have contacted them this week asking for more details about the new Obamacare plans.
I’ve only read one article so far today – which kinda explains all the pics and videos 😕 – this one by Charles Blow. Book added to must-buy list:
Charles Blow: Most of what you think you know about Rosa Parks may well be wrong.
On the verge of the 100th anniversary of her birth this Monday comes a fascinating new book, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” by Jeanne Theoharis, a Brooklyn College professor. It argues that the romanticized, children’s-book story of a meek seamstress with aching feet who just happened into history in a moment of uncalculated resistance is pure mythology.
As Theoharis points out, “Rosa’s family sought to teach her a controlled anger, a survival strategy that balanced compliance with militancy.”
Parks was mostly raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather, a follower of Marcus Garvey, often sat vigil on the porch with a rifle in case the Klan came. She sometimes sat with him because, as the book says she put it, “I wanted to see him kill a Ku Kluxer.”
When she was a child, a young white man taunted her. In turn, she threatened him with a brick. Her grandmother reprimanded her as “too high-strung,” warning that Rosa would be lynched before the age of 20. Rosa responded, “I would be lynched rather than be run over by them.”
From yesterday’s Washington Post, the First Lady looking fabulous (thank you Lisa!):
Washington Post: Michelle Obama grooving to the songs of Musiq Soulchild at the Howard Theatre Thursday night. The first lady, with a group including Valerie Jarrett who were said to be celebrating a friend’s birthday, arrived around 8 p.m., stayed through the duration of the concert, and greeted the R&B singer backstage.
Thank you Alycee
Four years ago today:
President Barack Obama visits with his daughters Malia and Sasha and kisses his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, in a private study off the Oval Office, Feb. 2, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Three years ago today:
President Barack Obama walks to the Oval Office after returning to the White House following a trip to Nashua, N.H., Feb. 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Two years ago today:
Vice President Joe Biden talks with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., after President Barack Obama signed the New START Treaty in the Oval Office, Feb. 2, 2011. Behind them, the President talks with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
One year ago today, Pete Souza’s rival:
Vice President Joe Biden snaps a photo of President Barack Obama and keynote speaker Eric Metaxas during the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., Feb. 2, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This is the kind of photo I usually take, you know – slightly important elements missing, like heads. But I’m guessing the photographer at yesterday’s National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation awards was just impressed with the tie. And hands.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with law enforcement officials to discuss policies the President put forward last month that would reduce gun violence in communities across America, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 28 (Photo by Pete Souza)
9:20: President Obama departs the White House
2:25: Arrives Las Vegas
2:55: Delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School
5:00: Departs Las Vegas
9:20: Arrives at the White House
Washington Post: The Obama administration has developed its own proposals for immigration reform that are more liberal than a separate bipartisan effort in the Senate, including a quicker path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, people with knowledge of the proposals said.
President Obama is expected to provide some details of the White House plans during a Tuesday appearance in Las Vegas, where he will call for broad changes to the nation’s immigration laws. The speech will kick off a public push by the administration in support of the broadest overhaul of immigration law in nearly three decades.
Atlantic Wire: The gay community seemed to gasp in unison on Monday afternoon when the Senate revealed a much anticipated immigration plan that did not, in the end, include same-sex couples. But according to multiple reports Monday night, this is just the beginning: President Obama will include same-sex couples in the proposals of a major policy speech on immigration in Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon that will seek to build on “momentum” from Congress for broad reform.
Steve Benen: After a bipartisan group of eight senators unveiled their proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, most proponents of improving the status quo, including President Obama and his team, were delighted. All eyes, however, quickly turned to House Republicans, who’ve long opposed reform and are in a position to kill it in this Congress.
Liberal Librarian: So, the news of the day is that a bipartisan group of senators have a plan for comprehensive immigration reform. That’s all to the well and good. This country needs a sensible immigration policy that allows for the legalization of those undocumented immigrants already in the country, and for a rational method for immigrants to come in legally.
Now, don’t be mistaken: this Damascene conversion on the part of a few Republican senators is due more to the stranglehold that the Democratic Party has on immigrant voters, rather than to any true change of heart that maybe it would be a good idea to decriminalize 11 million US residents.
Washington Post: The nation’s housing market is surging again after years of historic declines, and the unique forces powering its return could last well into 2013.
The number of homes for sale is at its lowest level since before the recession, sparking competition among buyers that has led to 10 straight months of price increases. The volume of activity is the highest since 2007.
Builders broke ground in December on the most new housing developments in four years. And interest rates on mortgages are expected to remain near all-time lows through much of the year, galvanizing once-skeptical buyers.
President Obama hugs Donna Vanzant, the owner of North Point Marina, as he tours damage from Hurricane Sandy in Brigantine, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Steve Benen: It’s taken far longer than it should have, but federal aid for areas affected by Hurricane Sandy is finally on the way.
…. it’s worth pausing to note the partisan split on Sandy relief – in the Senate, 36 Senate Republicans, including members representing coastal states like Florida, Texas, Alabama, and the Carolinas, voted against the federal aid. Or put another way, 80% of Senate Republicans opposed post-Sandy relief …. 78% of House Republicans voted against the emergency assistance.
….. it is now effectively the standard position of congressional Republicans to reject disaster relief unless the funding is offset by other spending cuts. So long, compassionate conservatism, we hardly knew you.
TPM: The Senate is fast-tracking its reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to a floor vote expected by next week, two Democratic aides tell TPM.
But House Republican leaders remain silent on how they intend to proceed, which suggests that there has not been a breakthrough since last year, when the bill fell prey to the House GOP’s resistance to expand coverage to gays, illegal immigrants and Native Americans who have suffered domestic abuse.
Business Week: Last week campaign disclosure reports revealed that Hillary Clinton had finally retired the debt from her 2008 presidential campaign—with a little help from the guy who beat her, Barack Obama. Clinton’s debt once totaled more than $20 million, although it had dwindled to about $250,000 by last year. That’s when a team of top Obama donors decided to surprise Clinton, and thank her for her loyal service, by raising enough money to pay off her bills. As secretary of state, she was forbidden from political fundraising.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican member of the Cabinet, feigns being a blocking back for President Barack Obama as he arrives backstage to meet with GOP House leaders before speaking to their issues conference at the Renaissance Baltimore Harbor Place Hotel in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 29, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
AP: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the only Republican still left in President Barack Obama’s first-term Cabinet, says he plans to leave the Obama administration.
…. LaHood says he will not run for public office in his home state of Illinois, saying he believes “you should go out while they’re applauding.”
President Obama watches the Vice Presidential debate aboard Air Force One with staff, en route home from Florida, Oct. 11 (Pete Souza)
The full debate:
Vice President Biden: “You probably detected my frustration with their attitude about the American people. My friend [Paul Ryan] says that 30% of the American people are takers, Romney [says] 47% of the people won’t take responsibility. He’s talking about my mother and father. He’s talking about the places I grew up in, my neighbors in Scranton, he’s talking about the people who built this country.
“All they’re looking for … is an even shot. Whenever you give them the shot, they’ve done it. They’ve done it. Whenever you’ve leveled the playing field, they’ve been able to move. They want a little bit of a peace of mind, and the President and I are not going to rest until that playing field is leveled, they in fact have a clear shot, and they have peace of mind—until they can turn to their kid and say with a degree of confidence, ‘Honey, it’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay.’ That’s what this is all about.”
Charles Pierce: For the second time in as many presidential elections, Joseph Biden got to debate a young, attractive Republican candidate who was demonstrably less qualified to to be president than I am to be chairman of the World Bank…
There is a deeply held Beltway myth of Paul Ryan, Man of Big Ideas, and it dies hard. But, if there is a just god in the universe, on Thursday night, it died a bloody death….
…. the battering that Biden gave Ryan brought something into sharp relief …. for his entire political career up to that point, on critical economic issues, Paul Ryan was an extremist even by the standards of the modern Republican party, which are considerably high indeed.
…. the profound ignorance he displayed on Thursday night on a number of important questions …. was so positively terrifying that it calls into question Romney’s judgment for putting this unqualified greenhorn on the ticket at all. Joe Biden laughed at him? Of course, he did. The only other option was to hand him a participation ribbon and take him to Burger King for lunch.
You know what’s the difference between Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan?
NYT Editorial: Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate was one of the best and meatiest political conversations in many years …. Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. would not sit still for a parade of misleading and often blatantly untruthful descriptions of the state of the economy and the Republican prescriptions for it…
Mr. Ryan, as always, refused to acknowledge the improvement in the economy ….ignoring the steady reduction in the national jobless rate, which dipped to 7.8 percent last month.
…. Mr. Biden repeatedly pointed out that Mr. Romney had firmly opposed the federal bailout of the auto industry, which turned out to be the single biggest act of job creation in the last four years. Mr. Ryan responded weakly that Mr. Romney was a “car guy” …
…. he showed Mr. Ryan’s hypocrisy on the subject by pointing out that the congressman had asked for stimulus money for his state of Wisconsin, just as other Republicans did even as they vilified the program.
Mr. Ryan’s performance on foreign affairs and military issues was at best disingenuous and at worst bumbling….
Dana Milbank: In the hours before Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, word leaked that the Romney-Ryan campaign had instructed moderator Martha Raddatz to address Paul Ryan as “Mister” rather than “Congressman.”
To her credit, Raddatz ignored such instructions and referred to the Republican vice presidential nominee by his more relevant title. Not that it mattered anyway: Vice President Biden was not about to let people forget that Ryan, and by extension Mitt Romney, are inextricably bound to the unpopular House Republican leadership.
On issue after issue — Libya, Iran, taxes, debt, Medicare, Social Security — Biden kept turning the discussion toward actions Ryan and his colleagues took in Congress, at one point mocking Ryan for suggesting he could work across the aisle to forge a tax deal. “Seven percent rating? Come on,” Biden needled.
…. Raddatz turned to the challenger for a response. “Congressman Ryan?”
After Biden’s barrage, the honorific sounded like an epithet.
President Barack Obama talks with Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Jack Lew, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, before making a statement to the press in the State Dining Room of the White House, Jan. 9, 2012. The President announced Daley’s resignation and that Lew will serve as his next chief of staff. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Mark Kelly leans on the shoulder of his wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, at a memorial vigil remembering the victims and survivors of the shooting that wounded Giffords, 12 others and killed six one year ago Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
NYT: The sun had fallen and a crowd had gathered on a chilly Sunday night on the mall at the University of Arizona, for the last event of a weekend commemorating the first anniversary of the mass shooting here one year ago. The vigil began with the Pledge of the Allegiance.
Reuters: Welcome to an unlikely beacon of hope for the global auto industry – Detroit.
Executives arriving this week for the Detroit auto show find a U.S. car market that has morphed from meltdown three years ago to a safe haven as concerns grow about the stability of other big economies, from Europe to China.
Analysts and executives expect 2012 U.S. auto sales to grow 4 percent to 9 percent, the third consecutive annual gain….
12:30: First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver remarks at a DNC luncheon in Richmond.
2:45: Mrs Obama will announce a major commitment by the country’s top medical colleges and universities to create a new generation of doctors, medical schools, and research facilities to ensure that veterans, service men and women receive the medical care that they deserve.
Prior to this announcement, the First Lady will tour the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center’s Polytrauma Unit to visit wounded warriors and veterans receiving in-patient treatment.
5:15 PM: Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks at a DNC reception
Friday, January 13:
Morning: Mrs Obama will join the cast of Nickelodeon’s iCarly at a special screening of “iMeet The First Lady,” a new episode featuring the First Lady that honors America’s military children.
At the final event of the tour, Miranda Cosgrove and the iCarly cast will be joined by Mrs. Obama at Hayfield Secondary School, a school with a large number of military children. They will screen the episode, participate in iCarly’s “Random Dancing” and answer questions from the students.
Mrs. Obama will also appear in a Joining Forces PSA produced by Nickelodeon that will debut immediately following the airing of “iMeet the First Lady” on the 16th.”
Charles Pierce (Esquire): MANCHESTER, N.H. – Just got back to town in time to feel the entire race pivot underneath my feet. Of course, this is just a naked ploy by the Gingrich campaign to sew up the critical Unemployable Dude With A Snowmobile vote, which is not a constituency lightly overlooked in this state, although in South Carolina, political observers say, it is replaced by the Unemployable Dude With A Mullet And A Truck vote ….
CBS: The nominating process may officially be underway, but Republicans have yet to enthusiastically embrace a potential nominee for president – and despite the late date, most would like to see other candidates enter the race, according to a new CBS News poll.
The survey finds that 58 percent of Republican primary voters want more presidential choices, while just 37 percent say they are satisfied with the current field. The percentage of Republican primary voters that wants more choices has increased 12 percentage points since October.
58%?! I think that’s what you call an ‘enthusiasm gap’.
Charles P. Pierce (Esquire): And, suddenly, the dogwhistles have turned into air-raid sirens .. I think, maybe, it’s time for the nation to rise up and point out to the Republican party that, root and branch, it is a racist embarrassment to democracy and a blight on this nation that all the world can see…..
….there is a steady, noxious river of bile flowing through the entire Republican party, and through the conservative “movement” that empowers it …
… No, Rick, I don’t believe for a moment you meant to say something else and it came out “Blah people,” you Bible-banging coward. Nobody’s talking in code any more. It’s right out front there, for all the world to see. How dare these people? How dare their evil souls?
Washington Post: Facing withering criticism from across the political spectrum and abandoned by Senate allies, House Republicans bowed to political reality Thursday and agreed to a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans.
The agreement represented a remarkable capitulation on the part of House Republicans, who had two days earlier rejected such a deal with Democrats as the kind of half-measure that their new majority was elected to thwart.
And it amounts to a Christmas gift for President Obama, who attempted to paint his Republican opponents as willing to raise taxes for millions of Americans. Such an image could have cost the party politically just as it is gearing up to try to take back the White House and the Senate in 2012.
Eugene Robinson: Finally. After a year of artful camouflage and concealment, Republicans let us glimpse the rift between establishment pragmatists and Tea Party ideologues. There may be hope for the republic after all.
…. There are only two possible reasons for House Republicans to behave the way they did. Maybe they are so blinded by ideology that they no longer care about the impact their actions might have on struggling American families. Or maybe their only guiding principle is that anything Obama supports, they oppose.
The week’s events offer a lesson for Obama, too. One reason for all the Republican angst was that public opinion has become more sensitive to issues of economic justice. This may be partly due to the Occupy protests. But I’m convinced that Obama’s fiery barnstorming in favor of his American Jobs Act has played a big role. People are hearing his message.
The president has been on the offensive. It’s no coincidence that, for the first time in quite a while, Republicans are backing up.
Steve Benen: …. the GOP leadership will, probably later today, bring the tweaked Senate agreement to the House floor, hoping to approve it by unanimous consent. If Republicans balk – and they might – Boehner will reconvene the House next week for an up-or-down vote. Since that vote would very likely pass the Senate bill, an objection today would only delay the inevitable, and extend this fiasco for a few more days.
…. perhaps one of the most striking realizations from this entire dispute is that Republicans gambled that Democrats would cave when the pressure was on – and Democrats didn’t. Arguably for the first time all year, Democrats from the White House to Capitol Hill knew they had the better hand, told Republicans that Dems wouldn’t fold this time, and sat back and watched and the GOP unraveled.
… After a year in which policymakers have moved from one hostage crisis to another, Democrats won a big one to close out the year, leaving Republicans looking awful and a weakened Speaker looking beaten.
For a party that earned a reputation for capitulating a little too often, it’ll start 2012 on the right foot.
Vice President Biden in the Des Moines Register: Mitt Romney recently laid out his plan for America. Reading about it, I thought of my dad. My dad was a hard worker. He took pride in what he did. And, like millions of Americans, that pride was put to the test when he found himself struggling to make ends meet.
When I was a child, he had to ask my grandfather to take care of my mom, my brother, sister and I while he moved away to find a better job in Wilmington, Del. My dad had a saying: “A job is about more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity. It’s about respect.”….
Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): Last week, I mentioned the racism charges against Ron Paul, involving the newsletter he used to publish and some of the vile and witless statements therein….
….These are not your run-of-the-mill euphemisms. These are blatantly racist comments by, I would hope, nearly any measure. Jews and gays get their moment in the sun ….The “Special Issue on Racial Terrorism,” produced after the Los Angeles riots, offers many gems, including this advice: “I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.” …. It would seem, in the pages of something called the Ron Paul Political Report, that that “I” would represent, well, Ron Paul. But he denies authorship….
…. If he didn’t write those sentences, who did? Why not say? If he genuinely disagrees with the statements and truly disavows them, there could be no good reason not to name names.
… I humbly suggest that there are some matters on which there should not a statute of limitations …. Calling a group of people—identifiable only by their race “animals” belongs in that company. We lack proof that Paul did that, but at the very least we have proof that he has regarded this whole thing very casually….
Greg Sargent: The President is set to hold another event today urging the House GOP to support the Senate payroll tax extension compromise…. A White House official emails that Obama today “will be joined by Americans who would see their taxes go up if the House Republicans fail to act”.
Washington Post: House Republicans faced mounting pressure Wednesday from critics inside and outside Congress who worry that their standoff with President Obama over whether to extend a payroll tax cut could do lasting damage to the GOP.
… The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board captured the frustration among Republicans in the paper’s Wednesday editions, asking whether the GOP’s handling of the tax debate “might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said the House GOP must get past the issue. “Are Republicans getting killed now in public opinion? There’s no question,” he said Wednesday on CNBC. “Both Republicans and Democrats have agreed that this is going to happen, and probably the best thing to happen now is just to get it over with.”
Marketwatch: The number of Americans filing initial claims for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 364,000 in the week ended Dec. 17, reaching the lowest level since April 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected that claims would rise to 375,000, while remaining at levels historically associated with an improving labor market.
The four-week average of initial claims – a smoother gauge than the weekly data – fell 8,000 to 380,250, the lowest level since June 2008.
Steve Benen: It’s generally wise to avoid sweeping conclusions about week-to-week changes in data like this, but when these jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s evidence of an improving jobs landscape. When the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly.
Michael Tomasky: President Obama has had an awful year. But thanks to the politically asinine miscalculations of House Republicans, he’s ending 2011 with a bang.
For a bunch of people who don’t believe that Barack Obama celebrates Christmas, Republicans sure are going out of their way to make sure the president has a merry one. The short-sighted stupidity of the House Republicans is hardly to be believed. The presidential nomination contest is as unsettled as ever and still features a bunch of candidates who are about as appealing to most Americans as Aunt Gladys’s fruitcake.
…. It’s all a reminder that Obama won’t be running just against a Republican candidate. He’ll be running, as he has been, against a Republican Congress. And the public is finally getting the message that they are breathing a different kind of air from the rest of us.
Paul Krugman: David Roberts reports on the EPA’s decision, finally, to regulate mercury from coal plants … it will save tens of thousands of lives every year and prevent birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases. This is actually a much bigger issue, when it comes to saving American lives, than terrorism.
…. The point that strikes me most, however, is that this shows that it matters who holds the White House. You can complain about Obama’s lack of a strong progressive agenda, which I sometimes do, or wonder what good it is to hold the White House when the other side blocks every attempt to do good through legislation. But mercury regulation would not have happened if John McCain were president.
Elections have consequences, and this is one delayed consequence of 2008 that will make a big difference.
Obama’s approval rating is soft, but new polls of South Carolina and Florida show him ahead of Gingrich and Romney. Michael Tomasky asks: could the GOP be headed for disaster?
How can Barack Obama, as this new NBC/Marist poll has it, be beating Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in South Carolina, of all places? …. Is it conceivable that 10 months and three weeks from now, Obama could actually win the state? If it happens, we will know that the Republicans are headed off the cliff. And that is precisely where we should all hope they go.
…. now let’s look at the Florida numbers from the NBC/Marist poll. There Obama is beating both Romney and Gingrich by outside the margin of error. He leads Romney 48-41 and Gingrich 51-39.
…. if Obama holds Florida, he can afford to lose Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and either Michigan or Pennsylvania, and still rack up a winning 270 electoral votes. But of course, if he’s winning Florida, he’s likely not losing any of those other states, with the exception of Indiana….
Ten months and three weeks is a long, long time. But today’s poll suggests that a wipeout of such proportions is not unimaginable….
Washington Post: Against the backdrop of a tightening Republican presidential contest, much of the hierarchy of President Obama’s campaign is decamping from Chicago to Washington on Tuesday for a high-profile debriefing on the the state of the president’s reelection effort.
…. At the top of the list is an erratic Republican presidential field roiled by the ascent of Newt Gingrich, whom the Democrats view as a weak challenger to the president. They also take some credit for the Gingrich surge, because it appears to have partly been a result of a devastating video attack on Mitt Romney produced by Obama’s longtime admaker.
A speech by Obama last week in Kansas – a searing attack on GOP economic policies – was hailed by one liberal critic as the “most important economic speech of his presidency.” This week, Obama is celebrating the end of the U.S. war in Iraq, making good on one of this central campaign promises. Even the unemployment rate has dipped.
….. senior Obama advisers and supporters are cautiously pointing to signs that perhaps the president’s fortunes have turned a corner. Among their favorites: the laundry list of politically tricky statements that front-runners Romney and Gingrich have made during the Republican race….
NY Daily News: Julianne Moore didn’t bring her research on Sarah Palin home with her ….. the flame-haired actress told us she “read every single thing” she could about the Grizzly Mama and “watched every interview” in order to prepare for her role as the former Alaska governor in next spring’s HBO mini-series, “Game Change.”
But when we asked Moore if she’d developed a newfound respect for Palin after delving deeper into her life, the actress, 51, raised an eyebrow and sighed deeply. “No,” she said quietly.
Rudy Giuliani to Piers Morgan: “My gut tells me right now as I look at it that Gingrich might actually be the stronger candidate, because I think he can make a broader connection than Mitt Romney to those Reagan Democrats…You won’t have this barrier of possible elitism that I think Obama could exploit pretty effectively.”