President Barack Obama talks with Chief of Staff Jack Lew at the Esperanza Resort in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, before the start of a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, June 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
….. greeting school children and teachers after speaking at Plaza de San Pedro in Cartagena
Catholic priest Alvaro Gutierrez leads President Obama and President Santos on a tour of San Pedro church in Cartagena
….. greeting Colombian singer Shakira during an event to hand over titles to representatives of the Afro-Colombian community during an event at the Plaza de San Pedro in Cartagena. The land restitution is an attempt by Colombia to recognized marginalized communities who were forced from their land by armed groups.
Sebastian Salgado, leader of the San Basilio de Palenque community of descendants of former slaves, receives a land title from President Obama during the ceremony
…. at a joint press conference with Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos
…. departing on Air Force One from Rafael Nunez International Airport in Cartagena en route to Washington DC
Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi and Sen. Carmelo Rios unveil a bronze statue of President Barack Obama, along the “Avenue of Heroes” outside the Capitol building, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Feb. 20. Puerto Rican officials unveiled statues of Obama and former President Lyndon B. Johnson. Every sitting U.S. president who has ever visited Puerto Rico is honored with a statue, dating back to Theodore Roosevelt. Obama became the eighth when he visited in June.
Steve Benen’s growing list of achievements by PBO’s administration on gay rights:
* announced it will not defend the constitutionality of statutes blocking same-sex military spouses from receiving marriage benefits
* successfully repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law
* expanded federal benefits for the same-sex partners of executive-branch employees
* signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law
* cleared the way for hospital-visitation rights for same-sex couples
* lifted the travel/immigration ban on those with HIV/AIDS
* ordered the Federal Housing Authority to no longer consider the sexual orientation of applicants on loans
* expanded the Census to include the number of people who report being in a same-sex relationship
* directed U.S. agencies abroad to ensure our humanitarian and diplomatic efforts “promote and protect” the rights of gays and lesbians
* endorsed repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act
* stopped trying to defend DOMA against federal court challenges
A carnival float depicts US President Barack Obama as Captain America during the traditional parade in Cologne, Germany, Feb. 20
Charles P. Pierce (Esquire): ….. Having aligned itself in the mid-1960’s with the angry remnants of American apartheid, the Republican party – and the conservative “movement” which is its only real energy – is now scrambling, one state at a time, to undo the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement on the wrong side of which it decided to place itself for political advantage…..
….. The shift is driven by the fact that people do not want black people, or poor people, or Democrats in general, to vote. This was obvious from the voter cadging in Florida in 2000, and in the mischief with the voting machine placements in Ohio in 2004. It was energized recently by the fact that black people and poor people helped elect a black person president, and a substantial portion of the Republican party and its conservative base found that to be an illegitimate outcome and has worked ever since his inauguration to delegitimize him on the grounds that he is a black man who was elected and is, therefore, not really president.
SmartyPants: One of the things that concerns me as we watch the Republicans revert to their old culture wars against women, people of color, gays & lesbians, poor people, unions, etc. is that we will all divide again into our camps to defend our root causes and forget the bigger picture that binds us. Other than fear, the right’s most effective weapon against us is division.
What will keep us united is to always remember the big picture of what’s happening. As I’ve been saying, keeping an eye on the forest means recognizing that the old white male heterosexual patriarchy is dying and the Republican Party is in chaos. What we can expect is that the old beast is going to strike out at anything it perceives as a threat and therefore the cause of its demise.
Carter Eskew (Washington Post): I was thinking of taking today off, but Rick Santorum wouldn’t let me.
Rick Santorum went and said another stupid thing. “The Earth is not the objective,” he told “Face The Nation.” “Man is the objective. And, I think a lot of radical environmentalists have it upside down.”
I think he says these things not because he is, in fact, stupid, but because he is angry, and anger fuels his supporters.
Ed Kilgore: A good deal of the excitement over the recent contraception coverage mandate has resulted from the hopes of Republicans, and the fears of some Catholic liberals, that the controversy could prove to be a “wedge issue” that would drive significant numbers of Catholic voters into the GOP column in November.
The assumption behind such scenarios, of course, is that there is a self-conscious “Catholic vote” that operates independently of the rest of the electorate, and that can be moved by the pronouncements of Catholic religious leaders.
My latest column for The New Republic examines this assumption, and finds it uncompelling in several respects: Catholic voters are remarkably similar to all voters in their partisan inclinations; they do not have any overall inclination to follow the Church hierarchy on hot-button cultural issues; and in fact, they are not responding differently from other Americans to the contraception coverage mandate controversy. “The Catholic Vote” looks just like America.
Tuesday: 11:35 AM – PBO hosts a payroll tax cut event, VP Biden also attends.
The President and First Lady will invite music legends and contemporary major artists to the White House for a celebration of Blues music and in recognition of Black History Month as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series.
Wednesday: The President will deliver remarks at the construction site of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Thursday: The President will travel to the University of Miami to continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last.
Friday: The President will host Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark for a meeting in the Oval Office.
Reverend Keith A. Gordon: Blues fans, circle Monday, February 27th, 2012 on your calendars, ’cause we’re going to paint the White House blue! The Emmy Award-winning PBS series In Performance At The White House is going to document a historic celebration of the blues with a taping of a February 21st concert to be held in the East Room of the White House, the event hosted by President and Mrs. Obama in recognition of Black History Month.
In Performance At The White House program host Taraji P. Henson will oversee the concert, which will feature performances by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark, Jr., Keb’ Mo’, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Shemekia Copeland, Warren Haynes, and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. Stax Records legend Booker T. Jones will serve as the concert’s music director and bandleader.
….. The concert will be streamed live (from 7:20) on the White House, Public Broadcasting, and Black Public Media websites….
12:00: PBO departs San Francisco en route to Everett, Washington
1:50: Arrives Everett
2:05: Tours the Boeing Everett Production Facility
2:25: Delivers remarks
5:00: Delivers remarks at a campaign event
6:45: Delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Westin Bellevue Hotel
8:00: Departs Everett en route to Washington, DC
President Obama did not reprise his rendition of Al Green’s “Let’s stay together” in a duet with the famous crooner Thursday, saying once was enough.
“I took a chance at the Apollo and I’m not going to take a chance again,” he told supporters at a San Francisco fundraiser where Green performed the song solo, according to a pool report.
“Now, what is possible is after reelection, I might go on tour with the good Reverend. Be his opening act,” Obama said. “But I don’t want to lose any further votes because of my singing voice.”
AP: President Barack Obama raised more than $29 million for his campaign and for the Democratic Party in January, a strong fundraising month that put him ahead of the pace he set in the last quarter of 2011.
….. The month’s haul raises Obama’s total combined fundraising for this election cycle to about $250 million. In the last three months of 2011, he averaged about $23 million a month.
…. Presidential candidates must submit January fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission on Friday. The Obama campaign’s full report is expected later in the day.
1:05: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event in Corona Del Mar, Calif.
2:45: Departs Los Angeles, California en route San Francisco
3:30: Arrives San Francisco
5:00: Attends a campaign event
10:10: Delivers remarks at a campaign event
AP: The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell to the lowest point in almost four years last week, the latest signal that the job market is steadily improving.
The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000. It was the fourth drop in five weeks and the fewest number of claims since March 2008.
ABC (Devin Dwyer): Fact Check – Obama and the Resurgence of American Manufacturing
President Obama is this week heralding the resurgence of American manufacturing as a leap toward an “economy built to last,” and a sign that he deserves a second term. …. Obama’s claim is corroborated by government statistics, which show an undeniable rebound for manufacturers during his term, both in terms of productivity and employment of American workers.
When Obama took office in January 2009, unemployment in the manufacturing sector stood at 10.9 percent and spiked to 13 percent a year later, according to the Labor Department. But in the two years since, unemployment has fallen precipitously, now holding at 8.4 percent in January 2012.
In terms of raw manufacturing jobs, the trajectory is similarly positive …. U.S. manufacturers have also increased production by 15 percent since the recession officially ended in late 2009….
New York Times (Editorial): There’s nothing like a deadline – and the prospect of acute political embarrassment – to concentrate the mind. With Congress about to go on recess, and with Republicans fearing a voter backlash, negotiators on Wednesday were putting the finishing touches on a deal to extend the payroll tax cut and federal jobless benefits through 2012.
The agreement is imperfect but sound. It will help struggling Americans and the struggling economy. It is also a political win for Democrats and President Obama, who had made extending the payroll tax cut and the jobless benefits a centerpiece of his jobs agenda. We hope that it gives them the courage to stick to that agenda if they face another round of Republican obstructionism…..
LA Times: ….. President Obama was expected to raise a total of more than $3 million during two events at the expansive Holmby Hills estate of “The Bold and the Beautiful” producer Bradley Bell and his wife, Colleen. The outdoor event, with tickets priced at $250 and $500, featured a performance by the Foo Fighters and appearances by comedian Jack Black and actress Rashida Jones.
Obama spoke later to a more intimate gathering inside the Bells’ Spanish-style home, which about 80 supporters each paid $35,800 to attend. Among those present were George Clooney, Jim Belushi and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who on Wednesday was named chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Washington Post: …. If Obama is suffering any lingering Hollywood blowback after his administration failed to get behind a pair of high-profile Internet piracy bills championed by the entertainment industry, it wasn’t apparent …. The two Tinseltown events were expected to reap more than $3 million….
“Anything we can do to help,” said Andy Spahn, a political consultant to DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of Obama’s top campaign bundlers and staunchest Hollywood supporters. “The events are sold out,” Spahn said of Wednesday’s concert and dinner at the home of Bradley and Colleen Bell, producers of “The Bold and the Beautiful.” “I expect the president to continue to enjoy strong support.”
SF Gate: …. this week, The Chronicle has learned that the Obama campaign has, for the first time, opened a new type of campaign office in San Francisco: A Technology Field Office. It is believed to be the first such type of campaign office for a presidential campaign.
“We learned from 2008 that using the talents and skills of our supporters was a key to building the most effective organization,” said Obama campaign deputy press secretary Katie Hogan. “We’re taking the next step by providing tools and space for supporters in the technology community to help the campaign extend our current tools like BarackObama.com and our mobile applications.”
…. instead of cold-calling independents, a techie who wants to help Team O can come in and help develop something new for the website, etc…..
If you want to get involved, contact email@example.com.
The Guardian: …. Obama has critics and doubters. Maya Angelou, the sage of black America, now 83, has no time for them. “I think he has done a remarkable job, knowing how much he has been opposed,” she says. “Every suggestion he makes, the Republicans en masse fight against him or don’t vote at all.”
…. “I was hoping for the best. And I think I have gotten the best from him.” What of his detractors? “Those are people who didn’t see the morass into which he stepped.”
….. “His physical self, just being there, his photograph in the newspapers as president of the United States; that has done so much good for the spirit of the African American. We see more and more children wanting to be like President Obama, wanting to go to school.”
…. More recently, her presidential link has been via the first lady, Michelle Obama. “She’s the grand dame,” says Angelou. “I wrote her a note a few months ago because I was in a gathering. The president and his party were there, but I had to leave early. I know that’s a gaffe because no one leaves the building before the president so I wrote and apologised. I got a letter from her in her own handwriting. She said: ‘I have only one regret – that I didn’t come over and hug your neck.'”
President Barack Obama meets with Trans-Pacific Partnership leaders during the APEC summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, Nov. 12. Pictured from left to right are Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, Obama, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdul Razak and New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.
President Obama at the APEC CEO Summit with Boeing Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney in Honolulu