President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pay their respects to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in front of his casket, in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court
President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting of the Democratic Governors Association while Vice President Joe Biden and Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett listen, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House
Carrying a binder containing material on potential Supreme Court nominees, President Barack Obama walks toward the residence of the White House
Oct 10, 2011: President Obama visits a wounded warrior for a Purple Heart presentation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. (Photo by Pete Souza). The President will visit the Center again today.
12:45: Jay Carney’s press briefing
2:05: President Obama departs White House
2:35: Visits the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
NYT: President Obama on Monday named two people to his cabinet who will be charged with making good on his threat to use the powers of the executive branch to tackle climate change and energy policy if Congress does not act quickly.
Mr. Obama nominated Gina McCarthy, a tough-talking native of Boston and an experienced clean air regulator, to take charge at the Environmental Protection Agency, and Ernest J. Moniz, a physicist and strong advocate of natural gas and nuclear power as cleaner alternatives to coal, to run the Department of Energy.
The appointments, which require Senate confirmation, send an unmistakable signal that the president intends to mount a multifaceted campaign in his second term to tackle climate change by using all the executive branch tools at his disposal.
NBC: A bipartisan group of senators has reached a deal on a bill that would make it a federal crime to buy a gun for someone who isn’t legally allowed to own one. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy announced the agreement on the Senate floor Monday evening.
Illegal gun “straw” purchases, made by a buyer on behalf of someone who cannot pass a background check, are often not prosecuted under current law, usually because conducting such a sale yields such a weak penalty.
The new compromise legislation would make the consequences for both straw buyers and sellers far more serious – to the tune of decades in jail.
Time: The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote on President Barack Obama‘s pick to lead the CIA after weeks of wrangling with the White House over access to top-secret information about the use of lethal drone strikes against terror suspects and the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
@VP meets with parents of teen dating violence victims in his office today
Statement from the President:
Today, Republicans in the Senate faced a choice about how to grow our economy and reduce our deficit. And instead of closing a single tax loophole that benefits the well-off and well-connected, they chose to cut vital services for children, seniors, our men and women in uniform and their families. They voted to let the entire burden of deficit reduction fall squarely on the middle class.
I believe we should do better. We should work together to reduce our deficit in a balanced way – by making smart spending cuts and closing special interest tax loopholes. That’s exactly the kind of plan Democrats in the Senate have proposed. But even though a majority of Senators support this approach, Republicans have refused to allow it an up-or-down vote – threatening our economy with a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will cost us jobs and slow our recovery.
Tomorrow I will bring together leaders from both parties to discuss a path forward. As a nation, we can’t keep lurching from one manufactured crisis to another. Middle-class families can’t keep paying the price for dysfunction in Washington. We can build on the over $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we’ve already achieved, but doing so will require Republicans to compromise. That’s how our democracy works, and that’s what the American people deserve.
Ever since they took control of the House of Representatives in 2011, Republicans have made journeys to the fiscal brink as commonplace as summertime visits to the beach or the ballpark. The country has been put through a series of destructive showdowns over budget issues we once resolved through the normal give-and-take of negotiations.
The old formula held that when government was divided between the parties, the contending sides should try to “meet in the middle.” But the current Republican leadership doesn’t know the meaning of the word “middle,” so intimidated by the tea party has it become.
Washington Post Editorial: “This is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress,” Justice Antonin Scalia pronounced during a Supreme Court argument Wednesday.
The subject was the Voting Rights Act, one of the most successful pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history, and in particular its Section 5….
“It was clear to 98 senators, including every senator from a covered state, who decided that there was a continuing need for this piece of legislation,” Justice Elena Kagan said, in what might seem a self-evident point.
But not to Justice Scalia. “Or decided that perhaps they’d better not vote against …. They are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful: the Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?”
ThinkProgress: After nearly a year of partisan infighting on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives and the Senate finally agreed to send a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to President Obama’s desk.
…. by a vote of 286 to 138, the House passed the bipartisan Senate-approved version of the bill … all 138 votes against the bill were Republicans.
A watered down Republican version of the bill, which was offered as a substitute amendment, failed to garner enough votes to slow the process. It was struck down by a vote of 257 to 166. Sixty Republicans voted against their own party’s replacement measure. Twenty-seven members of Congress, all Republicans, voted against both versions….
President Obama and VP Joe Biden talk with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in the Outer Oval Office, following his swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office, Feb. 28 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Greg Sargent: As expected, the Obama administration has submitted a friend of the court brief in the case challenging Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court. Just as gay rights advocates had hoped, Obama’s Solicitor General has made a sweeping case against Proposition 8 as unconstitutional, which is a bold move and makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will strike down the law with a similarly sweeping argument. This in turn could set a precedent for challenging the constitutionality of other state laws banning gay marriage — potentially leading to full equality across the country.
In short, in this brief, the United States government has put the force of a fully fleshed out legal argument behind Obama’s historic words during his Inaugural Address: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
TPM: Chrysler is investing millions in the Kokomo, Indiana, area as it shifts most of its vehicles to new transmissions that save fuel and better suit the driving habits of Americans.
The automaker will invest nearly $400 million at four plants in the Kokomo, Indiana, area, adding 1,250 jobs to what it says it the largest transmission factory complex in the world. The plants will make fuel-efficient eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions.
Still catching up with stuff on poor threatened Bob Woodward, these are just a few snippets that you probably all read, oh, hours ago. That he’s appearing on Hannity says it all, really –
Steve Benen: …. This would be an ideal time for Woodward to start walking back some of his increasingly bizarre claims, but instead, he’s agreed to appear on television tonight – with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
When it comes to his chosen profession, Bob Woodward has had the kind of career most media professionals can only dream of … Which is why it saddens me to see him become so reckless for no reason. I just can’t figure out what’s gotten into Woodward, or why he’s acting so erratically. But at this point, it seems Woodward is doing lasting, possibly irreparable harm to his once-sterling reputation, and that is a genuine shame….
Michael Tomasky: … it’s obvious to anyone who knows [Sperling] that he meant Woodward would regret having a big factual error hanging around his neck for the sake of his historical reputation… A big factual error Woodward made over the weekend that is misleading in very important ways. He said that Obama and his people were lying when they claim that revenues have been understood to be part of any sequester deal. He is wrong. Dead flat-out wrong.
He doesn’t correct this, and the Politico story, which started this whole thing, doesn’t correct it…
…. And all this is happening, of course, in a larger context in which you have one side, the side that lost the last election by the way, taking a “negotiating” position that is supported by 19 percent of the people and refusing to budge from it one inch. Which is somehow Obama’s fault because he just needs to show “leadership.” The economy is at serious risk here, and this is what our agenda-setters are feeding us? These people are children, and this is really as bad as Washington gets.
Charles Pierce: [Politico] were summoned to an undisclosed location where Bob Woodward is hiding because someone in the Obama administration pointed out that he might one day regret having been publicly stupid on the subject of the sequester, and Bob knows what that means. So, huddled in his bunker, fiddling with the knobs on the crystal set and eating cold Spaghetti-O’s out of the can, Bob summoned two of the only reporters he knows who share the same level of self-delusion that he does.
…. Jesus H. Christ on a two-picture deal, Bob, you got your ass kicked by Ezra Klein, let alone the White House. This is the guy who bravely walked into darkened parking garages in the dead of night to bring down a criminal president? He now believes himself “threatened” by Gene Fcking Sperling, because Sperling said Woodward was “going to regret” being wrong? ….
Washington Post: First lady Michelle Obama on Thursday announced an effort to engage 50,000 schools in an effort to bring physical activity back to the classroom, and she’s getting a big assist from Nike.
The shoe-maker will spend $50 million on the “Let’s Move Active Schools” effort over the next five years. Several other organizations are combining to donate $20 million, including the GENYOUth Foundation, ChildObesity180, Kaiser Permanente and the General Mills Foundation.
…. “With each passing year, schools feel like it’s just getting harder to find the time, the money, and the will to help our kids be active,” Michelle Obama said. “But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should stop trying – it means we should try harder. It means that all of us – not just educators, but businesses and non-profits and ordinary citizens – we all need to dig deeper and start getting even more creative.”
A year ago: President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick listen as students from Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, Mass., perform Dr. Marin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Feb. 28, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
The President has no public appearances scheduled
12:0 EST: First Lady Michelle Obama will return to her hometown of Chicago to make a major announcement about bringing physical activity back to schools. She will be joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, NIKE President & CEO Mark Parker, Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas, Allyson Felix, Bob Harper, Bo Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Sarah Reinertsen, Paul Rodriguez, Serena Williams, a surprise musical guest and thousands of Chicago area teachers and students (Details here)
12:30 EST: Press briefing by Jay Carney
3:25 EST: First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to Springfield, Missouri to see changes Walmart has made as part of the company’s commitment to Let’s Move! to open or expand up to 300 stores in communities with limited access to healthy, affordable food. (Details here)
Bloomberg: Fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, showing companies were looking beyond looming government spending cuts and maintaining staffing.
Jobless claims decreased by 22,000 to 344,000 in the week ended Feb. 23, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 360,000 applications. The number of people collecting unemployment insurance dropped to the lowest level since June 2008.
Dana Milbank: For a quarter-century, Antonin Scalia has been the reigning bully of the Supreme Court, but finally a couple of justices are willing to face him down.
As it happens, the two manning up to take on Nino the Terrible are women: the court’s newest members, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
The acerbic Scalia, the court’s longest-serving justice, got his latest comeuppance Wednesday morning, as he tried to make the absurd argument that Congress’s renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2006 by votes of 98 to 0 in the Senate and 390 to 33 in the House did not mean that Congress actually supported the act. Scalia, assuming powers of clairvoyance, argued that the lawmakers were secretly afraid to vote against this “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
Kagan wasn’t about to let him get away with that….
Washington Post: Seeking to avoid a protracted and politically damaging fight over reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, Republican leaders are prepared to allow the House to vote Thursday on a version of the bill favored by Democrats, an unusual move that acknowledges GOP divisions on the touchy issue.
The House will vote first on a Republican version of the bill, which authorizes funding for programs to aid prosecution of domestic violence and sexual assault cases and assist victims.
But with Democrats unified in opposition and Republicans divided, the GOP’s alternative appears likely to fail.
Steve Benen: Given how contentious the process was surrounding Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s confirmation process, it was easy to forget that Jack Lew’s Treasury Secretary nomination was advancing at roughly the same time – and Senate Republicans don’t like him, either….
But with his detractors unable to generate any meaningful controversies, and with Hagel drawing the most fire, Lew managed to earn confirmation late yesterday without much trouble.
…. Consider it this way: President Obama nominated a qualified official to a key cabinet post; the nominee had already been subjected to Senate confirmation processes before – five times – and had never received an opposition vote; and the nominee’s detractors couldn’t find anything especially wrong with him. But when it was time for a vote, 25 of the Senate’s 45 Republicans opposed the nomination anyway.
Michigan Chronicle: … On Wednesday, the statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol ….. The audience included many of Parks’ surviving relatives, most of whom currently live in Detroit.
One moment that stole the show was an adorable photo snapped of President Obama with one of the legendary leader’s youngest family members. It shows 3-year-old Terrell Anderson Jr. in the arms of our nation’s leader as he curiously touches his hair.
Just catching up with reaction to what Scalia said today. Absolutely stunning. More in the morning, just a few snippets:
ThinkProgress: There were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge, where audio of the oral argument is pumped in for members of the Supreme Court bar, when Justice Antonin Scalia offered his assessment of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He called it a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
….It should be noted that even one of Scalia’s fellow justices felt the need to call out his remark. Justice Sotomayor asked the attorney challenging the Voting Right Act whether he thought voting rights are a racial entitlement as soon as he took the podium for rebuttal.
Charles Pierce: …. Sotomayor, for whom this seems very, very personal, made an argument from history that discrimination is an infinitely mutable thing and that, as soon as you find a remedy for one form of it, human ingenuity will devise three new ones…..
……it was hard not to go back to Florida, and to all the people I met who were waiting in line for six and seven hours to vote because the state had deliberately enacted policies to make it more difficult. Those policies were discriminatory. The people enacting them knew exactly what they were doing. They knew who those policies were aimed at as surely as did the county registrars administering the literacy tests did back in 1965…..
Greg Sargent: Judging by all the early reporting on the first round of Supreme Court arguments about a key section of the Voting Rights Act, that provision may be in real peril. Conservative justices expressed sharp skepticism of the law, with much attention being paid to Antonin Scalia’s description of it as a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
…. all may not be lost. That’s because proponents of the Voting Rights Act are focused mainly on holding on to Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Steve Benen: I’m beginning to think an infectious disease is spreading in the nation’s capital. Symptoms include memory loss (forgetting everything Republicans have done in recent years), blurred vision (an inability to see obvious GOP ploys), and an uncontrollable urge to blame “both sides” for everything, even when it doesn’t make any sense.
The disease has already affected pundits like Bob Woodward, Ron Fournier, David Brooks, nearly everyone on the network Sunday shows, and today reaches the editorial board of the Washington Post. Indeed, the Post’s editors seem to have come down with an especially acute case today, as evidenced this bang-your-head-against-your-desk editorial on the sequester, which cavalierly ignores the paper’s own reporting, and demands that President Obama “lead” by somehow getting congressional Republicans to be more responsible.
President Barack Obama talks with Congressional leaders prior to the Rosa Parks statue unveiling ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2013. Pictured, from left, are: Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.; Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
First lady Michelle Obama at a “Let’s Move!” event in Clinton, Miss.
Justice Antonin Scalia needs to resign from the Supreme Court.
…. So often, Scalia has chosen to ignore the obligation of a Supreme Court justice to be, and appear to be, impartial. He’s turned “judicial restraint” into an oxymoronic phrase. But what he did this week, when the court announced its decision on the Arizona immigration law, should be the end of the line.
…. what boggles the mind is that Scalia thought it proper to jump into this political argument. And when he went on to a broader denunciation of federal policies, he sounded just like an Arizona Senate candidate.
…. Scalia should free himself to pursue his true vocation. We can then use his resignation as an occasion for a searching debate over just how political this Supreme Court has become.
Thank you Purpleshoes LA and your 72-year-old Mom!
NYT: President Obama plans to travel to Colorado on Friday to tour areas devastated by raging wildfires, the White House said on Wednesday. One of the fires, in the foothills near Colorado Springs, has burned 24 square miles, destroyed an unknown number of homes and forced some 26,000 people to evacuate.
Mr. Obama called Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Steve Bach of Colorado Springs, the state’s second-largest city, to get an update on the blaze, known as the Waldo Canyon Fire…
My fave pic from last year’s picnic …. love the look she gave Rusty, I hope she’s President one day 😉
7:0 President Obama speaks at a picnic for Members of Congress (it’s over)
President Barack Obama talks with senior advisors before a phone call with President François Hollande of France in the Oval Office, June 27, 2012. Pictured, from left, are Larry Pfeiffer, Director of Operations, the Situation Room; Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics; Caroline Atkinson, Special Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs; National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling; Elizabeth “Liz” Sherwood-Randall, Senior Director for European Affairs; and Chief of Staff Jack Lew. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)