President Barack Obama meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Thomas Brandon, and FBI Director James Comey to discuss what executive actions he can take to curb gun violence
There is no pleading ignorance about nooses. When you use a noose against a Black person, everyone knows what you mean. Everyone one knows the threat, violence, and racism it represents. Everyone knows that you are terrorizing Black people
3:50 CT: Meets with community leaders to discuss immigration reform; Copernicus Community Center, Chicago
4:35 CT: Delivers remarks on immigration reform; Copernicus Community Center, Chicago
6:25 CT: Departs Chicago
9:20 EDT: Arrives White House
Nerdy prepared a beautiful post yesterday on the President’s day, but we held off because of events in Ferguson. So, here it is:
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden applaud Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel for his years of service as he announces his resignation in the State Dining Room of the White House
Stevie Wonder is greeted by President Barack Obama after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a White House ceremony. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors
Actress Marlo Thomas
Golfer Charles Sifford
Journalist Tom Brokaw
Congressman John Dingell
Author Isabel Allende
Congressman Abner Mikva
Writer, curator, and activist Suzan Harjo
Robert Battle, the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recieves a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama on behalf of dancer Alvin Ailey
Actress Meryl Streep
Stevie Wonder smiles while showing off his Presidential Medal of Freedom
Hey, Happy Birthday to two of my fave Pete Souza pics – President Obama with Senior Advisor David Axelrod following an event at the Costa Mesa Town Hall at OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., March 18, 2009
The Week Ahead:
Today: At 11:40 President Obama will announce his intent to nominate Thomas Perez as Labor Secretary. In the afternoon, he will deliver remarks at the Women’s History Month Reception in the East Room (4:40). The First Lady will also attend
Tuesday: In the morning, the President will meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland in the Oval Office, and subsequently he will attend the traditional St Patrick’s Day lunch at the U.S. Capitol. During the day, the president will also greet First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Northern Ireland at the White House.
In the evening, the President and first lady will host a reception to celebrate their fifth St Patrick’s Day at the White House.
Later in the evening, the President will depart for Israel.
Wednesday: The President will have separate meetings with Israeli President Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. He will also hold a joint press conference with Netanyahu.
Thursday: The President will meet with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and will tour a youth development center with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad. Later in the day, the President will deliver a speech to the Israeli people at the Jerusalem International Convention Center. He will also hold a joint press conference with Abbas.
Friday: The President with meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan and later will hold a joint press conference with Abdullah.
Saturday: The President will return to Washington, DC.
Independent (UK): Two senior Iraqi politicians told Western intelligence that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction on the eve of the 2003 invasion – but their warnings were ignored …
Vital intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq 10 years ago was based on “fabrication” and “wishful thinking”, the BBC Panorama documentary claims. While information from highly placed Iraqis was dismissed as unimportant if it indicated that Hussein did not have WMD, tip offs from low-ranking Iraqis were eagerly lapped up if they reinforced what George W Bush and Tony Blair wanted to hear, it is claimed.
Paul Krugman: Ten years ago, America invaded Iraq; somehow, our political class decided that we should respond to a terrorist attack by making war on a regime that, however vile, had nothing to do with that attack.
Some voices warned that we were making a terrible mistake — that the case for war was weak and possibly fraudulent, and that far from yielding the promised easy victory, the venture was all too likely to end in costly grief. And those warnings were, of course, right.
There were, it turned out, no weapons of mass destruction; it was obvious in retrospect that the Bush administration deliberately misled the nation into war. And the war — having cost thousands of American lives and scores of thousands of Iraqi lives, having imposed financial costs vastly higher than the war’s boosters predicted — left America weaker, not stronger, and ended up creating an Iraqi regime that is closer to Tehran than it is to Washington.
So did our political elite and our news media learn from this experience? It sure doesn’t look like it…..
Washington Post: President Obama will formally nominate assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez as the next labor secretary on Monday, White House officials said, marking the first Latino selection to Obama’s second-term Cabinet.
Perez, 51, a first-generation Dominican American, is a former Montgomery County Council member who has overseen the civil rights division in the Justice Department since 2009. If confirmed, he would replace Hilda Solis, who resigned in January.
Steve Benen: Last week, President Obama sat down with George Stephanopoulos, and when the discussion turned to the national debt, the president shared a simple fact: “We don’t have an immediate crisis.”
For reasons unclear, the comment was not well received by Republicans and many in the media, with some suggesting a bipartisan debt-reduction agreement may be dependent, at least in part, on Obama saying the opposite.
But then a funny thing happened. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled his budget plan, and it also conceded there is no immediate debt crisis. Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner made the same concession to Martha Raddatz…..
Greg Sargent: GOP officials, unwilling to concede anything in new revenues to reach a compromise that would replace the sequester, have taken to claiming that the sequester is a “victory” for them, since they wanted spending cuts all along. But is being the party of austerity-only-and-forever really a sustainable long term position?
A Republican pollster is now warning his fellow Republicans that it isn’t…..
Business Insider: Republican strategist Karl Rove took a big swipe back at former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Sunday, a day after Palin mocked him during a rousing speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
…. “I appreciate her encouragement that I ought to go home to Texas and run for office,” Rove said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I would be enthused if I ran for office to have her support ….. if I did run for office and win, I would serve out my term and I wouldn’t leave office midterm.”
AP: With Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas back in the nation’s capital, Washington Capitals fans weren’t going to let him forget his skipped trip to the White House.
At Game 3 of the Bruins-Capitals playoff series Monday night, several spectators showed up with pictures of President Barack Obama and signs taunting Thomas. In January, he didn’t show up when the rest of the Bruins were invited to the Stanley Cup champions’ traditional visit to the president’s office.
Thomas, born in Michigan, said at the time he believes the federal government “has grown out of control.”
Morning everyone – I’ll be back in a while with Rise and Shine
President Barack Obama talks with student Rebecca Hyndman before visiting classrooms at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., Sept. 16, 2011. Hyndman, a Senior at Thomas Jefferson, shows the President the patent she received in 2010 for her invention, Under-Floor Storage. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama speaks before signing the America Invents Act
President Obama visits a classroom and watches students Meghan Clark and Nathan Hughes demonstrate the FIRST Robot, a robot created in the school’s prototyping and robotics senior research labs for last year’s FIRST Robotics Competition, at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. Later in the morning Obama signed the America Invents Act, which reforms patent law so to give a patent to the first applicant rather than the first inventor and allows the woefully underfunded U.S. Patent and Trade Office to set and potentially keep its own fees.
Rachael makes the same great point as Jonathan Freedland in the UK Guardian earlier this week: “…One former foreign minister who has seen the president up close believes that Bin Laden’s scalp will lead other world leaders to conclude that, to paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, “Obama may speak softly – but he carries a big stick”…”
Thank you Dorothy 😉
Michael Tomasky (The Daily Beast): Ground Zero’s Politics Are Over – Obama’s low-key appearance at the Twin Towers site today has finally neutralized the area blatantly politicized by the GOP.
Without saying a single word, but in the simple act of showing up … silently laying a wreath, and respectfully speaking with dress-uniformed officers flanking him, Barack Obama managed to neutralize what has arguably been the most potent piece of Republican iconography of the last decade: its total political ownership of 9/11, and of Ground Zero itself.
….Starting today, they can’t use it anymore. How it must grate their cheese that it was Barack Obama – crypto-Kenyan, effete urbanite, paller-around-with-terrorists – who turned these tables! What’s been playing out in the four days since the killing of Osama bin Laden – the Republican insistence that Bush deserves credit too, the claim that torture must be given its due, and all the rest – is equivalent to, and about as charming as, a bully’s incredulity that a smaller but nimbler foe has bested him.
….Today’s appearance by Obama simply provides the symbolic capstone. It’s no wonder that Bush snappishly sees today’s event, according to a New York Daily News story, as an Obama “victory lap.” Ground Zero was his. Now it’s not. (Imagine the ceremonial orgiastics we’d probably be enduring right now if Bush or John McCain had brought OBL to justice.)
I know we’ve all had enough of yesterday’s man, Donald Chump, but LoriahR sent me a link to a really powerful piece by Etan Thomas on the CNN site:
Donald Trump’s most recent challenge to President Barack Obama took me back to my collegiate years at Syracuse University. I had studied for two weeks straight for a calculus class, harder than I had ever studied in my life. After I completed my exam, I was confident that all my hard work had paid off.
But the next day, my professor greeted me with accusations of cheating, saying three-fourths of the class had flunked. How could I possibly have managed to get a B minus without cheating?….
….The president should not have to prove anything to anyone. Yet, he has handled every unmerited insult with nothing but grace and class. He has risen above every act of insolence, and proved them all wrong….
….It is a sad situation that a man who has earned a degree from Columbia University, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, has been elected as president of the United States and received a Nobel Peace Prize has to continuously prove himself as a man worthy of respect. He simply shouldn’t have to.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic): ….What many white people fail to realize is that though Barack Obama and his family are unique to them, they are deeply familiar to black people. …we do live next door to them … We went to church and played in summer leagues with people like them. I went to college with people like them. This is not to slight Barack Obama’s truly remarkable story, nor the indispensable labor of the people who raised him…..
To see that country manifested in the White House is the sort of boon that you can’t really attach to statistics. But for those of us who are waging the fight against a crippling cynicism, who are urging our children on, who visit schools and begin our addresses with, “I remember when I was just like you,” the First Family is perhaps the greatest weapon in our arsenal.
….when broad sections of this country foolishly follow a carnival barker in the ugly tradition of attacking black citizenship rights, when pundits shriek that Obama’s successes are simply the result of the misguided largess of white people, they undermine our most intimate war. They undermine the notion that someone familiar to that kid on the corner could legitimately reach the highest levels of the country, that someone like that kid’s Aunt could be the First Lady. They undermine this country’s social contract, and the “hard work pays” message of my parents. And to that we object.
For if they will not take as legitimate a magna cum laude from their highest institutions, if they will not accept a man who tells black kids to cut off the video games and study, who accedes to their absurd requests one week, and slays their demons the next, who will they accept? Who among us would they ever believe?
Andrew Romano and Daniel Klaidman (Newsweek): ….the most obvious effect of Abbottabad is that it vindicates the president’s approach to the war on terrorism, and removes from the Republican arsenal the argument that he is a weak, naive, bumbling humanitarian. It is difficult to imagine the 2012 contenders questioning Obama’s commander-in-chief chops, as Republicans have done to Democrats for decades, and were hoping to do again. Why? Because that particular line of inquiry now gives the president a priceless opportunity to remind voters that he accomplished in two years what George W. Bush was unable to accomplish in eight. As rebuttals go, it’s a good one.
Less obvious is the fact that Abbottabad might also vindicate Obama’s broader approach to presidential leadership, which has always emphasized calculating, technocratic, goal-oriented tenacity over “Mission Accomplished” theatrics.
The problem with the Obama-Carter comparisons, which have been regurgitated by 2012 hopefuls such as Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty in recent months, is that they overlook the real-world results of Obama’s supposedly knock-kneed management: universal health care, Wall Street reform, a depression-averting stimulus package, the end of the Iraq War, and now, bin Laden’s head.
As much as Pawlenty & Co. might disagree with Obama’s policies, it’s hard to deny that the president has a knack for getting (most of) what he wants …. “The way Obama made this decision was very similar to way he makes domestic decisions,” says historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. “Gathering the info, talking it out, then making the most rational call.”
New York Post: A few months ago, 14-year-old Payton Wall, who lost her father on 9/11, bared her grief in a 1,500-word letter to President Obama. “I never thought he’d respond,” Payton said yesterday, after she was embraced by the president at Ground Zero following the wreath-laying ceremony. “I was so shocked when the White House called! It was all a dream come true.”
In the letter, which the Rumson, NJ, teen said is “too personal” to share with the public, she told Obama about her father, Glen Wall, who was an executive at Cantor Fitzgerald when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers.
On Monday, the day after Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs, the president was given his daily handful of letters from Americans to read, and Payton’s stood out, White House officials said.
…The next day, the White House called her mother, Diane – who didn’t even know Payton had written the letter, officials said. Obama invited Payton, her mother and her sister, Avery, to yesterday’s ceremony. Payton spent days practicing a strong handshake, but in the end Obama gave her a presidential bear hug.
NY Daily News: Christopher Cannizzaro was still in diapers when his firefighter father was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. And Thursday the 10-year-old wanted President Obama to know his daddy died a hero.
“I was talking to him about my dad and my necklace,” said the Staten Island fifth-grader, showing a small medallion with a photo of his father, Firefighter Brian Cannizzaro, in uniform in front of an American flag. “Then he said, ‘I feel bad for your dad.’ He was being really open to me about everything,” said Christopher, who greeted Obama with a fist bump.
The boy gave Obama a prayer card with his dad’s picture and the President put it in his pocket. “He said, ‘Thank you, it was truly an honor to receive this from you,'” Christopher said. “It made me feel great; it meant the world to me that he was talking to me.”
The 6-foot-1 leader of the free world stared the pint-size kid in the eyes and solicited his opinion about a subject that has captured the attention of the world. “He asked how I felt about Osama Bin Laden being dead,” the boy said. “I said he could have done something a little less harsh to him, but it was nice to just know that after what happened to my dad, this guy was killed, too.”….
(This made me smile: “I said he could have done something a little less harsh to him, but it was nice to just know that after what happened to my dad, this guy was killed, too.” Sweet.)
Thomas Friedman (NYT): There is an old saying in the Middle East that a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee. That thought came to my mind as I listened to President Obama trying to explain the intervention of America and its allies in Libya – and I don’t say that as criticism. I say it with empathy. This is really hard stuff, and it’s just the beginning.
When an entire region that has been living outside the biggest global trends of free politics and free markets for half a century suddenly, from the bottom up, decides to join history .. well, folks, you’re going to end up with some very strange-looking policy animals. And Libya is just the first of many hard choices we’re going to face in the ‘new’ Middle East.
….The truth is that it’s a dangerous, violent, hope-filled and potentially hugely positive or explosive mess – fraught with moral and political ambiguities…
That’s why I am proud of my president, really worried about him, and just praying that he’s lucky.
Unlike all of us in the armchairs, the president had to choose, and I found the way he spelled out his core argument on Monday sincere: “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And, as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”
I am glad we have a president who sees America that way. That argument cannot just be shrugged off, especially when confronting a dictator like Col. Qaddafi…
… most of all, I hope President Obama is lucky. I hope Qaddafi’s regime collapses like a sand castle, that the Libyan opposition turns out to be decent and united and that they require just a bare minimum of international help to get on their feet. Then U.S. prestige will be enhanced and this humanitarian mission will have both saved lives and helped to lock another Arab state into the democratic camp.
Dear Lord, please make President Obama lucky.
Full article here – Thank you for the link Dorothy
President Barack Obama with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, August, 2010
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following joint statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address:
“America’s working families and business community stand united in applauding President Obama’s call to create jobs and grow our economy through investment in our nation’s infrastructure.
“Whether it is building roads, bridges, high-speed broadband, energy systems and schools, these projects not only create jobs and demand for businesses, they are an investment in building the modern infrastructure our country needs to compete in a global economy.
“With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO standing together to support job creation, we hope that Democrats and Republicans in Congress will also join together to build America’s infrastructure.”
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue