“They’ve thrown the kitchen sink at him and he’s still above 50%”

Hi again, welcome to the second Monday’s mishmash ;)

1. Please don’t wake me up!

CNN poll: President Obama at 55%

Benen:

This year, we can say with some certainty that there will be a sizable GOP field, but the fact remains that not one has begun campaigning in earnest. How come?

Publicly, they’re filled with bravado — Obama misread the public, Obama’s agenda has been rejected, Obama’s outside the mainstream, yada yada yada. But behind closed doors, I have to wonder if some of these folks pause to appreciate the fact that they’ve thrown the kitchen sink at the president, and despite all kinds of problems, Obama’s approval rating is still 50% — and climbing.

Does that give some would-be presidential candidates pause? I’d be surprised if it didn’t.

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2. Recovery!

Economists forecast U.S. growth on upswing in 2011

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3. Prepare the tissues. Daniel Hernandez and his father, the parents of Christina Taylor Green and Dr. Peter Rhee will be the guests of the First Lady at the SOTU.

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4. Yea, he has done nothing, the sell-out.

7 Big Green Moves by the Obama Administration

7. Offshore oil and gas drilling bans. It was a bit of an obvious call to put a moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling in the midst of the horrific BP oil spill last year. Nonetheless, it was an important decision. Going further, later on in the year, the administration decided to cut regulatory shortcuts for deep-water drilling projects. It didn’t cut this fast-tracking for shallow-water drilling projects, unfortunately, but at least deep-water projects will receive more oversight. And, in December, the Obama administration extended some of the offshore oil and gas drilling bans that had been implemented in the summer for another 7 years.

6. Fast-tracking of clean tech patent approvals. To help the country roll out promising clean technologies faster, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has had a policy in place for about a year now to significantly speed up clean tech patent approvals. The program is reportedly doing well and helping more clean technology get to market and has been extended for another year.

5. EPA reversed largest Appalachian mountaintop removal permit in U.S. history. In a big move to help protect the mountains of West Virginia and the communities living in or near them, the EPA recently vetoed the largest single mountaintop removal permit in West Virginia history. This was a huge, unprecedented step that hopefully signals a reversal of mountaintop removal coal mining policies in the U.S.

4. Cape Wind, large offshore wind farm near Cape Cod, finally approved. After years of delay, the giant Cape Wind offshore wind energy project in the Northeast, the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., received approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior in early 2010. The offshore wind energy lease was signed a few months later.

3. Clean energy tax credits. Clean energy industries received a lot of support in 2009 when the Obama administration decided to give companies a “tax credit of 30% is for investment in new renewable energy manufacturing facilities and re-equipped or expanded facilities” as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This program has been highly successful at creating jobs and improving the economy and has now been extended for another year (2011).

2. Over $10 billion invested in high-speed rail. Trying to catch the U.S. up to other countries around the world, the Obama administration has dedicated over $10 billion clean, efficient high-speed rail projects around the country. While this has been a topic of controversy lately due to Tea Party leaders’ illogical train hate, high-speed rail is popular in the U.S. and around the world for clear economic, quality of life, environmental, and social reasons.

1. The EPA ruled CO2 a pollutant. Due to the fact that CO2 is a major cause of global warming, the EPA finally ruled that CO2 was a pollutant and needed to be regulated in late 2009. With Congress essentially unwilling to address climate change, this ruling is likely to become a very important way for the U.S. to cut its global warming emissions relatively soon. To get things rolling, Obama recently transferred the regulation of greenhouse gases from refineries and coal plants emitting over 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases to the EPA. (Note: with plenty of support from the courts and science, climate zombies would have to find some really innovative, extreme ways to block the EPA from climate action now that this ruling is in place.)

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5. President Obama, the first AND second lady announces broad new support for military families

Monday morning mishmash (updated)

Hi guys,

1. Yea, the audacity to get things done RIGHT!

TARP gain 27 percent 

Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury’s toxic asset funds have gained 27 percent since they were created to help revive the mortgage-backed securities market, according to data expected to be released later on Monday.

Although furor over the bailout helped Republicans win control of the House of Representatives in the recent election, the government has been recouping taxpayers’ money.

The eight toxic asset funds, run by asset managers such as BlackRock Inc, Invesco Ltd and Marathon Asset Management, are all profitable.

Since the funds were established in 2009, they have used about $5.2 billion of Treasury’s equity investment to buy toxic assets. As of the end of 2010, the funds have gained $1.1 billion to about $6.3 billion, according to the data.

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2. Recovery!

 US firms to increase hiring as optimism returns

Optimism over the U.S. economy is improving and firms are planning to ramp up hiring in the coming months, the latest National Association for Business Economics (NABE) survey showed.

In the fourth-quarter poll of 84 companies by NABE found 42 percent of companies interviewed expect to boost jobs in the six months ahead, a Wall Street Journal report said on Monday.

“That’s up from 29 percent in the first three months of 2010. Only 7 percent in the latest survey predict they will shed jobs in the coming six months, down from 23 percent at the start of last year,” says the report.

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3. Recovery!

Industrial heartland showing signs of life

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4. Sometimes I think that there’s nothing this president loves more than education. A very interesting article: 

Obama Plans To Hit Education Hard In 2011

One thing President Barack Obama made abundantly clear in his first two years as president is that he is at his best when speaking about the issues facing future generations of American voters, now too young to follow the vitriol of most political debates.

For all of the flack he gets for sounding like a “Harvard professor” Obama appeared quite the opposite in Tucson when he eulogized 9-year-old shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green and put the discussion of America’s future in human terms.

He knows this young generation well, living with two of its most famous members—daughters Sasha and Malia, 12 and 9, whom he often mentions in his speeches and weekly addresses.

In large measure, Obama’s goals for his own daughters help frame his compelling case for changes in American educational systems. He wants the U.S. to lead the world in college completion rates by 2020. He wants students to pay less for their education. He wants teachers to be held accountable for the performance of their students.

But his goals are so ambitious that many say they can’t—and won’t—be met.

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5. Did you all read Electablog’ excellent post?

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6. Hey, who cares, let’s blame the president and call him a sell-out or some other stupid name.

Wikileak show Congress prevent Gitmo closing

….In cable after cable sent to the State Department in Washington, American diplomats make it clear that the unwillingness of the United States to resettle a single detainee in this country — even from among 17 ethnic Muslim Uighurs considered enemies of China’s communist government — made other countries reluctant to take in detainees.

Many factors worked to thwart Obama’s plans to close the camps — from a tangled bureaucracy to fears that released detainees would become terrorists. But Congress’ prohibition on resettling any of the detainees in the United States hamstrung the administration’s global search for countries willing to take the captives in.

The U.S. refusal to take in the captives “comes up all the time,” acknowledged a senior Obama administration official of U.S. efforts to find homes for released detainees.

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 7. Get ready to the SOTU with last year’s address. Once again, it’s amazing how he’s done exactly what he said he’ll do.

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8. (Update): Thanks to taiping1, here’s a terrific (long) story about the quick reorganization of the WH stuff. Really good read:

The West Wing, Season II

David Axelrod awoke at three in the morning and checked his BlackBerry. It was January 12, a few hours before Barack Obama would fly to Arizona for the memorial service for the victims of the Tucson shootings, and a few hours after Obama’s speechwriters had handed him a draft of the address he would give there. The president knew well that a big moment was at hand, that what was called for was more than mere eloquence, but a speech that was deeply … his. “I want to work on this,” Obama said to Axelrod upon examining the text. “I’ll have a redraft for you by ten or eleven tonight.”

 

But those hours had passed without any sign of the president’s revisions.

Now, as Axelrod combed his in-box in the predawn darkness, he saw an e-mail from Obama, time-stamped 1:20 a.m. Although the early portions of the draft remained largely intact, the president had thoroughly rewritten the crucial last two pages—from the call for a new era of civility in our discourse to the grounding of that challenge in the imperative of living up to the expectations of the fallen 9-year-old, Christina-Taylor Green. Axelrod recalled the last time his boss had taken such personal ownership of a piece of oratory: his speech on race in March 2008. Obama had labored over that one, too, late into the night, and after reading it in the morning, his message guru e-mailed him back, “This is why you should be president.” The Tucson speech inspired in Axelrod a similar reaction.

 And not just in him. From the left, right, and center, the verdict was nearly unanimous: Here was a speech that was truly presidential, and that therefore—despite being driven by no crass political motives—became part of a larger political story.

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