Monday morning mishmash

Hi guys,

1. Today’s schedule:

9:00 AM Jill Biden give remarks to the spouses of state National Guard Adjutants General.
9:45 AM PBO and VPB receive the presidential daily briefing.
10:00 AM Carney convenes an off-camera gaggle.
10:40 AM Michelle Obama and Jill Biden make remarks at the National Governors Association meeting.
11:00 AM PBO and VPB meet with a bipartisan group of governors.
12:00 PM  
1:00 PM  
2:00 PM  
2:10 PM PBO meets with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
3:00 PM Carney briefs the press.

 

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2. I’m pretty sure this is the strategy: Let’s make PBO complacent, but it’s entertaining nevertheless:

GOP reality check: Obama looking tougher to beat in 2012

Just four months after posting historic election gains, Republicans are experiencing a reality check about 2012: President Barack Obama is going to be a lot tougher to defeat than he looked late last year.

Having gone from despondency in 2008 to euphoria last November, a more sober GOP is wincing in the light of day as they consider just how difficult unseating an incumbent president with a massive warchest is going to be, even with a still-dismal economy.

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Much of the GOP realism is rooted in a long-standing truism of American politics – that absent a major crisis of confidence, it’s highly difficult to defeat a sitting president.

But aside from the traditional advantages of incumbency, Republicans are also fretting about the strength of Obama’s campaign infrastructure, the potential limitations of their own field and, particularly, the same demographic weaknesses that haunted them in 2008.

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3. Allow me to say “AMEN” to Krugman here:

That Iraq Feeling

I don’t watch cable news, or actually any kind of TV news. But I gather that there’s a virtual blackout on the huge demonstrations in Wisconsin, except on Fox, which portrays them as thuggish and violent.

What that makes me think of is January-February 2003, when anyone watching cable news would have believed that only a few kooks were opposed to the imminent invasion of Iraq. It was quite spooky, realizing that hundreds of thousands of people could march through New York, and by tacit agreement be ignored by news networks whose headquarters were just a few blocks away.

And it’s even more spooky to see it happening all over again.

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4. Recovery!

Income of workers climbs 1.0% in January

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The income of American workers saw the biggest increase in January in a year and a half, owing largely to a temporary payroll tax cut that took effect that month.

Personal income jumped a seasonally adjusted 1.0% in the first month of 2011, while consumer spending rose a smaller 0.2%, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

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5. President Obama toasts the nation’s governors:

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6. Finally, the president made a very short cameo at the Oscars last night, picking his all time fave movie song: As Time Goes By from Casablanca.  Such a romantic fool. :)

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Well, well, well, check out the New York Times actually doing their job

Over the past few days, the NYT published some excellent stories and editorials – finally exposing the Republicans true face. On Friday there was this great article titled The War On Women. Today, Frank Rich’s column about the true meaning of the “budget fight” is mind-blowing, but the cherry is the lead editorial, telling the facts about the crazy cuts those crazy people wants to make. Below the column, there’s this little note:

In coming days, at the bottom of this page, we will further explore individual penny-and-pound-foolish cuts the House Republicans want to impose, their lack of impact on the deficit and their real-world impact, often on the most vulnerable Americans.

Now, How about that?

The Ambulance-Chasing media really wanted a new Iran Hostage Crisis. President Obama didn’t cooperate. How rude!

Hi guys,

So, as Rachel Maddow said the other day, President Obama waited until the very last American was out of Libya, before he “dropped the hammer” of severe sanctions. Yesterday, the president went one step further, and said that It’s time for Gadhafi to go.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has called on Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to leave power immediately, saying he has lost the legitimacy to rule with his violent crackdown on his own people.

With that shift Saturday, Obama dropped the careful condemnation, threats of consequences and the reminders to Gadhafi’s regime about its responsibility to avoid violence.

The president called on Gadhafi to step down for the first time, saying the Libyan government must be held accountable for its brutal crackdown on dissenters. The administration also announced new sanctions against Libya, but that was overshadowed by the sharp demand for Gadhafi’s immediate ouster.

“The president stated that when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now,” the White House said.

 

Obviously, they don’t mention the real reason the president kept relatively silent during the previous week – probably because it doesn’t fit the narrative that this shallow, clueless, ambulance-chasing media wanted to build – but the public saw hundreds of Americans getting safely out of that hell, and nothing is more important. Maybe that’s why the president is back to 50%  in yesterday’s Gallup, and the media will  have to keep looking for their next “Black Jimmy Carter” moment. Good luck with that. 

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On a different matter, thanks, Jovie, for the link to this lovely slideshow from yesterday’s rallies.

Have a great Sunday, good people.

Rachel Maddow: Literally minutes after all Americans were safely out of Libya – The President dropped the hammer

Hi guys,

First, I want to thank you for the pouring kindness displayed yesterday. I hope this will continue to be a welcoming, productive and positive place for you to visit – even if we really don’t have to agree on everything. We are all human, including the president.

Thanks.

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1. Here’s Rachel, once again, being one of the very few people in the media still worthy of the title “Journalist”.  She can be a child sometime, but more often than not, she is the only one actually thinking out there, and after listening to Ed Schultz, one really learn to appreciate the difference. WordPress won’t let me embed MSNBC clips, so you’ll have to click here.

The president’s Executive Order regarding Libya Sanctions is here.

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2. Personally, I just can’t get over this Robert Gates quote:

“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it”.

Amazing.

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3. Billion Dollar, Baby:

 
President Barack Obama will file the official paperwork within weeks to begin collecting money for his re-election campaign in 2012, which will cost more than his successful 2008 run, top aide David Axelrod told CNN this week.

In an exclusive interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, Axelrod said field organizers would begin fanning out in targeted states by early spring to kick off the campaign effort.

“You know, I think we can have people there pretty early,” Axelrod told King. “We believe very strongly in grassroots organizing. We believe that elections are determined not by … political decisions made in Washington, but by decisions that people make at the grassroots, and that the most effective salespeople for a ticket or party or candidate are neighbors talking to neighbors.”

Calling such campaigning a “labor intensive process,” Axelrod said “we’ll have people working very, very soon,” adding: “I think the process will begin in the spring.”

While he refused to offer a specific figure for the expected cost of the re-election effort, Axelrod did not object when King noted some Obama loyalists have suggested the cost this election cycle could exceed $1 billion.

In 2008, Obama raised more than $700 million in what was the most expensive presidential race in history.

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4. Good one from Booman:

Will Their Heads Explode?

The White House makes an announcement:

“The White House is set to make news and history this afternoon when it announces the new social secretary. Jeremy Bernard, currently the chief of staff to the U.S. ambassador to France, will become the third person to hold the job in the Obama administration. But he will be the first man and the first openly gay person to be the first family’s and the executive mansion’s chief event planner and host.”

Now, I could make some jokes about how much better the music is going to be, but my real concern is for Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Paul Broun of Georgia. Will their heads explode? Some people might ask who will be the first to shoot them, but that would be in bad taste and quite possibly merit a visit from the Secret Service. So, instead, I will inquire about their health. Do you think they’ll be okay? I mean, Mr. Bernard has been serving in France.

France!

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5. Yea, Sullivan is still on suspension from the blogroll after his lame budget-meltdown, but for those who didn’t see it, he had a very good piece yesterday about the president’s decision to stop defending DOMA in court.

….Meanwhile, the gays are ecstatic – a little too ecstatic in my view. Not to say I am not extremely gratified by the DOJ’s decision. Just that I recognize its limits. As Obama used to say: no sudden moves. But his legacy on gay rights is beginning to build into a historic one. Yes, I have complained loudly in the past. My loyalty is to the issue, not the president. But he is coming through – more cunningly than most of us grasped.

Which is not the first time one can say that on many issues, where Obama’s caution and incrementalism have begun to create a legacy that is deeply unsatisfying in the present but looks rather substantive from the rear-view mirror.

All I can say to Andrew is:

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6. Weekly Address:

3 Months, 1.5 million views, 1500 members, one adult in the room

Hi Guys,

I hope this won’t come across as too self-congratulatory (Just a little bit ;)), but i do think that we deserve a bit of a celebration.

It’s been exactly 3 months since I opened this place, certain it’s going to be me and couple of dozens people talking to ourselves. What happened since, is simply overwhelming. Right now, we’re just about to reach 1.5 million views and 1,500 members. In three months. I can’t even fathom the meaning of it.

So, to mark this moment, here’s a little video I made. I want to dedicate it to CR,  founding of Pro President Obama  blog. CR is a loyal, tough and incredibly humble supporter of the president, and she’s the one who gave me the push and encouragement to go on with this blog. Thank you, my girl.

I hope this video will speak to and for anyone here and out there, who is doing their best to provide this great president with a bridge over troubled water.

Thank you all for being here. I love you.

Friday morning mishmash

Hi guys,

1. Today’s schedule:

9:30 AM
PBO and VPB receive the presidential daily briefing.
10:00 AM  
11:00 AM
PBO and VPB meet with Democratic governors.
12:00 PM  
12:30 PM
PBO and VPB meet for lunch.
Carney briefs the press.

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2. Don’t Bump My Atoms!

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3. This is good:

Boeing Wins $35 Billion Tanker Contract, worth of 50,000 UNION Jobs

The Air Force has given a major boost to U.S. job creation by awarding a $35 billion contract to build the next generation of air refueling tankers to Boeing Co. The announcement was made at the Pentagon late this afternoon after the financial markets closed.

Boeing was locked in a competition with European-based EADS, which builds the Airbus, for what is the largest contract in Air Force history.

Boeing said the tanker win would mean a total of 50,000 good union jobs across the country. The Air Force delayed the awarding of the tanker contract until after the November elections.   

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4. President Obams’s statement regarding the encouraging situation in Algeria:

I commend the Government of Algeria for taking an important step forward today by formally lifting the State of Emergency that has been in place in Algeria for 19 years. This is a positive sign that the Government of Algeria is listening to the concerns and responding to the aspirations of its people, and we look forward to additional steps by the government that enable the Algerian people to fully exercise their universal rights, including freedom of expression, association and assembly. The United States is committed to continuing our cooperation with the Government of Algeria as it works to represent and meet the needs of all Algerians. We will also continue speaking up for universal freedoms, justice and the dignity of every human being.

 

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5. This is the best comment I’ve seen on-line, regarding the stunning stupidity of the Ed Schultzs of the world.

And *this* is how it should actually be done, but honestly, comparing Rachel Maddow to Ed Shcultz is a bit of an intellectual insult….

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6. But I was told that he is going to kill Social Security!

Obama administration officials are rejecting the idea of making major changes to Social Security

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7. The inaugural meeting of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness:

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8. Hey, gotta have priorities. Can’t beat Lady Gaga…

Social Media Stars: Lady Gaga, Barack Obama, Starbucks and Family Guy

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“What President Obama has done in two years on gay rights and other issues is just breathtaking”

Hi guys,

1. Today’s schedule:

9:30 AM PBO receives the presidential daily briefing.
10:00 AM PBO meets with senior advisers.
10:45 AM VPB meets with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka and presidents of AFL-CIO labor organizations.
11:00 AM  
12:00 PM  
1:00 PM Carney briefs the press.
1:45 PM PBO holds a meeting with the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
2:00 PM  
3:00 PM PBO meets with Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner.
4:00 PM VPB delivers remarks at an event honoring the life and legacy of Tom Lantos at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
5:00 PM  
6:00 PM  
7:00 PM  
7:15 PM Barack and Michelle Obama  host music legends and contemporary major artists for “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House”; Joe and Jill Biden also attend.

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2. Recovery!

Weekly jobless claims decline to 391,000

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits declined last week by 22,000 to 391,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected initial claims in the week ended Feb. 19 to drop to a seasonally adjusted 405,000 from a revised 413,000 the week before. In addition, the four-week average fell to a more than two-year low, down 16,500 at 402,000. Continuing claims, which reflect the number of people already receiving state unemployment compensation, dropped 145,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.79 million in the week of Feb. 12. About 9.16 million Americans were getting some kind of state or federal benefit in the week ended Feb. 5, down 89,782 from the prior week.

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3. Recovery!

Jan. durable goods orders up 2.7%

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Orders for U.S.-made durable goods rose 2.7% in January on stronger demand for civilian aircraft, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The increase in total orders was very close to the 2.5% gain that was the consensus forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch. This is the first increase in durables in four months. Orders for December were revised up sharply to a decline of only 0.4% from the prior estimate of a 2.3% decline.

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4.  Here’s Professor Tobias Wolff talking with Rachel Maddow about PBO’s, well, “breathtaking” gay rights record.

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5. NYT Editorial:

Mr. Obama Moves Against Bias

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The president’s decision is a major advancement for protecting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. It firmly skewers what has been bad law and complements the recent Congressional repeal of the government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” prejudice suffered by gay men and lesbians serving the nation in the military.

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The reversal seems likely to redound into the next election cycle — a fight very much worth having. As a candidate three years ago, Mr. Obama opposed the defense of marriage law but would not endorse same-sex marriage, instead supporting civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. In December, Mr. Obama said his feelings on the subject were “constantly evolving.” Wednesday’s decision raises the hope that they are evolving in the right direction — equal rights for all Americans.

Meanwhile, it is stirring that the president has done the right thing on the marriage law. He has scored Congress’s shabby violation of constitutional rights that supposedly protect all Americans, not just a selected majority in an election year.

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6. Recovery!

President Obama’s Economic Report Says 2010 Marked Year of U.S. Recovery

The U.S. economy last year continued to recover from the worst economic crisis in more than 70 years, according to an annual White House report to Congress.

Though the economy still faces obstacles of high unemployment and uneven global growth, the report said the current recovery is expected to continue and gain stronger footing after the loss of millions of jobs during the recession.

“The economy has shifted out of rescue mode into the growth phase where we’re trying to get the growth-rate up and hiring-rate up,” Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in a conference call with reporters yesterday.

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A major element of administration plans to ensure faster growth is Obama’s goal of doubling exports from $1.57 trillion in 2009 to $3.14 trillion a year by the end of 2014, the report said.

In the first three quarter of 2010, the report said, exports surged by 17 percent compared with the same year-ago period, representing “a significant step toward that goal,” according to the report.

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7. Recovery!

Trucking Stocks Signal U.S. Economic Recovery Entering New Expansion Phase

Companies that act as brokers for trucking services are gaining favor with investors as the 20- month-old rebound shifts into a new phase that’s less dependent on inventory restocking.

The so-called asset-lite truckers such as Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc. and C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. lease vehicles for businesses that need to ship goods, so they have more cost flexibility than companies that own and operate most of their trucks. Shares of these brokers have risen 6.9 percent since July 30, 2010, compared with a 1.5 percent decline for operators including Celadon Group Inc. and Werner Enterprises Inc., according to two new Bloomberg indexes.

“We are way past the early cycle rally,” and now see “sustainable elements to the recovery,” said Benjamin Hartford, transportation analyst at Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co., who co-wrote Baird’s 2011 freight-outlook report. As the rebound matures, investors will find “greater resiliency” in companies with flexible costs.

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8. Dear Republicans, if you lost Goldman Sachs….

GOP spending cuts would hit economy hard

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The more federal spending Congress slashes this year, the greater the potential drag on economic growth, according to a new analysis from Goldman Sachs.

In a research note, economists at the Wall Street bank estimate that the House GOP’s spending bill — which would cut $61 billion between March and Sept. 30 — could reduce economic growth by 1.5 percentage points to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters.

Last week, the Federal Reserve forecast the economy would grow between 3.4% and 3.9% this year.

The drag would be less if lawmakers decide to cut only $25 billion, which Goldman believes is more likely.

Goldman estimates a 1 percentage point drop in growth in the second quarter but adds that “would quickly fade over the next two quarters as spending stabilizes at a lower level.” And by year-end, a $25 billion reduction would have “little effect … on the rate of real GDP growth,” Goldman economists concluded.

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9. Recovery!

 GM posts fourth-quarter profit

Culminating a year in which the venerable auto manufacturer launched an IPO, General Motors earns $500 million on revenue of nearly $37 billion for the fourth quarter, and sees 2011 off to a “strong start.”

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10. Nothing can escape him:

President Obama calls for freeing Cuba political prisoners

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11. Here’s something for all of us to spread:

President Obama’s budget priorities

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12. Man, I love Joe Biden:

“You have a president who I admired before I took the job but I have come to admire in a way that is hard to even explain. I watched this guy make incredibly difficult decisions every single day.” Biden told the audience. “I think you are going to see not only the United States but him sort of sprout their wings a little bit.”

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