Again, president Obama is two steps ahead of the rest. And how he quietly changed Washington

Two terrific items, proving for the 47284718473 time that there’s president Barack Obama, and then there’s basically all the rest.

First, this NYT story, revealing that PBO sensed all the way back in August that the ME is about to explode:

WASHINGTON — President Obama ordered his advisers last August to produce a secret report on unrest in the Arab world, which concluded that without sweeping political changes, countries from Bahrain to Yemen were ripe for popular revolt, administration officials said Wednesday.

Mr. Obama’s order, known as a Presidential Study Directive, identified likely flashpoints, most notably Egypt, and solicited proposals for how the administration could push for political change in countries with autocratic rulers who are also valuable allies of the United States, these officials said.

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Then there’s this TIME story marking the second anniversary of the recovering act. The verdict: Americans are stupid if they can’t see what a great president this guy is! Okay, that’s not really the verdict, but this is the kind of stories that must be pushed and published, and it’s time for the White House PR department to start flooding the air with such stories:

 President Obama is often mocked for failing to change Washington …. but behind the scenes of the Beltway perpetual-conflict machine, he has made quiet progress towards reforming Washington — not politically, but bureaucratically. The most important reform, launched two years ago today, was tucked inside his unpopular stimulus package, and inside his new budget, he’s trying to expand it.

The reform is a simple concept that certainly ought to be post-partisan: Harnessing the power of competition in the spending of taxpayer dollars …. Obama has tried to divert funds into competition-based, peer-reviewed, results-oriented grant programs that reward only the worthiest applications. The best-known is the Race to the Top education program, but the stimulus hatched similar competitions in energy, transportation, housing, health care and broadband. And Obama’s 2012 budget proposes new races to the top in everything from juvenile justice to workforce development to agricultural research.

The $4.35 billion Race to the Top program … shows how competition can create laboratories for change. By setting clear goals and guidelines … the program encouraged 41 states to change laws or policies before the feds even spent a nickel the impact of a program that amounts to less than 1% of the education budget will extend well beyond the twelve states that won grants.

At his Cabinet meeting today, Biden will present the good news of the Recovery Act, which helped avoid a depression, reduced the unemployment rate by 2%, cut taxes for 95% of Americans, bailed out every state to prevent mass layoffs, funded over 75,000 projects to upgrade roads, parks, sewers and just about everything else, and made unprecedented investments renewable energy, health information technology, broadband, the smart grid and much, much more — with no earmarks and virtually no fraud. But to Washington Republicans it’s the “failed stimulus.” That was their story in 2009, when they opposed it en masse, and after their sweeping victories in November, it’s hard to see why they would want to change it. Anyway, most Americans believe it.

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Recovery!

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -The index of manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region jumped in February to its highest level since January 2004, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported Thursday. The Philly Fed business condition index rose to 35.9 in February from 19.3 in January. The increase was much stronger than expected. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected the index to tick higher to 20.8.

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Thursday morning mishmash

 Hi guys,

1. Today’s schedule:

9:30 AM

PBO and VPB receive the presidential daily briefing.

9:55 AM

PBO holds a meeting on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

10:00 AM  
11:00 AM  
12:00 PM  
12:15 PM

PBO and VPB meet with House Democratic Leadership for lunch.

12:30 PM

Carney briefs the press.

1:00 PM  
1:45 PM

PBO signs the John M. Roll United States Courthouse Bill.

2:00 PM  
3:00 PM

PBO departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base.

VPB holds a Recovery Act Cabinet meeting.

3:15 PM

PBO departs Andrews Air Force Base en route San Francisco, California.

4:00 PM  
5:00 PM  
6:00 PM  
7:00 PM  
8:00 PM  
8:45 PM

PBO arrives in San Francisco, California.

9:00 PM  
9:45 PM

PBO meets with business leaders in technology and innovation.

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2. BREAKING: All those Democrats who stayed home in November because they wanted to punish the president or the party – welcome to your new life. You punished yourselves. Listening to the not-so-bright Ed Schultzs of the world, you’d think the president himself voted these lunatic governors into office. Blah, blah, blah.

Here’s the president interview with TMJ4 in Milwaukee yesterday, where he said that this is an assault on unions.

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3. Like a true sellout, the president yesterday promised a full funding of the $900 million Land and Water Conservation Fund for only the third time in its existence.

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4. More from the government of, by and for the people. Gotta love Austan Goolsbee.

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5. This is just wonderful:

Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach to Retire with Full Rank and Pension

Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, who fought his discharge from the Air Force under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, will be allowed to retire in October with his full rank and pension.

The South Bend Tribune reported on the news about the Notre Dame graduate and decorated 20-year veteran of combat flight.

“It was a great sense of relief. I didn’t expect it,” said the 41-year-old Fehrenbach to the newspaper.

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