Beautiful

President Obama presents the 2010 National Medal of Arts. Enjoy. (Mouse-over).

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan read the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham” to students at the Library of Congress.

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Jon Stewart is annoying as hell lately, but once in a while, he reminds me why I use to love him.

NBC/WSJ poll: 62% against stripping public employees’ bargaining rights

Not that Walker could care less, but….

Strong majorities of Americans say they are comfortable with states requiring their employees to pay more for their retirement and health care to balance state budget deficits, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

But the public is adamantly against eliminating public employees’ collective-bargaining rights — as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is pursuing.

In the poll, a whopping 68 percent find it acceptable requiring public employees to contribute more of their pay for retirement benefits; 63 percent are fine with requiring these employees to pay more for their health-care benefits; and 58 percent are OK with freezing public employees’ salaries for one year.

But just 33 percent say it’s acceptable — and 62 percent say it’s unacceptable — to eliminate these employees’ collective-bargaining rights as way to deal with state budget deficits.

In addition, 77 percent believe that public employees have the same collective-bargaining rights (when it comes to health care, pensions, and other benefits) that union employees who work for private companies have.

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Wednesday morning mishmash

Hi guys,

1. Today’s schedule:

10:00 AM PBO and VPB receive the presidential daily briefing.
10:30 AM PBO meets with senior advisers.
11:00 AM  
12:00 PM  
12:30 PM Carney briefs the press.PBO and VPB meet for lunch.
1:00 PM  
1:45 PM PBO awards the 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal; Michelle Obama also attends.
2:00 PM  
3:00 PM  
4:00 PM  
4:30 PM PBOand VPB meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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2. Recovery!

Feb. ADP employment rises 217,000

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Private-sector employment rose 217,000 in February, according to Automatic Data Processing Inc.’s employment report released Wednesday. Employment in the service-producing sector rose 202,000, while employment in the goods-producing sector gained 15,000. For January, ADP reported that private payrolls gained 189,000, compared with a prior estimate of 187,000. On Friday, the government will report on February’s nonfarm payrolls, which also include government workers, and economists polled by MarketWatch are looking for a gain of 200,000, and for an unemployment rate of 9.1%.

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3. Fascinating column from Thomas Friedman

This is just the beginning

Future historians will long puzzle over how the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, in protest over the confiscation of his fruit stand, managed to trigger popular uprisings across the Arab/Muslim world. We know the big causes — tyranny, rising food prices, youth unemployment and social media. But since being in Egypt, I’ve been putting together my own back-of-the-envelope guess list of what I’d call the “not-so-obvious forces” that fed this mass revolt. Here it is:

THE OBAMA FACTOR Americans have never fully appreciated what a radical thing we did — in the eyes of the rest of the world — in electing an African-American with the middle name Hussein as president. I’m convinced that listening to Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech — not the words, but the man — were more than a few young Arabs who were saying to themselves: “Hmmm, let’s see. He’s young. I’m young. He’s dark-skinned. I’m dark-skinned. His middle name is Hussein. My name is Hussein. His grandfather is a Muslim. My grandfather is a Muslim. He is president of the United States. And I’m an unemployed young Arab with no vote and no voice in my future.” I’d put that in my mix of forces fueling these revolts.

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4. Yes, please do this!

Harry Reid: The president’s going to take the budget fight to the American people

President Barack Obama will take the U.S. budget battle “to the American people” so they can weigh in on proposed GOP budget cuts, the top Senate Democrat said.

“The president’s going to take this to the American people because the only message that we have from the Republicans is to wipe out programs that are so important to people, especially people who can’t help themselves, the middle class and other programs,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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5. NYT editorial:

Mr. Obama’s Health Care Challenge

President Obama had a splendid idea this week. He challenged governors who oppose his health care reforms, most of whom are Republicans, to come up with a better alternative. He has agreed to move up the date at which states can offer their own solutions and thus opt out of requirements that they oppose, like the mandate that everyone buy health insurance and that most employers provide it.

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The catch is that a state’s plan must cover as many people as the federal law does, provide insurance that is as comprehensive and affordable, and not increase the deficit. That won’t be easy for the governors to accomplish, and House Republicans seem unlikely to pass the bill to let them try. They would much rather repeal the reform law — or have it declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court — than join Mr. Obama in improving it.

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6. And on the same subject, here’s Rachel and Ezra Klein talking about the brilliance of PBO’s trap to GOP governors. PUT UP OR SHOT UP!

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7. Do not miss this BRILLIANT eclectablog post!

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 8. And check out your “Liberal Media” at work:

CNN proves Not all Protest Movements are Reported Equally

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