Thursday morning mishmash

Hi guys,

1. Today’s WH schedule:

First Lady Michelle Obama visits Columbia, S.C. to highlight the intersection of Let’s Move! and military readiness.

Gibbs briefs the press.

7:00 AM
8:00 AM
9:00 AM
9:45 AM President Obama and VP Biden receive the presidential daily briefing.

10:00 AM
10:15 AM President Obama and Biden meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

11:00 AM President Obama meets with his national security team for his monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan; Biden, Secretary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder will be among the attendees.

12:00 PM
12:45 PM President Obama and VP Biden meet for lunch.

1:00 PM
2:00 PM
2:30 PM President Obama participates in a YouTube interview with Steve Grove.

3:00 PM
4:00 PM
5:00 PM VP Biden attends a reception for the Democratic National Committee.


2. You can spend the entire day watching the WH live stream, with the main dish at 2.30pm EST – A live YouTube interview with the president.


3. Recovery.

AP survey: Outlook for 2011 economy is brightening

WASHINGTON – Employers will hire more workers this year, and the economy will grow faster than envisioned three months ago, according to an Associated Press survey that found growing optimism among leading economists.


4. Recovery.

New-home sales rise to 329,000 in December, highest since April


5. Slow recovery.

Weekly jobless claims climb 51,000 to 454,000

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – New applications for unemployment benefits jumped last week by 51,000 to 454,000, partly because poor weather caused administrative backlogs in four Southern states, the Labor Department reported Thursday. A labor spokesman said snowstorms earlier in the month forced unemployment offices in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina to open fewer hours and process fewer claims. A reduction in the backlog contributed to the sharp increase in new claims, the spokesman said.


6. E.J. Dionne

Be ready for the paradoxical phase of Barack Obama’s presidency. Many things will not be exactly as they appear.

Paradox No. 1: Because over the next two years he can’t get sweeping, progressive legislation through the Republican-led House, Obama will be doing far more to make the core progressive case that energetic government is essential to prosperity, growth and equity.

// snip

The era of no politicking is over. This speech laid out a rationale for the Obama presidency that stands a chance of enduring through Election Day 2012. The choice is between backward-looking Republicans who talk grumpily about government spending and “Obamacare,” and forward-looking Obama Democrats who would use government—carefully and efficiently, of course—to restore American leadership and a humming, innovative economy.

This Obama is all about balance. Notice that when he spoke of making regulation less intrusive, he actually defended rules protecting our food, water and air. His overarching case was also nuanced. “Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation,” he said. “But because it’s not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout our history, our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need.

// more


7. Joe Conason:

….The president cannot expect the Republicans to move his agenda forward during the next two years, but he can start to demonstrate why their own agenda is empty and stagnant.


With grace and openness, Obama invited the Republicans to engage those issues, as well as the more immediate debates over health care, taxes and the budget. He reminded them and the public that Democrats stand for fiscal equity. He urged the nation’s millionaires to give up their obscene tax breaks and set forth a deal to close loopholes and lower rates if every corporation pays its share of taxes. He explicitly rejected cutbacks that would fall most heavily on the most vulnerable and offered a spending freeze far less destructive than that proposed by the Republicans.

// more


8. Bunch of excellent reads from TNR:

1. President Obama isn’t caving to business. He’s shrewdly co-opting it.

2. The Barack Obama you heard speaking to Congress was the Barack Obama who ran for president in 2008. And I think he’s here to stay this time.

3. Obama At His Best. The president’s excellent, nationalistic State of the Union address


9. OFA watch parties made the news. This is cool.


10. Hilarious.

Sarah Palin’s Incredibly Clever State of the Union Joke

Former Governor of Alaska and alternate-universe U.S. President Sarah Palin was on Fox News host Greta Van Susteren’s show On the Recorder to talk about the State of the Union. And she packed her bag of zingers!

You see, on Tuesday the president gave a speech about salmon to the winners of a contest. He called this speech “Winning the Future,” because he is secretly a comic actor playing the president in a critically-acclaimed satirical British television show about middle-management culture right now we are losing the future, to THE POLITICO, and this was sort of a “half-time speech.”

// More hilarity plus video



137 thoughts on “Thursday morning mishmash

  1. Rachel was in her element last night. She took on CNN and the Tea Party Express last night. CNN is simply pathetic!


  3. Rachel let us know that President Obama has moved the center to the center NOT to the Right as the PL and frustrati have so often complained.

    Another good piece by her last night.

  4. I think the whole concept of sacrifice is going to be a constant theme for the next 22 months. The American people have had to make many sacrifices, cutting back on spending, dealing with less, sending sons and daughter, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers off to combat, some never coming back and some coming back less than whole.

    So yes, the government has to make some sacrifices, but even more importantly, to help those who have been forced (with emphasis on the word forced) to make sacrifices, it is time for those who haven’t had to make them, the top 2%, to make a teensy-tiny sacrifce, like pay a little more in taxes.

    The same for those corporations who have made obscene profits on the backs of those who have had to make sacrifices. The President, in his speech, came off as very patriotic, loving his country, and he is going to use that as a central motivating force to push the rest.

  5. I believe Michelle Obama is on Oprah today – a show dealing with Military Families.

  6. Thinking about the proposed five year budget freeze, I think it could be a way in which the DOD money is targeted for reduction. Locked into the budget, if people want increased spending on infrastructure, education and R&D it’s going to have to come from somewhere else in the budget. So the choice can be sold as a choice of “Infrastructure or M-I-C”?, “Education spending or M-I-C”?

    And odds are that those discussions would be job neutral, or potentially showing that spending on infrastructure or education or R&D would actually create a net gain of jobs.

  7. A must see – the First Lady has a shown a tremendous commitment to the well being of our military and their families. Love her for that and so many other things!

  8. Good morning, ALL! Great mish mash as usual, BWD. I was flipping channels and stopped on Faux when I saw the quitter and heard her say that incredibly stupid thing. Guess she has not faced up to the fact that she is s-o-o-o-o done. Over. Yesterday’s poster girl for the crazies.

    Also noticed that the woman is looking old. Cheeks sagging. Pale under the pounds of make-up. Meow! Hee hee. I know, the righties will say I’m being mean because she’s s-o-o-o beautiful. How about because she’s so-o-o-o-o stupid and s-o-o-o-o jealous of President Obama.

  9. My issue with them showing it is that it paints the tea party as the frige right and “moderates” the Paul Ryan Republican party, and frames them between the liberal Obama and the fringe Bachmann as the safer split-the-difference mushy middle choice.

    Would they have aired a progressive caucus response? Also if there was a progressive caucus response but no tea party response you know the story would be all about fractures in the Democratic base that they need to rebut their own President. Where is that story for the right – pitting Republicans against the teabaggers?

  10. So Palin brings the “WTF” acronym to Fox News?

    Somebody should facebook or twitter her and play dumb, asking “I saw you on Fox last night and you seemed to be having fun with saying WTF – What does that actually mean/stand for?”

  11. The increase in unemployment is a bummer, but look where a lot of it is – Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina – and I’ll bet even more of the unemployed are in more southern states. Just the places where we get these insane politicians who want no spending for jobs, no unemployment benefits, no health care, no nothing for their citizens who are really suffering. You think slavery is gone, think again.

  12. I think it is important to remember that a lot of what Obama talked about was throwing down the gauntlet to the Republicans, specially those in the House. He cannot dictate a budget freeze, so he is saying that if they are really serious about this deficit thing do something and I am giving you a starting point.

    There was a lot of that going on in the speech. He is daring the republicans to show they are serious about working with him, cutting the deficit, being willing to make hard decisions, etc.

    As a side note, and showing the shallowness of the network news. Katie Couric last night talked about SS, and how this is the first year that outgo is higher than income, and this is 5 years earlier than expected. Now, on one level, she is absolutely correct. However, she did not point out that the major reason for this is the economy and high unemployment. Secondly, she did not point out that the SS reserve is still sufficient to pay full benefits for another 20+ years. The way she reports it makes it seem that SS is part of the reason for the deficit, when it most clearly has nothing to do with the deficit. SS could disappear completely tomorrow and the deficit would not be reduced one penny.

  13. This isn’t really an increase in unemployment, rather in first time claims. The South really got hit hard with weather which delayed a lot of people from filing or having enough people to handle those that wanted to file. A portion of these numbers is backlog. Additionally, some people weren’t able to work because of the weather and filed for that reason. Expect those numbers to drop next week.

  14. I know we over here in BWD heaven tend to not want to bring “NEGATIVE” or “UNINSPIRING” news, messages or links over here, but I have to this morning to make an important point. Okay the progressives/liberals have ranted for the last 2 years that Social Security is SOLVENT and that it wasn’t in any danger of going broke….Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news;_ylt=AvJyu_HRvwvYFKoCoEjKpM9H2ocA;_ylu=X3oDMTJsbW92MDQ4BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwMTI3L3VzX3NvY2lhbF9zZWN1cml0eQRjcG9zAzIEcG9zAzIEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNzb2NpYWxzZWN1cmk-

    Here is the reality that none of us want to admit. Either SS retirement age will have to raised to 69, OR the tax rate will have to be raised on EVERYBODY and not CAP at 106,000 OR benefits are going to have to be slashed. That is the REALITY that some progressives refuse to come to terms. SS is going broke mainly because from here on out 10,000 baby boomers will be retiring for the next 20 years and it will bankrupt the SS trust fund. It didn’t help that the payroll tax was decreased this year but it was because Obama wanted to help boost economy but he is going to have to make the case that in order to make sure this thing doesn’t go broke we are going to have to make some serious adjustments. It is time for a “ADULT” talk with the nation regarding SS.

    Last point I want to make about some progessives. We all know that for the past 10 years middle class families have been in the crossfire of this recession and the rich have gotten richer and the ones who are suffering are lashing out at anyone daring to touch SS, Medicare, Medicaid, raising taxes, freezing spending, etc. BUT the reality of it is Obama is going to have to come to terms that he may have to break his promise on taxes on middle class. He may have to tweak SS, Medicaid and Medicare in order to salvage it from going under, but some progessive don’t want anything touched which is not facing reality. We all don’t want anything to happen to those entitlement programs but the fact remains that more dollars are going out than coming in and that is unsustainable.

    It time to have an adult conversation with the country about entitlements and its time to have them soon.

  15. Great mish-mash as usual. I can’t thank you enough for pulling all this information together. I could find it if I spent all day looking, but now I don’t have to, and I have intelligent rebuttals for the frustrati. Which they NEVER respond to! What a shock.

  16. donna, I also thought Rachel’s analysis of President Clinton v. President Obama was excellent. I have long thought exactly this about Clinton’s Presidency and the comparison with Obama’s Presidency. President Obama has the country and political milieu he inherited from at least 30 years of conservative policy and propaganda. He can neither change it by himself or overnight. I think he is doing an admirable job under the circumstances.

  17. I think President Obama said just what he had to say in the State of the Union address, but I must admit, I am a little uncomfortable with the idea of “American exceptionalism”, as I believe all creatures are uniquely exceptional (even centipedes, brrr), and it sets up an “us and them” theme, which I don’t like. However, as I said, it has a distinctly American appeal, and I doubt very much that the President would want us to succeed at the cost of anyone else’s failure.

  18. Oh, to what depths we’ve fallen in search of ratings. Wonder what Ted Turner thinks of brainchild now.

  19. This is rich. The breathtaking hypocrisy of the GOP about the deficit and spending knows no bounds.

    Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office warned lawmakers that the budget picture was poised to get worse again, projecting a $1.5 trillion deficit this year.

    Summarizing the thoughts of many, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told Roll Call, “I think everyone is in a collective state of shock right now over the CBO numbers.”

    Really? Why is Congress so surprised? Frankly, I’m a little shocked by their collective state of shock.
    It’s unclear to me why Republicans aren’t confronted with hysterical laughter when they claim credibility on fiscal issues. This is a party that inherited a massive surplus a decade ago, when we were actually paying off our debt. The GOP proceeded to squander the surplus, add $5 trillion to the debt in just eight years, and then demand Democrats clean up their mess.

    When Dems did just that and the deficit picture started to improve, Republicans then demanded tax breaks that once again made the budget shortfall worse.

  20. About raising the retirement age: I have long thought that this makes sense, given that people live so much longer than they used to. Part of me still believes that. But it would require some change of mindset about older workers. For one thing, I just feel so old at work; some of my co-workers could be my children, I’m not as technologically proficient as they are, etc. I need to change. Fortunately I have an employer who I don’t think will drop me as I get older and more expensive. But many people do live with that threat hanging over their heads. I think we need more protections of older workers and a different attitudes about hiring older people.

  21. However, I did not like rachels snark comparing this PRESIDENT with Eisenhower! Things back then were different! HELLO!

  22. Michelle just got a thunderous welcome on Oprah, introduced for the last half hour. (Oprah on in a.m. in Chgo) Spoke about how she came to make the cause of military families one of her prime causes. While campaigning, she was meeting with groups of women, thinking if Barack won presidency, she would make their lives and problems, trying to balance it all, her cause. Then she began to hear from military spouses and the unique and really tough road they have and decided their stories needed to be heard and paid attention to.

  23. I don’t touch it. It’s the Republicans fault – they want Obama to be the bad guy cleaning up the mess they made, quite possibly on purpose I may add.

  24. Well, a poll out yesterday had 2/3 rds of the people in California apporving of the 12.5 billion dollart tax INCREASE that gov. brown made!
    Overall, they apporve of his budget 58%!

    Illionois gets high marks for tax increases as well!
    But, this will not get headlines.
    What is happening is, people would rather pay a little more than have their benefits CUT!

    Thus, republicans fear mongering is backfiring!

  25. When will the Democrats start making that case? It’s getting ridiculous. What was the deficit and debt when Bush took over for Clinton? What was the deficit and debt Bush left for Obama?

    It’s staring them right in the face. Shout those numbers from the rooftops. The Bush Admininstration spent like it was going out of style and slashed taxes because they knew it’s political suicide to try and raise taxes, so the deficit/debt would have to be addressed by cuts – and they didn’t want to make the cuts because it’s politically unpopular, so they passed it on to the next admininstration.

  26. Elly, the older one gets, the more ones body, and often mind, let one down. There are not all that many people who actually CAN work after 65 due to all kinds of physical problems, and blue-collar work is the worst of all. I am 68 and I know there is no way I could be working again without being a terrible burden on the company and my fellow employees. No company would keep me on the payroll and I’d be an old lady on welfare with no Medicare until SS finally kicked in.

  27. I think you are right. It would help also if companies would pay for older workers to go back to school and get more training to update their skills. Older workers should be willing to go back if it would salvage their jobs from someone else. It is definatly a mindset that companies have as well as workers that needs to change. Both of my parents are still working and one is 70 and the other 67 but if you look at them and they way they act you would think they were in their 50’s. They are always on the go and always keeping up with the latest technology, they listen to the latest music that’s out as well as listen to their era’s music. They are both are in education so it helps also that they are around kids all the time. My parents both have ipods and my mom has an iphone which she loves. The point is you have to make sure you don’t appear dated, which helps with working with a lot of young people.

  28. Agree with you 100% Proud! When you are that ugly on the inside it will eventually come out and will reflect on your outside appearance. She is so done but her few followers are hanging on and defending her. I get a kick out of the ones that call in to the progressive radio shows arguing on how smart and qualified she is to be president. I have not heard one intelligent person call in, most sound like they are poor and uneducated, sadly.

  29. I did not see Katie’s report but I have seen so many others that do exactly the same thing. I am still not sure within my own mind whether these news readers and their producers have zero knowledge of the subject or are being intellectually dishonest.

  30. I realized that Palin lacks political talents and has some very sketchy personal beliefs and qualities. What I didn’t realize was that she also indulges in childishness. I read that piece and thought, “she can’t be serious.” That’s such an amazingly immature response to a very serious policy platform which was articulated in the SOTU. This space has so aptly described President Obama: “the only adult in the room” indeed.

  31. Tweety is coming around these days, except for one thing. He keeps saying that POTUS will need to have unemployment at 8% in order to get re-elected!
    I do NOT think 8% is realistic with all the republican obsrtuctionsism! JUST saying, he is putting a goal that is unrealistic! SIGH!

  32. How did we become this uneducated and uninformed as a nation? I know the Republicans have been destroying public education for over 40 years, and Fox has been spreading ignorance wholesale; but even so it seems their success has been remarkable.

  33. Thanks for the article Nonie. I don’t think that this space has any sort of problem with bad news at all so long as it’s reality-based. I personally favor eliminating the payroll tax cap. Everyone in the country benefits from a solvent class of seniors; I think that the logic underlying the cap is outdated.

  34. I’ll just add—the first half hour was heartbreaking, with a family dealing with a husband/father who came home with horrific, life-long debilitating injuries, a mom who lost her son etc.
    Michelle talked about this big campaign that she and Jill Biden are launching in March to increase awareness, to provide outreach and support and improvement in the lives of military families– govt. and biz and private citizens working together to end vet homelessness and do all they can to ease the lives of mil. families, that everyone in every walk of life can do something. And they told of a website—gov.serve, I think, where the public can learn of ways they can help.

  35. Please, friends. I don’t think its constructive to repeat Republican talking points and it undermines this site’s credibility. Social Security is solvent. We don’t need to raise the retirement age. Not everyone works in an office; can you picture yourself at 68 working outside in 95 degrees with a migraine and a bad back? My husband would be.

    And may I suggest we don’t link to right-wing “journalists” to make our point, like Stephen Ohlemacher of AP. Here’s an interesting compilation of his take on things.

  36. From Japan

    “More than a quarter of shoplifters arrested in Japan in 2010 were over the age of 65, police have said, as the number of pensioners committing the crime hit a record high.

    In an annual report, the National Police Agency said 27,362 pensioners were arrested for shoplifting in 2010 – almost equalling teenagers.

    Most of them stole food or clothes rather than luxury items, the NPA said.

    Japanese society is ageing rapidly and its economy remains stalled.

    More than 20% of the population are now over the age of 65 – a figure which is expected to rise to about 40% by 2050.

    A police official told the Mainichi newspaper that pensioners were shoplifting not just for financial reasons “but also out of a sense of isolation peculiar to the age”.

  37. ^DCSandy, yes it is… 😉

    First Lady, Oprah Talk Military Family Issues

    On March 1, First Lady Michelle Obama will launch a new national campaign to support military families, and she discusses it today during a one-on-one interview with Oprah Winfrey. It will air just as Mrs. Obama is visiting the Army’s Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina today, to highlight the Let’s Move! campaign and combat readiness. (Above: Mrs. Obama and Oprah during the show)

    “Part of the challenge of getting the message out about military families is they never ask for help,” Mrs. Obama told Oprah. “They never ask for help because you don’t do that when you’re in the military. You get it done. That’s how you’re trained. That’s what you’re taught.”

    The strength, pride, and courage of military families is what impresses the First Lady the most about military families, she said.

    “Their willingness to sacrifice without complaint moves me every single time,” Mrs. Obama said. “Whenever I’m feeling bad, feeling sorry for myself, I suck it up because of these families.”

    For the second part of the show, Mrs. Obama and Oprah are joined by journalists Tom Brokaw and Bob Woodward, as well as a young military family.

    The show was filmed last Friday, when Mrs. Obama took a day trip to Chicago, her hometown.

    Check your local listings for “The Oprah Winfrey Show: The Bravest Families In America With First Lady Michelle Obama, Tom Brokaw, Bob Woodward.” It’s the final season of Oprah’s show.

    Today: First Lady Visits Fort Jackson

    Let’s Move! stars & stripes…
    A major snowstorm hit Washington, DC, on Wednesday, but that won’t interrupt First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip today to Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, an East Wing spokesman tells ObFo. Mrs. Obama is making her first Let’s Move! road trip for 2011, and she’ll tour the Army base and participate in a series of activities that highlight the impact of childhood obesity on national security.

    The First Lady will participate in a briefing led by Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, U.S. Army, which will cover the consequences of childhood obesity, poor childhood nutrition and lack of physical exercise for the military. She’ll also visit the “Go Green” dining program, which encourages healthy eating.

    At 1:00 PM, Mrs. Obama will be the guest speaker for 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment’s graduation ceremony on Hilton Field.

    Today, simultaneous with her visit to Ft. Jackson, Mrs. Obama will also appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, to highlight the challenges facing military families, in advance of launching a new nationwide support campaign on March 1.

    On Monday at the White House, Mrs. Obama, joined President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to unveil a new series of initiatives to support military families and troops.

    The video: (Don’t know how to include this.) 😦

    GO First Lady O GO!!! 🙂

  38. How many young recent graduates can’t find any jobs now? You have kids 30+ who have never worked in their field and are basically a lost generation. When that job finally does open up – who is going to get it the 30yr old or the 23 yr old right out of college and up to date?

    We’re going to have pretty epic generational clashes coming. It’s already bubbling with younger folks grumbling how it’s not their $14T debt and deficit, it’s the same baby boomers who lived on credit running up the debt all their adult lives and now the bill is coming due and entitlements are untouchable, while the youngsters who have to pay into it now know they will never see a dime of it.

  39. ====It’s staring them right in the face====

    I totally agree. Why every Democrat in congress, the White House, the DNC, and the Democratic strategists aren’t shouting this from the rooftops is beyond me. They have so much material to work with. The facts are on their side.

  40. I totally agree with you. Perhaps in the future, as HCR creates a new generation of people who have improved health from birth, the SS age of eligibility should be reviewed. But now? I don’t think it’s a good idea at the present time.

  41. They are waitng for pubs to make a mistake, like not voting for debt increase! And then, this will be an all out strategy to slam pubs! You watch!

  42. Exactly! They held everybody hostage in December until they got tax cuts for the wealthy. And now they are shocked that the deficit has increased because of that.

  43. Roscoe, Some days you can be a real troll. Seniors have paid into one specific system all their working lives and are entitled to those benefits. Something will develop for the young ones just starting, and if it can be SS as it is now, it will be. No one is going to have generations starving without relief!

  44. I am right at the age where they are thinking of extending SS age, 55yrs old. It has already been extended to 66yrs old for full SS and MC benefits. I am ready to retire now if I could. I work in an office, dealing with numbers, computer changes every six months. Surprisingly it is getting harder for me to adapt to many of these changes compared to when I was 10 or 20yrs younger. I personally think that they should lower the retirement age to 55 or 56 and remove the cap. SS is not just for people who reach old age, it includes disabled younger people who live a whole lot longer, it includes rich people who pay into it and are entitled to it. I disagree with means testing SS or reducing it based on your wealth. Even wealthy people can have a downturn in fortune or get sick. Americans still need a safety net to protect the weakest of it’s citizens. Many seniors who retire also take care of grandchildren and volunteer. I would rather give back to my community than be a burden in the workplace. If the retire age is reduced, it would open up jobs to the 30 and 40 somethings who have been out of work for two and three years.

  45. More Positive Economic News:

    General Motors Co has withdrawn its application for $14 billion in subsidized loans from the U.S. Department of Energy, saying it has the financial strength to fund investment in more fuel-efficient and electric vehicles.
    Orders for U.S. Capital Equipment Climb for Second Month
    Caterpillar Net Tops Estimates; Sees 2011 EPS Near $6

  46. I think the president will support raising the retirement age in his second term. That’s the impression i got from listening to him on the subject in recent years, and this was the one thing he didn’t mention on Tuesday. This is a very very difficult decision, and he’ll take it after 2012, I’m almost sure.

  47. I understand your point. However, since he is so respectful of others, since he never misses an occasion to compliment other cultures, when he’s travelling in other countries or when heads of State come in Washington, I find President Obama’s use of “American exceptionalism” language not really offensive.

    I think he understands fully the precarious position the USA are in right now. And that the only way out is if ALL the country is rallying behind a big, sustained effort towards education and innovation. So HOW to motivate americans to do it ?? By appealing to two character traits of a good portion of the american people: optimism, and the desire, the pride to be “number one”. Classic teacher trick.

  48. I am so sorry, BWD, to have to say that knowing my physical problems at age 65-66, if I thought what you just said were true, he’d never get another dime from me.

  49. I go for the intellectually dishonest answer. Or, to add a third option, they are lazy. It would take an extra 30 seconds to explain the whole thing, but that would cut into time needed to present some fluff story.

  50. Want to edit something

    It will 10,000 baby boomers PER DAY for the next 20 years that will be retiring.

  51. Streaming at right now…..Austan Goolsbee taking questions on the State of the Union and the economy. To be followed by questions on foreign policy with Denis McDonough.

  52. I’m not saying that they’ll do it in 2012. I’m saying that they’ll agree to do it in 2035. But it’s just my impression, of course. It’s not the PL inventing stuff that isn’t there.

  53. It makes me so mad. Because the Village could pick up on it and create a powerful narrative. And it would be so stupid and so arbitrary. I think we should push back and write to him.

  54. The mindset was decidedly different in Eisenhower’s time, but I think she addressed that somewhat by pointing out how Clinton continued Reagan’s move to the right. I often wonder if we would have regressed so much if we had never had such an influx of talk radio and cable “news” programs.

  55. Whatever. I’ve just telling you what feelings are out there.

    In 1970 the debt was $370B, 1980 – $907B, 1990-$3.2B, 2000 – $5.8B, 2010 – $13.5B.

    So a boomer born in 1950, from the time they’re 20 until now the debt has gone up $13B in forty years under their watch. From 36% of GDP to 84% of GDP.

  56. Poor sister Sarah, she can’t help herself she just keeps talking even though the whole world thinks she is not making sense anymore not thta she did before. The good thing the rest of America is begining to know what the rest of the world already knows.

  57. And the Dems are responsible for what part of that? Give PBO a chance to fix and repair things before trying to scare people.

  58. It is easier to take what is offered rather than to form one’s own opinions, and there has been a preponderance of low-level-consciousness shows on television and on the radio. In a culture with too much information, too many workplace and personal demands, too little time and too few rewards for thoughtfulness, everyone is stressed.

  59. It would be grandfathered in. Nobody on either side is suggesting raising it instantly. More like the 35 yr olds now will have to wait until they’re 67 to collect sorta deal. 45 yr olds until they’re 66 etc.

  60. Unless by 2035 people up to 70 years of age are in tip-top physical and mental condition, roaring like a 30 year-old, raising the age does nothing for those who are ill except make their lives even more of a hell. Last thing you need ever, at any age, is poor health then coupled with financial poverty.

  61. Well, Roscoe, I am a baby boomer and I certainly do NOT live on credit, nor do many of my babyboomer friends, though I know a great many younger people that do. This is not the issue, however. I understand full well that the opportunities that were there for my generation are not there for younger generations. I believe it is all of our responsibility to work to change the culture to make sure younger generations do have the same opportunities as did the babyboomers, but we’ve regressed a long way since Eisenhower (as Maddow pointed out) and there is much work to be done. Raising the retirement age is a thorny issue as it would mean there would be even less jobs for younger generations.

  62. Sending you warm wishes from warm and sunny California! Don’t go to work, just go out and play in the snow.

  63. Is raising the retirement age the new miracle cure for mental and physical problems caused by old age? Got heart disease? Raise the retirment age on SS and cure it. Senility? Cancer? Crippling arthritis? Bad hips and knees? Get the new miracle cure for it!

  64. I think you are right, Lovepolitics, and, as I said, I think he said what the American people wanted, and perhaps needed, to hear. I do not fault him for it. I have just always been personally uncomfortable with the idea of any country’s “exceptionalism”. Ideally, I wish we all thought of ourselves as world citizens.

  65. I agree, overseasgranny. The Dems better figure out how to raise revenue in other ways, preferably from giant corporations and the uber-wealthy rather than from the sweat of the working and middle class. Or my grandchildren will only know of the Democratic Party in past tense.

  66. The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has used $181 million in Recovery funds to clear a backlog of federal loan applications and provide assistance to minority and beginning farmers.

    FSA initially received $173 million in Recovery funds for its Direct Operating Loans, which can be used to buy equipment, livestock, feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, insurance coverage, or to make repairs to fences and buildings. The agency said that the $173 million was later increased by $8 million.

    Prior to receiving the funds in February 2009, FSA had a backlog of 1,783 loan applications totaling $130 million. By the end of March 2009, the agency had processed the applications and awarded the loan amounts. FSA awarded the rest of the money in spring 2010. The agency says the average amount of a Direct Operating Loan is $50,000.

    FSA anticipates that approximately 2,750 family farmers and ranchers who applied for a Direct Operating Loan will receive financial assistance as a result of the Recovery funds. More than half of the loans went to minority farmers and those just starting out, two groups that receive preferential consideration under federal law.

  67. Well from what I understand of this SS debate our brilliant Pres set the GOP up. They have to bring this unpopular argument to the American people, not him. I notice they already talking back their original stance on this issue. Check mate. 😀

  68. That is what has just happened over here in Ireland. The government that has just been thrown out and won’t be back in the running again for at least 10 years decided to raise money from the aged, the blind, the poor and the disabled instead of the developers, bankers and the uber wealthy. The wrath of the public has been furious and brought down the government.

  69. Here’s a bit of news from Australia that is instructive to the issue of raising taxes for specific social needs.

    As I’m sure we all know, the northeast of Australia has been hit by literally biblical floods since before the New Year, causing about $10 bn worth of damage. Yesterday, the government passed a temporary special tax to raise $5 bn to go towards the rebuilding effort.

    Imagine that. A tax RAISE, to deal with an emergency, and no one’s said boo about it. Can you imagine the same thing happening here for Katrina aid, or Gulf cleanup? Someone up-thread mentioned that us Californians support the Brown budget, including the tax increases. But we’ve been living day in and day out with the disaster that our finances are, and we’re finally sick of it — which is a big reason why we voted to eliminate that idiotic 2/3 requirement to pass a budget. Will the broader US public realize that things aren’t free, and they have to be paid for one way or another? Of course, I favor slashing the defense budget and putting the money to social, job-creating needs. Perhaps we’re at a point where such a move will finally be considered feasible.

  70. I also have to say -take note of what is happening today in Algeria, Tunisia and Yemen. People are fed up with being kept poor, hungry and in bad health with no jobs by oppressive governments.

  71. Don’t forget Egypt. If the Egyptian gov’t falls, no autocratic regime in the ME will be safe.

  72. Not only is it difficult for people to work in physically-demanding jobs past current retirement age but it is also for unemployed seniors to fond work. They are more expensive to hire, both because of experience and increased health insurance premiums. Keeping seniors employed longer also deprives young people of potential jobs since turnover decreases. Far better would be to raise the cap on SS taxes from the current level.

  73. Nonie, They are covered. SS has no problem until 2035 and that is 25 years from now. But that is one heck of a lot of jobs opening up if it is 10,000 per day.

  74. ****AXELROD outlines strategy for post SOTU****

    While indicating that Obama will focus on cutting the deficit “in a responsible way” in the coming years, Axelrod also stressed that the president would not wholeheartedly embrace the rigid austerity politics currently being pushed by the GOP. “Dealing with spending is part of the equation, but it’s not the only part of the equation,” Axelrod said from the Roosevelt room. “And reducing the debt and dealing with spending is not in and of itself a growth strategy. And that’s where we may maybe have a philosophical difference [with Republicans].”

    He continued:

    The President doesn’t believe that it is enough simply to cut the budget or reduce the debt or reduce the size of government. In the world in which we live, if we do that and don’t educate our citizens and lead the world in that; if we don’t innovate; if we don’t have kind of basic infrastructure that we need to be competitive, then we’re not going to prevail.

    And so as we cut, we’ve got to do it in a responsible way and make sure that we’re not cutting those very things that are going to allow us to continue to be a dominant economic force and create opportunity for our people.

    Axelrod seemed confident that a debate over these differing approaches to the coming budget, which will be released in mid-February, would work to the administration’s advantage.

    Part of what the President did last night and what he’s doing today in Wisconsin and what he’ll continue to do relentlessly is make the case for this growth agenda, for this strategy, to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the world.

  75. Her opening segment on Pres. Obama’s SOTU was excellent. Why couldn’t she and KO have spent more time covering the Pres. like that over the past two years, instead of giving all that air time to Repubs????

  76. I watched Austan- I really like him, I missed the beginning though and will have to go back and watch the whole video of it later. But really this is such an awesome enterprize, taking these questions and providing answers that I think will fit into the knowledge base of just average folks.. hopefully lots of folks are tuning in.

  77. And unfortunately it will get worse for Japan, as, unlike the US, they don’t allow for massive immigration. The US is aging as well, but our immigration policies allow enough young workers in to keep replenishing the labor pool, and thus support Soc Sec. For cultural and historical reasons, Japan does not want to do that. However, unless it wants to face a total collapse of its society, it may have to reconsider its antipathy towards importing workers.

  78. Good catch! I did forget Egypt because the demonstrations there have just begun, and I agree on the results when the Egyptian government falls, and it will unless the government slaughters and jails thousands of people.

  79. Japan’s debt rating was downgraded today because of their current economy and the dire outlook for its future.

  80. This is from my friend Karen Kohn Bradley’s FB page. Karen is a movement analyst who coaches professional speakers in making effective presentations. She also consults the news media in analyzing body language of speakers. This is what she said of the POTUS SOTU speech:

    State of the Union Movement Mashup
    by Karen Kohn Bradley on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 3:00pm
    (bits and pieces of this are appearing around the internet, but here’s what we saw):

    “(bits and pieces of this are appearing around the internet, but here’s what we saw):

    “Barack Obama has come into his own as a leader. Entering the chamber as rock star/favorite teacher, he clasped hands and kissed cheeks, listened to whispered comments, smiled and laughed as if at a party thrown just for him.

    But at the podium, he sobered. As he began, he looked like the coach of a losing team, and this was the pep rally, designed to get the team back onto the practice field. The tone was serious and his finger wagged at times. Obama kept his arms close in, but the famous distant gaze was also apparent, until that gaze landed on a few folks directly. He was poking at them; they knew it, and he laughed.

    The rhythm changed when he spoke about the new jobs bill; he became upbeat and direct. Now he was the principal again, encouraging everyone to do better and to do right. At moments he laid out his vision, at times he spoke passionately, and at times he was spellbinding, holding everyone’s attention and pushing hard. His moments of humor brought him into more intimate and shared space with the people in the room, as if they truly were all in this together.

    And then the President brought up healthcare. The room shifted; the frowns appeared, not everyone stood up; not everyone clapped. Suddenly, the partisan divide was back, and it was apparent. Even though the Republicans and Democrats were sitting together, it was not hard to tell who was which.

    This called for the Preacher to appear, and appear he did. Mr. Obama hit his phrases like a Sunday sermon-giver. Much more expansive in his gestures, and with punctuations of strong intention, he was commanding and lilting in his delivery.

    President Obama leads from all angles: from above, from the side, from the back, from the front, and he lifts us up as well. Even when we do not agree with what he is saying, we see the authenticity and inspiration he injects into the old tired political machine and it is refreshing.

    Paul Ryan’s response, on the other hand, was as inauthentic a performance as we have seen. Did this man rehearse in front of a mirror? If so, he forgot about the rest of his body, which remained entirely immobile, while his head went for some weird walk on its own. His facial expressions appeared overly practiced, and had lost all connection to what he was saying. His voice had a breathiness that may have been meant to be compassion but instead had over-ripened into some bad musical theatre style. Was he going to burst into song? A hymn perhaps? Unfortunately for the Republicans, Mr. Ryan, who was perhaps auditioning for the role of world leader, will be cast as Eddie Haskell, a role that suits him perfectly.

    We would like to add a word about Sen. Lisa Murkowski, seen on C-Span with several other Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, discussing why they had agreed to sit together, instead of staying within their party groups. Sen. Murkowski has clearly been through a transformative experience. Where once she was brittle and narrow, now she is questioning, even generous in her interactions. She hesitated, considering her answers, and her replies were heartfelt and thoughtful. This is a woman capable of change and growth and we hope to see more of her journey unfold.”

    Karen Studd is Associate Professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University and is affiliated with the Center for Consciousness and Transformation at GMU.

    Karen Bradley is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for the School of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland.

    Both are Certified Movement Analysts in Laban Movement Analysis.

  81. We have a globalization of capital. We need a parallel globalization of labor. The West is aging and needs fresh bodies to maintain its economies. The South has hundreds of millions of willing workers. As capital moves freely, so should labor. The advantage is that as labor moves into the West — as it does into the US — it operates under Western labor laws, which are light years ahead of what the South has, thus evening the playing field between labor and capital.

  82. Yes! We need to get you up on TV explaining that, but the T-baggers will never understand it.

  83. Thank you Sheila and LP!

    Sheila you posted what I was ambivalent about re the SOTU, which is why I coul not be as thrilled about it as others. The thought DID. occur to me that he was being tactical, but that seemed less than genuine. Thank you for putting it all together, LP!

    I adore our POTUS, but not all his moves blow me away. But ONLY because between Rehab Counseling and Subbing, I am familiar with and use some of them. My husband is VP of a major insurance co here (not Health). He calls it “managing people” and he is a beloved boss (she said proudly)

    In my mind, I shall replace “exceptional” with “being the best we can be.”

    Another School Cancellation here. And NOW that I’ve learned distraction is helpful!!

  84. I have an idea. Remember the old CETA work? People would recieve transfer payments while working for social services.Now, while some things may be pretty physically demanding, listening to people, filing papers, and visiting others are not. Many social service agencies suffer from high turnover due to the pay and the need for students who often intern to take more lucrative jobs. What if Seniors could do that work? Many would happily spend the rest of their productive life working at these agencies, sharing their accumulated wisdom and giving back to the community.

  85. Also, if we’re going to talk about raising the retirement age, we need to talk about it in tiers — i.e., make the options different for people whose jobs involve physical labor (or even just being on your feet all day, every day) and those who have desk jobs.

  86. Wasn’t Ryan drafted to give the GOP response after their first choice declined? I don’t envy anyone who has to follow our President as a speaker. Even in ancient times, no one wanted to follow the best orator lest they pale by comparison.

    I have a similar feeling about GOP candidates hesitating to get into the race for their nomination. My visual is of a door marked Party Nomination with several potential candidates trying to push one another through the door and saying, “No, you go.” And “No, no, after you.”

  87. I agree. There is plenty of work that could be done by seniors even on a part-time basis that requires no physical stamina. Many are doing that work as volunteers now. Seniors make excellent consultants, too. Plus in 2035…seniors will be even more comfortable with technology than they are now.

  88. I don’t know why anyone wants to hear what Sarah Palin has to say. I tried to watch the clip above of her “critiquing” the President’s STOU speech and I can’t get through one minute of it before I get all jittery inside and I want to scream. She is so worthless. Why can’t people see that! Yikes.

  89. Plus aren’t a lot of young people of the mindset that SS won’t be there for them when they get older and are better at planning for their retirement?

    Also, SS could become more flexible by changing the way people retire. Let people take partial retirement and hold part-time work for awhile, then at an older age transition to full retirement. Seriously, maybe it’s time to think outside the box about SS.

  90. Eventually we, as political creatures, need to stop caring what she says, period. She is of NO consequence.

    Someone here commented yesterday that since no longer reading the frustrati that he or she (sorry I don’t recall who) had no idea what Limbaugh or Beck were saying anymore.

    How about we care what WE say instead? Our ideas and beliefs matter more than the shock jocks and drama queens.

  91. Clinton did nothing to stem the right-ward tide. He was (and is) a true believer; and because of where he was placed in history, the snowballing of the damage is, to me, more his fault than anyone else’s.

    Times were different. There was a sense that Democrats needed to remake their image as being serious about economic issues and ‘not just throw money’ at a problem. Whether true or not, an alliance with business was not at all unreasonable; and without a more pro-business message Clinton would not have been elected.

    Here’s where I have trouble with Bill Clinton: I don’t believe he really believes in progressive ideals except during elections except that he definitely would like to see universal health care and that kind of government investment. The privatization of government skyrocketed under Clinton (and Gore had a lot to do with that as well). He was in a position to rein it in and speeded it up instead.

    He bought into the Milton Friedman economic model and did nothing to stop Phil Gramm from destroying banking regulation. He was fine with it. There was no reason for that to happen except greed. He did what Ronnie would have done, at a time that he could have made a decent Democratic case for how dangerous it would be. Our economy collapsed 10 years later primarily because of this bill.

    His worst legacy: The Telecom bill of 1996. Without all regulation coming off the media, it would have been much harder for the right wing noise machine to take over the lion’s share of information that Americans receive. For this I will never forgive him.

    NAFTA could have gone either way — he made reasonable arguments at the time that I thought were worth pursuing. It wasn’t long until we saw that the pro-NAFTA arguments were wrong and he should have put the brakes on. He was fine with that as well. Now, when the Left criticizes Obama for not just ending all NAFTA trade agreements, he just can’t. It’s institutionalized globally now — he can only tinker at the edges. And in Obama-fashion he will work with the system as it now exists in order to make some progress.

  92. This is interesting, thank you for posting.
    I think it’s also time to get that Wolf Blitzer is a tea-bagger, and no longer relevant to the conversation.

  93. That’s what I try to do. I don’t watch the cable news anymore and I do not visit Huff Post, etc. I feel much better since I stopped reading and hearing all the negative noise.

  94. The freeze does not include the military, just discretionary spending.

    However, the defense budget, tax cuts for the wealthy must be on the table or no serious discussion exists.

  95. The Sputnik revisionist history was alarming. But more alarming was the ‘spudnut’ moment.

    I was afraid to disseminate this story, but I’ve seen it as a quotation from Greta’s interview and I see no snark tags where I read it.

    A donut shop called ‘spudnuts’ is her answer for the American economy. Educating our people and restarting innovative American spirit — not on her radar.

    If this is not true, please BWD, delete this comment. I still can’t believe even Palin was this stupid, but it is of course possible.

    John McCain should have retired to one of his many mansions and never shown his face again for unleashing her on the American public.

  96. Oh, embarrassing. I’m not following you at all. Are you talking globalization of labor in this country or globally? As far as labor moving as freely as capital?

    Sorry, has been a long day!

  97. My 71 year old husband has no chance of ‘retirement’. He repairs antique clocks. Many days it’s just sitting at the bench. But when he’s hauling heavy movements, weights, and climbing on step ladders to install something heavy, I cringe.

    He also developed essential tremors in his early ’60’s. This is common for older people. He is still able to work but it takes him longer now than it used to. Luckily he started drawing SS when he signed up for Medicare at 65: without that money we would have been in very poor shape.

    Life span increase often does not take into account how well you are able to function as you near retirement age. For many people it gets very difficult and finding work becomes impossible. What are people to do who lose their jobs at 58 and are expected to wait another decade for SS?

    I had heard an idea floated that if you raise the age for wealthier and healthier workers, could you lower it for manual laborers? It’s an idea.

  98. As far as labor moving as freely as capital, not as in our labor standards falling to the level of China or India. Both Western Europe and Japan are aging rapidly. The only solution, as far as I can see, is for labor from the poorer countries moving into Europe and Japan, but obviously with Western labor laws and rights. Right now capital has the upper hand, because it can move freely in search of the cheapest labor. If labor is likewise allowed to move freely, from South to North, the price for labor will rise, somewhat equalizing the relative power between capital and labor.

  99. I understand the point you’re trying to make, Faith, especially the part about early retirement. I retired in 2009 at the age of 56, and if I wasn’t a retired state employee, I couldn’t make it. As it is, I’m doing well because my monthly retirement income is more than enough to pay my bills, but I realize that not everyone ends up the same way. When I retired, I still had to make it through 9 years before I could draw one cent of Social Security.

  100. You’re right. One called in this morning to the Stephanie Miller show, foaming at the mouth about Palin and Bachmann being super smart… He was laughed off the show.

  101. Oh, sigh. The liars.

    My own fear about extending the tax cuts for everyone: had the tax cuts been projected as they normally would have been, 2011 was going to be a terrible year for the deficit. It was bad enough, but Republicans knew that they were burying the biggest explosion of the Bush deficit. Yes, they needed to use reconciliation to get it through, but it also protected them from the truth.

    Mark Kirk, you miserable twit and whose Senate seat I blame on complacent Democrats, were in Congress voting for these tax cuts. So you’re an effing liar, like all of them.

    This has always been my fear: the deficit will explode and now Obama owns the extension of the tax cuts. The only way it doesn’t hurt him is if there are a lot more employed people paying in; and although things are improving they are not improving fast enough.

    The Obama Administration better be ready to shove this down their throats. He can’t afford a minute of them getting ahead of this.

  102. I think the President addressed this when he was in Europe way back when. He said that each country wants to believe their exceptional – that’s what national pride is all about. He was blasted for saying that, of course.

    I come from Canada, and Canadians are generally pretty laid back about this national rah-rah stuff. But a few years back, one beer company put put an ad where a guy came onto a stage and started talking about what it means to be Canadian. And he gets increasingly fired up during the course of the minute or so. At the end, he’s beaming and bursting with pride – and I felt proud of being Canadian, too. The ad created a wave of pride all across the country. It was the first time I had known of Canada approaching the American rah-rah feeling, and it was nice. I know I’ve always told people that I think Canada is the world’s best kept secret.

    I think every country has pride in their positives, and they also have things they’d like to improve. I don’t blame Americans for wanting to feel exceptional, but the courtesy should be extended to other countries, too. Especially as the world gets smaller and more connected.

  103. Re: Sarah and Spudnuts, I found this interesting post from commenter captain_mike over at

    “What is really funny is she can’t even get her Spudnuts lined up in a row. I knew there had been one in Panama City, Florida that is shuttered now so I did a little — very little — digging and come up with certain proof that Sarah is an idiot.

    According to Wikipedia:

    “By 1948, over 200 Spudnut Shops had sprung up across the country. Spudnuts were advertised widely, with the slogan “Coast to coast…Alaska to Mexico”. The cartoon character “Mr. Spudnut” frequently appeared in ads, restaurants, and even in parades.

    By the 1980s, however, the parent company closed, leaving all the franchisees to fend for themselves. The Spudnuts brand lost significant popularity, but it did not disappear completely; some 35 Spudnut Shops in 9 states exist today.”

    Yeah, that’s a business model we need to use for our government alright.”

  104. I agree with you about Bill Clinton, Faith, and Rachel Maddow’s commentary was in the spirit of what you wrote here, though without the details.

  105. I agree 100%. That Bill Clinton is still hailed as a Democratic hero by many who call themselves Progressives is a mystery to me.

  106. Good for you, g, I like that replacement. As I said, I do not fault President Obama. He says and does many things with which I do not agree (though far less than those who went before), but then, they are usually things that are inherent in the contemporary American zeitgeist, and I never had expectations that we would have a President who would reject these things. I think President Obama has a good deal of personal integrity and knows what he can and can’t do within the system and I am grateful that a man such as he is willing to work pragmatically within it and actually accomplish something rather than take rigid stances that might close out all hope of improvement. And I still maintain that his thoughtfulness, serenity, and emphasis on cooperation over conflict is a true gamechanger for our political system.

  107. Good comment, Theo. I agree that all nations have a right to feel exceptional — in fact,all nations ARE exceptional — I just don’t like the idea that this country is inherently better than all the others, especially considering our history, though, as I said, I do not fault the President for talking as he did in SOTU, nor do I believe he wants us to triumph if it means the failure of other countries. And, truth is, an American President CAN’T publicly state we are across-the-board inferior to any other country, though the President did point out ways in which we are falling behind, and then encouraged us to move forward in ways that would remedy this.

  108. One thing needs to be considered before the Social Security age is raised. Life spans in this country are not equal among all ethnic groups. Whites live the longest overall. Raising the Social Security age will exacerbate the current disparity. Our current system has resulted in groups considered minority groups contributing into a system that they disportionately do not live to collect from.

    I am 65 years old. No one in my family, not my father or Mother or either of my sets of grandparents have collected Social Security. The most recent generation because they died before they were eligible, the older generation because their employers were not required by law to contribute during their most productive working years.

  109. Obama has said he’s against raising the retirement age and he is right on. That is a horrible, horrible idea.

  110. Even without GOP obstruction it would be impossible to lower the unemployment that much in 2 years. Obama’s going to have to get re-elected with high unemployment. That’s the reality.

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