Wednesday morning mishmash

Hi guys,

1. Today’s schedule:

9:30 AM

PBO and VPB receive the presidential daily briefing.

10:00 AM

PBO and VPB receive the economic daily briefing.

11:00 AM

PBO meets with senior advisers.

11:35 AM

PBO signs the New START Treaty.

12:00 PM  
1:00 PM

Gibbs briefs the press.

2:00 PM  
2:05 PM

PBO  meets with Sen. McCain.

3:00 PM  
3:45 PM

PBO and VPB meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

4:00 PM  
4:45 PM

PBO meets with Sen. Bingaman.

5:00 PM  
6:00 PM  
6:30 PM

Joe and Jill Biden host a dinner for new senators.


2. More change we can believe in. Special Sudan West-Wing-Wing:


3. And even more.

President Obama to sign the new START treaty.

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama will formally sign ratification papers for a new Russia-US disarmament treaty on Wednesday, which slashes existing warhead ceilings by 30 percent over the next 10 years.

Officials said Obama will make the ceremonial gesture in the Oval Office, before the milestone pact comes into force on February 5 at a ceremony in Munich attended by the two nations’ top diplomats.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new START agreement’s ratification on Friday after the Russian parliament passed the pact, which was endorsed by the US Senate last month.


4. Couple of good Egypt reads:

Mary Dejevsky, The Independent:

The US President’s words have gone with the grain of Middle East societies in a way that the sermons of Bush and Blair did not.


…Is President Obama succeeding where Bush and Blair so expensively failed? ….he took a very different approach … As presidential candidate, he campaigned against the Iraq war and expressly rejected the imposition of democracy….democracy, he argued, was still eminently good but had to come from within. Under his leadership, he said, the US would not dictate to other nations how they should organise their lives.

…Mr Obama did not just yank US foreign policy back in the realist direction taken by his Democrat predecessor, Bill Clinton. He combined that shift with an unusual degree of cultural awareness, most conspicuously in the early overtures he made towards the Muslim countries …. One of his first foreign-policy moves was … a wide-ranging speech addressed to Muslims everywhere. He delivered it in Cairo.

….More than a year and half later the choice of Cairo University looks prescient … revisiting the speech, it is immediately clear not only how far he has shifted the US agenda, but how far his commitment to home-grown democracy remains the same … Obama’s language shines out as consistent with everything that protesters across the Arab world are demanding now.

…Maybe Obama’s early overtures planted a seed that is starting to bear fruit across the Muslim world. Maybe it is simply that modern communications, plus the similar politics, economics and demographics across the region, are combining to galvanise discontent. What is evident, though, is that Obama’s words have gone with the grain of these societies in a way that the sermons of Bush and Blair did not.

Any social ferment of this order brings huge uncertainty. And it is embarrassing to watch Western leaders struggling to divest themselves of allies from a bygone age. But if you ask which American leader contributed more to the cause of change in the Muslim world, you might not agree – yet – that it was Barack Obama, but you could surely accept that George Bush set it back.

/// More and must read

Michael Scherer, Time:

Cable networks kept replaying a single shot from Tuesday’s protests in Egypt, a rooftop view of a massive crowd, where a banner was held aloft. “Yes We Can Too,” it read in English. It seemed to be a message directed at Barack Obama, who had used a similar slogan, and to the American people who had voted Obama into office. It was also a message that Obama would be likely to embrace. As the president said Tuesday night, in a statement in the White House Grand Foyer, directly below his family’s residence, “The United States will continue to stand up for democracy and the universal rights that all human beings deserve, in Egypt and around the world.”

In Obama’s thinking, there are two principles, each tugging in a different direction, that are guiding the U.S. approach, say White House officials. The president laid them out in his 2009 speech to Cairo. First, the U.S. would continue to promote democratic values as universal rights. Second, the U.S. will not seek to impose any form of government, or specific set of rulers, on any foreign country. “No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other,” Obama said in Cairo.

The third force tugging on Obama is the bundle of pragmatic interests of the United States–to have a stable partner in the Middle East, to prevent Egypt from becoming a haven for extremism, to maintain the shaky peace between Israel and its neighbors, and to keep the Suez canal open and safe, among others. The story of the last week has been the story of a White House coming to grips with, and juggling, these three priorities.

// more


5. Recovery!

Factory activity grows, hiring outlook brightens

WASHINGTON – The best month for U.S. factories in nearly seven years is brightening the outlook for job growth.

Companies are exporting more construction and mining equipment, and Americans are buying more cars, appliances and computers.

The Institute for Supply Management, a private trade group, said Tuesday that its index of manufacturing activity rose last month to 60.8. It was the highest reading since May 2004 and the 18th straight month the sector has grown. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.


6. Recovery!

U.S. private-sector payrolls up 187,000

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Private-sector employment rose in January, and “strength was evident” in all major industries and sizes of business, according to Automatic Data Processing’s employment report released Wednesday.

The ADP report showed that private-sector employment rose 187,000, with the service-producing sector gaining 166,000 and the goods-producing sector increasing 21,000. Employment rose 97,000 at small businesses, 79,000 at medium businesses and 11,000 at large businesses.

69 thoughts on “Wednesday morning mishmash

  1. There’s so much happening at once! Our President is Grace under pressure. An inspiration.

  2. I cannot say thank you enough for the bright spot in my news watching. I know things are rough but I’m looking for the positive news and you always deliver. I love the photos and stories about the lives that are lifted because of this president’s brilliance.

  3. You’ve got it exactly right there.

    All at once he has to focus on navigating the minefield of the crisis in Egypt and its ramifications for the Middle East, maintain momentum in his ongoing foreign policy initiatives around the world, ensure to the best of his ability that domestic economic recovery continues smoothly, fight for the bold vision for the country that he outlined in the State of the Union, as well as tackling “minor” concerns like crushing the latest resistance to HCR and overseeing a federal response to the severe weather in parts of the country.

    In the aftermath of his Presidency, when PBO gets around to writing his memoirs, my expectation is that the first months of 2011 are going to take up at least several chapters.

  4. Much thanks to you once again, BWD, for your efforts in providing us with this fantastic source of both information and inspiration! 😀

  5. I remember the scenes of the inauguration in Washington and think about how it felt to experience throwing off the yoke of the superstitious, deeply insecure Bush years that violated every sense I had of what our system of government should represent. I feel a deep solidarity with the demonstrators in Egypt. I felt the same way watching the demonstrators in Iran in the “Green” movement. I wish there were some way to connect with counterparts in other countries, those that resonate with the President’s messages and see other people essentially as potential partners and not threats. P.S. I am grateful this morning that I lost power only for an hour last night in our Midwest storm and have deep concern for all those who are without as the cold deepens. Also grateful for the power workers, fire departments, police and road workers who work their tails off in this horrible weather to help the rest of us.

  6. Scary stuff man, scary stuff. Its days like this that should humble some people who think they could be president or think they can do better. I would not want to wake up with Obama’s problems – ever.

  7. The last 24 months provide enough material for more than one book, that’s for sure.

    I remember reading, at some time last year, that Rahm Emmanuel and other Clinton veterans felt the Clinton presidency was a walk in the park compare to this.

  8. One wonders what the President will be meeting with John McCain about.

    Could it be that the senior Arizona Senator has finally decided to get over his bitterness over 2008, return to his “maverick” roots, and actually work with the administration to get something constructive done?

    One can only hope.

  9. You’re probably right – if Obama’s presidency continues on as it has thus far (and given the scope of the great questions of today, it almost certainly will), and especially in the event of his winning a second term to serve out a full eight years as President, then his presidential memoirs may well have to encompass more than one volume (I can only imagine what the definitive biography will be like).

    As much as it might have seemed during the 1990s that the political total war that defined Bill Clinton’s years of power would not be eclipsed for some time as a political drama, it can only be concluded that Obama has managed to pack more of an explosive political odyssey into both of his first two years than Clinton managed in all eight of his. Obama has had to manage the implementation of a domestic and foreign agenda on a scale that is probably unmatched by any President since the Long Sixties and surpassed by none since the days of FDR, and he has had to do in the context of the most violently partisan political atmosphere since the Vietnam era.

    A lesser man would have long since been broken. Obama seems to be growing ever more into the presidency – the mark of a truly great leader.

  10. In fairness, they have been doing that since the founding of the Republic, although it is mighty unfortunate to note that they seem to have become even more virulent about it as the centuries have progressed. 😦

  11. Jovie, I think we know who to thank for the total disconnect from reality that these folks have!

  12. Great news on START. My pet subject.

    Well done, Mr President. One of more feather in your cap and what a pretty feather it is.

    Those Nobel guys could sure spot a potential worthy of its honor.

  13. I seriously don’t see the hype that Assange gets. He’s leaking shit to suppress his own ego, the man is a coward yet he is considered a hero.

  14. you have got to be kidding me? They nominate an alledge rapist for a Nobel Peace Prize.

  15. I don’t think the Nobel committee nominates anyone. Other people submit the nominations and probably, after vetting, they accept them.

  16. WikiLeaks is nominated for a Nobel

    A member of Norway’s parliament has nominated WikiLeaks for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

    Snorre Valen, a member of the Socialist Left Party in Norway, says that the secrets-leaking group is “one of the most important contributors to freedom of speech and transparency,” and that it deserves the same honor as awarded to Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Chinese rights activist.

    “Liu Xiabao was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom of speech in China. Likewise: Wikileaks have contributed to the struggle for those very values globally, by exposing (among many other things) corruption, war crimes and torture – some times even conducted by allies of Norway,” Valen wrote on his blog. “And most recently: By disclosing the economic arrangements by the presidential family in Tunisia, Wikileaks have made a small contribution to bringing down a 24-year-lasting dictatorship.”

    The year before the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu, it was given to President Obama.


  17. Good morning everyone and once again thanks BWD for the daily schedule. I really would like to be int he room when he meets with McCain. I know the President will be very diplomatic. I am concerned about what is happening in Egypt. I am sure the people that are proMubarek will try to make trouble and blame it on the protesters. This is all very tricky. I am so glad Obama is our President.

  18. Good Morning to this wonderful family here. I hope that I can attach that name with much love and respect to you all, and especially to BWD. I look forward to reading each day. It feels so calm, well-balanced here. Thank you for all of the lovely pictures, the setting of this site is a joy.

    I pray each of you will have a great day and your needs and those of your families and friends will be met. I also include in this thought those who are much older than some of us who need warmth in their homes, and food and medication since they may not be able to get out. (I am 66 years of age, and my pharmacy is so kind to me when I am not able to get out to pick up my meds.) So I often think of those who might have the same problems.

    Thanks to our President who keeps us energized. And again, thank you BWD for your faithfulness in keeping this a beautiful place to come into with grace, respect, and intelligence. You all are an inspiration to me.

  19. Obama supporter Blake Lively #1 on Ask Men list of Top 99 Women

    OK, not directly politically related, but Blake Lively did support Obama in 2008, and she is currently ranked #1 on’s list of top 99 women.

    The list is a perpetual joke, but feel free to waste time going through all 99 women. A little break from the political BS I guess…

  20. Good morning. Jonathan Alter’s The Promise states very clearly that Obama came into office loaded with a huge suitcase full of issues he wanted to tackle and accomplish. Much to the chagrin of many of his party.

    Indeed his foreign agenda is also staggering.

  21. BLOOD IN CAIRO: White House press secretary Robert Gibbs released this statement Wednesday morning on the violent clashes with protesters in Egypt, hours after President Obama called for restraint:

    “The United States deplores and condemns the violence that is taking place in Egypt, and we are deeply concerned about attacks on the media and peaceful demonstrators. We repeat our strong call for restraint.”

  22. Axrendale, are you familiar with the works of Bob Altemeyer on authoritarianism ?

    I’ve read his book on line.

    Click to access TheAuthoritarians.pdf

    It was interesting and bone-chilling at the same time. If you haven’t read it, I think you’d find it interesting too. Don’t miss pages 30-34. ( You have to read the beginning though to understand his vocabulary and the measurements he uses.)

    Other books that have left a mark on me are “Conservatives without Conscience” and “Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches” , authored by John W. Dean, the lawyer from the Nixon administration who became a whistleblower in Watergate.

  23. Ewww.. I do not envy President Obama having to meet with Senator McCain today.. I wonder what thats about.

  24. Maybe President Obama is going to tell John “I would advise you not to run for President again in 2012… do you really want me to make an even bigger fool of you in 2012 than I did back in 2008?”

  25. Jamie Rubin on CNN, saying Obama should step back and let Hillary and Gates take over. My question is why, and also if defense steps in does that mean war. It’s something about him I personally just don’t like.

  26. When I heard that President Obama would be meeting with Senator John McCain today, I could help but be reminded of something I read in a brilliant and unflattering Vanity Fair article by Todd Purdum entitled “The Man Who Never Was”:


    Oh to be a fly on the wall.

  27. Exactly! I don’t get it. He has been all over TV for the last 3 or so days saying Obama should not be in front of this, it should have been Hillary.

  28. What this guy obviously misses is that Obama, Gates and Clinton are a team. They work together, like and respect each other, and discuss and develop a strategy together. Oh and hello – Obama is leading the team. So if the team decides a particular message needs to come from Clinton or Gates it will. If Obama needs to deliver a message he does.

    Like amk said below – Idjit –

  29. With so may crises, isn’t it sad that the Republicans are doing all they can to make things worse. Whatever happened to the “united” states of America?

  30. Rubin was State Department spokesman during the Clinton Administration. Tells me all I need to know about what angle he’s playing.

  31. BWD, The mish mash is great. I am really excited about the economic factors. Things are lookin good for the country and for our President.

  32. Absolutely true statement. I am so happy that I am alive at this time. The world is going crazy, so many problem here in this country.

    To watch this wonderful, brilliant man in his presidency is beyond thrilling.

  33. I think you are probably right BWD. I personally do not believe McCain will ever help the president. His anger and humiliation over losing the presidency, against a superior man, will haunt him until the day he dies.

    Oh Johnny boy, you did it to yourself.

  34. I don’t know if unemployment will get to the magical 8% number, but if the economy keeps adding jobs month after month at this pace, expect a very short Speakership for Mr. Boehner.

  35. OK, am I missing something here? Was there a palace coup and Pres. Obama is now merely a figurehead. Because unless I’m grossly mistaken, PBO is still the president, and it’s his job to make such important statements. God, what asshats.

  36. Jovie, I saw that. I am a bit confused too. Records numbers of prosecutions and they are going after DHS for not doing their job?

    The world is going mad.

  37. Be still my trembling heart. How in the world can this be?

    I just hope he does not get it.

  38. LOL!

    He is start a PAC for John Huntsman. Maybe he think John will make him vice president.

  39. It seems to me that the president has to be lead man in terms of messaging. We all know that Hillary is on this big time, I guess they just want Hillary to get the credit.

    The fight as to who should be president continues.

  40. Agree, agree, agree. If he did not manage the messaging, everyone would be screaming at the top of their lungs, WHERE IS THE PRESIDENT?

  41. Here is an interesting tidbit. OH John. He never quits

    Think Progress
    McCain and Gingrich Lash Out At El Baradei, Accuse Him Of Secretly Being In Cahoots With Radical Islamists

  42. Got a text message from OFA to call my Republican senator to urge voting against repeal of the Health care bill. Before I could get a word out, the young lady who answered said “are you calling to urge him to vote for repeal?”.

    Call your senators. We need to be heard.

  43. My understanding is that these prosecutions result from the heightened enforcement against employeres who illegally hire these poor people.

  44. Be prepared. The GoP will ramp up their fear-mongering re: islamists. They know it has been a winning electoral strategy.

    It’s outrageous. I’m so so sick of the damage they have been inflicting to american consciousness.

    Hope over fear, folks. This battle is still raging.

  45. He is not a rapist as one in the US would think it. He was having consensual intercourse and his condom broke, and that is a violation of the law over here, accident or not. It reeks of a set-up.

  46. Loose rant: I’ve had it with the same circus of new and national media insta-experts demanding that POTUS escalate his rhetoric against the Mubarak regime. As I said at WSY, to these people: what do you think would happen should President Obama insert himself forcefully and create an opening for the Egyptian protestors to be labeled as an agent of the US??? Second question: is the need for heavy rhetoric about helping Egyptians, or is it about the same American, infantile need for red meat to show that POTUS “cares” about an issue? That infantile red meat appetite and willingness to follow “strong words” landed us in Iraq! Have we learned nothing?

  47. Not that I’ve got that rant off my chest, looking at the bright side: thanks to the visionary leadership of the WH and 111th session of Congress, small businesses have received some of the help which they needed to lead the recovery. Those numbers are fantastic. This country is still in a world of pain, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Happy Wednesday, wonderful people!

  48. This truly has to be the most difficult first two years of a presidency since FDR between the crashing economy, 2 wars and multiple other foreign policy issues. Not to mention an opposition party that has given up on actually solving problems in this country.

    It’s not surprising that there has WH staff turnover. They have to be burned out.

  49. Rubin is just pissed that Hillary isn’t the president. He’s a frustrated Clintonite. Personally, I want Obama in charge here. This is a volatile situation and I don’t trust Hillary to handle it correctly.

  50. Too true, BWD. Doesn’t matter if it is 3 am or 10 am or 4 pm or 8 pm, PBO is on. Good thing he has Michelle and the girls around. A lessor man could not handle the job.

  51. One of the great disadvantages that Obama, like every other Democratic President since the Great Depression era, has had to work with is that the Democratic Party simply is not as unified an organization as the Republican party. The “big tent” diversity of the party of Roosevelt that is one of our greatest strengths is also one of our greatest weaknesses in that it means any party leader who wants to get big things done has to work hard simply to hold his own party together in a coalition before he can even begin to consider tackling the opposition.

    One of the most under-appreciated of all Obama’s accomplishments to date is his political achievement in forcing his party to act in concert with him on so many issues in order to produce a spurt of progressive legislation the likes of which has not been seen since the Great Society. And he did it, what’s more, in the face of the almost universal mindless opposition and obstruction of the Republican party.

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