Friday’s second mishmash


1. The president’s statement regarding Egypt, during today’s press conference with PM Harper. He is leading Mubarak out ever so gently.


2. A bit more about the jobs report and the unemployment rate.

 Austan Goolsbee:

…The overall trend of economic data in recent months has been encouraging, as initiatives put in place by this Administration are taking hold, but there is still considerable work to do. Today, the Administration puts forward our comprehensive innovation agenda, which details our efforts to accelerate American leadership in educating our workers, investing in science, and building the infrastructure our companies need to succeed.  Innovation will be a key driver of the economy as we strengthen America’s position as home to the world’s best new businesses and industries, and the best jobs.

In addition to the increases last month, the estimates of private sector job growth for November (now +128,000) and December (now +139,000) were revised up. These revisions, along with the annual payroll survey revisions, show that private sector employment has now grown for eleven consecutive months.

Overall payroll employment rose by 36,000 last month. Among the sectors with the largest payroll employment growth were manufacturing (+49,000), retail and wholesale trade (+36,700), and professional and business services (+31,000). Transportation and warehousing (-38,000), construction (-32,000), finance (-10,000), and local government (-10,000) were among the sectors that subtracted from the total. Severe weather in some parts of the country may have impacted employment and hours in some industries.

The 0.4 percentage point decline in the unemployment rate to 9.0 percent in January was accounted for by a large increase in employment as measured by the household survey (which is separate from the payroll survey). The labor force participation rate was unchanged.

600,000 more people reported they were employed


3. The audacity to get things done the right way.

TARP’s bank bailout program nears break-even point with latest repayment

The program under the $700-billion financial bailout package that pumped money into banks moved closer to break-even Wednesday as another large financial institution repaid its cash infusion.

The Treasury Department announced that Fifth Third Bancorp had fully repaid the $3.4 billion it received  from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Cincinnati institution received the money on Dec. 31, 2008 — some of the $245 billion dished out under TARP’s Capital Purchase Program to stabilize the U.S. banking system.

With the check from Fifth Third Bancorp, total repayments under that program have reached $243 billion, Treasury said. Programs that bailed out banks are now estimated to turn a $20-billion profit.

Go read eclectablog‘ excellent piece on the subject.


4. President Obama selects President Clinton to co-lead green buildings initiative

Today the President announced an ambitious initiative to make American businesses more efficient as part of his plan to ensure that America wins the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building the competition. 

In his State of the Union, the President laid out his vision for winning the future by investing in innovative clean energy technologies and doubling the share of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. Alongside that effort, the President is proposing new efforts to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings across the country. The “Better Buildings Initiative,” outlined today at Penn State University, will achieve a 20 percent improvement over the next decade, saving companies and business owners tens of billions of dollars a year. 

The plan will spur innovation by reforming tax and other incentives to retrofit, creating a new competitive grant program for states and localities that streamline their regulations to attract retrofit investment, and challenging the private sector to invest in building upgrades through a new “Better Buildings Challenge.” 

The President has asked President Clinton, who has been a champion for this kind of energy innovation, to co-lead the private sector engagement along with the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, headed by Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric.          

// more and very interesting.


5. Admiral Mike Mullen was on the Daily Show last night, and I really recommend watching this web-only part of the interview. I can see why PBO seems to really like this man.



77 thoughts on “Friday’s second mishmash

  1. I was never a great lover of Clinton, and I am always a little weary of him having any involvment with the administration. Thanks for the re-cap of presser. I missed it here.

  2. I trust him here. I think Obamaism is contagious. I had been wary of HRC, not any more.

    BWD – thanks for your thoughts about the Prayer Breakfast. I have such a knee jerk aversion to that sort of thing. And “The Family..” Not even going there. And yet I trust POTUS implicitly. This one is confusing for me. Are the frustrati condemning him for participating, I’m curious? They were not just atheist, but militantly so.

  3. Some big jaw dropping good news is about to happen for this president, No one will be able to deny it was all him that caused it. I just feel something good coming.

  4. I trust him on Egypt, I still like what he’s saying.. and what he’s not saying. Nothing disgusted me more than how GW Bush would talk about other countries, his holier than thou attitude was horrible for America as well as everyone else.

    Thanks for the abundance of worthy news today (and everyday) BWD.

  5. I maintain that POTUS has been pitch-perfect during the time of transformation in Egypt. I think that the dividends which we, as a country, and as a world, will earn from POTUS choosing to take a turn away from bellicose language and style will be far more significant than might be apparent at the moment.

    Re: the jobs report. Remember, that November 2010 jobs report which has been revised to reflect the creation of 128K jobs was reported as 39K initially:

    I don’t want to cast any shade on the jobs report at all as it’s such an important and informative tool, but the initial estimates are never set in stone.

  6. Darn Comedy Central won’t let us see videos of Jon Stewart over here. “Videos not currently available in your country”
    I had to fire off yet another complaint fat lot of good it will do me.

  7. Each of these postings of “The only adult in the room” just make me smile and appreciate the calm dignity of our President even more. I don’t know how he manages to keep all the things he has to juggle in the air and still maintain such an attitude of pleasant, good-natured humor and intelligence. When do you think the bitter 30% of our population that don’t see that he will be one of our greatest presidents ever – will finally “get it”????

  8. Honestly, there was no way he could not go. Even if he were a complete atheist, he had to go. Every president goes to this thing. Can you imagine the scandal if this secret-Muslim president wouldn’t?

  9. It’s not America’s job (or the UK’s, or anyone’s outside Egypt) to tell Mubarak to go; it’s their job to give him a ladder to climb down, so he CAN go.

    Good thing somebody in the White House understands that 🙂

  10. I understand what you mean, CC. He really over cooked my grits during the 2008 campaign.

  11. The government will grant collective bargaining rights to the nation’s 40,000 airport screeners, the head of the largest federal workers union said Friday.

    John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told The Associated Press he was informed of the decision at a meeting with John Pistole, head of the Transportation Security Administration.

    TSA workers have tried for nearly a decade to win the same union protections as other federal employees, but Republican opponents have balked over worries that union demands could jeopardize national security or slow response times in a crisis.

    Union officials call those arguments an insult to the hundreds of thousands of public safety officers that already have collective bargaining rights, including Border Patrol agents, firefighters and the Capitol police.

    “Today marks the recognition of a fundamental human right for 40,000 patriotic federal employees who have been disenfranchised since the inception of the agency,” Gage said.

    Joining the Union will be optional!

    Ben Smith-

  12. makesense4tulips, I believe you and am putting out positive energy to help make it happen. Let’s all join forces together and send love to our President.

    I love………..”Yes, we can too”……..on their sign. There is no other human on this earth but one that can ever be identified with that sign.

  13. HOUSTON (AP) — The astronaut husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said his wife would be “very comfortable” with his decision to go back into space and he expects her to be at his launch in April.

    Space shuttle commander Mark Kelly wouldn’t go into details about her condition during a news conference Friday, and deflected questions about how he knows she supports his choice to fly.

  14. Oh Lila, that is so beautiful, thank you. And my favorite song too. Tears over here too~

    People can be so good.

  15. No! Because it helps the President! The MSM only reports negative info, so they can appear that they are not in the tank! That was always a myth, BTW!

  16. And January is always the lowest month! Like in 1996, we only created 40,000 jobs in january, and in february(of that year) we rebounded and created over 400k jobs! Maybe that will happen again!

  17. tulips! I join with you in that good energy for our dear POTUS.

    I join with all of you in sending our love and appreciation for this amazing man.

  18. Posted by Dan Pfeiffer on February 04, 2011 at 04:55 PM EST
    As valuable as the internet can be in helping to spread information, most people know that you can’t believe everything you read, and they should check the source before relaying every alarming story they read. One such story is going around the internet over the past two days claiming that the Obama Administration is somehow responsible for the rolling blackouts in Texas that have caused terrible hardship for so many Texans. The source is questionable and the story is unquestionably false.

    According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, these blackouts were actually the result of extreme cold temperatures and high winds, which led to a variety of mechanical failures at more than 50 power plants around the state.

    Anytime communities experience major outages, it is a cause for concern, and major utilities and regulators are investigating steps that can be taken to decrease any weather related vulnerability of power generating plants in the state that, unlike their northern counterparts which experience extreme cold every winter, are often not designed to withstand such rare weather conditions.

    Some are trying to blame these blackouts – which the industry has already provided explanation for – on Clean Air Act standards under consideration to curb dangerous pollution, including carbon pollution. While these claims gained traction on the internet, there is a major problem with this theory – no power plant in Texas has yet been required to do anything to control carbon pollution.

    WOW! I head Not heard that rumor, albeit not surprised! Oh, did you hear the other rumor, that this President was repsonsible for the Dinosaur extinction?

  19. Great second mishmash! I too feel there is a great announcement of some kind coming. Don’t know what it is but I trust this President in handling all things.

    BWD, I do know that the President had to go to the Prayer Breakfast. I just wish that there could be something done in quiet to change this. The Family is such a scary organization. The President handled it beautifully.

    I also think Mark Kelly is doing the right thing for both him and Gabby. They are a couple that knew what each one of them did in life. They supported each other and they will continue to do it in their own way. Also Gabby has a great support system to be there while Mark is gone. They will continue to be in my prayers.

  20. I still don’t understand how unemployment is calculated. It seems rather convoluted to me. But I’ll take the .4% drop.

  21. lila, thank you for that video! I had tears in my eyes. There was a time here in this country when people touched more often, girlfriends would walk hand in hand. Guys would pat a friends’s shoulder. And families hugged more.

    Everyone that hugged looked happier and some of them kind of danced happily away. Loved the quote by Oscar Wilde, too. Something like this opens my heart and that’s a very good thing.

  22. betcha’ they’d cover it if it contained this important phrase “!!!death panels!! 😉

    ps. my apologies to all readers for my overuse of the words by, by be, by.. yeesh! should read before I post

  23. hadn’t heard that rumour either. Not surprised though, what haven’t they blame your President for.

  24. I think the young ‘uns hug and kiss. I certainly have no problem hugging my male friends.

  25. I have to agree with you. Clinton has always been more about Clinton than helping the Democratic Party or America. I worry about too much influence by the Clintons on Obama’s administration.

  26. Call it a hunch, but I think that when ACA reaches SCOTUS, it will be declared constitutional by 5-4. Kennedy will be the swing vote, and I think he will swing our way, with persuasive arguments from Kagan and Sotomayor.

    And speaking of Kagan:

  27. How can PBO be responsible for dinosaur extinction? They drowned in Noah’s Flood. It was God’s work!

  28. Good Evening All:

    Please spread this link around. We will need it. Its a lesson on how to get the attention of our elected officials.

  29. … parts of a Reuters snap analysis on Friday’s jobs numbers indicating that the drop in the unemployment rate signals a real boom in the labor market, rather than an artificial number affected by jobless Americans giving up the search.

    Emily Kaiser writes: “Smoothed to take into account the change in the population count, the household survey showed the number of people reporting they were employed jumped by 589,000, and the number unemployed fell by 590,000. That means the decline in the jobless rate was not a matter of discouraged workers dropping out, something that had been a significant factor in previous months, but rather fully a sign of labor-market strength.

    “The household survey is notoriously volatile, and economists are reluctant to read too much into any given month’s data. However, the job gains in this survey match up with strong readings on January manufacturing and services.”

  30. I think that’s a pretty good hunch, LL, and quite an interesting article, Hatch trying to set the table for the SCOTUS decision must mean they have doubts about their “case”.

  31. No wonder why Hatch is saying Kagan should recuse herslef on this issue! Of course, knowing republicans, they say stuff about dems before you say it about them. Could not we say that scalia and thomas should recuse themselves?

  32. Great video, I love the TED site. Mr Ahmad did a very nice job of explaining the “why” and the “how” of what to do. Maybe we could work on some ideas for letters we write. Thanks for sharing Temp.

  33. One more thing

    I glanced over the comments to the TED talk and this one made on Oct 24th was a bit ironic.

    karem eldin mahmoud
    “In Egypt if some body send Mubarak a message he gets arrested
    Add that to your research (It dosn’t work on Mubarak)”

    I hope soon that all Egyptians will be able to write a letter.

  34. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the lovely thing about SCOTUS is that no-one can force a justice to recuse him/herself. If that’s the case, Hatch can whinge till he passes out.

  35. PBO is not only changing the note of American triumphalism that we’ve had since the end of the Cold War, but is also making real efforts to wind down the American Empire, what with the multilateral approach to foreign policy on the one hand, and the cutting of the military budget on the other. I think he realizes that empire is untenable — financially, politically, and morally. Sure, the US will still play in big power politics; the US will still be the preeminent world power. But it seems that he wants to spread the job of managing the world across more players, and not just have it in US hands. That is a welcome, and much needed, corrective.

  36. President Clinton is very well known around the world, and respected, so it was a very smart move of PBO to select him. And press conference just brilliant.

  37. This is a very positive development. I’m hoping that this is seen as a start, and that this brand new union’s ability to collectively bargain is expanded beyond the compromise set of items in place now.

  38. Posted By Josh Rogin Thursday, February 3, 2011 – 2:48 PM Share
    When the Hisham Mubarak Law Center in Cairo was raided by state security forces on Thursday, Human Rights Watch researcher Daniel Williams was swept up in the arrests. But before he was carted off to prison, Williams had the presence of mind to call a friend in Cairo and leave his cell phone line open, to broadcast the raid as it unfolded.

    The Law Center is a hub and meeting space for various human rights and civil society groups in Egypt and has been amazingly active since the protests began Jan. 25. On Thursday morning, a joint squad of police and military personnel in their respective uniforms raided the Center, interrogated all inside, and forcibly transported dozens of Egyptians and foreigners alike to an unknown detention facility, where Williams remains now.

    Before his cell phone was confiscated, the person on the other end of the line, who must remain anonymous for his own safety, heard the violent details of the incident. Police and army personnel were heard ordering the activists up against the wall, started yelling at them, and then claimed they were there to protect them from the pro-regime thugs who were assembled and chanting just outside the doors and who harassed the activists as they were escorted from the building.

    “We could let you go out in the crowd and they will kill you or you can come with us,” the police and army personnel said, according to Human Rights Watch Washington Director Tom Malinowski, who has been working furiously to try to free Williams and the others arrested in Thursday’s crackdown by coordinating efforts with administration officials and human rights groups in Washington and Cairo.

    Following the on-site interrogations, the police and army personnel accused all the Egyptians working at the Law Center of being affiliated with Hamas and accused all the foreigners at the Center of being affiliated with Israeli intelligence service Mossad.

    “So it’s a Hamas-Mossad conspiracy apparently,” Malinowski told The Cable with a sigh.

    Meanwhile, human rights groups in Washington have been working closely though a stream of emails and phone call with the Obama administration to share information, coordinate action, and press the Mubarak regime to halt the arrests and release the imprisoned activists and journalists.

  39. So well said as usual. Yes we can, and yes we did. This is why so many of us contributed to making a change from the previous administration. Welcome change and beyond needed, agreed.

  40. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reports on a scene in the White House that sounds like it’s right out of the TV show “West Wing.” Call it “Press Secretary School.” Incoming White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in preparation to replace Robert Gibbs, has been conducting mock press briefings, with press staffers such as Gibbs and deputies Bill Burton and Josh Earnest conducting the briefings.

  41. I have a few things to say, but remember, this is more personal observation than anything based upon real knowledge. I am one of those who knows a little about a lot of things, but not a lot about anything (well, almost anything).

    Regarding Clinton. I have been amazed at the rapport that President Obama has with both Clintons, specially considering the way many people, including maybe himself. thought he was treated by the Clintons during the primaries. I was hesitant about his choice of Hilary for SoS. But, first of all, I think she has done an absolutely remarkable job, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she were to say that in all honestly she prefers this to being President considering everything on the President’s plate.
    Obama has a knack for figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of people and knows what they can do and what they can’t and I can’t think of a single appointment or naming of a position where it wasn’t a hand in glove fit.

    Regarding the jobs report. You may remember in November there was talk about some 300,000 jobs being created that wasn’t including in the jobs report because they were figured to be seasonal hires, particularly in retail. Well, if a lot of them were kept on, I am not sure they would have been included in the retail industry report of new jobs. Again, I am no expert, but that might be where some of it is coming from.

    Also, we know that small business loans are starting to open up, which might mean more people starting up their own business, which may not be reported. Watch for a large correction next month.

    Regrding Egypt… This is a toughie, perhaps even more so than when there was unrest in Iran last year. If Obama is too strong in sending a message that Mubarek has to step down, what does that say to our other allies in the ME? If he doesn’t say anything in support of the protestors, if the Mubarek government does fall, how would the new government see the US?
    This is one of those situations that is ripe for the law of unintended consequences. So he has to maintain a balance between allowing Mubarek to save some face while at the same time extending a hand to the protestors and send the message that, when you win, we will be there to help you get the country back and running.

    The point being is that his approach has the least chance of having real negative conequences and the best chance for a positive consequences situation. I think this is the way his mind works in all situations.

    When people talk about his overcompromising or his caving in, they don’t realize that wha he is really looking at is the best possible outcome with the least negative consequences based upon what he has to work with. Ideologically he is a progressive, though not a far left liberal, but he is not a purist in terms of needing to have everything his way now.

    When he is re-elected (which I am confident about) and if the Dems regain the majority in the House and keep it in the Senate, watch for a dynamite final four years.

  42. I talked about the Nov. 2010 jobs report earlier, here’s a blast from the past, NYT article from January 8, 2010, discussing the December 2010 report’s (now-revised significantly upwards) conclusion that the economy lost 85,000 jobs (turns out that 139K were added as noted in the mishmash):

    U.S. Job Losses in December Dim Hopes for Quick Upswing

    The nation lost 85,000 jobs from the economy in December, the Labor Department reported Friday, as hopes for a vigorous recovery ran headlong into the prospect that paychecks could remain painfully scarce into next year.

    …The disappointing snapshot of the job market intensified pressure on the Obama administration to show results for the $787 billion spending bill it championed last year to stimulate the economy.

    At a news conference, Mr. Obama acknowledged the December data as a setback, while outlining plans to deliver $2.3 billion in tax credits to spur manufacturing jobs in clean energy.


    Just goes to show that the report is an invaluable tool, but it’s always subject to revision.

  43. Agreed, plus during his presidency he helped to create the hell of today’s prisons and discrepancy of sentencing. He also damaged the welfare system.

    And, his behavior on the campaign trail was disgusting. Yet, I think he cares about these issues that Obama will have him engaged in. He is a a great smoozer in terms of dealing with people and raising awareness.

  44. Will they all ask him really dumb questions that he has to pretend don’t drive him crazy? Pretty sure that’s the job-description. Wanted: Press Secretary, must have nerves of steel, well-versed in every subject and must possess the ability to unfailingly overcome the urge to climb over the podium and clobber members of the White House Press Corps. OJT: Face palm. Eye Roll.

  45. Oh, Have it your way, but he WAS responsible for every ice age and for the Big Bang. Now that I know for a fact.

  46. Hatch is going to be teabagged and it could not happen to a better person. I will relish that election and might even send money to that teabagger.

  47. I am not a fan of either Clinton, but I think both of them have come on board with the administration and are performing reasonably well. It’s far better to have them cooperating than to have them as antagonists. They are both intelligent and, behind their narcissism, are most likely interested in initiating more humanitarian and progressive policies. And the President has the emotional intelligence to know exactly what he is doing in enlisting their help.

  48. Agreed, Liberal Librarian. I never saw the advantages in being a “Superpower”, perpetually looking over one’s shoulder to see who might be “catching up”. Perhaps, had we used our power more wisely in the past to encourage and support the eradication of global poverty and war and the spread of tolerance and literacy, I might feel differently, but we didn’t and I don’t. The President still must play to the meme of our “exceptionalism”, but I do believe he understands that we need to spread around both the benefits and the responsibility.

  49. Much as I am skeptical about Bill Maher, he did make a good point yesterevening about why Thomas should recuse himself from this issue because of his wife’s “work” with the Tea Party to repeal HCR.

  50. I believe so.

    People are welcome to their own beliefs; they are not welcome to their own facts. If you want to stick your fingers in your ear, go “la la la la”, and ignore science, well, I can’t force you to do otherwise. Just don’t expect me to take you seriously, or not fight back when you try to impose your fantasy world on the society at large.

    (By “you”, I don’t mean you, Sheila, obviously 🙂 )

  51. I agree. This president has packed four years into two. Just think how much better the USA will be at the end of eight?

  52. Exactly jovie,

    Did anyone see Steve Benen’s chart on the coverage of the judicial decisions both pro and anti-“Obamacare”? A real eye-opener. There is no “liberal” media, only corporate media and republican propaganda. This makes our job both more difficult and important. The positive news and facts that bwd so assiduously reports here is only the first step. We really must redouble our efforts to spread this info with all we encounter, on and off-line.

  53. Especially Thomas.

    Why the left isn’t making a bigger deal about Thomas and his wife Ginni’s extremism is mystifying.

  54. NL, Steve Benen (Washington Monthly) has been writing about this too. IMO, this meme needs to be sung from the rooftops.

  55. jovie, I read that Rush Limbaugh was one of those pushing that egregious lie. He and others are attempting to equate the President’s push for clean energy and green technology as the REASON for the rolling blackouts.

    Lying about the rolling blackouts coincide perfectly with the republican efforts to strip the EPA of its authority…while some want to abolish the EPA outright. The lies and vitriol are stepping up (didn’t think that was possible) because the 2012 election has already begun.

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