“What President Obama has done in two years on gay rights and other issues is just breathtaking”

Hi guys,

1. Today’s schedule:

9:30 AM PBO receives the presidential daily briefing.
10:00 AM PBO meets with senior advisers.
10:45 AM VPB meets with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka and presidents of AFL-CIO labor organizations.
11:00 AM  
12:00 PM  
1:00 PM Carney briefs the press.
1:45 PM PBO holds a meeting with the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
2:00 PM  
3:00 PM PBO meets with Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner.
4:00 PM VPB delivers remarks at an event honoring the life and legacy of Tom Lantos at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
5:00 PM  
6:00 PM  
7:00 PM  
7:15 PM Barack and Michelle Obama  host music legends and contemporary major artists for “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House”; Joe and Jill Biden also attend.

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2. Recovery!

Weekly jobless claims decline to 391,000

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits declined last week by 22,000 to 391,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected initial claims in the week ended Feb. 19 to drop to a seasonally adjusted 405,000 from a revised 413,000 the week before. In addition, the four-week average fell to a more than two-year low, down 16,500 at 402,000. Continuing claims, which reflect the number of people already receiving state unemployment compensation, dropped 145,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.79 million in the week of Feb. 12. About 9.16 million Americans were getting some kind of state or federal benefit in the week ended Feb. 5, down 89,782 from the prior week.

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3. Recovery!

Jan. durable goods orders up 2.7%

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Orders for U.S.-made durable goods rose 2.7% in January on stronger demand for civilian aircraft, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The increase in total orders was very close to the 2.5% gain that was the consensus forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch. This is the first increase in durables in four months. Orders for December were revised up sharply to a decline of only 0.4% from the prior estimate of a 2.3% decline.

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4.  Here’s Professor Tobias Wolff talking with Rachel Maddow about PBO’s, well, “breathtaking” gay rights record.

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5. NYT Editorial:

Mr. Obama Moves Against Bias

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The president’s decision is a major advancement for protecting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. It firmly skewers what has been bad law and complements the recent Congressional repeal of the government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” prejudice suffered by gay men and lesbians serving the nation in the military.

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The reversal seems likely to redound into the next election cycle — a fight very much worth having. As a candidate three years ago, Mr. Obama opposed the defense of marriage law but would not endorse same-sex marriage, instead supporting civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. In December, Mr. Obama said his feelings on the subject were “constantly evolving.” Wednesday’s decision raises the hope that they are evolving in the right direction — equal rights for all Americans.

Meanwhile, it is stirring that the president has done the right thing on the marriage law. He has scored Congress’s shabby violation of constitutional rights that supposedly protect all Americans, not just a selected majority in an election year.

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6. Recovery!

President Obama’s Economic Report Says 2010 Marked Year of U.S. Recovery

The U.S. economy last year continued to recover from the worst economic crisis in more than 70 years, according to an annual White House report to Congress.

Though the economy still faces obstacles of high unemployment and uneven global growth, the report said the current recovery is expected to continue and gain stronger footing after the loss of millions of jobs during the recession.

“The economy has shifted out of rescue mode into the growth phase where we’re trying to get the growth-rate up and hiring-rate up,” Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in a conference call with reporters yesterday.

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A major element of administration plans to ensure faster growth is Obama’s goal of doubling exports from $1.57 trillion in 2009 to $3.14 trillion a year by the end of 2014, the report said.

In the first three quarter of 2010, the report said, exports surged by 17 percent compared with the same year-ago period, representing “a significant step toward that goal,” according to the report.

// more

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7. Recovery!

Trucking Stocks Signal U.S. Economic Recovery Entering New Expansion Phase

Companies that act as brokers for trucking services are gaining favor with investors as the 20- month-old rebound shifts into a new phase that’s less dependent on inventory restocking.

The so-called asset-lite truckers such as Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc. and C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. lease vehicles for businesses that need to ship goods, so they have more cost flexibility than companies that own and operate most of their trucks. Shares of these brokers have risen 6.9 percent since July 30, 2010, compared with a 1.5 percent decline for operators including Celadon Group Inc. and Werner Enterprises Inc., according to two new Bloomberg indexes.

“We are way past the early cycle rally,” and now see “sustainable elements to the recovery,” said Benjamin Hartford, transportation analyst at Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co., who co-wrote Baird’s 2011 freight-outlook report. As the rebound matures, investors will find “greater resiliency” in companies with flexible costs.

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8. Dear Republicans, if you lost Goldman Sachs….

GOP spending cuts would hit economy hard

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The more federal spending Congress slashes this year, the greater the potential drag on economic growth, according to a new analysis from Goldman Sachs.

In a research note, economists at the Wall Street bank estimate that the House GOP’s spending bill — which would cut $61 billion between March and Sept. 30 — could reduce economic growth by 1.5 percentage points to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters.

Last week, the Federal Reserve forecast the economy would grow between 3.4% and 3.9% this year.

The drag would be less if lawmakers decide to cut only $25 billion, which Goldman believes is more likely.

Goldman estimates a 1 percentage point drop in growth in the second quarter but adds that “would quickly fade over the next two quarters as spending stabilizes at a lower level.” And by year-end, a $25 billion reduction would have “little effect … on the rate of real GDP growth,” Goldman economists concluded.

// more

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9. Recovery!

 GM posts fourth-quarter profit

Culminating a year in which the venerable auto manufacturer launched an IPO, General Motors earns $500 million on revenue of nearly $37 billion for the fourth quarter, and sees 2011 off to a “strong start.”

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10. Nothing can escape him:

President Obama calls for freeing Cuba political prisoners

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11. Here’s something for all of us to spread:

President Obama’s budget priorities

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12. Man, I love Joe Biden:

“You have a president who I admired before I took the job but I have come to admire in a way that is hard to even explain. I watched this guy make incredibly difficult decisions every single day.” Biden told the audience. “I think you are going to see not only the United States but him sort of sprout their wings a little bit.”

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Tuesday morning open thread

Hi guys,

Thank you for taking care of this place. I’m proud of you. Here’s a quick mini-mishmash, before I settle in a little bit.

1. Today’s schedule:

9:35 AM

PBO departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base.
9:50 AM

PBO departs Andrews Air Force Base en route Cleveland, Ohio.
10:00 AM
11:00 AM

PBO arrives in Cleveland, Ohio.
11:35 AM

PBO delivers remarks at the opening session of the Winning the Future Forum on Small Business.
12:00 PM
12:05 PM

PBO attends breakout sessions.
12:30 PM

VPB hosts a lunch meeting with President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass.
1:00 PM

Austan Goolsbee responds to small business feedback -Cleveland, OH

1:55 PM

PBO delivers remarks at the closing session of the forum.
2:00 PM
3:00 PM
3:10 PM

PBO departs Cleveland, Ohio.
4:00 PM
4:20 PM

PBO arrives at Andrews Air Force Base.
4:35 PM

PBO arrives at the White House.
4:45 PM

PBO and VPB meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
5:00 PM

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2. President Obama to push innovation at Ohio small businesses

WASHINGTON – Last week it was Silicon Valley. This week, President Barack Obama is putting the spotlight on the small businesses of America’s heartland.

The president and a team from his Cabinet are scheduled to attend a forum Tuesday at Cleveland State University with more than a hundred small business leaders from Northeast Ohio.

White House officials say the forum’s goal is to brainstorm with small business leaders about how to boost economic growth through fostering entrepreneurship, expanding exports and advancing clean energy technology. The forum also will look at whether small businesses have access to the capital and capable workers that they need to grow.

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3. Thanks to What Is Working for this great video from Wisconsin. Maybe, just maybe, some people are waking up.

And, you can follow the events in Madison here.

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4. This is just a lovely photo of VP Biden, last week in Kentucky.

Thursday morning mishmash and a call to action (UPDATED)

Hi guys,

1. First, call to action. OFA is doing grassroots training as we speak. Please go over to check it out, and see if you can join. The Republicans’ first primary debate is May 2. They started campaigning against President Obama on Jan 20, 2009. Every day any of us is not in campaign mode is one day we cede to Republicans. Let’s move!

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2. Today’s schedule:

9:20 AM PBO departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base.
9:35 AM PBO departs Andrews Air Force Base en route Marquette, Michigan.
10:00 AM  
11:00 AM  
11:40 AM PBO arrives in Marquette, Michigan.
12:00 PM  
1:00 PM  
1:15 PM PBO views the Northern Michigan University’s WiMAX demonstration.
1:30 PM PBO delivers remarks on the National Wireless Initiative.
2:00 PM VPB meets with police chiefs to discuss law enforcement issues.
3:00 PM PBO departs Marquette, Michigan.
4:00 PM  
4:30 PM VPB meets with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.
4:55 PM PBO arrives at Andrews Air Force Base.
5:00 PM  
5:10 PM PBO arrives at the White House.

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3. No strings attached:

Obama lays out plan for wireless Internet expansion

Reuters) – President Barack Obama will outline his plan on Thursday for expanding high speed wireless Internet service to 98 percent of Americans while reducing the U.S. deficit by $9.6 billion over the next ten years.

During a trip to Marquette, Michigan — a politically important state that has been especially hard hit by the rough U.S. economy — the president will propose investing $5 billion into a fund that will ensure fast wireless technology is made available to rural areas across the country.

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4. further proof that the recovery act didn’t help. Here’s an eye opening map, showing the true impact of the recovery act on the unemployment rate.

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5. Help you can believe in, but not really hear about it:

$7.6 billion federal effort to help unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure will soon be running in all 18 states sharing the funds

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6. All aboard:

California high-speed rail planners prepare to put out billions in contracts

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7. More doomed news:

Quinnipiac New Jersey Poll: PBO at 55%

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8. interesting story about complete trust between PBO and VPB:

Biden is Obama’s point man on almost everything

// snip

…”When your relationship is forged in crisis like that, you find out a lot about the other guy,” said top Obama adviser David Axelrod, who left the White House last month to plot the 2012 re-election campaign. Over the past two years, he said, Obama learned “what a faithful adviser and advocate Biden could be.”

Obama and Biden see each other nearly every day when they’re in town, often for three or four hours. Biden typically attends the president’s morning briefing, as well as economic huddles and meetings of the Cabinet and national-security teams. In Oval Office sessions, Biden typically sits in the wing chair next to the president. They share weekly lunches. They’ve also spent some time bonding over girls’ basketball, with Obama’s younger daughter and one of Biden’s granddaughters playing for the same team.

// much more

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9. The first lady celebrates Let’s Move! first anniversary:

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UPDATE:

Jobless claims drop to 2-1/2 year low

Reuters) – New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits dropped more than expected last week to touch their lowest point in 2-1/2 years, a government report showed on Thursday, offering assurance that the labor market was strengthening despite January’s poor jobs numbers.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000, the lowest since early July 2008, the Labor Department said.

Wednesday’s mishmash

Hi guys,

1. Getting creative:

Obama to Propose Electric-Car Tax Credit Via Dealers

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration will propose that consumers receive a $7,500 tax credit for electric cars at the dealership, reducing the sticker price, an Energy Department official said.

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The administration will also propose grants for as many as 30 communities to build infrastructure to recharge electric vehicles, Sandalow said. The president’s budget will also include new research and development investments in electric drive.

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2. Winning the future:

Bringing High-Speed Rail to America

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3. The truth is out there (not that anyone cares, you know….):

The myth of obama’s big spending

Does the president really suffer from what House Speaker John Boehner calls a “spending illness”? Not according to an exclusive Newsweek-Daily Beast estimate of his outlays on new legislation since taking office.

// snip

To rectify the situation, Newsweek and The Daily Beast have come up with an exclusive estimate of the amount the president has spent on new legislation since taking office in January 2009.

What we found may surprise people who see Obama as the Big Spender in Chief. Over the last two years, the president has decided to “spend” $21 billion more on tax cuts — the GOP’s preferred policy response to, well, everything — than on government programs.

// snip

Regardless of reality, Republicans have a strong incentive to keep characterizing the president’s spending as an “out-of-control,” “unprecedented” “spree” that “threatens” “our children’s future.”…

But during an accounting argument, it’s useful to have real, live numbers to battle over. On the rare occasion Republicans do allude to real stats, they tend to shout about the growing short-term deficit, a problem that has a lot more to do with declining recession-era tax revenues and increasing safety-net outlays than anything Obama has done, or not done.

//

Democrats can argue that rescuing the U.S. economy from a second Great Depression for less than the price of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was a relative bargain.

// more and must read!

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4. Yea, road trip!

Salvador prez: Obama to visit El Salvador in March

 El Salvador’s president says President Barack Obama will visit the Central American country next month to discuss the fight against poverty.

President Mauricio Funes says Obama will be in El Salvador March 22 and 23. He says other topics will be discussed but he wants the fight against poverty to be the central issue discussed during Obama’s visit.

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5. Still doomed:

Reuters poll: PBO at 51%

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6. Finally, I couldn’t care less of Politico, but I do care for this:

The first lady reiterated the promise to campaign for her husband because “this country needs him”.
Amen, Michelle. Amen.
 
 
 

Friday morning mishmash (updated)

Hi guys.

1. Today’s schedule:

All Times ET

9:30 am
The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing

10:20 am
The President addresses Families USA’s 16th Annual Health Action Conference
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill

11:00 am
The President and the Vice President receive the Economic Daily Briefing

11:30 am
The President meets with senior advisors

1:00 pm
Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs

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2. Before I’ll forget, if you didn’t see this Rachel Maddow’ segment from the day after the SOTU, make sure you will. This is some of the best, original, educated, thought-provoking pieces of punditry I’ve seen from any journalist in the last couple of years – Let alone from the entire hysterical professional left.

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3. So, this is the Oval Office. No biggie.

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4. Why, why is it that ordinary people can ask so much better questions than the media?? This is just a delightful public interview with the president.

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5. Well, he told you he was persistent:

White House renominates Berwick as Medicare chief

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6. Homophonic president continue to hate the gayz.

Obama Nominee for Judge Could Be First Openly Gay Man on the Federal Bench

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7. Here’s one reason why I love this administration so much:

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8. Goodbye fear mongering, hello adult-mongering:

Color Coded Terror Alerts Retired by Department of Homeland Security

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced today that the color coded terrorism alert system would end within 90 days. It will be replaced, she said, with a new two-tiered system to provide clear and specific information about terrorist threats, and actions people should take.

“Today I announce the end of the old system of color-coded alerts. In its place, we will implement a new system that’s built on a clear and simple premise: When a threat develops that could impact you — the public — we will tell you.” Napolitano said. “We will provide whatever information we can so you know how to protect yourselves, your families, and your communities.”

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9. As most of you probably know already, Jay Carney is the new WH Press Secretary. I like Gibbs, I like his fire and loyalty to the president, but I wasn’t too happy with him as a spokesman for the president. Carney is a better choice.

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10. Finally, one of the latest I’m Grateful posts:

President Obama, Is the most intelligent and ingenious president, I have lived to witness in my 59 years. He has a heart like gold and a smile you will never forget. All the negative talk which is geared toward him, he continues to be our ingenious president and keeps that million dollar smile.
The harder people try to belittle him, the higher his head and his foot steps get. It is time to stop the drama, and omit the man has done a swell job in his short time in office.
Rosa Brice

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Economy update:

The U.S. economy accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2010, driven by the biggest gain in consumer spending in more than four years and rising exports.

Wednesday morning mishmash

Hello guys,

1. The president and the First Lady will travel to Tuscon this afternoon. The president will deliver his speech at the University of Arizona at 6pm. Pundits whining expected to begin at 6:02.

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2. Just imagine where his numbers would be if he didn’t have so many  “Obama’s Katrina!!!!!!!!!!”. Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.

New AP-GfK Poll: President Obama at 53% job approval rating

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3. I guess there’s no way to run from it…;)

The White House will announce as soon as this month the creation of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign

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4. Just one more example of a great law coming from this administration, then being smeared and misrepresented, until people actually start to look at it for real – and lo and behold – a newspaper from TEXAS is just giddy over the new food safety law (which by the way, I learned from reading the article, took 70 YEARS to get done. 70!!!!).

The new food safety bill’s a bargain, despite critics’ plans to block funding

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5. Yea, working on every possible front:

Obama calls Saudi king, voices solidarity on Lebanon

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6. VP Biden in Afghanistan. Just because I love Joe to pieces.