Thursday, September 30, 2010

Obama's Schedule Oct. 1

The 11:05 am personnel announcement will say goodbye to Rahm and hello to Pete Rouse. Look for a live stream here.

10:00 AM
The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press
11:05 AM
The President makes a personnel announcement
East Room
Open Press
11:30 AM
The President meets with Secretary of State Clinton
Oval Office
Closed Press
2:00 PM
The President attends Justice Kagan’s Investiture Ceremony
Supreme Court
Travel Pool Coverage
3:20 PM
The President receives the Economic Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press
4:00 PM
The President meets with Secretary of Defense Gates
Oval Office
Closed Press

West Wing Week Oct. 1

Behind the scenes of Obama's week:

Obama's Speech at Gen44 Sept. 30

Transcript.

More on Gen44 here.

White House Press Briefing Sept. 30

Obama will announce tomorrow the resignation of chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who (in case you hadn't heard) wants to be Chicago mayor. It sounds like Obama will also announce Rahm's replacement, who apparently is White House adviser Pete Rouse.

CNN Reporter Reports on Failed O'Keefe Punk

James O'Keefe clearly has issues. CNN is reporting on how conservative youth activists do business.

"I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.”

On the surface, the NYT story that says many Americans are stumped about religion is a story about religion. But it's really a story about how educating yourself makes you more informed. Go figure.

People are willing to suspend facts for belief when the belief makes them feel better. We kind of see that everyday now. It would be great if people practiced religion the way it was intended instead of preaching to others and living like a hypocrite.
Some people think you can't have morality without religion and for some people that's true, so I'm all for whatever gets you through the night. On the other hand, religion seems to be the great divider, lending no sense of morality. Atheists often are no better. Many approach religion with such disdain and disrespect that they come off as self righteous as the religious believer.
“Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey,” said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at Pew.

That finding might surprise some, but not Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, an advocacy group for nonbelievers that was founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

“I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people,” Mr. Silverman said. “Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.” NYT

Scientific Explanation for Why People Believe Obama is Muslim

The largest disaster here is that people dislike Muslims. The second disaster is the mainstream media blows up and perpetuates lies. It gives us he said she said accounts, instead of reporting facts. The media, in an effort to stay in business, has strayed into sensationalistic journalism.

The research by Spee Kosloff and colleagues suggests people are most likely to accept such falsehoods, both consciously and unconsciously, when subtle clues remind them of ways in which Obama is different from them, whether because of race, social class or other ideological differences.
These judgments, Kosloff argues, are irrational. He also suggests they are fueled by an "irresponsible" media culture that allows political pundits and "talking heads" to perpetuate the lies.
"Careless or biased media outlets are largely responsible for the propagation of these falsehoods, which catch on like wildfire," said Kosloff, visiting assistant professor of psychology. "And then social differences can motivate acceptance of these lies."
...

"When people are unsatisfied with the president -- whether it's the way he's handling the economy, health care or Afghanistan -- our research suggests that this only fuels their readiness to accept untrue rumors," Kosloff said.
"As his job rating goes down, suggesting that people feel like he's not ideologically on their side, we see an increase in this irrational belief that he's a Muslim," he added. "Unfortunately, in America, many people dislike Muslims so they'll label Obama as Muslim when they feel different from him." Read it all at Science Daily

Jeb Bush Talks Political Food Fights and Obama's Education Plan

It heartens me when I hear republicans speaking in a rational manner, even though I don't agree with republican philosophy--business knows best, tax cuts for the rich. The facts are we'll always have republicans leading and it's a comfort if they're not Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle or Carl Paladino types.

Biblical Reference in Computer Worm Aimed at Iran?

From the NYT

Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.
That use of the word “Myrtus” — which can be read as an allusion to Esther — to name a file inside the code is one of several murky clues that have emerged as computer experts try to trace the origin and purpose of the rogue Stuxnet program, which seeks out a specific kind of command module for industrial equipment.
....
The malicious code has appeared in many countries, notably China, India, Indonesia and Iran. But there are tantalizing hints that Iran’s nuclear program was the primary target. Officials in both the United States and Israel have made no secret of the fact that undermining the computer systems that control Iran’s huge enrichment plant at Natanz is a high priority. (The Iranians know it, too: They have never let international inspectors into the control room of the plant, the inspectors report, presumably to keep secret what kind of equipment they are using.) Read the whole thing at NYT

Austan Goolsbee at the Whiteboard on Bush Tax Cuts

This is a great idea!

Obama's Schedule Sept. 30

0:30 AM
The President and the Vice President receive the Economic Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press
11:00 AM
The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press
12:45 PM
The President meets with Democratic Congressional leadership
Oval Office
Closed Press
2:00 PM
The President meets with senior advisors
Oval Office
Closed Press
7:35 PM
The President attends a DNC dinner
DC, Private Residence, Washington
Pooled Press
9:15 PM
The President delivers remarks at a DNC Gen44 event
DAR Constitution Hall
Travel Pool Coverage

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

White House Alzheimer's Briefing

Obama's Discussion in Richmond Virginia Sept. 29


I've noticed a lot of people have interpreted Obama's remarks on Jon Stewart's rally to restore sanity through their own filter--left and right--but here is the context:

And there are folks on the left who do the same thing, trying to be purposely provocative, saying the meanest, nastiest things you can say about the other side. They get rewarded in the way our media is set up right now.

So part of the challenge is figuring out how to create a space for people saying we’re all Americans and we’re just going to try to solve our problems, and we’re going to have some differences, because some of these issues are hard -- is there a way where those voices get heard, because right now they’re not really getting heard.

I was amused -- Jon Stewart, the host of “The Daily Show,” apparently he is going to host a rally called something like Americans in Favor of a Return to Sanity or something like that. And his point was, you know, 70 percent of the people, it doesn’t matter what their political affiliation are, 70 percent of the folks are just like you, which is they’re going about their business, they’re working hard every day, they’re looking after their families. They don’t go around calling people names. They don’t make stuff up. They may not be following every single issue, because they just don’t have time. But they are just expecting some common sense and some courtesy in how people interact. And having those voices lifted up is really important. So hopefully, since they’ve got a whole bunch of cameras here, somebody was just listening to you.

Here's the full transcript:
Remarks by the President in a Discussion on the Economy in Richmond, Virginia

Southampton Recreation Association, Richmond, Virginia

4:10 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Well, everybody have a seat, have a seat. I just want to -- first of all, I want to thank Matt and Stephanie for making their backyard available until it got really wet, and Matthew and Lucy, who are our official hosts today. And I’m so appreciative of them.


I want to acknowledge our mayor, Dwight Jones. Thank you so much for being here. And of course, I’ve got to say thanks again to Ms. Shelton for being here. We are graced by your presence.

This is really a casual setting, so I hope that we just open it up for a good conversation about where the country is at, where it’s going, how folks are feeling down here in Richmond. I want to hear from you at least as much as you’re hearing from me.

I find this really useful to me because when you’re in Washington all the time and you’re in these battles, sometimes you’re in what’s called the bubble. And I’m always trying to do what I can to break out of it and be able to get back with folks and have a conversation.

What I want to do is -- what I want to do is just speak briefly about what’s going on in the economy, and then just open it up.

Obviously we’re going through a tough time. And these last two years have been as tough as any that we’ve seen in most of our lifetimes, except for Ms. Shelton. (Laughter.) Because the truth is, is that the financial crisis that we experienced was the worst since the Great Depression. We lost about 4 million jobs in the six months before I was sworn into office. We lost 750,000 jobs the month I was sworn into office; 600,000 jobs the two months after I was sworn in. So before any of my economic policies were put into place, we had already lost most of the 8 million jobs that we ended up losing in this recession.

And my first job was to make sure that the banking system did not completely collapse, and to make sure that we didn’t dip into a second depression. And we’ve done that. The economy that was contracting is now growing. We’ve had eight straight months of private sector job growth. So we’re making some progress.

But the truth is, is that people were having a tough time even before the crisis hit. We had gone -- from 2001 to 2009, there was a period in which the average middle-class family lost 5 percent of their income -- 5 percent of their wages -- during that period. At the same time, the costs for health care and college tuitions were skyrocketing. It was the slowest period of job growth since World War II, from 2001 to 2000. Read the rest

After Spending $100 Million Meg Whitman Just Lost

Update Sept. 30: Allred produces solid evidence that Whitman (or at least her husband) knew her housekeeper was possibly undocumented, even though it doesn't really matter. Whitman says employers should be held accountable for hiring only documented workers. She needs to be held accountable.

As far as I'm concerned Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown are both lousy candidates for California governor. It makes me sick to have to vote for either of them.
I'd boot all politicians from California government because at this point nearly anyone could run the state better. Let's let fifth graders run the state.
But Whitman's firing her housekeeper after 9 years of employment because she asked for help with documentation is cold blooded.
Whitman just wasted $100 million to get herself elected. Why didn't Whitman out herself earlier? Why did she try to hide the fact that she hired an undocumented worker, unwittingly or not?
Whitman appears to be legally safe. She says she didn't know her housekeeper was illegal and unless Allred has proof, the housekeeper doesn't have a case.
But from a human and political perspective, Whitman should've known the woman was undocumented. After 9 years, she should know the person who's cleaning her house, someone who's spending time with her children, or at least around her children. I would have checked up and down someone who was spending time around my children.
Whitman also is opposed to immigration reform, which makes her a hypocrite. Actually, it's been kind of hard to tell where she stands on immigration reform, which is a serious issue, especially for California.
Whitman is right that her former housekeeper is being manipulated by Gloria Allred. That's what Allred does. And yes it is politics as usual, but Whitman could've handled things better. Her former housekeeper is now facing a heap of legal troubles thanks to an ignorant employer.
How can we expect Whitman to run a state when she's clueless to who she employs.

In her recent debate, she said we need to hold employers responsible for hiring illegal immigrants:

Obama Administration's New Pregnancy Assistance Fund

The grants, part of healthcare reform, aim to help pregnant women and teen parents with schooling, child care or other assistance. Supporting pregnant women and teens is one of the ways the White House wants to find common ground with abortion foes. Abortion foes usually see things as black and white, though. They don't believe in the pragmatic goal of working toward reducing abortions.

The Obama administration announced its first round of grants from a new fund aimed at helping pregnant women and parenting teens on Wednesday, a move the White House framed as part of its "common ground" approach to abortion.

The Health and Human Services Department distributed $27 million for the federal government's Pregnancy Assistance Fund on Wednesday, the department said in a press release, awarding grants to 17 states and 13 American Indian tribes

The grants support programs helping pregnant women and teen parents who are trying to complete high school or who need assistance with health care, child care and housing, HHS said. The grants can also be used to combat violence against pregnant women. CNN
Read the HHS release.

Obama's Backyard Discussion in Iowa Sept. 29

Full video:


(read the transcript). It's clear that people have a lot of misconceptions about the healthcare bill:

Here's the clip of the self-important business man I mentioned earlier today, who spoke rationally yet condescendingly, as if Obama didn't know anything about business.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Obama's Schedule in Iowa and Virginia Sept. 29

Live stream of Obama's backyard discussion in Iowa here. Right now (12 pm eastern), Obama is being lectured by a know-it-all business man. blah, blah, blah. Good grief.

11:05 AM
The President meets with Des Moines family
Local Event Time:
10:05 AM CDT
Des Moines, Iowa, Private Residence
Travel Pool Coverage
11:15 AM
The President holds a discussion on the economy
Local Event Time:
10:15 AM CDT
Des Moines, Iowa, Private Residence
Open to pre-credentialed media
12:45 PM
The President departs Des Moines, Iowa en route Richmond, Virginia
Local Event Time:
11:45 AM CDT
Des Moines International Airport
Open Press
2:45 PM
The President arrives Richmond, Virginia
Richmond International Airport
Open Press
3:20 PM
The President meets with Richmond family
Richmond, Southampton Recreation Association, Virginia
Travel Pool Coverage
3:35 PM
The President holds a discussion on the economy
Richmond, Southampton Recreation Association, Virginia
Open to pre-credentialed media
5:05 PM
The President departs Richmond, Virginia en route Andrews Air Force Base
Richmond International Airport
Open Press
5:40 PM
The President arrives at Andrews Air Force Base
Andrews Air Force Base
Travel Pool Coverage
5:55 PM
The President arrives at the White House
South Lawn
Open Press