Saturday, December 31, 2011

US Troops Ring in New Year in Afghanistan Video

Romney Says Election to Save America's Soul

Here Mitt is talking about souls and we're not even sure Mitt is a human being. I'm thinking clone or drone. He says Obama is making the nation a "European welfare state." Obama hasn't had the time (or the inclination) to turn the nation into Europe. That's just silly republican talk. Worse, Mitt can't even say it without sounding insincere and phony. Robot?

Romney Promises to Veto Dream Act If Elected

Read. Romney thinks immigrants are for mowing his lawn.

Obama Signs Defense Bill With Statement

Obama signs the bill that the emo progs (way left) believed would detain Americans indefinitely. For an understanding of NDAA, read this. Here's Obama:
Today I have signed into law H.R. 1540, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012." I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed. In hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages, the Act also contains critical Administration initiatives to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DoD), to develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, to build the security capacity of key partners, to modernize the force, and to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide. 
The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists that allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations, and the results we have achieved are undeniable. Our success against al-Qa'ida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people, and our accomplishments have respected the values that make our country an example for the world. Read the rest.

West Wing Week 2011 in Review

Good ending.

Obama's Weekly Address Dec. 31

Friday, December 30, 2011

Desperate Perry Attacks Santorum

Mitt's Son Goes Down Birther Road

This guy appears to be holding Mitt's chair in place. Talk about bad visuals

Mitt's son Matt is calling on Obama to release his birth certificate and to prove he wasn't an affirmative action candidate. When people talk like that, they may not realize that they're being racist, but they are. Matt also is the fool to say Mitt has nothing to hide, when Mitt explicitly said he'd never reveal his tax returns. He also wiped out his governorship when he finished up in Massachusetts. Mitt represents all the bad stuff about business and none of the good. His soul wears a business suit. Romney reminds me of the Grinch, a cold heart, three sizes too small. I pose this question: Do we know if Mitt's actually a human being? ..........
There’s off message and then there’s Mitt Romney’s son, Matt Romney, who suggested on Thursday that President Obama should release his birth certificate and grades before his father releases his tax returns. “He’s certainly not afraid of anything, he’s not hiding anything,” he said of his father in a video recorded by a Patch reporter in New Hampshire. “But I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate and sort of a long list of things, that maybe he’d do that.” TPM

Newt Has a Real Moment

A very touching moment. I'm not sure Mitt is capable of a moment like this, but I do think it matters:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Michelle Obama Photo

Since Obama is away, there's not much to post, other than fools going on about the cost of Obama's vacation (fever pitch this year) -- he takes two a year, one in the summer, when his daughters are out of school, and one at Christmas in Hawaii -- FLOTUS's vacation wardrobe, and all of the foolery that is the GOP clown show and the Iowa caucuses. So here's this. Michelle Obama gives kids preview of the Christmas Tree in the Blue Room.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rick Perry Learns From a DVD

Rick Perry says he changed his stance on abortion because he watched a DVD. Pathetic. I happen to think that if you are going to be against abortion, it's logical to be against all forms of abortion, even in the case of rape. But changing your stance after watching a DVD is failed reasoning. If he were to become president, would he watch propaganda before he made his decisions? How would he choose which DVD to watch? Can you imagine Obama saying he changed his position on a serious issue because he watched a DVD? The GOP is pathetic. How are normal republicans standing for this reality TV clown show? What's wrong with everyone? This guy is an idiot. How was he elected to run a state? Are the republican candidates a reflection of the further dumbing down of the nation or just a political system gone awry? I think to myself, maybe the presidency is not such a big office with big adult responsibilities and any idiot could lead the nation, but ultimately, it's not true. Why are people so accepting of such inferior candidates for the presidency of the United States? Why have the republicans been so accepting of such shallowness?

And this? Very funny swipe at Newt, entertaining. But this is not supposed to be a reality show.

And Bachmann calling Ron Paul a bigot and too dangerous? Oh my.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rick Perry Sues Virginia For His Failings

Rick Perry didn't follow the rules, didn't do the work to get on the ballot in Virginia, so what does he do? He sues. Just more republican hypocrisy:
"We believe that the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot, and we hope to have those provisions overturned or modified to provide greater ballot access to Virginia voters and the candidates seeking to earn their support," said Perry communications director Ray Sullivan in a statement. NBC

Romney Didn't Create Jobs

I'm so tired of this "job creator" nonsense. Republicans used to call their constituents "wealth creators," which is more in line with the truth, but not politically savvy in this day. If companies didn't have to hire a single soul, they wouldn't. The purpose of a company is not to create jobs. It's to make a profit. Nothing nefarious there. That's just the way it is. The more people employed, the less profit. If a company can do more with fewer people (or with people paid on the cheap) and more technology, then that's the way they'll do it. That's what Mitt did. He grew companies through layoffs and sell offs. He's still getting rich from Bain. He refuses to tell us how rich because he won't ever disclose his tax returns. The country doesn't need a manager to create jobs. It needs a president to govern a country.

Newt Loved Romney Care

In a memo, Newt praised Romney Care, proving that healthcare is only good so long as it isn't Obama that's proposing it. More evidence of Obama discrimination and republican hypocrisy? Yep. Not only did Newt love Romney Care, he also looked for it to be more inclusive -- so communist of him.
The Romney plan attempts to bring everyone into the system. The individual mandate requires those who earn enough to afford insurance to purchase coverage, and subsidies will be made available to those individuals who cannot afford insurance on their own. We agree strongly with this principle, but the details are crucial when it comes to the structure of this plan. Under the new bill, Massachusetts residents earning more than 300% of the federal poverty level (approximately $30,000 for an individual) will not be eligible for any subsidies. State House officials had originally promised that there would be new plans available at about $200 a month, but industry experts are now predicting that the cheapest plan will likely cost at least $325 a month. This estimate totals about $4000 per year, or about 1/5 of a $30,000 annual take-home income.

While in theory the plan should be affordable if the whole state contributes to the cost, the reality is that Massachusetts has an exhaustive list of health coverage regulations prohibiting insurers from offering more basic, pared-down policies with higher deductibles. (This is yet another reminder that America must establish a cross-state insurance market that gives individuals the freedom to shop for insurance plans in states other than their own.)

In our estimation, Massachusetts residents earning little more than $30,000 a year are in jeopardy of being priced out of the system. In the event that this occurs, Governor Romney will be in grave danger of repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, Mike Dukakis, whose 1988 health plan was hailed as a save-all but eventually collapsed when poorly-devised payment structures created a malaise of unfulfilled promises. We propose that a more realistic approach might be to limit the mandate to those individuals earning upwards of $54,000 per year. Read

Monday, December 26, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Michelle Obama Answers Calls of Kids Tracking Santa 2011

From the White House:  
Mrs. Obama just finished answering calls from children from across the country asking where Santa was located as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Mrs. Obama participated in the NORAD Tracks Santa program last year as well.

Background on the NORAD Tracks Santa Program: The NORAD Tracks Santa program began in 1955 after a phone call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The call was from a local youngster who dialed a misprinted telephone number in a local newspaper advertisement. The commander on duty who answered the phone that night gave the youngster the information requested - the whereabouts of Santa. This began the tradition of tracking Santa, a tradition that was carried on by NORAD when it was formed in 1958.
The NORAD Tracks Santa program has grown immensely since first presented on the Internet in 1998. The website receives millions of unique visitors from hundreds of countries and territories around the world. In addition, a live Operations Center is occupied for 25 hours with more than 1,200 volunteers each year who receive hundreds of thousands of phone calls and emails from families around the world.

Obamas Christmas Message 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Obama Arrives in Hawaii Dec. 23 2011

Upadate Dec. 24: Obama went golfing, spends Christmas Eve with family.
Obama arrives at Hickman Air Base. Let a well-deserved vacation begin. The Obamas leave Jan. 2. See more photos and story here. 

Photo tweeted by David Nakamura, WaPo reporter.
Bo traveled with Obama aboard Air Force One

The Obamas Interview with Barbara Walters Video

Full video. Part 1:
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Part 2:
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Republican Opposition to Obama is Personal

David Brooks and Mark Shields both agree, republican rebellion to practically everything Obama does is personal. Republicans have an irrational hatred of Obama. Gee, I wonder why. If you ask me, that hatred of Obama is why Congress has been so dysfunctional. Republicans can't move beyond their established goal since Day One of making Obama a one-term president. What are they going to do (if) when he gets re-elected?

Many American are Oblivious to Payroll Tax Cut's Meaning

Chip Reid talks to people in Hawaii who don't realize that their paychecks would've been $40 less if the tax deal didn't go through. Only people from Canada knew and cared. On one hand, maybe ignorance is bliss. Or is it just ignorant? On the other hand, I kind of want to slap these people. I bet if Chip had asked people to name the vice president, there would be a lot of people who couldn't do that either.

Ron Paul Not Qualified to be President

I liked Ron Paul's stance on war and terrorism, but now it's clear Paul is nothing more than a wacko and a creep. Read the newsletters that solidify him as just another unqualified and icky republican. This newsletter is telling.  

Obama Speaks on Tax Cut and Unemployment Benefits Deal Dec. 23

Read some of the details of the bill. Harry Reid announces the democratic conferees who will work out the one-year deal. Full video:

Obama's Schedule Dec. 23

Note times are eastern. Also the 12:15 statement has been moved to 12:45 pm ET.

12:15 PM
The President delivers a statement LIVE STREAM
Brady Press Briefing Room
Open Press
1:05 PM
The President departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base
South Lawn
Open Press
1:20 PM
The President departs Andrews Air Force Base en route Honolulu, Hawaii
Pooled Press
11:25 PM
The President arrives in Honolulu, Hawaii
Local Event Time: 
6:25PM HST
Hawaii, Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu
Open Press

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Obama's Statement on Tax Cut and Unemployment Extension Deal

For the past several weeks, I’ve stated consistently that it was critical that Congress not go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million working Americans.  Today, I congratulate members of Congress for ending the partisan stalemate by reaching an agreement that meets that test.

Because of this agreement, every working American will keep his or her tax cut – about $1,000 for the average family.  That’s about $40 in every paycheck.  Vital unemployment insurance will continue for millions of Americans who are looking for work.  And when Congress returns, I urge them to keep working to reach an agreement that will extend this tax cut and unemployment insurance for all of 2012 without drama or delay.

This is good news, just in time for the holidays.  This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs.  This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives.  And I want to thank every American who raised your voice to remind folks in this town what this debate was all about.  It was about you.  And today, your voices made all the difference.

Romney Bought By Billionaires

Do we really want a businessman to run government? Someone who's worth upwards of $250 million, someone who says he won't disclose his tax returns, someone who's been bought by business to run government? Government is not a business. That's why it's government. It needs a President, not a CEO.

West Wing Week Dec. 23

Unemployment Claims Lowest Since 2008

More good economic news:
Encouraging economic reports sent stocks slightly higher in afternoon trading Thursday. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level since April 2008, the latest sign that the job market is healing. WaPo

House Relents to Payroll Tax Cut

It's just now being reported that the House has relented. CBS's Mark Knoller's tweet: (AP) - Congressional aides: House GOP to accept short-term payroll tax cut measure.
House Republicans on Thursday crumpled under the weight of White House and public pressure and have agreed to pass a two-month extension of the payroll-tax cut, Republican and Democratic sources told National Journal.

How the 1% Get Wealthy

They keep paying themselves.
Even though Mitt left Bain Capital 13 years ago, he's still getting paid by the company. Not only that. This:
Moreover, much of his income from the arrangement has probably qualified for a lower tax rate than ordinary income under a tax provision favorable to hedge fund and private equity managers, which has become a point of contention in the battle over economic inequality. New York Times
Not only that, if Mitt becomes the republican nominee, he won't release his tax returns like every other nominee. Hiding something?
Then there are the overpaid CEOs, whose companies make up our 401Ks and other investments. For example, McKesson is a publicly held healthcare company, which means it has many shareholders. Its CEO was paid $145 million in 2010. There is no excuse for that and no one is worth that kind of salary. Imagine, if the company paid him a mere $10 million and the rest of the salary went to lower level workers, who probably work harder than he does. Imagine the economic benefit to the working and middle class, instead of letting one guy amass several houses, yachts and toys out the ying yang.

Republican Has Apologized for Talking About First Lady's Butt

I didn't quite know how to write the headline on this post. I mean, republicans are turning into a gas. Jim Sensenbrenner said Michelle Obama had a 'big butt' in an effort to make a point about his disdain for Michelle's obesity campaign.
For one, Michelle Obama is gorgeous and she's very much in shape, but that is beside the point. There are limits to how much disrespect you show the President and the First Lady and Sensenbrenner dove over the line and should be publicly humiliated for it, so I hope I do my part in helping to do that:
The veteran congressman made reference to Michelle Obama's "big butt" while talking to a group of church members at a Christmas bazaar at St. Aidan's Episcopalian Church in Hartford earlier this month. He was suggesting it was hypocritical for her to launch a national campaign to combat obesity. Ann Marsh-Meigs, a church member who heard Sensenbrenner's remarks, said he took several swipes at the first lady on Dec. 10. In one, Marsh-Meigs said, the congressman claimed Michelle Obama left a recent charitable event when the media did, though Sensenbrenner's handicapped wife continued to work. "He then talked about how different first ladies have had different projects - Laura Bush and literacy - and he named two or three others," Marsh-Meigs said in an interview last week. "And then he said, 'And Michelle Obama, her project is obesity. And look at her big butt.' Journal Sentinel

Newt Gingrich Boldly Lies About Merry Christmas

More of the usual pranks from the republicans during Christmas. Being a good Christian, the last I checked, didn't entail deceit.
Newt Gingrich, whose website was hacked yesterday to lead to sites such as this,  this, and this, is lying to people saying that federal government employees aren't  allowed to say "Merry Christmas," which is strange because Obama said it a lot yesterday and he's the boss of federal employees. The sad part is people believe it. They believe it because they want to believe it, so maybe in their alternate reality, it is their truth, so maybe Newt is not lying at all!
From Politifact, which says Newt's lie is a "Pants on Fire" lie:
Newt Gingrich says the nation's obsession with being politically correct has come to this: Federal officials aren't allowed to say "Merry Christmas." On the campaign trail, Gingrich has offered strong criticism of efforts to keep religion out of public places and said he would hold judges to account if they rule in favor of stricter separation between church and state. The topic came up in Davenport, Iowa, on Dec. 19, 2011.
The question wasn’t audible on a video clip, but here's Gingrich's reply: "This is actually weird . . . I’ve been investigating this for the last three days. I am told that this is actually a 20- or 30-year-old law, which I have to say I find strange, and I would advocate repealing the law. Apparently if the president sends out Christmas cards, they are paid for the Democratic or Republican National Committees because no federal official at any level is currently allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ And the idea, I think, is that the government should be neutral. … I want going to go back and find out how was this law written, when was it passed. We’ve had this whole — in my mind — very destructive attitude in the last 50 years that we have to drive religion out of public life." Read the rest

Obama Speaks on Extending Payroll Tax Cut

Update: It appears the House (Cantor and the tea party bunch) have relented.

Things are getting very strange. Fellow stodgy republican Mitch McConnell is calling on Boehner to bring the Senate bill up for a vote.
Full video:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Obama's Schedule Dec. 22

10:15 AM
Obama receives the presidential daily briefing.

1:00 PM
Obama makes a statement. LIVE STREAM

1:30 PM
White House press briefing. LIVE STREAM

1:45 PM
Obama meets with senior advisers.

White House Press Briefing Dec. 21

Readout of Obama's Call With Boehner and Reid

Today, the President made separate calls to Speaker Boehner and Leader Reid.  In his call to Speaker Boehner, the President reiterated the need and his commitment to work with Congress to extend the payroll tax cut for the entire year, and the fact that the short-term bipartisan compromise passed by almost the entire Senate is the only option to ensure that middle class families aren't hit with a tax hike in 10 days and gives both sides the time needed to work out a full year solution.  The President urged the Speaker to take up the bipartisan compromise passed in the Senate with overwhelming Democratic and Republican support that would prevent 160 million working Americans from being hit with a holiday tax hike on January 1st.  The President also spoke with Leader Reid and again applauded him for the work he conducted with Minority Leader McConnell to achieve a successful bipartisan compromise that passed overwhelmingly in the Senate on Saturday, and Senator Reid reaffirmed his commitment to secure a bipartisan year long tax cut after the House passes the two month extension. The President urged the Speaker to allow a vote on the one compromise that Democrats and Republicans passed together to give the American people the assurance they need during this holiday season that they won't see a significant tax hike in just 10 days.

Obama and Bo Shop at the Pet Store

Obama spending time with Bo, who probably has more sense than House republicans, not to mention is surely more enjoyable. Obama went Christmas shopping today for his family. They are in Hawaii on the annual Obama Christmas vacation. Obama is missing time with his family, thanks to the republican nonsense. Obama called Boehner this morning, urging him to allow a vote in the House on the Senate-passed payroll tax cut and unemployment extension bill.

Hoyer Rips Fellow House Republicans for Walking Out

For those who failed to vote at mid-terms because the president they voted for didn't give them everything they wanted, here's more evidence that elections have consequences. Congress has been hijacked by the a small minority of rabid and willful people with an agenda they aim to carry out.

Newt is Crying and Mitt Tells Him to Buck Up

It's funny to watch GOP millionaires burn each other with Super PACs and such. Newt is whining of a smear campaign by wealthy supporters of Mitt's. Mitt warns Newt of Obama's "Hell's Kitchen." It's nice to see that Mitt has some healthy fear of Obama.
It's also interesting that when Congress doesn't get its job done, republicans always complain that Obama isn't being a leader. We have three branches of government for a reason:

Chuck Todd's interview with Mitt, who says we wouldn't have invaded Iraq if there wasn't evidence of weapons of mass destruction. I must be smarter than Mitt because I KNEW that WMDs were propaganda to start a war:

Wall Street Journal Reams GOP for Payroll Fiasco

The WSJ editorial board comes down on republicans for not living up to their promise of making Obama a one termer (as if that should've been the republican goal in the first place):
GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell famously said a year ago that his main task in the 112th Congress was to make sure that President Obama would not be re-elected. Given how he and House Speaker John Boehner have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest.

The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play.

Republicans have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter....

.....Senate Republicans say Mr. Boehner had signed off on the two-month extension, but House Members revolted over the weekend and so the Speaker flipped within 24 hours. Mr. Boehner is now demanding that Mr. Reid name conferees for a House-Senate conference on the payroll tax bills. But Mr. Reid and the White House are having too much fun blaming Republicans for "raising taxes on the middle class" as of January 1. Don't be surprised if they stretch this out to the State of the Union, when Mr. Obama will have a national audience to capture the tax issue.

If Republicans didn't want to extend the payroll tax cut on the merits, then they should have put together a strategy and the arguments for defeating it and explained why. Read more of the WSJ screed
This leads House Speaker Boehner pleading:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Obama's Schedule Dec. 21

10:30 AM
Obama receives the presidential daily briefing.

11:00 AM
Obama meets with senior advisers.

Republicans Don't Get the Concept of Income Inequality

Republicans need to be schooled in the meaning of income inequality because they're just not getting it. See Santorum's remarks and Mitt's. 
Income equality or economic justice doesn't mean that we all want to get paid the same or that we want to take money from the rich and give to the poor, or as Mitt says, we begrudge those who are monetarily successful.
Income equality means getting a fair wage and fair benefits, being taxed fairly, government oversight and regulations so that taxpayers don't have to bail out businesses, and perhaps most important, access to affordable education so that people have a shot at a decent life. Right now, the people at the top pay themselves more than they pay their workers. That money doesn't trickle down either. It's circulated in the networks of the wealthy.
Mitt's economist insists that the marginal tax rate shouldn't go up. Here's a nifty chart that shows how the shrinking marginal tax rate has concentrated wealth in the hands of the few.
Here's what else:

White House Press Briefing Dec. 20

At the top, Obama said Boehner and the House republicans need to put aside politics and brinksmanship and bring the recently-passed Senate bill up for a vote. The bill would extend tax cuts and unemployment benefits for two months until a longer-term bill can be worked out after the holidays. Today, the House republicans voted not to vote on the bill. I'm baffled. What would be the disadvantage for the republicans in passing this bill that they originally agreed to? They seem to only be playing the game of doing the opposite of whatever Obama says.
Full video of Obama's portion of the briefing:

White House press briefing:

Unemployment Drops in 43 States

Since Obama is blamed for the unemployment rate, this must mean Obama must be credited with the lowering of the unemployment rate:
The vast majority of states — 43 in all — saw their unemployment rate decrease in November, a month that saw the biggest decline in the national rate in close to a year.
With the unemployment rate dipping to 8.6 percent last month, only three states — New York, Rhode Island and Wyoming — saw a rise in unemployment, each by one-tenth of a percentage points, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Four states saw no change at all, and the District of Columbia also saw its unemployment rate decrease.  The Hill

House Votes Not to Vote on Payroll Tax Cut and Unemployment Benes Extension

This is how it all went down. Obama said he wanted a long-term extension of the payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits, but the Senate republicans said all they could do was a temporary extension and then they'd work on a long-term extension after the holidays. Obama agreed to that and the Senate passed the bill. Then the House republicans, which were thought to be on board with the Senate republicans, turned around and changed their mind. Now here we are. Can the republicans make things any messier?
The House voted Tuesday to disagree with the Senate-passed payroll tax bill, and to call for a House-Senate conference to sort out differences between the bills.
The move is intended to put pressure on Senate Democrats to reconvene and meet with the House over the bill, even as Democrats say the Senate is done for the year.
The move also raises the likelihood that workers will see their payroll taxes rise in January when the current tax cut expires. the Hill

Republican Sen. Scott Brown had this to tweet:
House Republicans’ plan to scuttle the deal to help middle-class families is irresponsible and wrong.

It's the tea party republicans in the House vs. the other republicans:

Obama 52% Romney 45% Obama 56% Gingrich 40%

Finally, people are coming around. Newt's slipping after the orchestrated attack by the GOP establishment  in an effort to make Mitt look better, and Obama's up significantly in the new CNN poll.
I suspect people who don't follow politics are just starting to pay attention. The've gotten a gander at the GOP bench and have likely gasped in horror, and they've probably learned of Obama's achievements that have largely gone unnoticed, thanks to the fringes on the left and right getting most of the media attention.

Kosherizing of the White House Kitchen Video

Obama Greets Troops Returning Home Video

Kim Jong Il Lies in State

It's too bad N. Koreans are too battered, too obedient, too sheltered to take this opportunity to rise up. I imagine this is what freedom-less people look like.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Obama's Schedule Dec. 20

Times are eastern.

9:45 AM
Obama and Biden receive the presidential daily briefing.

11:45 AM
Obama departs the White House en route to Joint Base Andrews.

12:05 PM
Obama and Biden attend a ceremony marking the return of the United States Forces – Iraq Colors. LIVE STREAM

12:50 PM
White House press briefing.

1:25 PM
Obama arrives at the White House.

Joe Biden's Daily Beast Interview

Read it. Mitt Romney's people get confused by the Biden interview and send off a press release. Mitt, don't you know, people aren't going to buy that "appeasement" propaganda you're always pushing. It's irrational, contrary to facts.

Readout of Obama's Call with South Korea's Lee

At midnight tonight, President Obama spoke with Republic of Korea President Lee Myung-bak to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula following the death of Kim Jong Il. The President reaffirmed the United States’ strong commitment to the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the security of our close ally, the Republic of Korea. The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch as the situation develops and agreed they would direct their national security teams to continue close coordination.

White House Press Briefing Dec. 19

Romney's Career of Slashing and Profiting

Further evidence that companies aren't in business to create jobs. In fact, if companies could have an all-robot workforce, know that they would. Companies aren't job creators. They're wealth creators. They create wealth for the owners and executives, wealth that tends to get hoarded, not trickled down. I don't understand why people fall for the republican bunk. This is just business 101.
More than two decades ago, Mitt Romney's business venture came to town with a bounty of highly anticipated manufacturing jobs. The new plant, just past the gas station off Interstate 85, needed skilled workers to churn out thousands of photo albums.
Four years later, the Holson Burns Group Inc. — the company controlled by Romney's Bain Capital LLC — closed the factory and laid off about 150 workers. Some jobs were sent north, where months later many of those were also eliminated. Other operations went overseas.
But Bain walked away with millions in profits. AP

Boehner: House Expected to Reject Senate Bill Extending Tax Cuts and Unemployment Benefits

Update: Harry Reid says no way. He's not coming back from vacation to reopen negotiations on a longer term extension of the payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits until the House approves the bill already passed in the Senate.

This is good news in one way -- Congress doesn't deserve vacation.
The objections of the House GOP throws into doubt the fate of the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits and other measures less than two weeks before they expire.
President Obama and congressional leaders had called for a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut, but the Senate could only agree to a two-month extension because of differences in how to pay for it.
“A two-month extension creates uncertainty and will cause problems for people who are trying to create jobs in the private sector,” Boehner said.
“No more kicking the can down the road,” he said. “It’s time to stop the nonsense.”
The Speaker denied that he had initially voiced support for the Senate measure on a private conference call with House Republicans before reversing himself after fellow party leaders and rank-and-file members strongly opposed the bill.
“That’s not true,” he said. “I raised concerns about the two-month process from the moment that I heard about it.” The Hill

Obama's Statement on Death of Czech Leader Vaclav Havel

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing today of Vaclav Havel, a playwright and prisoner of conscience who became President of Czechoslovakia and of the Czech Republic. Having encountered many setbacks, Havel lived with a spirit of hope, which he defined as “the ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.” His peaceful resistance shook the foundations of an empire, exposed the emptiness of a repressive ideology, and proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon. He played a seminal role in the Velvet Revolution that won his people their freedom and inspired generations to reach for self-determination and dignity in all parts of the world. He also embodied the aspirations of half a continent that had been cut off by the Iron Curtain, and helped unleash tides of history that led to a united and democratic Europe. Like millions around the world, I was inspired by his words and leadership, and was humbled to stand with the Czech people in a free and vibrant Hradcany Square as President. We extend our condolences to President Havel’s family and all those in the Czech Republic and around the world who remain inspired by his example. Vaclav Havel was a friend to America and to all who strive for freedom and dignity, and his words will echo through the ages.

Obama's Schedule Dec. 19

10:15 AM
The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press
10:45 AM
The President meets with senior advisors
Oval Office
Closed Press

Sunday, December 18, 2011

White House Statement on Kim Jong Il

We are closely monitoring reports that Kim Jong Il is dead. The President has been notified, and we are in close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan. We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies.
Read his obit. The announcement of his death in North Korea:

Last Troops Roll Out of Iraq Video

Invading Iraq was one of this nation's biggest mistakes. Elections don't equal democracy. Hopefully, we've had some kind of positive influence in Iraq. I'm sure we'll still be there to monitor the oil situation because controlling the oil supply is always the bottom line, unfortunately.

Boehner and Bachmann on Meet the Press Video

It always comes down to oil.

Michele Bachmann says Obama is acting as though we're a "Banana Republic." David Gregory attempts to fact check her on-the-go. Watch her worm her way through her "facts," especially on her misuse of PolitiFact: