Presidents and Jobs

From Talking Points Memo:

And The Nation compares job creation under Republican and Democrat presidents over the last 70 years:

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Kung Hei Fat Choi from President Obama

Happy Chinese New Year, all!

Roll on, the Year of the Tiger.

Sarah Palin doesn’t need a teleprompter

… but she does need notes on her hand to reference.

From her appearance at the Tea Party Convention over the weekend:

Let’s look a little closer:

In case you still can’t make it out:

Energy
Budget Tax Cuts
Lift American Spirits

They came in very handy for the Q&A session. A number of people were wondering what it would have looked like if Sarah Palin had engaged in a televised Q&A, like President Obama did at the GOP retreat and with the Democratic senators. Well … probably something a little like this:

Thanks to Stefan Sirucek at HuffPo for the article.

Another example of Washington politics as usual

A lot has been made of a number of still-unfilled posts in the Administration. And a lot of the flak has been directed at the President for not moving quick enough. But not so fast.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary “blanket hold” on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.

This report from Talking Points Memo, and confirmed by Senator Shelby’s office.

The Obama Budget 2011

Jim Wallis says that budgets are moral documents, and that how we spend our money shows what our values are. Introduced today, President Obama’s $3.83 trillion budget treads a delicate balance between trying to get the economy going again and trying to bring down the massive inherited budget deficit.*

Anyway, the budget for FY 2011 is fairly pessimistic one in that it presumes a gloomier economic outlook for the near future and budgets more for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, it actually expands the deficit in the short-term in order to bring it down in the long-term. As David Rogers at POLITICO writes,

In fact, it’s not until 2014 and 2015— when Obama hopes to be in his second term— that he has any hope of deficits approaching a sustainable level. Even then he is banking heavily on a new bipartisan fiscal commission to really finish the job.

It shouldn’t need to be said (but it clearly does) that comprehensive reform of the health care system–not just piecemeal and insubstantial legislative change–would help curb exploding costs. Tom Friedman reports from Davos that we’re making the rest of world a little nervous, due to the state of our economy, the political logjam in which we find ourselves, and notably the fact that we still can’t push through something as remedial as curative as health care reform.

And while we’re at it, reforming the financial system would help create a more stable and sound economy, less blown by the winds of bubbles and busts. Paul Volcker, chairman of the President’s Economic Advisory Board, says:

I’ve been there — as regulator, as central banker, as commercial bank official and director — for almost 60 years. I have observed how memories dim. Individuals change. Institutional and political pressures to “lay off” tough regulation will remain — most notably in the fair weather that inevitably precedes the storm.

The implication is clear. We need to face up to needed structural changes, and place them into law. To do less will simply mean ultimate failure — failure to accept responsibility for learning from the lessons of the past and anticipating the needs of the future.

* The NY Times evaluates the history of our country’s red ink, concluding that “President Obama’s agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying.”

Barack the Sports Commentator


(Photo: Getty)

The President attended the Georgetown-Duke basketball game earlier today, even offering a few minutes in the commentary booth.

I love this president.

President Obama at his best


… at least in my opinion.

Today, he spoke at the House Republican retreat, including a Q&A, which follows. It was awesome.