Archive for January 6th, 2011


‘the single most effective pieces of antipoverty legislation in decades’

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Our analysis of data that the Census Bureau released this week shows that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was one of the single most effective pieces of antipoverty legislation in decades. In 2009, the Recovery Act’s temporary expansion of the safety net kept 4.5 million people out of poverty.

Last September, the Census Bureau reported that, under its official measure of poverty, which counts only a household’s cash income (not tax credits or non-cash government assistance such as food stamps), the poverty rate rose from 13.2 percent in 2008 to 14.3 percent in 2009.

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau released several new poverty figures for 2009 that rely on alternative, broader poverty measures — ones that include tax credits and non-cash benefits. Under almost all of these alternative measures, the safety net as a whole, including the Recovery Act expansions, prevented any rise in poverty in 2009, despite the deep recession and very high unemployment….

We examined the Census data to see how much of that poverty-reducing impact came from the Recovery Act expansions. We found that they kept more than 4.5 million people out of poverty in 2009 (see graph):

* 1.3 million people through extensions and expansions of federal unemployment benefits;
* 1.5 million people through improvements in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit;
* nearly 1 million people through the law’s new Making Work Pay tax credit; and
* 700,000 people through an increase in benefit levels for the SNAP program (previously called food stamps).


tuning out

Eric Boehlert (Media Matters): The new year got off to a dark, dismal start for Fox News when, on Monday, Gallup posted its latest polling results regarding Obama’s job rating: He hit it the 50 percent approval mark, having climbed nine points from a low in late October …

And there was more bad news for Fox this week. Another poll … found that nearly two-thirds of Americans hope Obama succeeds this year, while 73 percent “approve” of Obama as a person.

So why the sad faces at Fox News? Because it’s the job of Rupert Murdoch’s cable channel to make sure Obama fails … they remain dedicated to undermining and destroying his presidency. Not to hold Obama accountable or challenge his polices, but to destroy his presidency. Fox News’ entire corporate mission is to be an anchor around Obama’s neck and to drive his approval numbers into the 30s.

And right now, Fox News is losing…. it’s telling that the president has been able maintain that same level of support for more than a year despite a hyper-active right-wing media machine that … is dedicated to furiously attacking him on an hourly basis….

Yet in the face of that avalanche of invective, there Obama sat this week, right around Gallup’s 50 percent approval mark, which put him, at least temporarily, 13 points higher than where Ronald Reagan was at the same juncture of his first term in office. It must be driving Fox News bonkers.

…media hucksters like Andrew Breitbart, Michelle Malkin, Andrew Malcolm and others understand that force feeding their fanatical base of Obama-hating fans an endless diet of Obama-hating content is good for business because it drives traffic and ratings. But beyond that hermetically sealed right-wing world, the endless, shrieking Obama attacks have transformed into background noise, albeit dangerous background noise that must be monitored and kept in check….

It’s that frantic, blinding hatred that binds the community together. It’s also that frantic, blinding hatred that more and more Americans seem to be tuning out … it appears most Americans have stopped listening to Obama’s most deranged critics….

This is a great article – read the full version here


window seat

President Barack Obama waits in the Green Room of the White House with interim Chief of Staff Pete Rouse, right, and William Daley before the announcement that he was naming Daley as his new Chief of Staff, Jan. 6, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


a fuss about flip-flops? seriously?!

Shine: …..last week, while on holiday in Hawaii, President Barack Obama may have boldly gone where no president before him had gone while on vacation: he wore flip-flops. In public.

….. news outlets, style watchers, and even historians have labored extensively over the appropriateness of Obama’s footwear choice.

“I can’t say I’ve seen a president’s toes before,” presidential historian Jane Hampton Cook told the New York Post. “But I don’t think this is a big deal. Your footwear belongs to the occasion. If you’re on the beach buying your daughter snow cones, I don’t think you can beat him up for this.”

June Ambrose, a celeb fashion stylist agrees: “When he’s serving in office he’s in the right attire. It’s not like he came to address the State of the Union in flip-flops. This is his personal time and I think he’s entitled to have a human experience. This is what keeps him grounded and very in touch with what’s going on in this country.”

…”Someone who is of a different time won’t understand the flip-flops,” said Ambrose. “This is a modern day perspective. I think that anyone who’s going to have a strong opinion is someone who’s completely old school, and this is the new school. Obama is continuously breaking the rules and creating waves in his own way, and I think that’s really refreshing. But I think we need to focus our attention on other things that are a lot more important and pressing in the world than the fashion statement our president is making.”

Thanks Donna 😉

Truly, the world has gone bonkers

PS Does anyone remember the OUTRAGE when Crocs were worn at the White House? Nope, me neither.

And yes, they are POTUS socks 😐

S. Holland reminded us, in the comments, about all the fuss following photos of President Obama with his feet on the Oval Office desk. How ‘uppity’ is that? Here it is:

Oh, wait.

And then there was the UPROAR about President Obama playing with a football in the Oval Office – such disrespect! Here it is:

Then there was the FURY when President Obama appeared in the Oval Office without a jacket – the headline on a wingnut site was ‘Obama Breaks Reagan/Bush Oval Office Jacket Rule’……



the leftbaggers are squealing. again.

The Professional Left have demonstrated typical maturity and rationality in their response to William Daley being appointed chief of staff – it’s proof, they reckon, that the guy they never supported in the first place – that’d be President Obama – is a fascist corporate fiend. You know, that kind of thing.

Presumably, they will now chuck their once beloved Howard Dean under the bus after he made this comment yesterday about Daley:

“I don’t agree with [him] on a lot of stuff politically, but I do think — A, he is a grown-up and B, he gets that you don’t treat people like you know everything and they don’t. If Bill Daley becomes the chief of staff, that is going to be a huge plus because he is outside of Washington, he sees things the way people outside Washington do. It is not a left or right issue.”

A grown-up? Ah, no wonder the Professional Left despise him.

Thank you Kelly, that video is sublime!!!!


the smiliest man on planet earth

Vice President Joe Biden shares a laugh with outgoing White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Director of White House Communications Dan Pfeiffer in the audience after President Barack Obama introduced William Daley as the new White House Chief of Staff


small world

A southern Sudanese woman, wearing a dress with a picture of US President Barack Obama, waits with her baby for food distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Juba on January 6


the daley show

Incoming White House Chief of Staff William Daley shakes hands with outgoing interim Chief of Staff Pete Rouse as President Barack Obama watches on in the East Room of the White House, January 6


don’t panic – read the small print!

Reuters: New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but a decline in the four-week average to a fresh low in more than two years indicated the labor market improvement remained intact.

KEY POINTS: Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 409,000 …. The government is expected to report on Friday that nonfarm payrolls increased 175,000 last month …. The unemployment rate is expected to have edged down to 9.7 percent from 9.8 percent in November.

Hugh Johnson, Chief Investment Officer, Hugh Johnson Advisors: “Although it’s an increase… and that might be troubling to some observers caught up in the week-to-week changes, the truth is that jobless claims continue to decline from the high of August – the four-week moving average. So jobless claims tell us we’re going to have ongoing improvement in employment numbers, and you should see that with the week’s employment data, which should show an addition of non-farm payrolls of at least 150,000. But based on the ADP report, I would be inclined to say it’s closer to 200,000.”

Zach Pandl, Economist, Nomura Securities International: Claims fell “in line with consensus forecasts and probably are consistent with the sort of healthy payrolls report that most forecasters are expecting for (Friday) …. markets in our view are looking for a very strong confirmation of the labor market rebound. We think tomorrow is going to be supportive of ongoing recovery and greater momentum in general in the economy.”

James O’Sullivan, Chief Economist, MF Global: “The net result … is still consistent with an improving labor market. This report comes two weeks after the December payroll survey so it should not have any direct bearings on that. We are still looking for 140,000 increase in December payrolls and upward revisions for the previous months.”







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