Obama to honor LBJ’s civil rights legacy: President Barack Obama on Thursday will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. A lot of people have compared Obama with Lyndon B. Johnson recently. The LBJ people want to rescue his legacy from Vietnam. In a piece in the National Journal, George Condon argues Obama staffers don’t want their guy’s star put up next to the coarse-mouthed Texan. But you can’t argue that Johnson didn’t get a lot done in his first few years in office. Civil rights legislation, the Great Society programs and Medicare and Medicaid – these are legacy items with a more lasting imprint on American culture and society than most presidents can claim.
David Jackson puts it well in USA Today: “There was a time – a long time – when Democratic presidential candidates would not even utter the name Lyndon Baines Johnson. This week, the three Democrats elected president since Johnson traveled to Texas to honor the memory of LBJ – a president once reviled for the Vietnam War, now revered for a domestic record that includes landmark civil rights laws.”
Jackson’s piece points out that when Bill Clinton visited the LBJ library during a 1992 campaign stop, he didn’t once utter the late president’s name.
Today, Texas is on the front lines in the debate over whether some civil rights legislation signed into law by Johnson remains necessary.
Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama are facing off against Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the Supreme Court over key portions of the Voting Rights Act (which turns 50 next year).
Obama, speaking at a fund-raiser Wednesday in Houston, drew attention to the federal battle with Texas, which wants to reclaim full autonomy over redistricting. The Voting Rights Act forces states with a history of discrimination to clear new districts with the Justice Department.
The president called these “active efforts to deter people from voting.”
“The idea that you’d purposely try to prevent people from voting? Un-American,” he said, according to Politico. “How is it that we’re putting up with that? We don’t have to.”
Yes, it is news that Clinton is officially “thinking” about 2016 run: Hillary Clinton said two important things about a potential presidential run and then got a sweet question from a little girl that literally left her speechless.
Clinton seemed loose and at ease, even candid, during appearances Tuesday in California and Oregon.
And she acknowledged, when asked whether she’ll run in 2016, “I am thinking about it.”
Actually, this remark is a development.
Everyone already knows about the nascent campaign launched on Clinton’s behalf by super PACs not affiliated with her. They know that other Democrats consideringa run are, for now, sitting on the sidelines waiting for her to fish or cut bait.
As recently as January, CNN’s Dan Merica points out that Clinton specifically said she was not thinking about 2016 but would be doing so in the future.
So when she says she’s “thinking about it,” that’s news. The future, apparently, is now.
What’s real and imagined about “equal pay day?"
Women make less than men, even at the White House: Happy Equal Pay Day! Well, not happy, really. Today is the day in the year when American women’s pay from last year catches up to that of American men. Women, according to the data, make about 77 cents for every dollar a man does. We’re 23% into 2014.
Whether or not there is an actual pay gap and how large it is remain the subject of some debate. The census data that shows women make 77 cents for every dollar men make is calculated by adding all the wages of women and dividing the total by all the wages of men. But that doesn’t take into account a lot of factors, like women taking time off work to have children or choosing different career paths.
Professional fact checkers at Factcheck.org (“exaggeration”), Politifact (“Mostly False”) and The Washington Post (“one Pinocchio”) have all found problems with the claim. The American Association of University Women released a report that concluded the pay gap was closer to 7% than 23%.
For the past several elections, Democrats have adopted the equal pay issue and made the equality of paychecks a huge priority.
But the issue of equal pay plagues President Obama’s White House. An analysis by the conservative American Enterprise Institute found that women staffers made about 88 cents on the dollar, compared with male staffers.
A question on that discrepancy caught White House press secretary Jay Carney off guard Monday.
"What I can tell you is that we have, as an institution here, have aggressively addressed this challenge, and obviously, though, at the 88 cents that you cite, that is not a hundred, but it is better than the national average," he said. "And when it comes to the bottom line that women who do the same work as men have to be paid the same, there is no question that that is happening here at the White House at every level."
Two deputy chiefs of staff in the White House – one male and one female – Carney said, make the same salary.
President Obama hailed the success of the first open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, announcing that 7.1 million people have signed up for Obamacare.
“Despite several lost weeks out of the gate because of problems with the website, 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these market places,” Obama said at the White House. “Seven point one!”
To opponents of the healthcare law, the president sent a clear message: “The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.” He added, “History is not kind to those who would deny Americans their economic security.”
Though Republicans stand in firm opposition to the bill. House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement: “Despite the White House ‘victory lap,’ this law continues to harm the American people. Every promise the President made has been broken: health care costs are rising, not falling. Americans are losing the doctors and plans that they like – especially seniors suffering under President Obama’s Medicare cuts. Small businesses are afraid to hire new workers, hobbling our economic growth. That’s why we must replace this fundamentally-flawed law with patient-centered solutions that will actually lower health care costs and help create jobs.”