Sunday, April 29, 2012

John Boehner: I Criticize Obama So Much Because I Want To ‘Help’ Him

On CNN’s State of the Union today, Candy Crowley pointed out to House Speaker John Boehner that in recent weeks he has been ramping up the attacks on President Obama. He has recently taken to accusing Obama of acting beneath the office of the presidency in how he has chosen to pick fights with Congress. However, despite Boehner’s sharp tone in decrying Obama’s tactics, he insists he is doing it to try and “help” the president.

Boehner insisted that he still has a “very good relationship” with the president despite everything he’s said, including his campaign-style rhetoric claiming that the United States “can’t live for four more years” under Obama. Boehner made it clear that while he may have amped up the rhetoric, he has not attacked the president on any personal grounds.
Boehner went down a whole list of examples to argue that he really believes Obama is acting beneath the office of the presidency in his election-year posturing.
“The president’s getting some very bad advice from his campaign team because he’s diminishing the presidency by picking fake fights, going after straw men every day… the president’s bigger than this. The presidency is important. America has big challenges, big fiscal challenges, and we’ve got big challenges for our economy, and the president ought to be working with Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill to address the big issues that affect the American people.”
When Crowley pressed him on if this is just election-year rhetoric, Boehner said, “Someone needs to help him out, so I thought I would.”

Watch the video below, courtesy of CNN:

If A Bill Threatens The Internet And No One Is Around To Notice, Whose Fault Is That?


A few months ago, I was somewhat up in arms about the Stop Online Piracy Act, mostly focused on the lack of media coverage of the legislation. I could just as easily go after the media for its similarly nonexistent coverage of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA (which passed the House Friday), but the larger question that needs to be asked here is: what is it going to take for Congress to stop trying to push legislation that does lasting damage to the internet?

RELATED: SOPA Part II Or Not? Congress Taking Up Controversial New Cybersecurity Bill

CISPA is so vaguely defined in what constitutes a cyberthreat that its implications for privacy on the internet may be a bigger deal than SOPA. The text of the bill, which can be viewed here, defines “cyber threat information” under these parameters:
  • a vulnerability of a system or network of a government or private entity
  • a threat to the integrity, confidentiality, or availability of a system or network of a government or private entity or any information stored on, processed on, or transiting such a system or network
  • efforts to deny access to or degrade, disrupt, or destroy a system or network of a government or private entity
  • efforts to gain unauthorized access to a system or network of a government or private entity, including to gain such unauthorized access for the purpose of exfiltrating information stored on, processed on, or transiting a system or network of a government or private entity
Yes, that’s all well and good, but what exactly constitutes a threat to government cybersecurity? The parameters are so poorly-defined it’s almost like Congress is asking internet providers to exploit all the loopholes they can. The implications of this would allow sites like Facebook to hand over personal data, and they would be within their rights to do so.
But people more versed than I in the tech world can handle the nitty-gritty of the legislation. What I’m concerned about here is the fact that we seem to have a legislative branch that, to use a fancy British term, doesn’t give a tinker’s cuss about protecting the rights of the individual on the internet. This is a bipartisan concern. Many Democrats and Republicans do not like it when Congress tries to push this kind of internet legislation, and will stand up against people in their own party when they support it.
For example, Congressman Darrell Issa should explain why, after being one of the loudest voices against SOPA, he voted in favor of CISPA when it came before the House a few days ago, and was one of the bill’s co-sponsors. President Obama may have threatened to veto CISPA, but honestly, this is really all about lobbying. Obama was trying to walk the delicate line between appeasing the copyright lobby and the tech lobby over SOPA, and luckily for him, it died in Congress before he had to make a decision on it. But when something like CISPA pops up, the tech industry is suddenly on the side of the government and there is no proper conduit for the people’s outrage.
Yes, for those of you who haven’t heard about this, another reason it’s more concerning than SOPA is that the tech industry actually likes this one, so if any of you were hoping for a Reddit or Wikipedia blackout, you’re shit out of luck this time. But here’s the thing about our Congress: they’re supposed to represent our interests. And people who normally disagree on the fundamentals of government involvement in people’s lives have come together to say “Listen to the people and reject this nonsense.” But with companies like Facebook on the government’s side here, there’s not really a big incentive for them to make a big show of opposing it like so many of them did with SOPA.

RELATED: Mark Zuckerberg On SOPA: ‘We Can’t Let Poorly Thought Out Laws Get In The Way Of Internet’s Development’

So yes, the media needs to do its job when it comes to important legislation like this, but Congress needs to stop pretending it has the people’s interest at heart when it’s fighting for legislation like this. No one denies that cybersecurity isn’t a real issue, Anonymous is happy to remind us of that every once in a while. But if we’re going to have a government that takes the concerns of the individual seriously before voting on legislation like this, we need to start bringing people into office who 1) can’t be so easily bought off, and 2) actually understand how the internet works.

Court Sides With Property Owners Over EPA

Published: Wednesday, 21 Mar 2012 | 12:11 PM ET
By: Associated Press

The Supreme Court has sided with an Idaho couple in a property rights case, ruling they can go to court to challenge an Environmental Protection Agency order that blocked construction of their new home and threatened fines of more than $30,000 a day.

Wednesday's decision is a victory for Mike and Chantell Sackett, whose property near a scenic lake has sat undisturbed since the EPA ordered a halt in work in 2007. The agency said part of the property was a wetlands that could not disturbed without a permit.

In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court rejected EPA's argument that allowing property owners quick access to courts to contest orders like the one issued to the Sacketts would compromise the agency's ability to deal with water pollution. 

"Compliance orders will remain an effective means of securing prompt voluntary compliance in those many cases where there is no substantial basis to question their validity," Scalia said. 

In this case, the couple objected to the determination that their small lot contained wetlands that are regulated by the Clean Water Act, and they complained there was no reasonable way to challenge the order without risking fines that can mount quickly. 

The EPA issues nearly 3,000 administrative compliance orders a year that call on alleged violators of environmental laws to stop what they're doing and repair the harm they've caused. Major business groups, homebuilders, road builders and agricultural interests all have joined the Sacketts in urging the court to make it easier to contest EPA compliance orders issued under several environmental laws. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in a separate opinion that the only issue decided by the court Wednesday is the Sacketts' ability to contest the EPA finding that their property is subject to the Clean Water Act. The court did not decide larger issues, Ginsburg said.
"On that understanding, I join the court's opinion," she said. 

In another separate opinion, Justice Samuel Alito called on Congress to clear up confusion over the reach of the Clean Water Act. Alito said that federal regulators could assert authority over any property that is wet for even part of the year, not just rivers and streams. 

The court's opinion "is better than nothing, but only clarification of the reach of the Clean Water Act can rectify the underlying problem," Alito said. 

In 2005, the Sacketts paid $23,000 for a .63-acre lot near scenic Priest Lake. They decided to start building a modest, three-bedroom home early in 2007. 

They had filled part of the property with rocks and soil, in preparation for construction, when federal officials showed up and ordered a halt in the work. 

In a statement, the Sacketts praised the court for "affirming that we have rights, and that the EPA is not a law unto itself."

2012 WHCA Dinner News


WASHINGTON - The White House Correspondents’ Association is pleased to announce that Jimmy Kimmel, host of the ABC late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” will headline the WHCA's 98th annual dinner on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

"Jimmy's humor is sophisticated and edgy while appealing to a wide audience," said Caren Bohan, a Reuters journalist and president of the White House Correspondents' Association.  "We are thrilled that Jimmy has accepted our invitation to be the featured comedian at our annual dinner."

The WHCA dinner is traditionally attended by the President and First Lady as well as many other senior government officials and members of the press corps. Proceeds from the dinner go toward scholarships and awards aimed at supporting aspiring journalists and recognizing excellence in the profession.

Jimmy Kimmel
Only WHCA members and their organizations are eligible to purchase tickets for the annual dinner.
Photo/Mike Theiler
jimmy kimmel and Mrs. Obama
Photo/Mike Theiler
Jimmy Kimmel and President Obama
Photo/Mike Theiler
2012 remarks
Photo/Mike Theiler

Watch President Obama's remarks at the 2012 Dinner or view the entire dinner program, including awards and scholarship presentations on the C-SPAN.ORG White House Correspondents' Association Dinner hub.
White House Correspondents' Association Hosts Scholarship Lunch Washington, DC Friday, April 27, 2012. Students receiving scholarships from the White House Correspondents' Association attend a luncheon where they will hear from a panel of White House reporters and from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. 
Jay Carney, who served in the Vice President's Office before being named Press Secretary, was Time magazine's Washington Bureau Chief from 2005-2008. 
Moderated by Julie Mason of SiriusXM, the panel will discuss access and transparency in their coverage of the President and includes 
Jake Tapper of ABC News, 
Ben Feller of AP, 
Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal, and 
Jackie Kucinich of USA Today.
Last year, the Correspondents' Association distributed scholarships to 18 students, totaling nearly $100,000, according to its website. The students are undergraduate and graduate students from selected institutions. The White House Correspondents' Association officially announces scholarship recipients at the Annual Dinner, which takes place on Saturday April 28.

Watch on C-SPAN on Friday, 1:00 pm 

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Latest Republican Ads 'COOL' makes Obama look good!

"COOL" : 2012 political ad.

Published on Apr 27, 2012 by
"Four years ago, America elected the biggest celebrity in the world as president. Today is your life any better?"


Familiar Rhetoric, Failed Record

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus on Fox Business

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus on Fox Business (April 27, 2012)

President Obama and Jimmy Kimmel WHCD

Published on Apr 28, 2012 by
President Obama at the 2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Published on Apr 28, 2012 by
Jimmy Kimmel at the 2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner

Yes, Rachel Maddow Did Tend Bar At The MSNBC NerdProm Party

One of the main attractions of the annual White House Correspondents Dinner is the extracurricular WHCD party time, whose appeal can be summed up in two words: open bar.

On that count, it’s tough to beat the MSNBC after party, where, for the past few years, the network’s prime-time pillar, Rachel Maddow, has moonlit as Rachel Maddow: International Mixologist of Mystery.

This year, Mediaite takes you there to see Rachel show off her mad martini skillz.

Regular viewers ofThe Rachel Maddow Show already know that the host is an avid amateur bartender by virtue of her recurring Cocktail Moment segments, but unfortunately, you can’t drink her creations through the TV screen.

Not that I’ve tried. It was a particular thrill, then, to partake of Rachel’s concocting skills IRL, although I wish I had ordered something more creative than a vodka & tonic.

In this exclusive video, though, she appears to be making a pair of fancy martinis. She tends bar the way I imagine an assassin in a Quentin Tarantino movie would: cool, meticulous, and a little bit quirky.

At the end of this clip, you can also catch a glimpse of another particular Nerd-Prom thrill: my first-ever IRL meeting with my longtime pen pal Meghan McCain, who was stunning, as always:

Pres. Obama Speaks to Troops at Ft. Stewart

Hinesville, Georgia
Friday, April 27, 2012
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama travelled to Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia.  They spoke to soldiers, veterans and military families of the Third Infantry Division.
The President signed an executive order today that is intended to help U.S. military personnel, veterans and their families to avoid becoming victims of education fraud.
The order requires educational institutions to cut down on aggressive marketing techniques used to target people using military education benefits and to inform them about the amount of debt they will take on.
The president last visited Savannah in March 2010, when he toured Savannah Technical College in Georgia and made remarks on jobs and his economic policies.
President Obama’s most recent trip to Georgia was to attend fundraisers in Atlanta where the Atlantic Journal-Constitution reported that he helped raise more than $1 million in March for his re-election campaign.

Obama: Bad for Comedians

Updated: April 28, 2012 | 11:28 p.m.
April 28, 2012 | 11:13 p.m.
AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari
President Obama high-fives late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel as Caren Bohan, a Reuters journalist and president of the White House Correspondents' Association, looks on during the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on Saturday.
“The president is not great for comedians because he could probably be a comedian himself if he wanted to,” comedian Jimmy Kimmel told C-Span before he hosted the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner. “If somebody throws him a basketball he makes the shot. He ruins everything.”
Indeed, Kimmel was in the awkward position of making fun of a president whose critics are more cartoonish than he is. Last year, Obama beat the paid entertainment to the punch on that front, skewering the “birthers” and their patron saint Donald Trump. All while keeping his earpiece tuned to Pakistani radio to see how his Navy Seals were doing on that Osama bin Laden front. Good times were had by all, and that was before Saturday Night Live writer and comedian Seth Meyers took the stage.
This year, Obama seemed a little more relaxed. He even flexed his off-color muscle. His persona is squeaky clean enough that he got away with this doozy: “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A pit bull is delicious. [Pause] Soy sauce.” (Can you imagine Bill Clinton using that joke?)
(PICTURES: Inside the 2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner)
Obama got back in the good graces of his wife by pointing out that she is way more popular than he is. “I’m not going to attack any of the Republican candidates. Take Mitt Romney. We both think of our wives as our better halves. Polls show to an alarmingly insulting extent that the American people agree.”
Obama assured tea party conservatives that their conspiracy theories about his “secret agenda” is absolutely correct. “In my first term we repealed the policy known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” he said to scattered cheers. “Wait! In my second term we will replace it with a policy known as It’s Raining Men.”
Kimmel had to bat cleanup, and he chose to go wonky. You would have thought he lived here. He made fun of the budget supercommittee, the war between House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and he even worked in a joke about a former Office of Management and Budget director. “There was a leak in the room above mine last night. I guess Peter Orszag left his mouth on.”
Kimmel also had to keep a room full of overly dressed, hair-sprayed, and drunk journalists awake. It works well if you needle them. “Scripps is here, thank God, just in case a spelling bee breaks out.” Or, “What’s black and white and read all over? Nothing anymore.”
But he managed to find a way to take the easy shot at Obama without coming off like a jerk. “Remember when the country rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow? That was hilarious.”
Obama has proven remarkably adept at working the White House dinner crowd, and it was Kimmel’s first time, so he can be forgiven if his speech dragged as the wine was running out at the tables. He closed his speech charmlingly by insulting his 10th grade history teacher, who told Kimmel that he wouldn’t amount to anything with all his goofing off. “I’m about to high-five the president. Eat it, Mr. Mills.”
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The first and most important mission of the White House Correspondents Association is to promote journalism education. This year, thanks to the money raised at this dinner, we will give $132,200 in scholarships to 16 worthy college students, while funding programs for hundreds more in local DC high schools through our partnership with Prime Movers Media.


In 2007, the White House press corps lost a fiercely independent and dedicated journalist: Deborah Orin. For nearly 20 years as the White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for the New York Post, Deborah epitomized the very best in journalism. Always there with a tough question, an insightful quote, and a hard-hitting story, she brought to her craft the highest standards of excellence.

Deborah Orin began covering New York politics in 1977, and a decade later moved to the nation's capital where she reported on four U. S. presidents. She firmly believed that the media needed a wider political perspective, that a diverse country needs a diverse press. Deb lost her valiant battle with cancer, leaving behind her many friends, her husband, Neville, and colleagues on the White House beat. When she died on January 28, 2007, the
New York Post wrote: "readers will miss her honesty and wisdom."

Thanks to a gift, the WHCA has established the Deborah Orin Scholarship to benefit qualified students at her alma mater, Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Two students will each receive a $5,000 scholarship, allowing them to pursue the craft Deborah Orin practiced every day. We will miss her voice. But this scholarship will allow a new generation of journalists to strive for Deb's very high standards.

The recipients of this year's Deborah Orin Scholarship are two current students from Medill School of Journalism.

Virginia "Jenna" Barnes, Norfolk, VA
Jenna came to Medill from Boston University, where she earned a degree in Anthropology in 2010. While at BU, Jenna studied abroad in London and interned at the ABC News bureau there. She also served as a student journalist on an Operation Smile medical mission in Lanzhou, China. In addition to working abroad, Jenna interned at WTKR-TV, her hometown CBS affiliate in Norfolk, VA. She's looking forward to one day putting her education and experience to work as a foreign correspondent.

Benjamin Kesling, Lexington, KY
Ben Kesling attended Wabash College as an undergraduate and went on to earn a Master of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. He then served as an Infantry Officer in the United States Marine Corps for over six years.During that time he deployed on combat tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently a graduate student in journalism at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.


The White House Correspondents' Association supports a student at the Medill School of Journalism through a $5,000 gift toward a post-graduate degree for a student in the Government and Public Affairs reporting track.

David Unger is a graduate student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism concentrating in public affairs reporting. After receiving his bachelor's from Oberlin College in 2007, David wrote for the Evanston RoundTable newspaper and taught English in a small town in Spain. He spent the past two years working at Northwestern University's Center for Civic Engagement where he did web development and coordinated a fellowship program for undergraduates. A native of Evanston, IL, David is now in Washington, DC, participating in Medill's Washington Program.


The White House Correspondents' Association awarded a $5,000 tuition grant in 2011-2012 to Namo Abdullah Azeez of New York.

Namo Abdullah Azeez (Namo Abdulla) is an Iraqi journalist and has reported for top Iraqi and international media outlets. As a freelance correspondent, he has written for The New York Times, Reuters, the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting, and IRIN, UN's humanitarian news agency. He was most recently editor-in-chief of the English version of Rudaw, a leading newspaper in Iraqi Kurdistan. Rudaw publishes in three languages and has a Europe edition for the expatriate Kurdish community. Although covering Iraq is difficult for journalists, Abdulla has reported in some of the country's most volatile places, such as Baghdad, Kirkuk and Diyala. He has chosen Columbia Journalism School because he believes it will provide him with the best opportunity to reachhis full potential and enable him to take part in the burgeoning media movement in Iraq.


The White House Correspondents' Association scholarship prize is a one-time award of $7000. This year's recipients are three students from Howard University.

Shaquille Brewster, a junior Broadcast Journalism major with a minor in Political Science boasts a 4.0 G.P.A. The political landscape of Washington, DC brought this honors graduate to Howard University from Stratford, CT. His passion for politics sent him to Capitol Hill his freshman year, where he interviewed Michelle Bachman and Ron Paul regarding cuts to Pell grants.This experience led to the creation of; a blog that simplifies and contextualizes politics to disengaged and confused youth.

While a student in high school in Athens, GA, Christina Downs recognized the importance of hands-on training in journalism. She got a head start as Managing Editor of the school's magazine, Odyssey Newsmagazine, managing over 30 staff members, handling copy editing and layout, and managing pressconferences. At Howard University, this junior print journalism major and photography minor is the production managing editor of The Hilltop newspaper.

Los Angeles, CA native Saraya Wintersmith always knew that she wanted to use her writing skills across media platforms. Broadcast Journalism serves as her major with a minor in Afro-American Studies. She is currently a radio broadcast intern with C-SPAN. She has successfully applied her journalism tools as a contributing writer for The Hilltop and District Chronicle newspapers and as a News Intern for WPFW 89.3 radio.


The White House Correspondents' Association supported six graduate students ($2,500 per student) to study in Washington for a semester, as part of the University of Missouri's well-established program. Each student received a grant of $2,500 and the university waived the balance of the tuition in return.

Ryann Grochowski, from Wilkes-Barre, PA, is a data reporter for Investigative Newsource in San Diego, CA. She received her master's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in December 2011, and is a former reporter for The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, PA. She completed her fall 2011 fellowship in the Washington Bureau of Investigative Newsource.

Siyu Hu, from Anhui, China is a master's student in print and digital news at the Missouri School of Journalism. She has worked as a reporter, copy editor and information graphics designer for the Columbia Missourian and is currently interning for the Washington Monthly as a researcher and fact checker.

Jessica Pupovac, from Chicago, IL, is an investigative reporting student in the master's program at the Missouri School of Journalism. Jessica is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, Illinois Issues and In These Times, among other publications. She is currently an investigative reporting interning with NPR's StateImpact project.

Jessica Stephens, from Waldorf, MD, is a copy editor and page designer at the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette in Bluffton, SC. She received her master's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in December 2011.This fall she interned at The American Prospect in DC.

Joseph Yerardi, from Newton, MA, is an investigative reporting student in the master's program at the Missouri School of Journalism. He is an investigative reporter and a computer-assisted reporting specialist interning on the CAR desk at The Center for Public Integrity.

Yiqian Zhang, from Yangzhou, China, is a master's student in print and digital news at the Missouri School of Journalism. She is interning as a correspondent for the Spokane Spokesman Review in Washington.


The White House Correspondents' Association supports a student of the University of California, Berkeley through a $ 5,000 gift toward a post-graduate degree for a student in the Government and Public Affairs reporting track.

Jamie Goldberg is a multimedia journalist studying at The Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California, and earned her political stripes last year covering the San Francisco mayoral race that daunted even veteran journalists. In covering the local scene of San Francisco, Jamie has helped readers gain a better understanding of the obtuse politics of the city. This summer, Jamie will cover national politics as an intern in The Los Angeles Times' Washington Bureau.


The following University of Maryland student will receive a $17,000 scholarship as part of a four year UMD scholarship program by the WHCA:

Christian (Chris) Trevino


In memory of Jack Donaldson, the White House Correspondents' Association has established a onetime scholarship fund to subsidize the college education of a student in the Washington, D.C. area with a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in journalism. Donaldson, a 12 year-old actor, baseball player and lover of Lego, passed away in September 2011 as the result of a storm-related accident. He is the grandson of Julia Whiston, the association's executive director. The recipient, chosen from a talented pool of applicants with Prime Movers Media, is Angel Brock from McKinley Technology High School, Washington, D.C.

Additionally, an internship at Atlantic Media has been awarded to Shante' Nia Hayes from Chapelgate Christian Academy, Columbia, MD.

Thanks to the generosity of the following donors;
Atlantic Media
Bloomberg LP
Caren Bohan and Jeffry Bartash
Margaret Fogarty
Michael Griffin
Shirley and Edward Henry
Barbara and Norman Knopf
Nancy LeaMond
Mary Lou and Robert McGee
Melamed Foundation
Wall Street Journal
Barbara Whalen
Julia and David Whiston
Belinda Wilborn
Time, Inc.
Thomson Reuters


Prime Movers is an intensive journalism mentoring program based at George Washington University that sends interns from the School of Media and Public Affairs and professional journalists into urban high schools to start and support media programs. This year they are working with 10 DC public high schools.

In 2012, WHCA dramatically expanded its Prime Movers partnership role, increasing its financial support ($30,000) and more than quadrupling the number of events and correspondent-volunteers.

The 2012 Presidential Election provided a unique opportunity to give young journalists a real-time window into the election and to talk about the journalist's role in political coverage.

Correspondent teams visited students and discussed the latest news in the Republican primaries and White House reactions and campaign plans. Students turned the tables on the reporters, peppering them with questions about the election and careers in journalism. Beyond these events, newsrooms offered class tours and top Prime Movers' students were invited to four White House Press Briefings.

Special thanks to Michael Scherer of TIME, chairman of the Scholarship Committee, who was the chief WHCA-volunteer recruiter.

The mission of Prime Movers is to help students understand why journalism is important and why it's imperative to increase diversity in the industry and give voice to their communities.
prime movers
2011 Prime Movers Media (PMM) students Chelsea Green and Aaron Garvin visit the White House briefing room. Photo by Drew Angerer

Newsmakers with Patrick Donahoe

Washington, DC
Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Senate passed legislation this week to preserve post office services as the agency faces financial problems.  The 37th Postmaster General, Patrick R. Donahoe, joins us this week on Newsmakers.

He discusses the Senates bill, if and when it will move forward in the House and changes the agency plans to make in the future with regards to consolidation of post offices. He also talks about an array of options for restructuring the national mail system, which is losing $25 million per day.

Our guest reporters are Bernie Becker of The Hill and Michelle Jamrisko of Bloomberg News.
The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to postpone for one year the Postal Service’s own plan to save money by closing 3,700 post offices and consolidating hundreds of processing centers. The bipartisan Senate bill aims to save money through early retirements of some 100,000 employees, and it would restructure the USPS health care benefit system.

The House has not yet acted, and most Democrats there oppose a proposal by Rep. Darrell Issa for a commission that would close many post offices and processing centers.

 The Postmaster General says he needs to cut $22 billion in operating costs by 2016. His plan calls for ending Saturday mail service, overnight mail, and shutting many post offices.

Apr 27, 2012

C-SPAN | Newsmakers
Patrick Donahoe talked about options for restructuring the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), which was losing $20 million per day. The Senate passed a bill to postpone for a year the USPS plan to save money by closing 3,700 post offices and consolidating hundreds of processing centers. The bipartisan Senate bill aims to save money through early retirements of some 100,000 employees, and would restructure the USPS health care benefit system. The House had not yet acted.

Jobless Claims Stay Elevated as Labor Market Gains Stall

Published: Thursday, 26 Apr 2012 | 8:34 AM ET
By: Reuters

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week but a trend reading rose to its highest since January, the latest sign of a weaker pace of healing in the still-struggling labor market.
Mark Ralston | Getty Images

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's figure was revised up to 389,000 from the previously reported 386,000.
The four-week moving average for new claims, a closely followed measure of labor market trends, rose 6,250 to 381,750, its highest since the week that ended Jan. 7.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new claims falling to 375,000 last week.
The reading was the latest example of fizzling momentum in the labor market recovery. New claims fell sharply during early winter but the improvement has largely stalled in recent weeks.
Employers added 120,000 new jobs to their payrolls in March, the least since October, after averaging 246,000 jobs per month over the prior three months.
"We seem to be chasing our tail with the labor market now with seemingly reported declines in weekly numbers coming from persistently higher levels week-after-week," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economist strategist at Miller Tabak in New York. "Today’s reading also gives the uncomfortable drift upwards in initial claims the feel of a trend rather than aberration."
Many economists believe a mild winter boosted payrolls growth earlier in the year and view recent stagnation as payback for those gains. 

Weekly Jobless Claims Down to 388,000

Thu 26 Apr 12 | 08:30 AM ET
Squawk Box host Andrew Ross Sorkin and his twins, Henry and Max Sorkin, along with CNBC's Rick Santelli and Steve Liesman, break down the latest numbers on jobless claims and what it indicates about the U.S. economic recovery.
A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual in the state-level data in the claims report.
The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid rose 3,000 to 3.315 million in the week ended April 14.
The number of Americans on emergency unemployment benefits fell 45,930 to 2.73 million in the week ended April 7, the latest week for which data is available.
A total of 6.68 million people were claiming unemployment benefits during that period under all programs, down 87,160 from the prior week.

GDP = Great Disappointment?

Fri 27 Apr 12 | 07:16 PM ET
Stephanie Link, TheStreet, and Zane Brown, Lord Abbett, discuss what matters the most in assessing the health of the U.S. economy: profits or GDP?

QUIZ: Your Money Your Vote

For years now, the United States has been dealing with its most severe financial crisis since the great Depression, giving Presidents Bush and Obama some of their greatest challenges. The winner of the 2012 presidential election will likely find those issues remain at the top of the agenda; and since the economy often defines a president’s legacy, expect this election to focus on such issues as taxes, trade, jobs and inflation. To get you up to speed on the issues, take our quiz on the economic policies and accomplishments of past U.S. presidents.

 Well, honest I did terrible 3 out of eleven, need to go back to school
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Posted 07 November 2011


John Boehner: President Obama's Travel For Student Loan Bill Is 'Pathetic' (UPDATE)

Posted: 04/26/2012 1:18 pm Updated: 04/26/2012 3:18 pm

Student LoansWASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's travels around the country to promote a student loan bill are "pathetic," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) charged on Thursday, accusing the White House of staging campaign trips at the expense of taxpayers.
Democrats shot back that Obama was doing "just what a president should be."

The issue at hand is the looming July 1 doubling of student loan interest rates to 6.8 percent if Congress fails to act. All sides say the hike should be prevented, but the GOP-led House is pushing a way to pay for lower rates that Democrats and the White House oppose -- by gutting one of Obama's health care initiatives.

The president has taken the case directly to students, visiting campuses in Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina in the last few days. All those are crucial swing states, and Obama's audiences were made up of young voters, who were so crucial to his 2008 victory.

That prompted the Republican Party to file a complaint with the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday. On Thursday, Boehner savaged the trips, arguing there was no need for the president to take the issue to the people because the GOP wants to keep the student loan rates low, too.

"The president traveled across the country on the taxpayers' dime ... insisting that Congress fix a problem that we were already working on. Frankly, I believe this is beneath the dignity of the White House," Boehner said. "For the president to make a campaign issue out of this and then to travel to three battleground states and go to three large college campuses on taxpayers' money to try to make this a political issue is pathetic."

Boehner added that Obama's campaign should reimburse the Treasury for the trips, including the $179,000-an-hour cost of Air Force One. "This is the biggest job in the world, and I've never seen a president make it smaller," said Boehner.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) argued that Boehner's criticism was just politics.
"You go back eight years ago -- they always raise the same hue and cry: The president shouldn't be campaigning as president," Reid said, adding that the White House pays extremely careful attention to travel details. "Just like President Bush did. It's all in the rules."

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) went further, arguing that the GOP was standing in the way of the student loan rate extension by offering a poison pill to pay for it, and therefore the president was doing his job.

"This is a legitimate issue to millions of American college students," Schumer said. "To travel around the country and bring it up when the other side is blocking it, that's what the founding fathers envisioned. That's just what the president should be doing."

Democrats want to pay for the loan bill by closing loopholes that let well-off doctors, lawyers and consultants avoid payroll taxes by declaring themselves S-corporations. Democrats say it's an idea the GOP has backed before and deny they are trying to turn student loans into a political fight.

"If we wanted to be, quote, political about this, we would have paid for it with the Buffett Rule," Schumer said, referring to the recent failed attempt to tax million-dollar earners at 30 percent.

UPDATE: 3:17 p.m. -- White House spokesman Eric Schultz argued that the trips by President Obama that the GOP criticized were, in fact, official business and that they had worked to get Congress moving.

"This week's travel has been part of the president’s official responsibility to get outside of Washington, D.C., hear from students, and discuss stopping interest rates on their loans from doubling in July -- an effort, that with Congress now taking action, looks to have been effective," Schultz said. "But like Friday's trip to Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Ga., to meet with troops, veterans and military families, this travel is part of the president’s official responsibilities. When there is political travel, we follow all rules and regulations that all other administrations of both parties have followed."

An Associated Press story on Thursday found that Democrats have reimbursed some $1.5 million for political aspects of the president's travel -- more than the $1.3 million that the George W. Bush administration paid over his entire 2004 reelection campaign for travels on Air Force One, including a high-profile stop in Boehner's Ohio.

Michael McAuliff covers politics and Congress for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the federal agency with which the GOP had filed a complaint about the president's travels. It was the Government Accountability Office.