Summary Top agency posts going to minorities: Assuming the Senate confirms a few more of President Obama's nominees, minorities will have filled the top two positions simultaneously at three federal agencies during the current administration. EPA expects less inspections and enforcement through 2018: Tight budgets will curb the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to perform its enforcement mission, with the agency's draft strategic plan estimating the next four years will bring a reduction in inspections, water-pollution treatments and lawsuits, according to an Federal Times article . Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog.
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Summary 'My Brother's Keeper' helps minority boys, needs family support. As President Obama gathers leaders to the table Thursday to discuss the new 'My Brother's Keeper' initiative to help keep minority boys in school and out of prison, one mom realizes that parents need to have a seat at the table to make it work.
Summary This April, President Obama will pay tribute to predecessor Lyndon Johnson and to one of his most significant accomplishments: The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Johnson "drove passage of the legislation and signed it into law" 50 years, the library said. "The Summit will be both a look back at the civil rights movement of the 1960s and a look forward at the civil rights issues still facing America and the world."
Summary Last Tuesday President Obama met with top engineers and Pentagon people. The fact is that it's real. The Pentagon is totally building Iron Man, and the US Army has confirmed this a few times already. Oh, and fire-retardant capability. The Army also wants the suit to "store and release energy to prevent injuries and increase performance."
Summary The State Department has cleared the consulting firm hired to review the Keystone XL pipeline's environmental impact, outraging environmentalists. The State Department announced that the consulting firm Environmental Resources Management (ERM) had followed federal rules for avoiding conflicts of interest and that the "processes not only avoided conflicts of interest, but were more rigorous than required." ERM was hired by the State Department to assess the environmental impact of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries.
Summary You don't have to be a Marxist to support a higher minimum wage, but it turns out that some of the 600 economists who signed a letter to President Obama in January advocating a federal minimum wage of $10.10 an hour are indeed followers of the bushy-bearded 19th century economist who said religion is the opiate of the masses and the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. From another point of view, "Marxist" is such a radioactive term in America that even applying it accurately could unfairly discredit the entire raise-the-wage movement through guilt by association. The vast majority of the letter's signers , organized by the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute, are in the mainstream of the profession.
Summary "On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the Government and people of the Dominican Republic on the 170th anniversary of your independence. "The United States is proud of its thriving Dominican-American community.
Summary Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley issued a dire warning Thursday about the growth of executive power under President Obama, saying if left unchecked the U.S. president could "effectively become a government unto himself." . "There's not been a whimper of regret or opposition of any substance coming from Congress," he said, adding: "To watch their power usurped by another branch, you would think would concentrate the minds of all members." . The president has been accused of inappropriately circumventing Congress on several occasions over the past few years, including by making unilateral changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and by giving U.S. immigration officers leeway to ignore violations of U.S. immigration law. .
Summary The White House on Thursday said that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner , R-Ohio, discussed immigration reform during their recent meeting but declined to say if the leaders had made any progress on long-delayed legislation. But Boehner last week quickly pulled the plug on immigration reform this year, saying it was unlikely before the midterms . Republican leaders want to keep the focus on the economy and health care reform ahead of the midterms and believe immigration, which splits the caucus, could be a harmful distraction.
Summary Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann served as an opening act as the Tea Party Patriots hosted a fifth anniversary party in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. With budgets facing heightened scrutiny in Congress, threats of a government shutdown over spending bills finally gave way to an actual shutdown last October, spurred on by opposition to the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's health care law. Bachmann, who plans to leave Congress at the end of the year, urged the Tea Party rank-and-file to marshal its resources in to 2014 and 2016 to help conservatives capture control of the U.S. Senate and the White House.
Summary President Obama remains in the doldrums with only 41 percent approval and a significant margin disapproving of his handling of the economy (57 percent) and foreign policy (48 disapproval to 39 percent approval). Overall, 59 percent pronounce themselves somewhat or very disappointed in Obama. Only 6 percent think Obamacare is working well and should be kept in place while 42 percent want to junk the whole thing and 50 percent say it needs changes.
Summary The April 8-10 event is being sponsored by the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. The landmark legislation promoted equality for all Americans. The White House says the president and first lady Michelle Obama will address the gathering on April 10, the final day of the commemoration.