A canny White House and compliant media have used the sequester to generate a perfect storm of blame, meant to strand the Republican Party in a pool of lousy public opinion right into 2014. That's the intent, anyway.
With speeches, graphics and a special state-by-state report on "the devastating impact of the sequester" released Sunday, President Obama intends to put a face on those destined to be harmed by heartless and/or stubborn Republicans who stand in the way of compromise.
Or so the manufactured "victim" narrative goes, generating alarm, sympathy or confusion in an ill-informed public.
"Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off, and tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids. Air-traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, causing delays across the country," the president said during his weekly address Saturday.
He also cited delays in deploying an aircraft carrier, problems with medical research and the potential unhappy fate of 800,000 defense workers.
"That's what this choice means. Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids' schools and mental health care just to protect tax loopholes for corporate jet owners?" Mr. Obama asked.
Press coverage is getting maudlin. The Washington Post has already offered accounts about stressed federal workers who can't sleep at night; such talk could be working. A Pew Research poll now indicates half of Americans blame the GOP for the cuts, compared with 31 percent who blame Mr. Obama.
"The GOP is losing the blame game," the Post noted in the aftermath.
"Has President Obama outdone 'Nightmare on Sequester Street'?" counters HotAir senior editor Ed Morrissey. "He's been great at yelling 'wolf.' When it comes to action about what to do with the wolf — which may or may not be real – Obama has done nothing."
"Husband, wife: Regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. Spouse or partner may be used if requested."
(From an Associated Press Stylebook update sent to reporters and editors on last week)
They can't get more environmentally correct than this: The official 2013 White House Easter egg is crafted from "FSC-certified U.S. hardwood, and comes in four custom colors The commemorative eggs arrive in a festive, eco-friendly gift box made from SFI-certified paperboard."
The eggs are for sale at $8 each; they help pay for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on April 1, which attracts 135,000 people and is, officially, the largest annual event staged at the White House. Information is here: Easter.nationalparks.org
NASHVILLE = 'LITTLE KURDISTAN'
According to a new study of foreign-born populations by demographer Wendell Cox, the fastest growth in the numbers of newcomers is in some surprising spots. They're heading to red states. Topping the list is Nashville, Tenn., which has doubled its number of immigrants in the last decade.
"Besides the Grand Old Opry, the city also boasts the nation's largest Kurdish population, and a thriving 'Little Kurdistan,' as well as growing Mexican, Somali and other immigrant enclaves," says Joel Kotkin, a contributor to Forbes magazine who analyzed the data.
In second place, it's Birmingham, Ala. — followed by Indianapolis; Louisville, Ky.; and Charlotte, N.C. All doubled their foreign-born population between 2000 and 2011. In sixth place is Richmond, then Raleigh, N.C.; Orlando and Jacksonville in Florida; and Columbus, Ohio.
"Although the New York metropolitan area still has the greatest numeric growth in immigrants since 2000, a net gain of more than 600,000, there's no question that the momentum lies with these fast-growing immigrant hubs," Mr. Kotkin says.
"The reasons are not too difficult to fathom. In the modern global economy, migrants represent the veritable 'canaries in the coal mine.' They go to where economic opportunities are often the greatest, which often means thriving places like Nashville."
There are elected officials hungry for favors from special-interest projects that involve lots of spending. Then there are lawmakers who are greedy for such favors, particularly out of pork barrels. That in mind, Citizens Against Government Waste has announced the six nominees for its "2012 Porker of the Year," to be decided by public ballot by March 6.
The nominees include New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for his obsession with soda pop, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat, for her interest in extending federal subsidies for green energy; and Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican, for his recommendations to bring back earmarks. See the candidates and the ballot here: cagw.org.
POLL DU JOUR
• 55 percent of Americans say the United States is viewed favorably "in the eyes of the world."
• 37 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats agree.
• 51 percent of Americans overall say President Obama is respected by other world leaders.
• 21 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 80 percent of Democrats agree.
• 40 percent overall are "satisfied" with America's position in the world.
• 18 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,015 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 7-10 and released Friday.
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