First lady Michelle Obama on Monday touted the construction industry’s decision to hire more than 100,000 veterans over five years.
“That’s a number that gets me out of bed in the morning, so that’s why I’m happy to be here. This is huge. It’s a huge deal,” the first lady said, speaking in Washington.
The jobs pledge was backed by more than 100 construction companies, with Obama noting it is not only “the patriotic thing to do” but also a good business decision.
She also used Monday’s event to tout the Defense Department’s Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force, which is aimed at helping service members earn employment certifications. “Service members across the country are participating in apprenticeships and accredited civilian training programs right near their bases, so when they leave the military, they’ll be ready to start a good job the very next day,” Obama said. The task force was launched by President Obama in 2012.
The event follows an op-ed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal by the first lady. She said that the industry’s decision sends “a clear message that we honor those who’ve sacrificed for us, and are determined to serve them as well as they have served our country. America’s veterans deserve no less.”
Obama’s speech comes as Congress is renewing its focus on veterans-related issues. The Senate took up a bill to repeal $6 billion in pension cuts to working-age military retirees on Monday, and a wide-ranging veterans’ bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders awaits members’ consideration. A provision in Sanders’ bill would call on the federal government to hire 15,000 veterans.
And Sen. Richard Burr focused on veterans during the weekly Republican address, referencing a number of issues including claim delays at the Veterans Affairs Department.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."