Obama makes "ideological declaration of war" against private schools

It is surprising that private schools are only realizing it now Obama doesn't like private institutions.  I thought that originally the Obama administration was only to originally go after professional schools, but "programs like a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, a law degree from George Washington University Law School, and a bachelor's degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University would all be penalized."  From the Hill newspaper:
A group of private colleges and universities is blasting the Obama administration's effort to tackle burdensome student loan debt, because they say it would force them to turn away low-income students, and in particular, minorities. 
They also charge the proposed law unfairly targets private institutions while leaving their public counterparts unscathed. 
Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), said the move was an "ideological declaration of war" against private schools by the Obama administration.   
"Millions of prospective students — particularly working adults, minorities and people with scarce financial resources — will see their access to higher education and prospects for better employment dramatically reduced," Gunderson added. . . . .
The Obama administration says this is part of an effort to push back against schools that saddle students with unreasonably high debt only to graduate and find a low-paying job, or no job at all. . . . 
But Gunderson said the new rule would provide a "perverse incentive" for private colleges and universities affected by the rule to restrict access to educational opportunities for low-income and minority students, who often depend on loans to go to college. 
The private schools also say it could create divisions within a single college or university among students who will graduate into high-paying jobs and those who will not. These schools might even be forced to scrap programs that train students for initially low-paying jobs. 
"Individuals interested in careers with lower starting salaries, such as communications, psychology, visual and performing arts, and social work will be barred from receiving the same federal aid as their classmates choosing more lucrative fields," Gunderson said. . . . 

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By more than 2-to-1 ratio Americans think cold weather not due to man-cause reasons

The Gallup discussion is available here:
Two in three Americans say their local area is experiencing colder-than-usual temperatures this winter, and one in four say their area is experiencing drought. When asked why they think these extreme weather events are happening, many more say they are attributable to normal yearly variation in temperature or rainfall than to human-caused climate change or global warming. . . .


Few young people signing up for Obamacare?: Democrats blame young people

Dana Milbank has an unintentionally funny piece at the Washington Post today:
. . . The administration announced last week that only 1.08 million people ages 18 to 34 had signed up for Obamacare by the end of February, or about 25 percent of total enrollees. If the proportion doesn’t improve significantly, the result likely will be fatal for the Affordable Care Act. . . . 
What went wrong? The president and his aides failed to keep his youth movement engaged. But part of the problem also is the inability of the millennial generation to remain attached to a cause. . . . 
Even if Obama had worked harder to keep his youth army engaged, it’s not entirely clear that the effort would have succeeded. As a group, the generation’s attachment is fickle. . . . 
The millennials are at least as passionate as earlier generations and more entrepreneurial, but they lack ties to institutions — unions, political parties, churches — because of their online existence. . . .
I have a simpler explanation: Obamacare dramatically raised insurance costs for young people, using them to subsidize older people buying insurance.  Young people were already paying too high premiums as a result of state regulations, and Obama merely made that problem much worse.  Why should the rate that people buy insurance go up when you are asking them to buy unfair insurance?  

More from The Hill newspaper:
The administration is engaged in an all-out push to increase young people’s enrollment in ObamaCare with just two weeks left before the deadline to acquire insurance. 
Young people have signed up at a significantly lower rate than the administration had hoped, raising fears among Affordable Care Act advocates.   
The fewer young and healthy people sign up, the higher premiums are likely to rise for older people for whom insurance is more of a necessity. . . . 
But even so, the need for young enrollees is acute, and it is forcing President Obama to try to reconnect with an important part of his base. He won 60 percent of the youth vote in 2012, but that support is not easily translating into enrollment. . . .
The reason why insurance premiums for older people will rise if not more young people sign up is simple: you won't have enough young people to pay more than their costs to subsidize the older people. 



Obama administration caught withholding unflattering data on Obamacare, Sebelius claim that "we don't collect" that data is a lie

This is hardly surprising, but the fact that the Obama administration is consciously withholding data that would hurt their case should be more widely discussed in the media.  From Politico:
“They have a lot more information than they’re letting on,” one industry source said of the Obama administration. “They have real hard data about the percent that have paid … If they have not processed those yet and compiled the data, that is a choice they are making. But they have that data now.” . . . 
“I can’t tell you because I don’t know that,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday when Republicans asked about the number of paying Obamacare customers during hearings on Capitol Hill. “We don’t collect it.” She reiterated her contention Thursday, telling lawmakers that she’d provide the information as soon as it’s available. 
The dispute emerges as the administration is trying to convey a sense of enthusiasm and momentum ahead of a March 31 deadline to enroll in exchanges. But unless the current pace doubles, the administration won’t hit its target of 6 million people — a goal that was already scaled back from 7 million after last October’s messy rollout of HealthCare.gov. 
But the hill to climb may be even steeper than the White House acknowledges. Once the premium payment rate is factored in, the actual count of people who now have health coverage under the president’s health law could be closer to 3 million than 4 million. The insurance exchanges may still work with fewer people — but the political narrative is that the controversial health law is again falling short. . . . .
Of course, we know that even this 3 million number is misleading and much too high for the simple reason that almost all these people already had health insurance



More on Sharyl Attkisson's resignation from CBS

I found this pretty shocking.  From Fox News:
None of the investigative stories that Attkisson proposed in the past year were greenlighted for the “CBS Evening News”; in fact, most of her pitches were turned down. She wound up working on stories that the network assigned, say those familiar with the matter, including a string of investigative pieces on health care. But her output has declined significantly since 2008. . . .

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Obama's deportation numbers of illegals not comparable to those for past presidents, misleading

From the Washington Times:
. . . The administration has argued it is tougher on illegal immigration than previous presidents, and immigrant-rights groups have excoriated President Obama, calling him the “deporter-in-chief” for having kicked out nearly 2 million immigrants during his five-year tenure. 
But Republican critics have argued those deportation numbers are artificially inflated because more than half of those being deported were new arrivals, caught at the border by the U.S. Border Patrol. Previous administrations primarily counted only those caught in the interior of the U.S. by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 
“Under the Obama administration, more than half of those removals that were attributed to ICE are actually a result of Border Patrol arrests that wouldn’t have been counted in prior administrations,” said Rep. John Culberson, Texas Republican. 
“Correct,” Mr. Johnson confirmed. 
That would mean that in a one-to-one comparison with the final years of the Bush administration, deportations of those same people under Mr. Obama had actually fallen, according to immigration analysts who have studied the data. . . .

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Gov. Rick Perry considering decriminalizing marijuana in Texas

KIMMEL: "But I have to say, he will be pleased to know that in January, you said you might possibly favor decriminalizing marijuana in the state of Texas. Is that true? You're thinking about that?"
PERRY: "Well, what we did is for over a decade we've lowered the penalties. I mean, we're trying to be smart about it. You don't want to ruin a kid's life for having a joint. "

More on Perry's interview is available here:
Greeted by a handful of audible boos and jeers, Rick Perry was able to win over the audience when he took the stage during Jimmy Kimmel’s visit to Austin on Tuesday night. As part of a Kimmel’s week-long set of shows in association with South by Southwest, the longest-serving Texas governor chatted with the late-night host about his stance on marijuana legalization, his concealed-carry permit, and his future plans. 
Perry attributed the Austin crowd’s initial harsh reception to the city’s unique character, one that differs from most of the rest of the state; he described Austin as “the blueberry in the tomato soup” that is the state of Texas. He managed to fall into the audience’s good graces later on by touting his support of minimizing penalties for minor drug offenses, his love for Willie Nelson, and recounting the time he jammed with ZZ Top on the drums in concert. 
Kimmel later asked Perry about a reported story that he shot a coyote while jogging, which the governor confirmed. “You jog with a gun?” Kimmel asked. “I do interviews with a gun,” Perry slickly quipped. . . .

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Seth Meyers: Obamacare is Obama's online comedy show

Another case of vote fraud that could have been stopped with a voter ID

How could someone vote posing as this woman who died in 2008?  If someone knew that the woman was dead, they could unfortunately just show up and vote in her place.  No problem.  If there had been a voter ID, that would have been a much more difficult.  From Fox News:
The case of a Michigan woman whose mummified body was found years after her death is getting even more bizarre. Apparently, Michigan records show she voted in 2010 -- two years after authorities believe she died.  
The Detroit Free Press reported Monday that Pia Farrenkopf voted in that year's gubernatorial election. Authorities have not publicly identified the woman whose body was recently found in a sport utility vehicle parked in the garage of a foreclosed home northwest of Detroit. However, the newspaper reported Farrenkopf owned the home in question, and authorities believe it is her. 
Authorities say all signs indicate Farrenkopf likely died in 2008, when she would have been 49. The voting records, though, throw that timeline into question. They state Farrenkopf registered to vote in 2006 and voted for governor in November 2010. . . . 
Her death was seemingly hidden for years because her bills continued to be deducted from her bank account. Eventually, the money ran out and Farrenkopf’s house went into foreclosure. . . .



Stu Rothenberg explains why people are misreading the polls on the relative popularity of Republicans and Democrats

Stu Rothenberg has a very convincing explanation that the polls that people have been pointing to don't mean what they think that they mean.  From Roll Call:
. . . But the survey showed that while 31 percent of independents had a favorable view of the GOP, 30 percent had a favorable view of the Democratic Party. And while 60 percent of independents had an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party, 61 percent had an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party. 
How could independents have the same view of the two parties and yet the Republican brand be about 10 points worse among all respondents? 
The answer is clear in the data: Republican respondents had a much more negative view of their own party than Democrats had of their party. 
A stunning 29 percent of Republicans had an unfavorable view of the GOP, while only 14 percent of Democrats had an unfavorable view of their party. Only 67 percent of Republicans had a favorable view of the GOP, while 85 percent of Democrats had a favorable view of the Democratic Party. . . . 
Unfortunately for Democrats, from a strategic point of view, Republicans’ battered image of their own party isn’t likely going to be a serious problem for the GOP in the fall elections. That’s because, when the midterms roll around in November, Republican voters will vote for Republican nominees, and Democrats will vote for Democratic nominees. That’s what almost always happens. . . .

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Store owner in Dallas uses gun to protect employees from four armed robbers, 911 operator makes mistake and police didn't respond for hours

This story is from the Fox News station in Dallas, Texas.  This story was originally covered on May 8, 2013.
Four robbers, two of them armed, entered Pepe's Grocery on Bernal Drive in West Dallas. 
The store owner fought back and shot one of them. 
He called 911 but waited for a long time. Police never came so he went home. 
On Sunday night, surveillance cameras from in and outside the store show four men with masks charge in. 
One had an assault rifle. The other had a pistol. 
One smacks an employee in the face then holds the assault rifle to his head as he cowers on the ground. 
A female employee behind the counter is in shock and throws her hands up. . . . .


Corruption Hillary Clinton style

From the National Journal:
The corruption scandal that has rocked local politics in D.C. now has a Hillary Clinton aide in the mix, one who has served as a close adviser and has been involved with her future plans for public life. 
Minyon Moore, a close Clinton confidant, has been connected to the guilty plea of businessman Jeffrey Thompson, who admitted to federal prosecutors that he made $3.3 million in illegal campaign contributions. Court papers allege that Moore had asked him to pay for pro-Clinton efforts in Puerto Rico and four states, The Washington Post's Matea Gold and Rosalind Helderman report. It doesn't appear there is evidence showing Clinton knew about it, prosecutors say. 
Burns Strider, a longtime Clinton aide who now works with the pro-Clinton rapid-response group Correct the Record, called the allegations "bizarre and brazenly false." Strider defended Moore, with whom he's worked with over the years, and called The Post's reporting "irresponsible."  
"I think it's horse shit. I think The Washington Post is acting like some kind of an Internet blog or something instead of doing real reporting," he told National Journal. "I think it's pretty clear through everything that's come out that [Moore] didn't do anything wrong and has been exonerated and has been fully helpful in the case, and that's the bottom line." 
The Washington Post did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its reporting. . . .


Will Obama's Justice Department prosecute Obama's CIA?: Is this the Obama administration's Watergate?

Politicians are starting to talk about this in Watergate type terms.  From Politico:
. . . “Heads will roll,” Graham said if an investigation confirms Feinstein’s allegations. “If what they’re saying is true about the CIA, this is Richard Nixon stuff. This is dangerous to a democracy, heads should roll, people should go to jail, if it’s true,” Graham said. “The legislative branch should declare war on the CIA — if it’s true.”“There needs to be an investigation of this whole situation,” McCain said. “It’s very disturbing.”
“This raises a very troubling set of questions,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a frequent critic of the vast domestic surveillance. “We are right at the heart of the issue of how Congress goes about effectively doing oversight.” . . .
If the CIA really secretly removed documents from computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee panel to investigate a controversial interrogation program, it would seem that Obama's Department of Justice would have no problem prosecuting those responsible.  Even if the Obama administration secretly approved of this operation, they still might want to prosecute those involved.  But if the Obama administration doesn't prosecute those involved, it would indicate that Obama's CIA was doing what the Obama administration really wanted done.  From the Washington Post:
The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday sharply accused the CIA of violating federal law and undermining the constitutional principle of congressional oversight as she detailed publicly for the first time how the agency secretly removed documents from computers used by her panel to investigate a controversial interrogation program. 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that the situation amounted to attempted intimidation of congressional investigators, adding: “I am not taking it lightly.”
She confirmed that an internal agency investigation of the action has been referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution. And she said that the CIA appears to have violated the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as various federal laws and a presidential executive order that prevents the agency from conducting domestic searches and surveillance. 
She has sought an apology and recognition that the CIA search of the committee’s computers was inappropriate, she said. “I have received neither,” she added. 
The comments by Feinstein, traditionally a strong advocate for the intelligence community, blow wide open a dispute that has simmered in recent weeks. . .  . 


Obamacare: As of February 1st only about 472,000 who had signed up were previously uninsured

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 10, 2014
These claims were already obviously false and that has been pointed out.  But something was missed in the previous critiques: how many of those enrolled were previously ensured.

According to this survey done by McKinsey, only about 10.6 percent of those who enrolled in Obamacare were previously uninsured.  But only just over half of these paid their premium.  That implies only 472,000 people who have enrolled and paid their premium.  Even if you assume all those who have enrolled will eventually pay and be insured, that will only get you to about 900,000.


Talking to Politichicks about the economy and taxes at CPAC

Economist and author (“At the Brink”) John Lott talks about jobs numbers, unemployment, the economy and more with Ann-Marie Murrell and Morgan Brittany.  From CPAC 2014, Washington, D.C. on Friday, March 7th.

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Sharyl Attkisson leaves CBS, frustrated by "network's liberal bias"

I have long mentioned Sharyl Attkisson's reporting on this blog, and I have admired her work.  It is unfortunate that she is leaving CBS, though not particularly surprising.  From Politico:
CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has reached an agreement to resign from CBS News ahead of contract, bringing an end to months of hard-fought negotiations, sources familiar with her departure told POLITICO on Monday. 
Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network's liberal bias, an outsized influence by the network's corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt like her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air
At the same time, Attkisson's own reporting on the Obama administration, which some staffers characterized as agenda-driven, had led network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting. She is currently at work on a book -- tentatively titled "Stonewalled: One Reporter's Fight for Truth in Obama's Washington" -- which addresses the challenges of reporting critically on the Obama administration. . . .


Technology saving lives: Toddler makes FaceTime call to save mother

I will take ABC at its word that the boy saved his mother's life, though I am a little dubious that the mother was going to die from the wound that she suffered.  In any case, the boy's actions did help his mother who was fainting from the blood loss.


"Putting America back to work": Appearance on Canada's Sun News with Brian Lilley

March 7, 2014 20:23
Economist John Lott discusses the employment situation in the United States coming out of the great recession.

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Discussing impact of Russian invasion of Crimea on US economy: Audio of my appearance on Sean Hannity's Show on March 4, 2014

The audio of my appearance with on Sean's show is available here.

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With no real health care concerns: If E-cigs look too much like real cigarettes, that is bad. If E-cigs don't look like them, that is really bad.

Jacob Sullum has this at Reason.com:
The main rap against e-cigarettes, as summarized by the Los Angeles Times in its story about that city's brand-new ban on vaping in public, is that they look so much like the real thing that they could "make smoking socially acceptable after years of public opinion campaigns to discourage the habit," thereby "undermining a half-century of successful tobacco control." By contrast, the main rap against e-hookahs, as explained by The New York Times today, is that they are "shrewdly marketed to avoid the stigma associated with cigarettes of any kind." They do not look like hookahs, but neither do they resemble conventional cigarettes, since these vapor-emitting cylinders "come in a rainbow of colors and candy-sweet flavors." In fact, they are so distinctive in appearance and branding that people who buy them do not necessarily identify themselves as e-cigarette users. . . .

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Evidence that the media doesn't have a clue about guns, claim that "George Zimmerman’s Chilling Firearms Arsenal"

This from Radar Online just shows how little the media understands guns.  Their article on the weapons that police found in Zimmerman's home is almost comical.  Consider these quotes: "RadarOnline.com has learned that he could still be a very dangerous man" or "police uncovered a chilling arsenal of weapons and ammunition inside Zimmerman’s home, the full extent of which has never been pictured — until now."  So what was found?
-One Keltec 12-gauge shotgun 
-One Walther .380 handgun with seven rounds of live ammunition in the magazine 
-One Taurus 9 mm handgun with live rounds in the magazine 
-One Glock 19 handgun with 16 live rounds 
-One AR-15 semi-automatic rifle-Dozens of rounds of ammunition 
-Several gun holsters and bags
Do they understand that a rifle and a shotgun do quite different things?  You would expect any moderately serious gun owner to own both types of guns.  Indeed, it wouldn't be surprising for people to own multiple rifles or shotguns for different purposes.  A 12 gauge shotgun might be good for self defense or hunting, but if you have kids who want to go skeet shooting (e.g., Boy Scouts), you need a shotgun with a lot less kick to it, possibly a 28 gauge.  

Are three types of handguns really excessive?  Different size handguns might be useful depending on whether one is carrying the gun or whether it is for self-defense at home.  You don't want a heavy gun to carry around, but a gun with greater stopping power can be quite desirable.  

As to the ammunition, there were 23 rounds of ammunition for the three handguns.  And dozens for the rifle.  Possibly there is a total of 59 or so rounds.  That isn't enough to make it worthwhile going target shooting.  You would be out of the handgun ammunition in at most just a couple of minutes.

If anything, I am surprised by how few guns and particularly how little ammunition that Zimmerman has

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Climate Change in action for the Great Lakes: In five months we went from fear over "the world’s biggest hot tub" to nearing record ice cover

Given that the world's temperature has been constant for the last 17 years, it is always interesting how temperature changes in particular areas are focused on.  In any case, the fear that we were in a vicious cycle on the great lakes with warming reducing ice cover and that reduced cover meaning even warmer temperatures shows that something was missing from the discussion.  From the International Business Times in October:
Lake Superior, the largest of North America’s Great Lakes, is on its way to becoming the world’s biggest hot tub. According to scientists, climate change is causing the lake to heat up faster than any other lake on the planet. 
James Kitchell, an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, explained on Public Radio International, or PRI, that the large surface area of the lake, which covers 31,700 square miles, is exactly the reason it's warming faster than the other Great Lakes -- and every other lake, for that matter. . . . 
"When there’s ice on the lakes, a lot of that solar energy is reflected back into the atmosphere, but in the most recent three decades, the duration of ice on the lake has reduced by as much as 50 percent or more," Kitchell said. "The result is that more solar radiation enters and stays in the water column, and the lake warms more quickly." . . .
Now we have this from USA Today:
As of Wednesday morning, 91% of the Great Lakes were ice-covered, which is the second-highest level since records began, according to the laboratory. The previous second place record was in 1994, at 90.7%.

The record of almost 95% was set in February 1979. "It certainly seems like we have a chance to set the record," research lab scientist Anne Clites said in an e-mail Monday, noting that it will depend on the weather over the next two weeks. . . . 
Finally, let me reiterate that since 82% of the time over the last billion years world temperature has been much higher than it is now, you would think that the best guest is that temperatures would rise normally.

UPDATE: Lake Michigan hits record 93.29 percent ice concentration on March 9, 2014.  That is slightly greater than the previous record of 93.1 percent set back in 1977. Researchers began keeping records in 1973


Environmentalists, not mother nature, responsible for California's water shortage?

There are many places to have fish.  It isn't clear to me why every place that can sustain fish at their natural rate should have them.  From the Wall Street Journal:
. . . Liberals blame the water shortage on record dry weather and climate change. (Climate models predict that California will get wetter if the world is warming, but never mind.) Those explanations ignore that San Joaquin farmers haven't received 100% of their contractual water allocations from the federal Central Valley Project since 2006, even in years of heavy rain or snow. Farmers got only 45% of the water they were due in 2010, when precipitation was 110% of the norm. Regulations ostensibly intended to protect fish like the three-inch delta smelt, steelhead and chinook salmon, Mr. Watte says, are to blame. 
He explains that California Democratic Rep. George Miller in 1992 led the first major water siege with the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, which allocated 1.2 million acre-feet of water to wildlife—enough to sustain 1.2 million families and 300,000 acres. The law aggravated the existing acrimony between farmers and environmentalists, and resulted in a turf war between federal and state regulators. 
Eventually, green groups, farmers, the feds and state reached an armistice with the 1994 Bay Delta Accord, which jettisoned a demand by environmental groups to restore fish to a dry stretch of the San Joaquin River. Sen. Dianne Feinstein in October 1994 expressed her unequivocal opposition to "any effort to take water from Friant Dam for the purpose of restoring a long gone fishery on the San Joaquin River." Such a water diversion, she said, would have proved devastating to "10,000 small, family farms." 
But environmental groups soon broke the peace by suing for more water diversions to protect salmon and smelt. By 2009, Ms. Feinstein's views had reversed: She backed the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, whose goal was to restore fish to what had been a dry river bed. But not just any fish—specifically, cold-water salmon that hadn't been documented at the site since the 1940s. Cold-water salmon require "huge volumes of water" to thrive, Mr. Watte notes, and he thinks that was exactly the point. The environmentalists "don't care about fish," he says. "The fish are just a prop, a vehicle to get our water." . . .
As an economist, I would charge everyone the same amount for water.  But that is obviously not the case in California.  The article notes:
An acre-foot of water (enough to submerge an acre of land in one foot of water) can cost up to $1,300 compared with about $40 a few years ago. Meanwhile, some farmers are drilling deeper wells at a cost of $1 million per hole. . . . 

Video of Obama spelling "RSPECT," he had no idea that he misspelled the word

The entire talk is available here.

(see 3:25 into the video for the misspelling)
I have seen news stories saying that Obama appears to have recognized his spelling mistake, but after reviewing these videos it is very clear that he had no idea that he had misspelled the word.

Fox News has the story available here:
In a throwback to the latter's infamous misspelling of the word "potato," Obama accidentally misspelled "respect" while introducing singer Aretha Franklin during a tribute to "Women of Soul" at the White House Thursday.  
“When Aretha first told us what … R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her,” Obama said, pausing briefly before the audience began laughing, apparently realizing his mistake. “She had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans and women and anyone else who felt marginalized because of what they looked like, who they loved. They wanted some respect.” . . . .
Information on how CBS and NBC covered Obama's flub in their humorous lighthearted way is available here.  ABC News decided to ignore the story.