Archive for January, 2013

31
Jan
13

Keep Chatting

@BarackObama

31
Jan
13

Chat Away

Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Chuck Hagel, Amman, Jordan, July 22, 2008

Back in a while.

31
Jan
13

Rise and Shine

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Bloomberg: Consumer spending in the U.S. climbed in December as incomes grew by the most in eight years, a sign the biggest part of the economy was contributing to the expansion as the year drew to a close.

Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, rose 0.2 percent after a 0.4 percent gain the prior month, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 72 economists called for a 0.3 percent rise. Incomes rose 2.6 percent, pushing the saving rate up to a more than three-year high.

More here

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Greg Sargent: Perhaps the most important moment so far in today’s Senate Judiciary hearing on guns came when astronaut Mark Kelly directly confronted NRA head Wayne LaPierre over the shooting of his wife, Gabrielle Giffords …. LaPierre’s argument was completely unmasked for the sham that it is.

During the hearing, LaPierre repeatedly voiced the talking point that there’s no need to expand the background check system because criminals don’t cooperate with background checks. Kelly responded:

“The Tucson shooter was an admitted drug user. He was rejected from the U.S. Army because of his drug use. He was clearly mentally ill. And when he purchased that gun in November, his plan was to assassinate my wife and commit mass murder at that Safeway in Tucson. He was a criminal …. but because of these gaps in the mental health system, in this case, those 121,000 records, I admit did not include a record on him. But it could have. And if it did, he would have failed that background check. ….”

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MinnPost: President Obama’s Monday visit to Minneapolis will be to “discuss with local leaders and law enforcement officials his comprehensive set of common-sense ideas to reduce gun violence,” according to a White House spokesperson.

“Minneapolis is a city [that] has taken important steps to reduce gun violence and foster a conversation in the community about what further action is needed,” White House spokeswoman Joanna Rosholm said in a statement. “President Obama will visit with members of the community about their experiences and discuss additional steps that can be taken at the federal level to reduce gun violence.”

….. No word yet on where or when the Obama event will take place, or what the format will be.

Full post here

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Dana Milbank: Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s chief executive, arrived for his hearing on Capitol Hill in the organization’s trademark fashion: violently.

When he and his colleagues stepped off the elevator in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday morning and found TV cameras waiting in the hallway, LaPierre’s bodyguards swung into action. One of them, in blatant violation of congressional rules, bumped and body-checked journalists out of the way so they couldn’t film LaPierre or question him as he walked.

“You don’t have jurisdiction here!” a cameraman protested as an NRA goon pushed him against a wall. After the melee, congressional officials informed the NRA officials that, in the halls of Congress, they had to follow congressional procedures — which prohibit manhandling.

Full post here

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This undated family photo shows 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton of Chicago. Hadiya was shot and killed when a gunman opened fire while she was hanging out with friends on the warm rainy afternoon under a shelter in the park. Hadiya was a majorette in her high school band and recently performed in Washington, D.C. during the inauguration. President Obama’s Chicago home is less than a mile from the park where Hadiya was killed

Nate Pendleton comforts his son Nathaniel, 10, as they listen to speakers at a press conference in a neighborhood park where Nate’s daughter Hadiya was killed on January 30 in Chicago

Cleopatra Pendelton talks with Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy before a news conference seeking help from the public in solving the murder of Pendelton’s daughter Hadiya

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton holds the hand of her ten-year-old son as they listen to speakers during an event with police and community leaders at a neighborhood park where her daughter Hadiya was killed

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NYT: If ever there were a moment for Democrats to press their political advantage, this is it. Their message on many of the biggest national issues — taxes, guns, education spending, financial regulation — has widespread support, and they have increased their numbers in both houses of Congress. But after years of being out-yelled by strident right-wing ideologues, too many in the Democratic Party still have a case of nerves, afraid of bold action and forthright principles.

That’s particularly evident in the Senate, which the party controls. Last week, Democrats had a rare opportunity to change the Senate’s rules by majority vote and reduce the routine abuse of the filibuster by Republicans, which has allowed a minority to slow progress to a crawl. But there weren’t enough Democrats to support real reform, so a disappointing half-measure was approved. The reason was fear: Fear that they might return to the minority one day, fear that a weakened filibuster might hurt them, fear that Republicans might change the rules to the disadvantage of Democrats if they regain a majority.

More here

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Senators Jack Reed, Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel, Kuwait, 2008

NYT: President Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday morning for what is likely to be a combative confirmation hearing focusing on Iran, Israel and the American military’s role in the world. White House officials say they remain confident about his prospects.

Mr. Hagel, who has gone through three “murder boards,” or mock hearings, in preparation for the real one, has met with nearly 60 members of the Senate. He has spent the past three weeks working out of a modest transition office down the hall from the office of the man he hopes to succeed, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, in the Pentagon E-ring, the corridor with sweeping views of the Potomac River and Washington.

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Charles Pierce: …. if you want to see the walking, living, sweating, mewling manifestation of still runnin’ a’skeered, take a gander these days at Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. This is a man with the gallows in his eyes, Because he hasn’t been entirely insane, and because South Carolina’s wingbits have been deprived of their real campeon de loco, Jim DeMint, and because of, you know, that conspicuous longtime bachelorhood issue, Graham has become something of a target…..

I mention all this because he’s going to get a crack at Chuck Hagel on Thursday, which may bring about the mother of all public tantrums. Somebody give him a cookie and then primary him, just to put him out of his misery.

More here

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TPM: Here’s how the Obama administration wants the Obamacare individual mandate to work.

The IRS and Department of Health and Human Services proposed new rules Wednesday pertaining to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that uninsured taxpayers purchase health insurance, and expanded the circumstances under which Americans may receive an exemption from the so-called “individual mandate.”

Churches, illegal immigrants, incarcerated individuals and members of Native American communities are excluded from the individual mandate, which takes effect in 2014….

More here

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Bloomberg: Calm down. Yes, the U.S. economy surprisingly shrank in the fourth quarter at a 0.1 percent annual rate, weaker than any economist had forecast … But let’s look under the hood. The overall number disguises strong consumer spending and business investment in equipment and software, which zoomed upward.

You could even say the strength of consumer spending and business capital expenditures is the bigger surprise, more than the contraction. Why? Because the fourth quarter also featured a bitter presidential contest and a Washington battle royale over the fiscal cliff, both of which dampened consumer and corporate confidence.

The healthy consumption and business investment pictures were bolstered by another report out today showing that the labor market continues to heal. Companies took on more workers than expected in January, with an increase of 192,000, according to the ADP Research Institute.

Two factors were largely responsible for the poor GDP showing: a steep decline in government spending, especially on defense, and in the growth of business inventories. Combined, they took 2.6 percentage points out of GDP…..

Full post here

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Steve Benen: One of top Politico stories of the day tells readers that, in the wake of yesterday’s economic news, President Obama has a “GDP problem.” After noting that the drop in economic growth was “largely due to a drop in government spending,” the article adds:

Nonetheless, the politics are unambiguously terrible for Barack Obama … and it gave an adrenal jolt to the a GOP messaging establishment left supine by the Mitt Romney mirage and recent soul-searchy infighting.

Politico’s report added that Democrats “will try to spin” the news, but the party’s “narrative” is “not very convincing” and burdened by “weakness.”

It’s almost as if facts, evidence, reason, and a cursory understanding of economic policy no longer matters at all. In reality, the economy shrank a little in the last quarter because of spending cuts, but the party demanding more spending cuts has suddenly received “an adrenal jolt”…..

More here

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BarackObama.com

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ThinkProgress: 5 Reasons To Be Optimistic The Republican Election-Rigging Plan Is Dead (And 3 Reasons It’s Not)

Two weeks ago, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus called upon “states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red” to consider a Republican plan to rig future presidential races……

Six states potentially fit Priebus’ description of a blue state that is currently controlled by Republicans — Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. To date, senior Republicans in four of these states have either voted down the plan or indicated that it will not be taken up in the first place, and the governor of a fifth state has expressed concerns about the plan…

More here

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Moooooooorning!

30
Jan
13

“The Time Is Now”

Americans for Responsible Solutions

30
Jan
13

Gabby at the White House

@PeteSouza

“Gabby Giffords’s Handwritten Notes for Her Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee”

@pourmecoffee

30
Jan
13

“Too many children are dying, we must do something …. the time is now”

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Pride:

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Senate Judiciary Hearing on Gun Violence: Live on C-SPAN * CNN * CBS

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Live streaming:

30
Jan
13

Rise and Shine

President Barack Obama signs an accompanying letter to Congressional leaders after signing H.R. 152, which provides fiscal year 2013 supplemental appropriations to respond to and recover from the severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Jan. 29, 2013. (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

10:0 Senate Judiciary Hearing on Gun Violence: Live on C-SPAN

3:55: President Obama is interviewed by Jose Diaz Balart of Telemundo

4:15: Interviewed by Maria Elena Salinas of Univision

(Interviews will be released at 6:30)

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Washington Post: President Obama is riding a wave of personal popularity into his second term, with his highest favorability ratings since his first year in office, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Fully 60 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Obama in the new poll, up slightly from October but a clear shift in opinion from an election year in which his ratings hovered in the mid-to-low 50s.

More here

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Washington Post: In hailing an emerging bipartisan consensus in the Senate on immigration reform, President Obama added Tuesday to the momentum to fix a broken-down system that long ago stopped making sense and serving the country…

….. the president did the sensible thing by standing aside, for the time being, to let Congress take the lead on crafting a bill in the coming months…..

But Mr Obama also made clear that if progress slows toward a deal, the administration will submit its own bill. The implication, and the threat to Republicans, is clear: Act soon to forge a reasonable deal, or risk being seen — once again — as impeding progress on the issue that will shape political attitudes for the nation’s fastest-growing group of minority voters.

More here

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whitehouse.gov

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On Thursday, learn more about President Obama’s vision for a 21st century immigration system as the White House hosts the next in an ongoing series of conversations with administration officials on Google+. Starting at 1:00 p.m. ET on January 31, Cecilia Muñoz, the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, will join the latest “Fireside Hangout”– a 21st century take on FDR’s famous radio addresses –  to talk about immigration reform.

The conversation will be moderated by Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of Define American….

More here

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Maddow Blog: This visual goes a long way in explaining why Republicans decided to get on board with immigration reform:

More here

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Washington Post: Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is expected to testify Wednesday at a Senate hearing on gun violence, lending the emotional resonance of her experience with the issue to what had already promised to be a dramatic exchange between lawmakers and advocates for and against stricter gun-control laws.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on gun-related violence in 14 months on Wednesday morning, and observers expect that it will help set the tone for congressional debates over legislation introduced in the wake of the deadly shooting last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people, including 20 young children.

More here

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Washington Post: By Mark Barden and Jackie Barden, parents of Daniel who died in the Sandy Hook shootings

Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence is the latest in a series of events following the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our 7-year-old son, Daniel, 19 of his first-grade classmates and six educators were killed in the tragedy. We believe this hearing is an opportunity to rise above the hard-line rhetoric and intransigence that too often lead to inaction and hopelessness, and we hope that our leaders and our nation will start a new conversation with a chance of achieving real change.

…. We have joined with other families, neighbors and friends in making the Sandy Hook Promise (www.sandyhookpromise.org). We hope every member of Congress and Americans nationwide will join us in pledging to honor the lives lost last month by coming together to end these violent tragedies.

More here

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@PaulBegala

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@VP – “State is in good hands – the hands of my good friend John Kerry – VP on Senate confirming Sen Kerry as Sec State”

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ThinkProgress

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BuzzFeed: January marked Fox News Channel’s lowest 25-54 demo delivery for Monday-Sunday Primetime and Sales Prime (M-Su 7p-2a) since August 2001.

January was also the worst month ever for FNC’s On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren in the 25-54 demo. It was also Fox’s lowest total at 10 pm since July ’08.

January saw MSNBC up 11% in the 25-54 demo from Jan. 2012.

MSNBC remained #1 with African American viewers during primetime for the 36th consecutive month.

More here

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Morning!




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