Archive for February 20th, 2013

20
Feb
13

Catching up with the Day

President Barack Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, Mich., April 18, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

This will be a beautiful day……

Washington Post: President Obama will head to the Capitol next week for the dedication of a new statue honoring civil rights icon Rosa Parks, a White House official confirmed Wednesday.

The statue – which will be the first of an African American woman to be placed in the Capitol — will be unveiled next Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Statuary Hall, the exhibition space that sits just south of the Capitol Rotunda.

More here

File photo of Rosa Parks attending ceremony where she was presented Congressional Gold Medal on Capitol Hill

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Thursday:

11:25: President Obama records radio interviews with Al Sharpton, Joe Madison and Yolanda Adams

12:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at a conference on gun violence at Western Connecticut State University

1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press

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“I knew that I better keep my day job”:

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Stephanie Cutter’s Organizing for Action call tonight on gun violence prevention

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Vice President Joe Biden receives a bracelet from Paige Baitinger, wife of fallen St. Petersburg, Fla., police Sgt. Thomas Baitinger, following a Medal of Valor ceremony in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Feb. 20, 2013. The Vice President and Attorney General Eric Holder presented 18 recipients with the Medal of Valor, which is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others from harm. Baitinger accepted the award on behalf of her husband who was killed in the line of duty in 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

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Secretary of State John Kerry made his first public remarks regarding U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy Wednesday to students and faculty at the University of Virginia – see the speech here

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BobCesca.com: Obamacare is Working …. Projections for Medicare spending between 2011 and 2020 have fallen by $500 billion.

…. The Affordable Care Act is bringing down the cost of healthcare by challenging a culture of waste, not by throwing momma from the train.

See post here

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Hopefully, the full interview will be on Rachael Ray’s site soon – meanwhile, here’s a clip:

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WH.gov: First Lady Michelle Obama to Embark on National Tour Celebrating Third Anniversary of Let’s Move!

On February 27, 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama will kick off a two day nation-wide tour celebrating the third anniversary of Let’s Move!, her initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. The tour will showcase progress and announce new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children. Mrs. Obama will also travel to New York City this week to talk about the third anniversary of Let’s Move! on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show.

More here

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Steve Benen: …… John Boehner has a 900-word op-ed in the Wall Street Journal … devoted almost entirely to a desperate attempt to avoid blame …. Reading this breathtakingly dishonest op-ed, I can’t help but wonder about the House Speaker’s frame of mind. Either Boehner actually believes the transparent nonsense he wrote, which would mean the Speaker is alarmingly ignorant about the basics of current events, he’s deliberately trying to deceive the public, counting on Americans to be foolish enough to buy demonstrable falsehoods.

Either way, Boehner’s mendacious piece is a profound disappointment, and beneath the dignity of his office. If the Speaker is still capable of shame, he should be embarrassed to peddle such nonsense.

See full post here – Benen shreds Boehner’s op-ed, point by point

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Bloomberg: President Barack Obama enters the latest budget showdown with Congress with his highest job- approval rating in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents’ popularity stands at a record low.

Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance in office, his strongest level of support since September 2009, according to a Bloomberg National poll conducted Feb. 15-18. Only 35 percent of the country has a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest rating in a survey that began in September 2009. The party’s brand slipped six percentage points in the last six months, the poll shows.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), a former hospital CEO and ardent Obamacare critic, announced at a press conference Wednesday evening that he will accept Obamacare funding in order to expand his state’s Medicaid program for low-income Americans. The move comes after Scott secured a waiver to privatize the public insurance program.

The decision represents a marked departure from Scott’s previously held stance. Scott didn’t just initially oppose taking part in the expansion — which the Supreme Court ruled to be optional last summer — he knowingly cited wildly inaccurate figures to inflate the program’s cost to the state by 2500 percent in an effort to discredit it. He eventually dropped his estimate for the expansion by $23 billion in the face of intense media scrutiny…..

More here

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Not being, well, a drones ‘fan’ (is anyone??), I’m half reluctant to post this – one civilian death is too many. But, still, an interesting take on the issue:

William Saletan (Slate): In Defense of Drones – They’re the worst form of war, except for all the others.

“UN: Drones killed more Afghan civilians in 2012,” says the Associated Press headline. The article begins: “The number of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan jumped 72 percent in 2012, killing at least 16 civilians in a sharp increase from the previous year.” The message seems clear: More Afghans are dying, because drones kill civilians.

Wrong. Drones kill fewer civilians, as a percentage of total fatalities, than any other military weapon. They’re the worst form of warfare in the history of the world, except for all the others.

Start with that U.N. report. Afghan civilian casualties caused by the United States and its allies didn’t go up last year. They fell 46 percent. Specifically, civilian casualties from “aerial attacks” fell 42 percent….

Jet planes. Machine guns. Bombing. Drones aren’t the problem. Bombs are the problem.

More here

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Columbus Dispatch: President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address at Ohio State University’s graduation ceremonies this year, the White House announced today.

The trip is his first scheduled trip to Ohio since he stopped in Columbus with singer Bruce Springsteen and rapper Jay-Z.

Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for noon on Sunday, May 5 at Ohio Stadium. This will be the largest class in university history and the first spring graduation on the semester system. About 12,000 students are expected to graduate that day.

More here

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AP: The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that would mark a political victory for advocates of same-sex unions and a deepening commitment by President Barack Obama to rights for gay couples.

Obama raised expectations among opponents of the Proposition 8 ban when he declared in last month’s inaugural address that gays and lesbians must be “treated like anyone else under the law.” The administration has until Feb. 28 to intervene in the case by filing a “friend of the court” brief.

More here

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@ImAngelaBassett

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20
Feb
13

First Lady: Portrait

Official portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama in the Green Room of the White House, Feb. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

20
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

President Obama will sit for interviews with eight local reporters

The First Lady will be on the Rachael Ray Show – check your listings

11:0: Secretary of State John Kerry will make his first major public address since taking the post on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (C-Span)

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

1:30: VP Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder award the Medal of Valor to public safety officers who exhibited exceptional courage in the attempt to protect others from harm

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According to GOPolitico, Conan O’Brien has agreed to headline this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner (April 27)

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See here – thanks Desertflower and Ladyhawke

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Steve Benen: With just 10 days to go before brutal sequestration cuts kick in, President Obama has decided to use his bully pulpit, not just to frame the debate and show the way out of this latest manufactured crisis, but also to make his opponents look reckless and irresponsible …. The president had a fairly compelling pitch to present, which had the added benefit of being true….

…. For those who care about reality, the sequester really wasn’t Obama’s idea – it was part of the ransom paid to Republicans when GOP lawmakers held the nation hostage in 2011, threatening to crash the economy and trash the full faith and credit of the United States. Republicans took credit for the sequester and they voted for the sequester.

But as a practical matter, it doesn’t matter whose idea it was. There’s a looming threat to the nation and it kicks in next week. One side is focused on resolving the manufactured crisis with a bipartisan compromise; the other side is focused on how to win a public-relations battle, instead of focusing on fixing the problem they helped create…..

Full post here

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Bloomberg: In the spring of 1986, a grassroots organizer named Barack Obama was walking through a trash-strewn playground on Chicago’s South Side when the sound of gunshots pierced the air.

Obama ducked and glanced nervously at John Owens, an activist working for a local nonprofit, who was giving him a tour of the neighborhood’s parks. “He said: ‘You hear that? Whoa’,” Owens, recalled. “I remember thinking, ‘Well, he hasn’t been around here very long’.”

The president’s three-year stretch as a community organizer in an impoverished section of Chicago gave him a first-hand look at how gun violence affects a community. He’s now drawing upon that experience, and the solutions he saw then, as he crafts a second-term agenda in which gun control finally has political momentum after the Dec. 14 shootings at a Connecticut school…..

See here – Thanks Squarepeg

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ThinkProgress: The Supreme Court’s election-buying decision in Citizens United v FEC enabled wealthy corporations to spend unlimited money to change the course of American elections, and a subsequent lower court decision gave the green light to super PACs funded by unlimited donations from millionaires, billionaires and corporations. Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced it would hear another case — brought by none other than the Republican National Committee — that would go even further towards transforming American democracy into the Wild West.

More here

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See here

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Washington Post: Since November, President Obama has been promising to do something about extremely long voting lines and other shameful Election Day lapses. Last week, he began to make good on his pledge, unveiling “a nonpartisan commission to improve the voting experience in America,” headed by Bob Bauer and Benjamin Ginsburg, the lawyers for Mr. Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaigns, respectively.

….. critics are already attacking the idea. Conservatives question why the federal government needs to get more involved with voting. Voting-rights activists wonder why the president needs a commission when he could champion any of the sensible reform proposals already sitting in Congress.

But the commission is a good idea, for at least two reasons.

More here

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Steve Benen: I suspect most folks have, at least once, accidentally mistaken satirical news for real news. But Spencer Ackerman’s report on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s misstep is a doozy.

    On November 14, 2012, Mitch McConnell wrote to Elizabeth King, the Pentagon’s congressional liaison, with a an unusually credulous query. “I am writing on behalf of a constituent who has contacted me regarding Guantanamo Bay prisoners receiving Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits,” McConnell wrote in a letter acquired by Danger Room. “I would appreciate your review and response to my constituent’s concerns.”

…… the United States government is not providing GI Bill benefits to detainees at the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay. What McConnell forwarded to the Pentagon was a satirical piece, published by a terrific online humor outlet. Picture The Onion with a sole focus on the military.

More here

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Raw Story: A Republican state representative in Alabama says that her bill to force new restrictions on abortion clinics is necessary because the fetus is “the largest organ in a body.”

…. “When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body,” Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin declared. “That’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that.”

…. “My liver, heart, and skin are all very excited that we are now giving organs personhood rights, although the latter is slightly upset about losing out on its ‘largest organ in the human body’ rep,” Jezebel’s Katie J.M. Baker wrote on Monday.

More here

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Charles Pierce: ….. Scott Brown took to the local Fox affiliate to explain the bizarre episode in which he got into a Twittery wrangle that ended up with former senator McDreamy exclaiming, “Bqhatevwr!” .. which caused more than a few people to wonder whether or not he was a bit sockless at the time. His explanation for what happened is quite remarkable in its sub-plausibility….

….. I am not buying the pocket-tweet explanation if, for no other reason, than believing that whole colloquy was an accident would require you to believe that McDreamy was sliding down the back of a stegosaurus for that many accidental keystrokes to have occurred.

Whatever, dude.

Full post here

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MooooOOoooorning!




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