Archive for August 8th, 2013

08
Aug
13

Medal of Freedom Recipients

President Obama Names Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients (see here)

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Ernie Banks

Known to many as “Mr. Cub,” Ernie Banks is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. During his 19 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, he played in 11 All-Star Games, hit over 500 home runs, and became the first National League player to win Most Valuable Player honors in back-to-back years. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility.

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Ben Bradlee

Ben Bradlee is one of the most respected newsmen of his generation. During his tenure as executive editor of The Washington Post, Mr. Bradlee oversaw coverage of the Watergate scandal, successfully challenged the Federal Government over the right to publish the Pentagon Papers, and guided the newspaper through some of its most challenging moments. He also served in the Navy during World War II.

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Bill Clinton

President Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States. Before taking office, he served as Governor and Attorney General of the State of Arkansas. Following his second term, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment. He also formed the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund with President George W. Bush in 2010.

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Daniel Inouye (posthumous)

Daniel Inouye was a lifelong public servant. As a young man, he fought in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, for which he received the Medal of Honor. He was later elected to the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives, the United States House of Representatives, and the United States Senate. Senator Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in Congress, representing the people of Hawaii from the moment they joined the Union.

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Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman is a pioneering scholar of psychology. After escaping Nazi occupation in World War II, Dr. Kahneman immigrated to Israel, where he served in the Israel Defense Forces and trained as a psychologist. Alongside Amos Tversky, he applied cognitive psychology to economic analysis, laying the foundation for a new field of research and earning the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. He is currently a professor at Princeton University.

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Richard Lugar

Richard Lugar represented Indiana in the United States Senate for more than 30 years. An internationally respected statesman, he is best known for his bipartisan leadership and decades-long commitment to reducing the threat of nuclear weapons. Prior to serving in Congress, Senator Lugar was a Rhodes Scholar and Mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1975. He currently serves as President of the Lugar Center.

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Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn is a country music legend. Raised in rural Kentucky, she emerged as one of the first successful female country music vocalists in the early 1960s, courageously breaking barriers in an industry long dominated by men. Ms. Lynn’s numerous accolades include the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

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Mario Molina

Mario Molina is a visionary chemist and environmental scientist. Born in Mexico, Dr. Molina came to America to pursue his graduate degree. He later earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering how chlorofluorocarbons deplete the ozone layer. Dr. Molina is a professor at the University of California, San Diego; Director of the Mario Molina Center for Energy and Environment; and a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

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Sally Ride (posthumous)

Sally Ride was the first American female astronaut to travel to space. As a role model to generations of young women, she advocated passionately for science education, stood up for racial and gender equality in the classroom, and taught students from every background that there are no limits to what they can accomplish. Dr. Ride also served in several administrations as an advisor on space exploration.

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Bayard Rustin (posthumous)

Bayard Rustin was an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity, and equality for all. An advisor to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he promoted nonviolent resistance, participated in one of the first Freedom Rides, organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and fought tirelessly for marginalized communities at home and abroad. As an openly gay African American, Mr. Rustin stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights.

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Arturo Sandoval

Arturo Sandoval is a celebrated jazz trumpeter, pianist, and composer. Born outside Havana, he became a protégé of jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie and gained international acclaim as a dynamic performer. He defected to the United States in 1990 and later became an American citizen. He has been awarded nine Grammy Awards and is widely considered one of the greatest living jazz artists.

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Dean Smith

Dean Smith was head coach of the University of North Carolina basketball team from 1961 to 1997. In those 36 years, he earned 2 national championships, was named National Coach of the Year multiple times, and retired as the winningest men’s college basketball coach in history. Ninety-six percent of his players graduated from college. Mr. Smith has also remained a dedicated civil rights advocate throughout his career.

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Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is a renowned writer and activist for women’s equality. She was a leader in the women’s liberation movement, co-founded Ms. magazine, and helped launch a wide variety of groups and publications dedicated to advancing civil rights. Ms. Steinem has received dozens of awards over the course of her career, and remains an active voice for women’s rights.

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Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian

C.T. Vivian is a distinguished minister, author, and organizer. A leader in the Civil Rights Movement and friend to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he participated in Freedom Rides and sit-ins across our country. Dr. Vivian also helped found numerous civil rights organizations, including Vision, the National Anti-Klan Network, and the Center for Democratic Renewal. In 2012, he returned to serve as interim President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

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Patricia Wald

Patricia Wald is one of the most respected appellate judges of her generation. After graduating as 1 of only 11 women in her Yale University Law School class, she became the first woman appointed to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and served as Chief Judge from 1986-1991. She later served on the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Ms. Wald currently serves on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

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Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is one of the world’s most successful broadcast journalists. She is best known for creating The Oprah Winfrey Show, which became the highest rated talk show in America for 25 years. Ms. Winfrey has long been active in philanthropic causes and expanding opportunities for young women. She has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award in 2002 and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010.

08
Aug
13

The President Likes Ice Cream!

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Continue reading ‘The President Likes Ice Cream!’

08
Aug
13

News of the Day

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President Barack Obama met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of Greece in the Oval Office of the White House. Obama and Samras discussed a range of bilateral issues during their meeting.

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AJC: U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a man in high demand as we approach the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, recently sat down with The Guardian – the newspaper that Edward Snowden chose for his now-famous leaks.

The Atlanta congressman wasn’t thrilled with the results. Apparently, the headline – since adjusted – had him praising the former IT man for the NSA as another Gandhi….

…. Here’s the note put out this morning by Lewis:

“News reports about my interview with The Guardian are misleading, and they do not reflect my complete opinion. Let me be clear. I do not agree with what Mr. Snowden did. He has damaged American international relations and compromised our national security. He leaked classified information and may have jeopardized human lives. That must be condemned.

“I never praised  Mr. Snowden or said his actions rise to those of Mohandas Gandhi or other civil rights leaders. In fact, The Guardian itself agreed to retract the word “praise” from its headline…..”

More here

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ThinkProgress: Voters Confront Congressman For Trying To Repeal Obamacare: ‘We’ve Got To Have It’

In Washington, D.C., Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) issues countless press releases boasting about his votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, insisting that his constituents in North Carolina are clamoring for relief from the law. But during a town hall in Swannanoa on Wednesday, voters confronted the five-term Congressman with an entirely different sentiment: they demanded to know why Republicans would take away the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions without offering any credible other alternative for reforming the health care system. One grieving mother, who spoke to reporters before the event, said that her son was denied insurance because of a pre-existing health condition and eventually died of colon cancer.

More here

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Pinterest: Vintage Black Beauty & History

Huge thanks to Yardarm for this link, it has a really beautiful, powerful, and thought provoking collection of photos. You must check them out.

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Lawrence O’Donnell Demolishing Julia Ioffe’s Non-Factual Pro-Putin Nonsense

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Zap2It: President Obama’s Appearance On ‘The Tonight Show’ Earns Top Tuesday Overnights In 21 Months

In Late-Night Metered Markets Tuesday night:  With a guest appearance by President Barack Obama, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” delivered its highest rating in metered-market households (a 3.8 rating, 10 share) for any night of the week in nine months, since Wednesday, October 24, 2012 (4.0), the night of Obama’s prior appearance on the show, and highest for a Tuesday night in 21 months, since October 25, 2011 (4.1), the night of another appearance by President Obama.

More here

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TIME: How Obama’s Putin Snub Is Playing Out In Russia

On Wednesday evening, when U.S. President Obama cancelled his upcoming visit to Moscow, the Russian reaction was perhaps most clear in the way that Vesti, the state’s main propaganda TV channel, conveyed it on the channel’s website. Buried about half way down on the page, underneath a story about Russian tourists in Turkey, Vesti announced: “The invitation for Obama stands.” Beside that was the somewhat diversionary headline: “Barack Obama will travel to St. Petersburg for the G20 summit.” The actual news — that Obama had decided not to meet with his Russian counterpart before, after or during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg next month — was clearly not something the official spin doctors wanted to advertise.

After a year spent honing their anti-American rhetoric — on issues ranging from the adoption of Russian children to missile defense in Europe and the civil war in Syria — the Kremlin message makers were suddenly eager to claim that President Vladimir Putin didn’t really mean for things to go this far. “Sure, Putin uses this rhetoric, but it’s not so much anti-American as anti-Euro-Atlantic,” says Evgeny Minchenko, a Kremlin-connected political strategist. “And keep in mind that he has tried to stop short of a head-on collision.”

Putin has not yet replied to Obama’s snub, but most experts found it hard to see how he could spin it in his favor. “He can again say that he did not bow to American demands, that he did not obey,” says Alexander Konovalov, an expert on U.S.-Russia affairs at the Moscow Institute of International Relations. But that message has grown hackneyed over the past year of bickering between Moscow and Washington, so it will not earn him many points with the domestic electorate, adds Konovalov.

More here

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@JeffersonObama

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AP: Obama To Honor Clinton, Oprah With Freedom Medal

Clinton and Oprah Winfrey will be among 16 people that President Barack Obama will venerate later this year with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced Thursday. They’ll join other prominent people to be honored this year, including musicians, scientists, activists — even an astronaut. “This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world,” Obama said in a statement.

Others who will receive the medal: Daniel Inouye, former senator from Hawaii, World War II veteran and the first Japanese American in Congress. Inouye will receive the award posthumously. Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Washington Post who oversaw the newspaper’s coverage of Watergate. Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space. Ride will receive the award posthumously. Richard Lugar, former senator from Indiana who worked to reduce the global nuclear threat. Gloria Steinem, writer and prominent women’s rights activist. Ernie Banks, baseball player who hit more than 500 home runs and played 19 seasons with the Chicago Cubs.

Bayard Rustin, civil and gay rights activist and adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. Rustin will receive the award posthumously. Daniel Kahneman, psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in Economics. Loretta Lynn, country music singer. Maria Molina, chemist and environmental scientist who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Arturo Sandoval, Grammy-winning jazz musician who was born in Cuba and defected to the U.S. Dean Smith, head coach of University of North Carolina’s basketball team for 36 years. Patricia Wald, first woman appointed to U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and became the court’s chief judge. C.T. Vivian, civil rights leader and minister.

More here

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Stephen Freaking Colbert For The Win!

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Photo Of The Day!

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Pete Souza: Instagram of Bo in the Oval Office.

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08
Aug
13

What Do We Want? POTUS And FLOTUS!

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Obama And Supporters Rally On Night Of New Hampshire Primary

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08
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

On this day, Aug. 8, 2012 – Pete Souza: “Overcome with emotion, eight-year old Make-A-Wish child Janiya Penny reacts just after meeting the President as he welcomes her family to the Oval Office.”

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Today (all times Eastern)

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:55: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of Greece

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President Obama greets Marines and their families before a speech in Camp Pendleton, Calif., August 7

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Steve Benen: Jobless claims inch higher, but remain near five-year low

It’s never good news when initial unemployment claims climb, but the new figures out this morning are better than expected and are still near a five-year low:

The number of people who applied for new unemployment benefits rose by 5,000 to 333,000 in the week ended Aug. 3, but the level of initial claims remained close to a five-year low in a possible sign of some improvement in the U.S. labor market. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to climb to 339,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The average of new claims over the past month, a more reliable gauge than the volatile weekly number, fell by 6,250 to 335,500 to the lowest level since November 2007.

More here

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Four years ago today, Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice

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ThinkProgress: These Six States Want To Allow Health Insurers To Deny Coverage To Sick People

Officials in Texas and five other GOP-led states are refusing to oversee even Obamacare’s most basic — and popular — consumer protections and insurance market reforms. That includes the law’s ban on denying coverage or charging more because of a pre-existing condition and discriminating against women on the basis of gender. The decision could present major hurdles to Americans who buy health insurance through federally-run marketplaces in the Lone Star State, Arizona, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.

More here

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Watch “Serve” highlighting the incredible story of Alejandro Morales, a young undocumented immigrant who was brought to the United States when he was only seven months old. Alejandro was the highest ranking cadet in Chicago JROTC and his biggest dream is to serve his county in the U.S. Marines. He is an American; this is the only country he’s ever known. He wants to serve and protect his country, but our broken immigration system prevents him from doing so because he is an undocumented immigrant:

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Greg Sargent: The conventional wisdom on immigration reform is wrong

The chances that comprehensive immigration reform will ever pass the House  are very slim. However, the easy conventional wisdom about what’s happening now — which holds that the conservative base controls the outcome completely, that the death of reform is preordained, and that House Republicans are only looking for a way to kill reform blamelessly — is overly simplistic and is increasingly looking like it’s just wrong.

To understand what’s really happening, the key question to ask is: Are House Republicans just playing for time, or are they actually grappling with the issue of immigration reform and what to do about the 11 million undocumented immigrants?

More here

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Action August

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TPM: How Immigration Reform Can Still Pass Congress

Despite the long odds, Democrats see a narrow road through which comprehensive immigration reform could still pass both houses of Congress and become law.

The road is murky and full of landmines. But here’s how it would go….

More here

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ThinkProgress: How A Powerful Group Of Corporations Quietly Tried To Roll Back Clean Energy Standards, And Failed Miserably

When the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, wants a law passed, the law typically gets passed.

The organization is known for helping to advance corporate interests by writing and then pushing to pass conservative legislation at the state level. With funding to the tune of $500,000 from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch’s foundations from 2005-2011, and $1.4 million from Exxon Mobil this past decade, it shouldn’t be a surprise that ALEC has had many successes in its 40 years of existence. ALEC has most notably pushed “Stand Your Ground” and “Right-to-Work” legislation through state legislatures across the country. The organization has also created model legislation with intended loopholes that allow energy companies to withhold names of certain chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

This year ALEC decided to prioritize the dismantling of states’ renewable energy standards and targets across the country. Their record? 0 for 13. In the states where ALEC and its members sought to repeal or weaken renewable energy standards or targets, not a single bill passed in 2013….

More here

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On this day….

Aug. 8, 2010 – Pete Souza: “The President has made several trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and several other hospitals to visit wounded soldiers and personally award Purple Heart medals. Although I do take photographs of him meeting these soldiers, we make these pictures only available to the soldiers themselves. Here, he’s about to enter the room of a wounded soldier who received a Purple Heart.”

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ThinkProgress: After Airing Pro-Keystone XL Ads, NBC Station Rejects Ad Opposing The Pipeline

NBC has rejected an ad opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, despite running ads in favor of its construction. The climate group NextGen Climate Action says it was notified at the last minute Tuesday night that a Washington, D.C. NBC station rejected its ad, submitted for President Obama’s appearance on the Tonight Show. A representative for the group suggested that the station may have bowed to oil corporate pressure in rejecting the ad and challenged the station to disavow that polluter interests played a role in the decision.

More here

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On this day….

Aug. 8, 2010: President Obama greets First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha upon their arrival at a barbecue in celebration of his 49th birthday on the South Lawn of the White House (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 8, 2010: President Obama sits with daughter Sasha during a barbecue with family and friends in celebration of his 49th birthday on the South Lawn of the White House (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 8, 2010 – Pete Souza: “We were walking through a locker room at the University of Texas when White House Trip Director Marvin Nicholson stopped to weigh himself on a scale. Unbeknownst to him, the President was stepping on the back of the scale, as Marvin continued to slide the scale lever. Everyone but Marvin was in on the joke.”

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

08
Aug
13

Early Bird Chat

Back in a bit with Rise and Shine




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