Archive for August 9th, 2013

09
Aug
13

News Of The Day

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President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the East Room at the White House.

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Ben Armbruster: Obama Announces Plans To Reform Surveillance Programs

President Obama announced on Friday that he plans to institute new reforms to include greater oversight of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, just over two months after former NSA consultant Edward Snowden leaked secret documents detailing their scope and reach. First, Obama said he would work with Congress to reform the authorities authorizing NSA surveillance so that they include more safeguards and oversight to further protect from abuse.

Obama said he would also push to give greater assurances to the American people that the secret court authorizing surveillance that privacy is being protected, including having government arguments “challenged by an adversary.” Third, Obama said he wants to declassify more information about the programs, including the legal rationals behind them, and create a website to learn more about U.S. surveillance activities. Finally, Obama said he would assemble a team of outside independent experts to review communications and surveillance technologies and issue a report on findings and recommendations by the end of the year.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Politico Revives Junk Science Suggesting Hispanics Are Dumber Than Whites

Earlier this year, Jason Richwine lost his job writing about immigration policy for the conservative Heritage Foundation after it came to light that he suggested Hispanics and blacks were genetically less intelligent than whites and Asians in his graduate dissertation. I conducted a lengthy review of Richwine’s research, finding that it was grounded in poor conceptual analysis and wildly outdated research.

Friday morning, Politico published an op-ed by Richwine misrepresenting his research, the controversy surrounding it, and the facts about race and intelligence in some really basic ways….

More here

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Sahil Kapur: Obama Torches GOP For ‘Ideological Fixation’ With Repealing ObamaCare

“Now, I think the really interesting question is why it is that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail,” he said. “Their number one priority, the one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment is making sure that 30 million people don’t have health care. And presumably repealing all those benefits I just mentioned. Kids staying on their parents’ plan, seniors getting discounts on their prescription drugs, a return to limits on lifetime limits, continuing to get blocked from health care insurance.”

“That’s hard to understand as an agenda that’s going to strengthen our middle class. At least they used to say, well, we’re going to replace it with something better. There’s not even a pretense now that they’re going to replace it with something better. The notion is simply that those 30 million people or the 150 million who are benefitting from the other aspects of affordable care, will be better off without it. That’s their assertion. Not backed by fact, not backed by any evidence. It’s just become an ideological fixation.”

More here

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Reuters: U.S. To Reopen 18 Of 19 Embassies Closed Amid Security Concerns

Eighteen of the 19 U.S. embassies closed this month due to worries about potential terrorist attacks will reopen on Sunday, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

“Our embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, will remain closed because of ongoing concerns about a threat stream indicating the potential for terrorist attacks emanating from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The United States will also keep its consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, shuttered, Psaki said, adding it closed on Thursday due to a “separate credible threat.”

More here

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Pete Souza: The pool press covers Pres Obama signing the student loan bill

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09
Aug
13

Keep Chatting

obamabiden51

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09
Aug
13

Chat Away

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President Barack Obama answers reporters’ questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House

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09
Aug
13

Heads Up: President Obama’s press conference

3:0: President Obama holds a press conference

Also at:

White House Live * C-Span * CBS

09
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times Eastern):

2:0: President Obama signs the bipartisan student loans bill, cutting student loan interest rates

3:0: Holds a press conference

4:15: Meets with Secretary of State John Kerry

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Bloomberg: Is Obamacare Forcing You to Work Part-Time?

Here’s the next conservative argument against President Barack Obama’s health care law: It’s causing employers to shift full-time workers into part-time. Too bad it’s wrong…..

Read here

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Greg Sargent: …. Republicans are caught in an Obamacare trap. They know proposing repeal while not offering a serious alternative is untenable. But when they do propose alternatives that would accomplish the popular parts of Obamacare, conservatives revolt, because they don’t want to sap the repeal-Obamacare drive of its energy and don’t want to legitimize an interventionist role for government. Which just highlights what Republicans are trying to obscure in the first place: the party is in the grip of an anti-Obamacare animus that has come unhinged from any normal policy considerations, and doesn’t envision a meaningfully constructive role for government in solving our health care problems.

Full post here

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TPM: Poll: Hispanics Favor Democrats Over GOP By Big Margin

Hispanics in the United States, whether they were born in America or not, overwhelmingly favor the Democratic Party, according to new findings from Gallup released Thursday.

Fifty-seven percent of Hispanic immigrants born outside the U.S. said they identify with or lean toward the Democrats, while only a quarter gave the edge to the GOP…

…. President Barack Obama claimed a strong approval rating among all three groups of Hispanics, with majorities in each giving him high marks.

More here

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NYT: House Majority Leader’s Quest to Soften G.O.P.’s Image Hits a Wall Within

Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, has been trying for months to remake the image of the Republican Party, from one of uncompromising conservatism to something kinder and gentler.

It isn’t working so well.

On Wednesday, Republican leaders abruptly shelved one of the centerpieces of Mr. Cantor’s “Making Life Work” agenda — a bill to extend insurance coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions — in the face of a conservative revolt. Last month, legislation to streamline worker retraining programs barely squeaked through. In May, Republican leaders will try again with legislation, pitched as family-friendly, to allow employers to offer comp time or “flex time” instead of overtime. But it has little prospect for Senate passage.

So it has gone. Items that Mr. Cantor had hoped would change the Republican Party’s look, if not its priorities, have been ignored, have been greeted with yawns or have only worsened Republican divisions.

More here

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Mediaite: …. actor Alec Baldwin is getting his own weekly show in MSNBC’s primetime lineup.

According to our source, the so far untitled show will air Fridays at 10 p.m. ET and will feature a large dose of Baldwin’s outspoken liberal politics.

More here

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TPM: I’m sure many of you got a kick over the mini-implosion of Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign yesterday, with his own campaign manager admitting that he thinks McConnell sucks and is only working for him to further the hopes of Rand Paul. It all ended up with this cringey-not-going-to-fix-the-damage picture of Mitch and his disser…

…. I’m coming around to the idea that Mitch McConnell could actually lose his reelection battle next year, through a mix of deep unpopularity, a tough and well financed primary challenger and a decent Democratic opponent. But …. McConnell’s problems at home make a government shutdown and a lot of other nonsense much more likely. Whether or not McConnell finally wins or loses is basically a secondary point. It’s what he’ll do trying to win from now until election day 2014…..

More here

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Steve Benen: Rand Paul’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

It’s probably safe to say Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has had better weeks. Just over the last few weeks he started to lose his cool on NPR when asked about a neo-confederate he co-authored a book with; he was caught making ridiculous boasts about his record on minority rights; and he repeated a bizarre conspiracy theory about George Stephanopoulos that’s already been debunked.

And then, after all of this, the Kentucky Republican sat down for a chat with Businessweek’s Josh Green….

More here

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Steve Benen: Immigration reform’s odds improve – a little

It’s pretty easy to assume that fierce Republican opposition will doom comprehensive immigration reform. Indeed, for much of the summer, House GOP extremism on the issue has reinforced fears that the odds are poor.

But there’s been some gradual movement of late, and it’s given new hope to reform proponents.

More here

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On this day…..

Aug. 9, 2011 – Pete Souza: “The President, in the process of saluting, participates in a ceremony at Dover Air Force Base for the dignified transfer of U.S. and Afghan personnel who died in Afghanistan a few days earlier. Many family members and friends of the special forces who died in this incident requested a copy of the photograph and later wrote me how much it meant to them.”

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MoooOOOooorning!

09
Aug
13

Early Bird Chat

Back in a bit-ish with R&S

(PS Thank you everyone for the very lovely birthday wishes …. you’re a few days early, but no worries: as Bob suggested, we should just paaaaaaarty all week!)




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