Archive for January 28th, 2014

28
Jan
14

Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg: Hero

28
Jan
14

The State of the Union, Part 4

WH Live

28
Jan
14

The State of the Union, Part 3

WH Live

28
Jan
14

The State of the Union, Part 2

WH Live

28
Jan
14

The State of the Union

WH Live

28
Jan
14

Chat On

@WhiteHouse: Final touches: http://wh.gov/sotu  #SOTU

28
Jan
14

Chat Away

2014 State of the Union: Enhanced Broadcast – preview streaming has started

28
Jan
14

A Prepared President

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@WhiteHouse: “I think the tone is right. I think the framework is right.” — President Obama on his #SOTU

28
Jan
14

Fired Up?

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2010:

Text of address

2011:

Text of address

2012:

Text of address

2013:

Text of address

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The countdown:

28
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 28, 2013 (Pete Souza)

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Today:

9:0 EST: President Obama delivers the State of the Union address

Wednesday: President Obama will deliver remarks on the economy at a Costco store in Lanham, Maryland. In the afternoon, he will travel to Pennsylvania for a speech at the U.S. Steel Irvin Plant in West Mifflin. He then travels to the Milwaukee area to spend the night.

Thursday: The President will speak in the Milwaukee (General Electric’s Waukesha Gas Engines facility in Waukesha) and Nashville areas before returning to the White House.

Friday: The President will take a “virtual national tour” via questions from Internet users nationwide during a Google+ Hangout.

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What Would YOU Ask Barack Obama?

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Steve Benen: Obama to act on minimum wage

Raising the federal minimum wage should, in theory, be fairly easy. The policy enjoys overwhelming public support; economists have told policymakers an increase would give the economy a boost; and President Obama has made this a top policy priority.

But legislative efforts are stuck: congressional Republicans, many of whom are on record wanting to lower the minimum wage to zero, remain fiercely opposed to the measure and there’s no reason to think they’ll budge anytime soon.

The White House obviously can’t change federal law without Congress, but Obama has figured out how to give a whole lot of workers a raise – whether Republicans like it or not.

More here

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Greg Sargent: In using executive authority, Obama is on solid political ground

The big news: Obama will announce in tonight’s speech that he will use executive authority to boost the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors. So he’s serious about going around Congress to move his agenda and spur the recovery. It’s fair to ask what took Obama so long to realize he had little other recourse, but either way, we’re now heading for a major battle over use of that authority.

Republicans are already denouncing the planned executive actions, arguing it will make compromise between the two parties harder. But again, Republicans have openly confirmed they deliberately denied support for Obama’s agenda explicitly to make it harder for him to claim he’d bridged differences between the parties. Seriously, Mitch McConnell has publicly admitted this.

More here

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Jonathan Chait: Obama’s Plan to End Discrimination Against the Long-term Unemployed

In his State of the Union address, President Obama will announce that some of the largest firms in the United States have signed a pledge not to discriminate in hiring against the long-term unemployed, reports The Wall Street Journal. This is an interesting and creative response to the most vexing repercussion of the economic crisis: millions of workers who have lost their jobs and cannot find work precisely because they have don’t have it.

The crisis of mass unemployment can be thought of as two problems, one of which is normal, and the other of which is not. The normal problem is simply a standard, albeit very large, recession. The basic policy response is for the government to stimulate demand through low interest rates and fiscal stimulus to create more jobs. Since congressional Republicans (and deficit scolds) are imposing contractionary fiscal policy, Obama has no viable fiscal solution.

More here

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TPM: New GOP Plan Makes Everything They Hate About Obamacare Even Worse

For the last couple months, the Republican critique of Obamacare has been founded on President Barack Obama’s broken promise: “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.” It was a pledge that the health care reform law wouldn’t disrupt the existing insurance system, that those satisfied with the status quo would be protected from any unwanted intrusion.

It’s been an effective line of attack, given the sinking approval ratings for both Obama and his eponymous insurance expansion. Which makes the new GOP alternative to Obamacare, proposed Monday by three Republican senators, a bit baffling. Because the bill seems to based on another fundamental disruption of the individual insurance market — and on top of that, it could upend the employer insurance universe, through which most Americans receive health coverage, forcing many to either pay more or lose their coverage.

More here

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ThinkProgress: The Five Worst Things About The New Republican Proposal To Replace Obamacare

On Monday, a trio Republican senators unveiled an alternative to Obamacare eerily similar to the one that former presidential candidate Mitt Romney proposed in 2012. The plan boils down to a rehash of boilerplate conservative ideas for “market-oriented” and “consumer-driven” health care reform — code words that really mean deregulating the insurance industry and forcing consumers to shoulder a larger burden of their health care costs.

Here are the five most troubling aspects about the new proposal from Sens. Tom Coburn (OK), Orrin Hatch (UT), and Richard Burr (NC), dubbed the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment (CARE) Act….

More here

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Steve Benen: Compromise reverses some GOP food-stamp cuts

Congress’ farm bill has traditionally been one of the easier pieces of legislation to pass. Democrats tend to like the provisions that help feed low-income Americans; Republicans tend to like the elements that extend subsidies to agribusinesses; and the result is a package that sails through the House and Senate without much fuss.

But as congressional Republican moved further to the right, the farm bill stopped being easy. In this Congress, for example, House GOP lawmakers voted to slash public investment in food aid to the poor, cutting $39 billion over the next decade, resulting in lost benefits for about 3.8 million people.

More here

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Bob Cesca: NSA Agent’s Identity Exposed in Poorly-Redacted Snowden Document

…. This was bound to happen at some point in this ongoing saga: the name of an American agent has been leaked to the public via a document stolen by Edward Snowden….

The public relies upon these reporters to accurately translate the techno-heavy information in the Snowden documents for the benefit of the debate. How can we be sure that this sort of epic blunder won’t happen again? Indeed, as more reporters gain access to Snowden’s documents, the likelihood only increases.

As for Snowden, rather than choosing very specific files which he deemed to be in the public interest, then carefully vetting every detail, he chose to indiscriminately dump the documents into the world, trusting that reporters will figure it all out and do the right thing. While no one’s perfect and we all make mistakes, this is high stakes material and there’s simply no room for errors like this.

Full post here

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Mark Kelly:

Do you remember this emotional moment from last year’s State of the Union Address?

“Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence — they deserve a simple vote. They deserve a simple vote.” – President Obama

I was there with Gabby, sitting in the First Lady’s box. We watched as the chamber rose to its feet as one — both sides of the aisle, divided on so many important issues, but unified in that moment.

One year later, that same body has done what was unthinkable on that night … nothing at all.

On the eve of this year’s State of the Union, add your voice to Gabby’s and mine and tell Congress “It’s too dangerous to wait” any longer on gun violence. Sign our petition here

Four weeks into 2014 and there have already been eight school shootings in fifteen school days: South Carolina State, Purdue University, Albany High School and several others.

It’s too dangerous to wait, and it’s too important for us to be silent.

Thanks for adding your voice to ours.

Mark Kelly

Americans for Responsible Solutions

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Rest in Peace, Pete Seeger (1919 – 2014)

BBC: Pete Seeger: US folk singer and activist dies aged 94

US folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, whose songs included Turn! Turn! Turn! and If I Had A Hammer, has died at the age of 94. He died at a New York hospital after a short illness, his grandson said.

Seeger gained fame in The Weavers, formed in 1948, and continued to perform in his own right in a career spanning six decades.

Renowned for his protest songs, Seeger was blacklisted by the US Government in the 1950s for his leftist stance.

Denied broadcast exposure, Seeger toured US college campuses spreading his music and ethos, later calling this the “most important job of my career”.

More here

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Eugene Robinson: Dire signs from a warming world

Another insane cold wave — not the infamous “polar vortex ” but its evil twin — is bringing sub-zero and single-digit temperatures to much of the nation. And global warming may be even more extreme, and potentially more catastrophic, than climate scientists had feared.

This is, of course, no contradiction. The rallying cry of the denialists — “It’s really cold outside, so global warming must be a crock!” — can be taken seriously only by those with a toddler’s limited conception of time and space. They forget that it’s winter, and apparently they don’t quite grasp that even when it’s cold in one part of the world, it can be hot in another.

More here

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On This Day:

President Obama wipes his face with a cloth handed to him by White House Butler Von Everett in the Blue Room of the White House following an event with business leaders in the East Room, Jan. 28, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’




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