Archive for March 3rd, 2014

03
Mar
14

Night owl chat – Earth pictures

Some pictures of the fragile planet on which we live.

Chicago at night

Tokyo at night

Continue reading ‘Night owl chat – Earth pictures’

03
Mar
14

An Update or Two

Text of remarks here

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The Day’s Must-Read:

Michael Cohen: Don’t listen to Obama’s Ukraine critics: he’s not ‘losing’ – and it’s not his fight

The ‘do something’ pundits rear their heads. Just like they did on Iraq, Afghanistan and every other crisis of US ‘credibility’

In the days since Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into the Crimea, it has been amateur hour back in Washington.

I don’t mean Barack Obama. He’s doing pretty much everything he can, with what are a very limited set of policy options at his disposal. No, I’m talking about the people who won’t stop weighing in on Obama’s lack of “action” in the Ukraine. Indeed, the sea of foreign policy punditry – already shark-infested – has reached new lows in fear-mongering, exaggerated doom-saying and a stunning inability to place global events in any rational historical context.

This would be a useful moment for Americans to have informed reporters, scholars and leaders explaining a crisis rapidly unfolding half a world away. Instead, we’ve already got all the usual suspect arguments….

More here

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Vice President Joe Biden and John Kerry, U.S. secretary of state, listen to remarks as President Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office

03
Mar
14

Ukraine crisis press roundup

L.A. Times: Obama says Russian moves in Crimea will be ‘costly’

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Monday warned that Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula will be a “costly proposition” and vowed that U.S. and Western allies will impose painful economic sanctions if Moscow does not stand down.

“If in fact they continue on the current trajectory they’re on, then we are examining a whole series of steps — economic, diplomatic — that will isolate Russia and will have a negative impact on Russia’s economy and status in the world,” Obama said in brief remarks in the Oval Office.

Obama’s remarks were his first public comment since Russian forces in effect seized control of Crimea, a majority Russian-speaking region of Ukraine. Obama’s earlier warnings against military interference were rebuffed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has said Moscow must act to protect the rights of ethnic Russians from the new pro-Western government in the capital, Kiev.

Obama administration officials said Monday that they are preparing to turn the economic screws on Moscow as they search for leverage in the standoff.

Continue reading ‘Ukraine crisis press roundup’

03
Mar
14

Ukraine crisis in Tweets

Keep chatting.

03
Mar
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama works on his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, in the Oval Office, Saturday, March, 3, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

1:45 EST: President Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

The Week Ahead:

Tuesday: The President will hold an event on the FY2015 budget and the plan to expand opportunity for all in Washington, DC. In the evening, the President will attend a DSCC event in the Washington, DC area.

First Lady Michelle Obama will join Secretary of State John Kerry to honor the recipients of the International Women of Courage Award in the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the U.S. Department of State.

Wednesday: The President will travel to the Hartford, Connecticut area for an event on the minimum wage. Following this, he will travel to Boston, Massachusetts for two DNC events.

First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in a conversation with Robin Roberts at the Leading Women Defined Summit, hosted by BET Networks. The discussion will be around the Affordable Care Act and a personal reflection on health and wellness. The First Lady will also visit a health center to highlight the work that hospitals, doctors and clinics are doing to educate their patients about the Affordable Care Act and how patients can get insurance.

Thursday: The President will hold an event on the economy and healthcare in Washington, DC.

Friday: The President and the First Lady will travel to the Miami area for an event on expanding opportunity for all.

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The Moderate Voice: Ukraine: What a Difference Partisanship Makes

…. Conservative pundits are wasting no time in slamming President Obama’s handling of the Ukraine crisis. They are bashing the president for being “all talk and no action,” and are ridiculing his statements of “deep concern” and of “unacceptability” of the Russian actions that “jeopardize” Russians’ relations with the United States and Europe.

… At this point I have to disclose that the president making the remarks, above, about the Russian invasion is not President Obama but rather President Bush in August 2008, during the Russian invasion of Georgia.

However, Krauthammer’s remarks are indeed Krauthammer’s and are directed not at his ideological idol, President Bush, but rather at his favorite punching bag, President Obama, and the comments are in reference to the present Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

I really don’t know what Krauthammer had to say about President Bush’s “deep concern,” “fierce condemnation” and his desire to consult, confer and negotiate “with a dozen other countries” while Russian tanks were rumbling into the city of Gori and thrusting deep into Georgian territory ….

Full post here

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Steve Benen: Putin’s ‘completely trumped-up pretext’

Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” yesterday, condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukrainian territory. The following excerpt stood out:

“Well, it’s an incredible act of aggression. It is really a stunning, willful choice by President Putin to invade another country. Russia is in violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is in violation of its international obligations. Russia is in violation of its obligations under the U.N. charter, under the Helsinki final act. It’s in violation of its obligations under the 1994 Budapest agreement…… You just don’t, in the 21st Century, behave in 19th Century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext.”

All of this is true, of course. It’s easy to imagine, however, how some around the world blink, at least a little, hearing a U.S. leader make comments like these after we invaded another country on completely trumped-up pretext.

Regardless, Kerry is doing far more than just appearing on Sunday shows. The Secretary of State will travel to Kiev tonight to meet with Ukrainian officials about the crisis…..

More here

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ThinkProgress: 22 Maps That Explain The Centuries-Long Conflict In Ukraine

The tensions in Ukraine between east and west far pre-date the tension between Europe and Russia. Here are 23 maps that help explain the conflict, from 1400 to 2000…..

See here

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ThinkProgress: 5 Steps Government Officials Are Considering To Deal With The Situation In Ukraine

As a tense situation continued to unfold in Ukraine on Sunday, the major Sunday talk shows brought on Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as other government officials, to discuss whether there should be any U.S. involvement here over Russia’s decision to send troops into the semi-autonomous region of Crimea and, if so, what that could look like.

While ThinkProgress on Saturday laid out five potential non-war options that the U.S. could seek to deal with the situation, more options — some fairly contentious — arose as a result of discussions on the Sunday shows.

Here’s a look at the ideas that U.S. government officials from both sides of the aisle are entertaining to deal with the situation in Ukraine….

More here

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ThinkProgress: The FDA Expands Access To Cheaper Versions Of Plan B

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now allow generic versions of Plan B One-Step — one of the most popular types of emergency contraception — to be sold over the counter to women of all ages. The move, announced in a letter from the agency last week, will effectively expand young Americans’ access to this type of contraception, particularly since generic versions of the morning after pill can be as much as $10 cheaper than Plan B.

The FDA’s old policy was essentially a concession to Big Pharma. Teva Pharmaceuticals, the company that manufactures Plan B One-Step, was granted three years of exclusive rights to sell its brand name medication over the counter without an age restriction. Generic versions, meanwhile, remained behind the pharmacy counter and were only available without a prescription to women over the age of 17, requiring an ID in order to purchase them.

More here

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Can anyone explain WTF this was all about?

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On This Day:

Sen. Barack Obama and his wife Michelle campaign at his ‘Stand For Change Rally’ at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas on March 3, 2008

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A reporter takes notes while President Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom speak to the press in the Oval Office, March 3, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama walks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown following a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House, March 3, 2009

President Obama writes at his desk in the Oval Office, March 3, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama fixes the tie of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, as they prepare for an announcement at the Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., March 3, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama edits a health care speech with Jon Favreau, director of speechwriting, in Favreau’s West Wing office at the White House, March 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama fist-bumps a medical professional in the Green Room of the White House, prior to the start of a health care event, March 3, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets doctors and nurses following his remarks about health care reform in the East Room of the White House, March 3, 2010 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Bo in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 3, 2010 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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President Obama talks with senior advisors following a meeting in the Oval Office, March 3, 2011. Fom left: Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication; Press Secretary Jay Carney; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; and Dan Restrepo, Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon take questions from reporters in the East Room of the White House after their meeting in Washington on March 3, 2011

First Lady Michelle Obama at the Oyster-Adams Bilingual Elementary School in Washington, DC on March 3 ,2011 on a visit with Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala

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@VP: VP and Rep John Lewis join in the annual crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, March 3, 2013

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MoooOOOooorning! Ran out of time again, we’ll catch up through the day. Happy Monday!




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