Archive for May 27th, 2014

27
May
14

Night owl chat – Time for some Monty Python

It’s been a hell of a few days. So, as always, I wallow in Monty Python.

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Argument Clinic

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What have the Romans ever done for us?

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Continue reading ‘Night owl chat – Time for some Monty Python’

27
May
14

The Permanent @DCCC Freakout

“Throw in the towel!!!”

“THIS is keeping us up at night!!!”

“HORRIFYING!!!”

“Ugly!!!”

No, these are not my reactions to the Kim and Kanye wedding. These are the subject lines of some recent emails in my inbox from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee soliciting donations. (Okay, the exclamation points were my additions, but I was just taking poetic license to make clearer the emails’ emotional fervor.)

And the bodies of the emails are no less dire:

We’re beginning to think we should just throw in the towel.

The Koch brother’s shady $125 million is beginning to show up on televisions around the country in the form of dirty, lying attack ads. If we don’t act immediately, people will believe their lies and our hopes for a Democratic House will be dead in the water.

And:

This is horrifying:

Republicans have spent nearly HALF A BILLION DOLLARS on anti-Obamacare TV ads — and they keep piling on.

That means the Koch brothers and other Obamacare haters are officially outspending us on the Affordable Care Act 15-to-1. That’s staggering.

This isn’t just bad news for President Obama’s agenda. It’s bad for Democrats across the country who are getting targeted with these deceptive TV ads.

If we don’t hit our $90,000 goal today, then consider all hope of winning a Democratic majority in November lost.

And so on and so forth.

Continue reading ‘The Permanent @DCCC Freakout’

27
May
14

President Obama Celebrates STEM

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President Barack Obama holds a model used to show how polymers expand and learns how sand less sandbags that are the invention of Peyton Robertson, 12, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., work, while touring the 2014 White House Science Fair exhibits on display in the State Dining Room of the White House. Robertson designed a new kind of sandbag to protect against flooding from hurricanes and other disasters. President Obama was celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country

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President Barack Obama holds up a model of a flu “bug” as he looks over the flu research display of Eric Chen, 18, of San Diego, California

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President Barack Obama poses for a photo with Karen Fan, 17, and Felege Gebru, 18, both of Newton, Massachusetts.

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President Barack Obama listens to Elana Simon of New York explain her project about cancer

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ABC News: President Obama Unleashes His ‘Inner Nerd’ At White House Science Fair

President Obama today shined the spotlight on 100 students from 30 states whose work in science, technology and engineering he says should inspire others to excel in the field. “As a society, we have to celebrate outstanding work by young people in science at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners,” he said. Obama said this year’s White House science fair put special emphasis on “amazing girls and young women” to encourage more to pursue careers in science. “I have a confession to make. When I was growing up my science fair projects were not as successful as those here,” Obama joked.

He said he killed a bunch of plants in one project; in another, he said mice escaped in his grandmother’s apartment. Obama also got an up close look at several of the exhibits. He tried on a “concussion helmet” designed by one young lady; chatted with three 6th graders about their “app” that helps disabled kids navigate from class to class at school; and viewed a robot designed by Natick, Mass., HS students that helps with icy water search and rescue. Obama tried and tested the robot, and the kids joked that he was now certified in ice rescue. “I love this event. This is one of my favorite things all year long,” Obama later told the crowd.

More here

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President Barack Obama poses with John Moore and Lidia Wolf of Chicago after they explained their FIRST robot project

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Alan Boyle: Obama Unleashes His Inner Geek (Again) At White House Science Fair

Science education went to the head of the class at the White House on Tuesday, with President Barack Obama announcing a $35 million competition for teacher training programs — and checking out an all-star lineup of science fair projects. “I love this event!” Obama told an audience of students, teachers and VIPs. “This is one of my favorite things all year long.” The president chatted with kids from more than two dozen science-fair teams as he made his way through the State Dining Room. “We’re so proud of you,” Obama told Elana Simon, an 18-year-old from New York who survived a bout with a rare liver cancer when she was 12 and developed a genetic database for patients with the same disease. “Can I just say, I did not do this at 12, 13, or 18. … This is just a sample of the kind of outstanding young talent that we’ve got.”

At one point, he lingered to play catch with a catapult that was built by a group of Massachusetts teens to study basketball shooting technique. “Last time I was here, there was a guy shooting marshmallows … that thing went fast!” Obama said, recalling a science-fair demonstration that went viral in 2012. The president looked up at the ceiling and joked, “That marshmallow might still be there.” Among this year’s announcements was the latest twist in Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign to spark interest in science careers: an additional $35 million in grants, to be awarded competitively to programs that provide preparation and training for STEM teachers. Other newly announced initiatives included: Expansion of the STEM AmeriCorps program, which was launched at last year’s White House Science Fair, to provide learning opportunities for 18,000 low-income students this summer.

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New mentoring programs in seven cities, supported by the public-private US2020 effort. The cities include Allentown, Pennsylvania; Chicago; Indianapolis; North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and Wichita, Kansas. A nationwide campaign called “Aprender es Triunfar,” aimed at inspiring Latino STEM students. A centerpiece of the campaign, launched by NBC Universal’s Hispanic Enterprises and Content, is a new documentary film titled “Underwater Dreams.” A grant from Esri to make its cloud-based advanced mapping software available for free to more than 100,000 elementary, middle and high schools as part of the White House’s ConnectED Initiative. A series of interactive online lessons to help more students learn the math and science behind going to Mars, presented by Khan Academy and NASA.

More here

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President Barack Obama talks with Deidre Carillo, 18, of San Antonio, Texas, sitting in her electric car

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President Barack Obama poses with Olivia Van Amsterdam and Katelyn Sweeney, both from Natick, Massachusetts, along with their rescue robot

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Nicolas Badila of Jonesboro, Georgia, tells President Barack Obama how to play STEMville, a STEM video game

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President Barack Obama poses for a photo with students from Los Fresnon, Texas. The students developed an app to help a visually-impaired student navigate their school.

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Maria Hanes, 19, of Santa Cruz, California, has President Barack Obama pull back a cushioned helmet. Hanes was explaining how she developed a concussion cushion football helmet

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President Barack Obama stands with Gerry McManus, 13, Daisjaughn Bass, 13, and Brooke Bohn, 14, all of Hudson, Massachusetts. The students showed Obama their basketball catapult.

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President Barack Obama talks with Peyton Robertson, 12, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., about how his sandless sandbags work

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President Barack Obama prepares to catch a basketball thrown by team member Brooke Bohn and her project, a basketball catapult

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President Barack Obama talks with a 2nd grade Girl Scout Brownie troop from Tulsa, Oklahoma about their design for a “flood proof” bridge

27
May
14

Maybe This Is What It Will Take

We’ve said “Never again” so many times that the phrase has lost its meaning.

We said it after Columbine.

We said it after Gabby Giffords’ meet-and-greet was sprayed with bullets, and a nine year old girl was killed.

We said it after Sandy Hook, after 20 children were murdered.

Black and Latino parents say it after every drive by shooting, every murder on our streets.

But it always seems to happen again, and again.

Thirty-five thousand Americans have been killed by gun violence since Sandy Hook. “Never again” quickly turned into “business as usual”, as the NRA flexed its muscles, as Sandy Hook Truthers oozed up from the mud, as politicians scurried to assure their fealty to gun fetishists.

Now, we might have reached a tipping point.

And if it happens, if Isla Vista is what turns the trajectory, it will be, sad to say, because it happened in an affluent, influential neighborhood, filled with college students, a “white” area which wasn’t supposed to witness such horrific violence.

And if it happens, it might be due to the efforts of Richard Martinez, father of one of the slain.

Continue reading ‘Maybe This Is What It Will Take’

27
May
14

President Obama Delivers a Statement on Afghanistan

2:45 EDT: President Obama Makes a Statement on Afghanistan

Also at White House Live

27
May
14

President Obama at the #WHScienceFair

Starting soon

27
May
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama waits to be introduced at a fundraiser in Los Angeles on May 27, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern)

11:15: The President views Science Fair projects, State Dining Room

11:45: Delivers remarks at the White House Science Fair, East Room

1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press

* The First Lady is hosting a discussion with school leaders on nutrition (don’t have the time for the event yet)

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The Week Ahead

Wednesday

The President travels to West Point, New York to deliver the commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Thursday

The President will host a summit at the White House on youth sports safety and concussions, where he will be joined by stakeholders, including young athletes, parents, coaches, experts, professional athletes, and military service members. At the White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit, the President will announce new commitments by both the public and private sectors to raise awareness about how to identify, treat and prevent concussions, and conduct additional research in the field of sports-related concussions that will help us better address these problems

Friday

The President will attend a hurricane preparedness meeting at FEMA Headquarters

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National Memo: VoteVets Chair Jon Soltz: Critics Demanding Shinseki Resignation Are ‘Hypocrites’

Jon Soltz is a co-founder and chairman of VoteVets, a political advocacy group with over 200,000 supporters that is the largest progressive organization of veterans in the United States – and has produced some of the most effective advertising in the last several election cycles…..

Joe Conason: How bad are the problems at the VA?

Jon Soltz: The problems at the VA have always been there. At times they’ve been worse than others. I think part of the reason we’re seeing the backlog right now is that President Obama has opened up the claims process [in the VA health care system] to a lot of people. So he made it easier for a lot of people to make claims. Under previous administrations, you used to have to fight to make a claim if you were a Vietnam veteran affected by Agent Orange, or a Gulf War veteran with Gulf War syndrome…..

Conason: Do you believe that General Eric Shinseki, the VA Secretary, should resign — as some veterans groups have demanded?

Soltz: The only veterans organization making that demand is the American Legion. Nobody else has. I find that hypocritical because they supported a bill that was in the Senate – the $21 billion veterans package sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders – and it was stopped by Mitch McConnell, yet they haven’t called for Mitch McConnell to resign. So there’s obviously a lot of partisan politics here. The issue with General Shinseki is [that] he was right about the Iraq War. It’s sort of unconscionable to fire somebody who is now trying to clean up the mess that was left by a prior administration: All of these new Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were not created by Barack Obama and his administration.

More here

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Pete Souza: White House colonnade, May 26

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Steve Benen: Vets to Burr: ‘You clearly represent the worst of politics’

For Republicans, the politics of the VA scandal were pretty straightforward. All GOP officials had to do was express outrage – an emotion that spanned the partisan and ideological spectrum – and demand that the White House improve the system through which veterans receive care.

But Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, apparently couldn’t leave well enough alone.

The conservative Republican, who never served a day in the military, decided it’d be a good idea to start condemning veterans’ groups that had not yet called for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign….

It’s hard to know what Burr was thinking. Perhaps the senator assumed he could pressure the veterans’ groups, bullying them into calling for Gen. Shinseki’s ouster. But if that was the Republican’s strategy, it became clear over the weekend that Burr’s gambit did not go according to plan.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: Obama’s New Rules for Coal Plants Are a B.F.D. The Ensuing Political Fight May Be Even Bigger

Conventional wisdom holds that second term presidencies rarely yield accomplishments and that this second term president, in particular, has lost the ability to get much done. In one week, President Obama has a chance to prove that the conventional wisdom is wrong.

And he can do it while helping to stop the planet from cooking.

On June 2, Obama will to unveil a new set of federal regulations on power plants, designed primarily to keep coal-fired plants from spewing so much carbon into the atmosphere. The hope is that these new regulations will slow down climate change—at first incrementally, by reducing emissions from existing plants in the U.S., and then more dramatically, by providing the Administration with more leverage to negotiate a far-reaching, international treaty on emissions from multiple sources.

Along with other steps the administration has taken, like setting higher fuel standards for cars and trucks, the new regulations could make climate change action one of Obama’s signature achievements—something historians will cite alongside Obamacare, rescue of the auto industry, and the Recovery Act.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Lawmakers Push For Background Checks After Victim’s Family Slams NRA

After Christopher Michaels-Martinez, 20, died in a shooting near University of California, Santa Barbara, his father blamed the pro-gun lobby’s “craven, irresponsible” politics for preventing legislation that could have saved Christopher’s life. Seven people, including the shooter, died Friday.

“Our family has a message for every parent out there: You don’t think it will happen to your child until it does,” an anguished Richard Martine told reporters. “Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’s right to live? When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say: ‘Stop this madness. We don’t have to live like this?’ Too many have died. We should say to ourselves: Not one more.”

At least five lawmakers and officials have joined the anguished father’s call to confront the NRA, reviving demand for congressional action on gun violence.

More here

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Washington Post: Obama plans trip to Indian reservation, officials say

President Obama is planning to travel to a Native American reservation in North Dakota in June, a rare visit by a sitting U.S. president to Indian country, according to officials familiar with the plans.

The Obama administration has supported a series of measures to improve the welfare of Native Americans. The president has also signed the Tribal Law and Order Act to address the high crime rate in tribal communities and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which included a historic provision to allow the nation’s 566 federally recognized tribes to prosecute non-Indians who commit certain crimes of violence against Native women.

More here

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BBC: Nigeria army ‘knows where Boko Haram are holding girls’

The Nigerian military say they know where the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are but they will not attempt a rescue.

Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff said it was “good news for the parents,” although he admitted the military would not risk “going there with force.”

More than 200 girls were abducted by Boko Haram gunmen from their school in northern Nigeria in April.

Earlier, the BBC learned that a deal to release some of the girls was close but was called off by the government.

More here

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@WhiteHouse: “Today, we pause to remember our fallen troops, to mourn their loss & to pray for their loved ones.” — President Obama

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UK Independent: European elections 2014: Will surge in support for far right parties bring down the EU and its governments?

So is the bloc’s implosion just a matter of time?

Hardly. Despite the blustering rhetoric from Ms Le Pen and Nigel Farage, pro-European forces still dominate the 751-seat parliament.

The centre-right European People’s Party has 213 seats in current projections, and the Socialists and Democrats group – which includes Labour MEPs – has 190 seats. Combine that with the 117 seats shared between the Liberals and the Greens, and there is a clear majority of moderates. These parties are also united in their abhorrence of the extreme right, so have extra incentive to form alliances to block the influence of the fringe parties.

Who exactly are these fringe parties that have made the gains?

More here

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:-)

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On This Day

Sen. Obama greets supporter Peggy Pound of Nevada after speaking about home foreclosures at the College of Southern Nevada May 27, 2008

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President Obama waits backstage to speak at a fundraiser in Los Angeles, May 27, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama speaks at a fundraiser in Los Angeles, May 27, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama is reflected in a mirror as he speaks at a fundraiser in Los Angeles, May 27, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama sits in a pilot seat while talking with Sen. Harry Reid before speaking at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas on May 27, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama appears in front of a bank of solar panels as he speaks about using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to invest in solar energy May 27, 2009 at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada

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President Obama receives a jersey from players Brian Zoubek and Jon Scheyer of the Duke Blue Devils during a Rose Garden event May 27, 2010 at the White House

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President Obama greets veterans following a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, Poland, May 27, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets community leaders and Holocaust survivors after a wreath laying ceremony at the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial in Warsaw, Poland, May 27, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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From left: First Lady Michelle Obama; Brenda Linnington, the wife of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, the commanding general of the Military District of Washington; Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel; Hagel’s wife, Lilibet; Deanie Dempsey; and Dempsey’s husband, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stand by as President Barack Obama, second from right, and Linnington, right, arrive for a Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, May 27, 2013

President Obama hugs a relative of a family member buried at section 60 in Arlington Cemetery, May 27, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama greet visitors to Section 60 on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery, May 27, 2013

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MoooOOOooorning! Completely ran out of time so missing lots of news – will try to catch up through the day.

27
May
14

Early Bird Chat

On This Day: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama talk in the Blue Room of the White House before hosting a reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, May 27, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!




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