Archive for the 'Articles' Category

27
Aug
15

The Economy Is Growing. Don’t Screw It Up, Congress

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Jason Furman: Second Estimate Of GDP For The Second Quarter Of 2015

Real GDP growth in the second quarter was revised markedly upward, as consumers spent more and businesses invested more than previously estimated. The economy grew at a much faster pace in the second quarter than in the first, with strong personal consumption leading the rebound. At this time in the global economy, it is essential that we continue to do everything we can to maintain America’s domestic economic momentum—including avoiding a return to fiscal brinksmanship or unnecessary austerity by passing an on-time budget that reverses the sequester, increasing investments in infrastructure as part of a long-term transportation reauthorization, and other steps to foster long-term growth.

1. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 3.7 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter according to the BEA’s latest estimate, well above the first quarter’s 0.6 percent pace and the BEA’s initial second-quarter estimate of 2.3 percent growth. In the second quarter, the increase in GDP growth was led by a faster pace of personal consumption growth than in the first quarter and a shift from negative to positive net export growth. Structures investment, which declined sharply in the first quarter and was previously thought to have declined in the second, is now estimated to have grown. Overall, real GDP has now risen 2.7 percent over the past four quarters.

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26
Aug
15

They thought they could control them

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Yesterday, Jorge Ramos of Univision was unceremoniously escorted out of a Donald Trump press conference by one of the Hair’s goons, for daring to ask a question “out of turn”. Trump told Mr. Ramos to “sit down”, and then to “go back to Univision”. (I guess even The Hair wasn’t prepared to say “go back to Mexico, you wetback.”) Our brave press corps… did nothing. Journalists of conscience would have gotten up en masse and walked out right behind Mr. Ramos. I’m old enough to remember when the good and the great of the major media outlets rallied around Fox News when President Obama took off the gloves with them. Imagine if Pres. Obama had done something like this at one of his campaign press conferences, or, heaven forbid, at a presidential one. Calls for his impeachment would be hurling in 72 point type on newspapers and from well-coiffed news anchors.

However, even though I was going to write at length about this contretemps, I realized that the expulsion of Mr. Ramos is not the story. It is a mere manifestation of a much darker reality.

I mocked Trump (I refuse to be polite and call him “Mr.”). I thought he was the greatest thing to happen to Democrats since Dan Quayle. And, if by some malfeasance he does manage to be the GOP nominee, he lost the general election yesterday. The image of the Latino Walter Cronkite being frog-marched out of a press availability will galvanize the Latino community like nothing else. Not because Latinos are celebrity-mongers who will rally around Mr. Ramos, but because he and his treatment represent what Latinos fear the most from the GOP. Trump just handed the Latino community the symbol it needed, in a way which even his outrageous words didn’t.

But I’m no longer mocking him. I’m taking him very seriously. Because what may have begun as a lark is no longer that. It’s obvious that Trump is taking this campaign to heart, and is in it to win. And that should give everyone a good scare.

Continue reading ‘They thought they could control them’

26
Aug
15

Why Biden? The 65-69 million Obama Coalition…Duh!

by @zizii2

You dance with the one who brung ya.

The Obama Coalition

The Obama Coalition

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So no one thinks that the coalition of 65-69 million American citizens with a proven record of WINNING back to back presidential elections in record numbers, because they organize, stand in line for hours in rain and frost, MUST be feverishly re-activated for the next election? Of course it must.

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The Obama Coalition

The Obama Coalition

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a campaign event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center September 9, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Working with the momentum from this week's Democratic National Convention, Obama is on a two-day campaign swing from one side of Florida to the other on the politically important I-4 corridor.

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Yet thus far none of the Democratic Party candidates has seriously courted the Obama-Coalition. I say seriously, precisely because it took more than the letter “D” beside a candidate’s name, or political platitudes, or a liberal wish-tree to put the coalition together in the first place. Plus no one size fits all in activating this coalition, as its different components were motivated by different strategies of persuasion. This is a coalition that did not care about name, pedigree, or size of wallet when it backed the insurgent Obama candidacy. It did not have its head in the clouds in a lofty quest for unicorns either.

Continue reading ‘Why Biden? The 65-69 million Obama Coalition…Duh!’

25
Aug
15

Huge Increase In The Number Of Those Insured. Thanks, ObamaCare

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Stephen Feller: Study: Higher Number Of Americans Insured Because Of ObamaCare

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A review of data on community health centers shows large increases in the number of people who have gained access to healthcare as a result of the Affordable Care Act, especially in underserved urban and rural areas of the United States. Researchers pin much of the credit to the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA, also referred to as ObamaCare, which has allowed people who cannot afford health insurance to have greater access to care.

They note, though, that there has also been a large increase in the number people who have purchased private insurance through the ACA-mandated state exchanges. “Our findings underscore the importance of the Affordable Care Act to the poorest Americans,” said Dr. Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University, in a press release. “This report shows the importance of ensuring that the ACA’s resources reach all medically underserved communities, including those in the 20 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid.”

More here

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24
Aug
15

The financial meltdown, in a few easy steps

Specialist Mario Picone, right, watches the numbers as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. The Dow Jones industrial average has plunged more than 530 points and is in a correction amid a global sell-off sparked by fears about China's slowing economy. Oil tumbled below $40 per barrel for the first time since the financial crisis. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Specialist Mario Picone, right, watches the numbers as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. The Dow Jones industrial average has plunged more than 530 points and is in a correction amid a global sell-off sparked by fears about China’s slowing economy. Oil tumbled below $40 per barrel for the first time since the financial crisis. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The financial markets are melting down. Here’s why.

A couple of months ago, the Shanghai bourse began the Mother of all Corrections. Within a few weeks, it had lost 30% of its value.

This first go-round of market mayhem was greeted with pretty much of a yawn in Europe and the US. This was especially so after the government in Beijing stepped in to prop up the markets.

However, that propping up failed to calm the markets. Beijing decided to let the market work, and the sell-off commenced again.

Now, though, there is the added component of a fear of a major Chinese slow-down in its broader economy. To paraphrase that old saw: When China sneezes, the world catches a cold.

The fear of a significant downturn in the Chinese economy is spooking markets all over the world like a bump in the night spooks wild horses. Without knowing exactly what’s coming down the pike out of China, markets are in a panic.

Continue reading ‘The financial meltdown, in a few easy steps’

23
Aug
15

Trump Perverts Obama Campaign Style

by @zizii2

So it boils down to this: Trump suffers from Obama size-envy. Crowd size, that is, and maybe more…

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75,000 show up at Obama campaign in Oregon May 18, 2008

75,000 show up at Obama campaign in Oregon May 18, 2008

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But first, it was only a matter of time before the object of Prez Obama’s ridicule at the White House Correspondents’ Dinners in 2011 and 2015, would be prompted to redeem his ego. Behold, the Trump2016 presidential run.

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In 2011, President Obama chose deliberately to inflate Trump’s gargantuan ego, using the very vehicle of birtherism to surgically puncture Trump’s pompous ass at the precise moment for maximal humiliating effect, the night before the OBL operation. That we the American people enjoyed the take down of the hotair without knowing about the OBL mission underway, only prolonged the deliciousness of the schadenfreude when we found out the next night when POTUS interrupted Trump’s “Apprentice” show to deliver the unbelievable news. Trump was doubly slayed. We roared!

As icing on the cake, Prez Obama gave us a spoof sneak peak into what a Trump White House might look like, complete with gaudy Trump insignia plastered all over the WH exterior, plus female posse wading in the WH fountain. We found the idea of a Trump presidency absurd. But Trump began dreaming big.

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The coup de grace came this year, when POTUS Obama raised and then immediately dashed Trump’s hope of the President engaging him again in full glare of the cameras. POTUS simply said “Donald Trump is here…..still”, then moved on to the next segment. Ouch!

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I posit that Trump’s mind was made up that night to run for President by hook or crook. How do we know this? Answer: Trump himself is the fire breathing clue. A narcissist thrives on attention, and President Obama flippantly cut off that oxygen on an important media stage, the same one on which he had been humiliated irreparably in 2011. Trump could deal with the ridicule during the previous WHCDs, because they accrued to him media notoriety. Media attention is the currency of Trump’s very existence. But to be swatted away like a fly with nary a word more from Prez Obama to indulge his outsized narcissism? Naw. He had to get even.

Continue reading ‘Trump Perverts Obama Campaign Style’

21
Aug
15

Rise And Shine

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President Barack Obama talks on the phone with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka during a call in the Oval Office, Aug. 21, 2013. Listening from left are: Rob Nabors, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy; Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations; and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Photo by Pete Souza

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Greg Sargent: Paul Volcker: It Would Be ‘A Sad Day’ If Congress Blocks Iran Deal

In recent days, opponents of the Iran nuclear accord have argued that if Congress blocks it, the major powers that negotiated the agreement can simply go back and crank up sanctions to put more pressure on Iran to agree to a better deal. That argument, however, has been met with push-back from some prominent financial experts, such as Henry Paulson, the Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush, and Jacob Lew, who occupies that post under the current president. They have argued that the other powers won’t reimpose sanctions,

leading the sanctions regime against Iran to unravel and leaving the U.S. isolated — all without getting the inspection and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program that the deal would secure. And here’s another prominent financial figure who is also dismissing the “go back and get a better deal” argument: Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve under presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Volcker has been widely credited with curbing inflation at the time and helping launch the much-vaunted Reagan recovery. “I think this arrangement ought to be approved,” Volcker told me in a phone interview today. “I think it would be a sad day if it’s not.”

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Bravo!

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President Barack Obama talks with Chris Jennings, Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy & Coordinator for Health Reform, left, following a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, right, regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 21, 2013. Photo by Pete Souza

20
Aug
15

#MyBrothersKeeper: A Brighter Future

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Hamil R. Harris: White House Mentee Heads To Morehouse College

Noah McQueen used to spend more time fighting and getting arrested than getting good grades and listening to advice. He changed households and public schools 10 times before he landed at the Maryland Juvenile Justice Cheltenham Youth Center. But times have changed. “Do you need a ride back to the White House?” a presidential aide asked McQueen, 19, as he stood inside Eddie’s Hair Design in Adams Morgan on a recent day. “No, I have my own car now,” he responded. McQueen didn’t need a barber; he had a fresh haircut. He was there to work. McQueen was there with Broderick Johnson, head of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, to be a role model to students from Marie Reed Elementary School.

The initiative was launched last year to improve educational and job opportunities for young men of color. White House officials, including President Obama, have worked hard to help McQueen. His life changed three years ago, when, as a student at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, he began mentoring children at nearby Barack Obama Elementary. “I get choked up . . . when I think about where I was,” McQueen said as he reflected on a troubled childhood that included several suspensions, arrests and other run-ins with the law. Now McQueen is a freshman at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He graduated in May from Wise, where he finished with a 3.25 grade-point average even though his freshman and sophomore years were academic disasters.

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Congratulations and good luck, Noah!

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20
Aug
15

Rise And Shine

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President Barack Obama talks with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, after delivering a statement on the murder of journalist Jim Foley by the terrorist group ISIL. He spoke at the Edgartown School in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., Aug. 20, 2014. Photo by Amanda Lucidon

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Matt Viser: Senator Edward Markey Says He Will Back Iran Deal

Senator Edward J. Markey on Wednesday said he would support the Iran nuclear agreement, offering his endorsement on a highly charged issue that has been dividing some Democrats. Markey – a Massachusetts Democrat who took the seat long held by Secretary of State John Kerry, who negotiated the deal – said in a statement provided to the Globe that he believes that the negotiated deal is the best way to ensure Iran doesn’t build a nuclear weapon.  “I have concluded that diplomacy remains our best tool to secure a nuclear weapon-free Iran,” Markey said.

“That’s why I intend to support the Iran nuclear agreement when it comes before Congress in September.” “This agreement is far from perfect and carries risks,” he added. “But I believe our negotiators achieved as much as they reasonably could, and that if strictly implemented, this plan can be effective.” Markey is the latest member of the Massachusetts delegation to announce his support for the deal. Earlier this month, Senator Elizabeth Warren, as well as representatives Seth Moulton, Stephen Lynch, and Jim McGovern also announced their support. Representative Michael Capuano has said he is “leaning strongly in favor,” and no member of the all-Democratic delegation has come out against the deal.

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Sam P.K. Collins: Americans Actually Like Michelle Obama’s Healthier School Lunches

A national poll shows that more than 80 percent of Americans support healthy school meals consisting of more fruit and vegetables and less high calorie and sodium food choices, requirements outlined in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act — a law that authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to set nutritional standards for food sold and distributed in schools and expanded access to healthy lunch to more than 115,000 U.S. children. The survey, conducted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, debunks the primary argument against the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, one of the central policies at the heart of First Lady Michelle Obama’s effort to address childhood obesity. “Our survey found that people in the U.S. overwhelmingly support strong nutrition standards and believe school meals are healthier and on the right track because of these standards,” La June Montgomery Tabron, president and chief executive of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation,

told the New York Times. If lawmakers reauthorize the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act next month, schools would receive $4.5 billion over the next decade. With time dwindling before it’s set to expire, its supporters and challengers have scrambled to make their case, drawing out a battle that started shortly after its passage and holding nothing back in the process. Since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act’s inception, the program has expanded, serving more than one million students across the United States not only lunch, but dinner too as part of its after-school snack offerings. The UDSA also rolled out $5 million in grants to fund programs that connect school cafeterias with local farmers. The 2014 grant cycle supported more than 80 projects in 42 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In total, more than $385 million in locally grown produce has entered school buildings across the country.

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President Barack Obama prepares for a meeting with economic columnists in the Oval Office, Aug. 20, 2013. From left are: Kathryn Ruemmler, Counsel to the President; Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri; Katie Beirne Fallon, Deputy Director of Communications; and Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Photo by Pete Souza

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President Barack Obama talks with former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula in the Blue Room prior to a ceremony honoring the 1972 Super Bowl Champion Miami Dolphins at the White House, Aug. 20, 2013. Photo by Pete Souza

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President Barack Obama has a foreign leader phone call in the Oval Office, Aug. 20, 2012. Pictured, from left, are: Chief of Staff Jack Lew; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough; and Steve Simon, Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa. Photo by Pete Souza

19
Aug
15

A Huge Surge In Full Time Jobs. Thanks, President Obama

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Victoria Stilwell: Full-Time Jobs In The U.S. Just Made A Comeback

Friday’s labor-market report showed that the number of full-time U.S. jobs as a share of total employment rose to 81.7 percent, the highest level since November 2008. For those worried (including not a few presidential candidates) that this economic recovery has been one that’s created only low-quality jobs, this should be really good news.

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At the same time, the number of employees on the payrolls of temporary work services also fell, declining 8,900, the report showed. All of these statistics combine to paint a picture of a “shift to full-time work,” economists led by Derek Holt at Scotiabank in Toronto wrote in a note to clients.
The rest of the details of the jobs report were also solid. Overall, payrolls climbed by 215,000 in July and the unemployment rate held at a seven-year low of 5.3 percent.

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19
Aug
15

Rise And Shine

President Barack Obama sits behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office during a conference call with people of faith, August 19, 2009. Official White House Photograph by Pete Souza. This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

President Barack Obama sits behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office during a conference call with people of faith on Aug. 19, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza

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WSJ: Obama Administration Pushes For Deal To Start Flights To Cuba By Year’s End

The Obama administration is working to reach a deal with Cuba by year’s end that would allow travelers to fly on scheduled commercial flights between the countries, U.S. officials say, chipping away at a travel ban without requiring Congress to lift it. The agreement would allow airlines to establish regular service between the U.S. and Cuba as early as December, officials said, marking the most significant expansion of economic and tourism ties between the U.S. and Cuba since the 1950s, when Americans regularly traveled back and forth to Havana. The Obama administration is also exploring further steps to loosen travel restrictions for Americans to the island nation despite the decades-old congressional ban, officials said.

The twin moves, which follow the formal reopening last week of the American embassy in Havana, underscore the White House’s intent to solidify one of President Barack Obama’s major foreign policy achievements by making the Cuba shift nearly impossible for a future president to reverse. Only Congress can lift the long-standing U.S. travel and trade embargoes imposed against Cuba in the 1960s following the rise of Fidel Castro to power. But Mr. Obama has executive authority to grant exceptions to them. He announced several last December—such as allowing Americans to use credit and debit cards in Cuba and expanding commercial sales and exports between the two countries—and is considering others.

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Russell Contreras: Judge Orders New Mexico Cops To Stand Trial For Killing Of Homeless Man

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