Posts Tagged ‘carolina

14
Aug
13

News Of The Day

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BBC News: Benefits Extended To US Gay Military Spouses

US military same-sex spouses will gain all benefits open to opposite-sex spouses by 3 September, Pentagon officials have said. It includes healthcare and housing and will be open to any military member with a valid marriage certificate.  The Pentagon had already extended certain privileges to same-sex couples after a ban on openly gay troops – known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – was repealed in September 2011. But most benefits had been off-limits until the Supreme Court ruling.

“It is now the department’s policy to treat all married military personnel equally,” Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a memo on Wednesday to senior Pentagon officials. The Pentagon also stated it would allow leave for military personnel, who are stationed in a state that does not permit same-sex marriage, to travel to a jurisdiction where they can marry legally. The change will mean that homosexual troops and their spouses will also have the right to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC.

More here

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TPM: Peggy Noonan: Obama Should Defend Missouri Rodeo Clown (Yes Peggy, you are a RACIST)

Peggy Noonan offered a “classy” suggestion to President Barack Obama on Tuesday: go to bat for that rodeo clown in Missouri. Let me suggest a classy Obama move that might go over well. From his Vineyard vacation spot he should have the press office issue a release saying his reaction to finding out a rodeo clown was rudely spoofing him, was, “So what?” Say he loves free speech, including inevitably derision directed at him, and he does not wish for the Missouri state fair to fire the guy, and hopes those politicians (unctuously, excessively, embarrassingly) damning the clown and the crowd would pipe down and relax. This would be graceful and nice, wouldn’t it? He would never do it. He gives every sign of being a person who really believes he shouldn’t be made fun of, and if he is it’s probably racially toned, because why else would you make fun of him?

More here

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Julian Pecquet: Kerry Slams Crackdown In Egypt As ‘Deplorable’

Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday denounced the violent crackdown by the Egyptian military as a “deplorable” and unnecessary escalation that represents a “serious blow” to peace and democracy.

Kerry said Egypt faced a “pivotal moment” and warned the military-appointed interim government that the “world is closely watching” how it responds. More than 100 people were killed Wednesday when the army raided camps where supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi have been protesting for the past month.

“Today’s events are deplorable, and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy,” Kerry said during a 5-minute surprise appearance at the State Department’s daily press briefing. “It’s a serious blow to reconciliation and the Egyptian people’s hopes for a transition towards democracy and inclusion.” “Violence will not create a roadmap to Egypt’s future,” he said.

More here

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Please Proceed, GOP

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Jamelle Bouie: North Carolina’s Attack On Voting Rights

North Carolina Republicans passed a sweeping set of changes to the state’s election law. These measures were proposed just one week after the Court’s ruling, and were rushed through the state legislature. GOP Gov. Pat McCrory calls them “common sense” measures, designed to “ensure the integrity” of the ballot box and “provide greater equality in access to voting to North Carolinians.” And that’s true, if you rob those words of their actual meaning. The centerpiece of the law is a strict new mandate for voter identification, that’s more notable for what it bans than what it permits. Of the various forms of state-issued ID, only four are valid for voting: driver’s licenses, passports, veteran’s IDs, and tribal cards. Everything else is unacceptable. This includes college IDs, public or municipal employee IDs, ID from public-assistance agencies, and out-of-state driver’s licenses.

It’s no accident that those are the excluded categories. As with similar laws in other states, the restrictions target Democratic voters, from students and young people—who are more likely to rely on university-issued identification—to public employees and the poor. And of course, a large share of these voters are black and Latino. Overall, the state estimates that as many as 318,000 voters could lack (PDF) appropriate identification. Echoing many supporters of voter identification, Governor McCrory points to other activities that require photo ID: “Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID, and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote.” But voting is just that, a right, and restricting particular kinds of ID—used by particular kinds of people—without expanding access to other forms of identification is an obvious attempt to make voting hard for some and not others.

Indeed, the other provisions of the law make it plain that this was the intent. Governor McCrory’s “common sense” initiative bans paid voter-registration drives, removes a week from the early voting period (which was a popular option for black voters in 2008 and 2012), eliminates straight-ticket voting, repeals out-of-precinct voting, repeals a mandate for high-school voter-registration drives (again, because Republicans don’t want young people participating), eliminates flexibility in early-voting hours, and makes it more difficult for precincts to designate additional voting sites for the elderly or voters with disabilities. We’re only 50 years removed from Jim Crow, and history has a strong grasp. Yes, we have an African-American president. But we also have deep-seated racial inequality. To think we’ve overcome this—to think it no longer matters for the present—is worse than ignorant, it’s naive.

More here

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Once again, the White House is winning at social media

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Here’s the hilarious backstory

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14
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

On this Day: President Obama and daughter Sasha swim at Alligator Point in Panama City Beach, Fla., Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Daily Beast: Treasury Monthly Statement Shows the U.S. Deficit Is Melting Away

Still complaining about the deficit? The latest monthly statement from the U.S. Treasury shows that even without destroying the social safety net or striking a grand bargain, it’s being erased.

…. So as you listen to people complaining about the annual deficit, remember that it is melting away. The miracle cure for deficits, it turns out, isn’t ripping up the social safety net, or a grand bargain. It’s growth, combined with some fiscal restraint, and higher taxes. Compared with a year ago, there are about 2.2 million more people working today, at slightly higher wages, paying slightly higher taxes. The combination of those forces pushes collections higher. Meanwhile, spending on anti-poverty programs like unemployment benefits falls as unemployment claims decline. Winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has reduced the Pentagon budget. And the sequester has taken a bite out of the budget of many agencies. The combination of those forces pushes spending lower. The latest update on this year’s fiscal situation confirms that each of these trends is fully intact.

Full post here

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Washington Post: Obama pushes ambitious Internet access plan for schools

President Obama liked the idea laid out in a memo from his staff: an ambitious plan to expand high-speed Internet access in schools that would allow students to use digital notebooks and teachers to customize lessons like never before. Better yet, the president would not need Congress to approve it.

White House senior advisers have described the little-known proposal, announced earlier this summer under the name ConnectEd, as one of the biggest potential achievements of Obama’s second term.

More here

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Bob Cesca: Cory Booker Wins Senate Primary. The Far-Left Wins Nothing. Again.

Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker is one step closer to being the next senator from the Garden State. He won the Democratic primary on Tuesday by a significant margin over his rivals, Rep. Frank Pallone, Assembly Speaker Shiela Oliver and Rep. Rush Holt.

Historically speaking, if he wins on October 16, Booker will also be the only elected African American member of the United States Senate, and the ninth member in history. (Yeah, there’s still something very, very wrong with American voters.)

There’s another dimension to this election, meanwhile, that only appeared briefly on the blogs and via social media. Were it not for the divisiveness on the left created by the Edward Snowden NSA drama, with far-left activists supporting Snowden’s leaks and with pragmatic center-left liberals expressing disdain for the hyperbolic, outraged sensationalism of the story, the New Jersey special election would’ve surely been a huge battleground between those two factions.

More here

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Voter Suppression:

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ThinkProgress: Arizona Republicans Already Working On 2020 Gerrymander Plan

Unhappy that an independent redistricting commission devised maps it deemed too independent for the 2012 elections, Arizona Republicans are already scheming to rig the redistricting process after the 2020 elections to be more favorable to their party.

More here

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Steve Benen: Congress Isn’t ‘Exempt’ From ObamaCare

If you’ve been following the health care debate lately, you’ve probably heard quite a bit of talk about Congress being “exempt” from the Affordable Care Act. It’s a talking point the right has pushed quite aggressively, but is it true? Republicans certainly want us to think so. Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas)complained about an “outrageous exemption for Congress.” The far-right editorial page of the Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint touted a similar line last week. Over the weekend, Republican media figures, including Bill Kristol and Ana Navaro, repeated the talking point on the Sunday shows, and no one thought to correct them. This morning, in an unusually hysterical piece, a Washington Times columnist suggested the policy might constitute “treason.” (No, seriously, that’s what it said.)

The policy certainly sounds awful, doesn’t it? If “Obamacare” is so great, why are members of Congress eager to exempt themselves from the new federal system? No wonder Fox is soworked up over this. The problem, as you might have guessed, is that the argument is so wildly misleading, it bears no meaningful connection to reality.

More here

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USA Today: President Obama is going retro when it comes to honoring sports champions.

Next week, Obama will host a White House ceremony honoring the 40th anniversary of the 1972-73 Miami Dolphins, the last National Football League team to go undefeated in the regular season and playoffs.

That Dolphins team famously went 17-0, beating the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl on Jan. 14, 1973.

More here

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On This Day:

Aug. 14, 2009: President Obama casts his line while fishing for trout on the East Gallatin River near Belgrade, Mont. (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 14, 2010: President Obama greets members of the U.S. Coast Guard after making a statement at the U.S. Coast Guard Panama City District Office, Panama City, Fla (Photo by Pete Souza)


Aug. 14, 2012: The President waves from his campaign bus to people lining the motorcade route in Iowa (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 14, 2012: President Obama has a beer with patrons at the Pump Haus Pub and Grill in Waterloo, Iowa (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 14, 2012: Pete Souza: “How about a White House beer? The President was greeting patrons at Coffee Connection in Knoxville, Iowa, when this customer asked him about the White House beer. The President said he thought he might have some on his campaign bus and asked an aide to check. A few minutes later, the President delivered a bottle and the customer reacted in celebration.”

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29
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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President Barack Obama reacts to a picture presented to him of a younger Robert Gibbs, who played soccer at North Carolina State, following a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern)

10:15AM: Pres. Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

11:00AM: Pres. Obama meets with senior advisors

12:00PM: Pres. Obama and Hillary Clinton have lunch

2:05PM: Pres. Obama welcomes the San Francisco Giants to the White House to honor the team and their 2012 World Series Championship

2:45PM: Pres. Obama meets with Civil Rights leader and local elected officials

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Tom Kludt: Obama, Hillary Clinton To Have Lunch At The White House Today

President Barack Obama will welcome a fixture from his first term cabinet back to the White House on Monday when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins him for lunch. According to Obama’s schedule, the two will meet at noon ET.

More here

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Nicole Winfield: Pope Francis Says He Will Not Judge Gay Priests

Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.

More here

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Donna Cassata: Sen. Gillibrand Fights To Remove Commanders From Military Sex Assault Cases

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who helped force the military to allow gays in its ranks, is determined to upend laws governing how the armed services handle an epidemic of sexual assaults.

She is slowly and steadily building support for a proposal to strip commanders of their authority to prosecute cases of sexual assault, instead handing responsibility to seasoned military lawyers. She now has 44 backers, including Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who signed on last week, as well as conservative Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Gillibrand’s measure would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial. That judgment would rest instead with seasoned trial lawyers who have prosecutorial experience and hold the rank of colonel or above.

More here

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Catherine Thompson: Slim Majority Of Americans Support Legalizing Gay Marriage In All 50 States

A slim majority of Americans would vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

While 52 percent of Americans would vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage across the country, 43 percent said they would vote against such a federal law, the poll found.

A number of groups posted more than 60 percent support for national legalization of same-sex marriage in the Gallup poll, including self-identifying liberals, those who said they subscribed to “no religion” or “rarely/never attend church,” Democrats, 18- to 34-year-olds, moderates, Easterners, and Catholics.

More here

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President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting in a Kroger’s Supermarket in Bristol, Va. on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Nicole Flatow: Governor Admits He ‘Does Not Know Enough’ About The Voter Suppression Bill He’s About To Sign

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said Friday he would sign a bill passed by the North Carolina legislature that would become the most suppressive voting law in the nation. But when asked to speak about a provision in the bill that would prohibit 17-year-olds from registering in advance of their 18th birthday, McCroryadmitted he “did not know enough” and had not read that portion of the bill.

The bill, passed just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act and paved the way for new suppressive state laws, imposes a laundry list of new restrictions on access to the ballot, including eliminating same-day registration, cutting early voting, easing campaign contribution limits, and expanding the mechanisms for alleging voter fraud. In remarks saying he would sign the bill, McCrory focused on his support for the bill’s voter ID requirement — a particularly suppressive and discriminatory policy that McCrory has long supported. But when asked by an Associated Press reporter about another provision in the bill to limit new voter registration opportunities, McCrory said, “I don’t know enough. I’m sorry. I haven’t read that portion of the bill.”

More here

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President Barack Obama listens to a question at a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009.

(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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Sandhya Somashekhar: Exclusive: Kathleen Sebelius On ObamaCare’s ‘Very Tight’ Deadlines

Sec. Kathleen Sebelius: Well, we are testing all of the data systems like crazy to try and make sure that information can flow easily through the system. I’m sure there will be operational challenges in the opening of the markets, but I think we’re trying to build in redundancies and be able to respond very rapidly. And really we see Oct. 1 as the beginning of the campaign that really lasts for six months.

KS: It is very tight…Ideally what you would do if you were building a data hub that needs this kind of information, you’d put a piece together and test that. You test it, if you will, sequentially. We have to build and test simultaneously…it’s a big operational issue but all systems are a go for the first of October.

More here

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President Barack Obama listens to a question during a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Caitlin McDevitt: Kevin Spacey On Obama, Congress

“House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey thinks President Barack Obama deserves more credit for what he’s accomplished.

“President Obama will go down as having passed some of the most historic bills in the history of this country,” Spacey told Hot Press magazine in a recent interview. “That despite constant knee-jerk opposition from the Republicans. A lot of people don’t realize how much he’s done in the most difficult of circumstances.”

As for Congress, Spacey is less impressed.

“It’s maybe interesting for an American audience that’s sat through the most non-productive Congress in the history of the United States, in terms of bills passed, to watch a fictional show [“House of Cards”] where some bills actually get passed,” he said.

More here

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A picture of President Barack Obama rests on the ground during a town hall meeting held at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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 Reuters: Amazon Unveils New Hiring Spree Ahead Of Obama Visit

Amazon.com Inc unveiled a new hiring spree on Monday ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama to one of the Internet retailer’s giant distribution warehouses this week.

Amazon said it is looking to fill more than 5,000 new full-time jobs at 17 of its fulfillment centers across the United States. That’s roughly a 25 percent increase in full-time fulfillment center staff, which currently number more than 20,000 in the country.

Amazon has been building lots of new fulfillment centers closer to customers in recent years as the company tries to speed up delivery of online orders and reduce shipping costs.

Amazon needs a lot of workers to pick, pack and ship orders alongside high tech robots that whiz around its warehouses. The company’s demand for employees is so strong that it has created special programs to woo candidates.

More here

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First Lady Michelle Obama hugs LeBron James following the USA vs. France men’s basketball game at Olympic Park during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, July 29, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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President Barack Obama eats a peach following a town hall meeting at Kroger’s Supermarket in Bristol, Va. on July 29, 2009. Seconds later, the President handed a dollar bill to the CEO of Kroger’s, who attended the event. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Have An Obamariffic Day! :D

28
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel during the National Anthem at the start of an event to mark the 60th anniversary of the suspension of the 1950-1953 Korean War at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. July 27

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Today:

The President has no public events scheduled

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Darlene Superville: Obama Says Korean War Veterans ‘Deserve Better’

President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Americans to take time from their “hurried lives” to listen to the heroic stories of Korean War veterans who returned to a country weary of war and deserved a better homecoming.

“Unlike the Second World War, Korea did not galvanize our country. These veterans did not return to parades,” Obama said in a speech at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, making the 60th anniversary of the war’s end.

“Unlike Vietnam, Korea did not tear at our country. These veterans did not return to protests. For many Americans tired of war, there was it seemed a desire to forget, to move on,” Obama said.

They “deserve better,” the president said, adding that on this anniversary, “perhaps the highest tribute we can offer our veterans of Korea is to do what should have been done the day you came home.”

More here

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ThinkProgress: Growing Number Of States Are Reporting Lower Than Expected Health Care Premiums

Health premiums in Maryland’s exchanges will be “among the lowest of the 12 states that have available proposed or approved rates for comparison,” the state’s exchange — Maryland Health Connection — announced Friday. The news comes just as New York,Oregon, Montana, California, and Louisiana are also reporting lower than expected premiums.

In Maryland, a 25-year-old will be able to purchase a plan that is more comprehensive than policies currently available on the individual market for $114 per month, while a middle aged adult will have to pay approximately $260 per month for insurance. A 21-year-old non-smoker can start as low as $93 a month. Officials say they used their authority to deny rate increases to reduce the proposed premiums by “more than 50 percent.” Thirty other states have have similar authority.

More here

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GOP, is this a description of you?

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ThinkProgress: Steve King: In Private, Republicans Actually Agree With My ‘Cantaloupe-Sized Calves’

A growing number of Republicans are publicly distancing themselves from Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) claim that many undocumented youths are drug mules with cantaloupe-sized calves, but the conservative congressman claims that GOP lawmakers are backing him in private.

During an appearance on Fox News on Saturday, King said that Republicans are in fact standing by him, but are afraid to publicly support him for fear of sparking outrage and losing their legislative leverage…..

More here

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Hunter Walker: John  Kerry: ‘This Is A Pivotal Moment For Egypt’

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement Saturday after at least 65 people were killed and over 1,000 were injured in Egypt during clashes between security forces, armed men, and protesters demonstrating against the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi.

Kerry said he spoke with Egypt’s Interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei and Interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy Saturday morning to express “our deep concern about the bloodshed.” He also described the situation as a “pivotal moment for Egypt” and called for an “independent and impartial inquiry into the events of the last day.”

Read the statement here

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This is the unvarnished NYT interview with President Obama. Read it. This is him in his own words.

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Click on the craigconnects link. It’s very informative

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Asawin Suebsaeng: Obama Says Ho Chi Minh Was Inspired By Founding Fathers, Conservatives Freak Out

 After a meeting with Vietnam’s president Truong Tan Sang on Thursday, President Barack Obama said the following to reporters (emphasis mine): At the conclusion of the meeting, President Sang shared with me a copy of a letter sent by Ho Chi Minh to Harry Truman. And we discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson. Ho Chi Minh talks about his interest in cooperation with the United States. And President Sang indicated that even if it’s 67 years later, it’s good that we’re still making progress. (Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese communist and nationalist revolutionary leader who died in 1969. He fought alongside Allied forces during World War II, but fought American forces during the Vietnam War.)

Several conservative media outlets blasted the president on similar terms. “Obama may have just been trying to flatter his guest who was obviously eager to show that Ho was not the monster history shows him to be,” Chris Stirewalt, digital politics editor for Fox News wrote. “But his connection between the American founders and Ho shows either a massive lack of historical knowledge on the part of the president or a remarkable degree of moral flexibility.”

Yes, it is true that the United States once waged a disastrous, pointless, and horrific waragainst Ho Chi Minh and the people of Vietnam. But Obama’s comment wasn’t a gaffe or insult to American war vets. What Obama said is literally a historical fact. In September 1945, Ho Chi Minh delivered the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi to a crowd of nearly a million Vietnamese. Not only was the “The Star-Spangled Banner” played by a Vietnamese band during his address, but he opens his speech by quoting Thomas Jefferson.

More here

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The fantastic Sarah Slamen (@VictorianPrude). 

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A year ago today:

First lady Michelle Obama watches the women’s singles tennis match between Serena Williams of the U.S. and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympics Games, July 28

.. with Venus Williams and former gymnast Dominique Dawes

Serena Williams gives a thumbs up gesture toward her sister Venus and first lady Michelle Obama after she defeated Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic

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Have A Great Day! :D

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27
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (All Times Eastern):

10:20 AM: President Obama delivers remarks marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice

6:30 PM: VP Biden and Dr Jill Biden visit with U.S. service members, military families, and Defense Department employees at an event at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii

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The Week Ahead:

Monday: The President will welcome the San Francisco Giants to the White House to honor the team and their 2012 World Series Championship

Tuesday: The President will travel to the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to give the first in a series of policy speeches on his better bargain for the middle class. The speech is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Wednesday: The President will welcome NCAA Champion UConn Huskies to honor the team and their 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. Also on Wednesday, he will travel to Capitol Hill for a meeting with Democrats in both chambers

Thursday: The President will host Yemeni President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi at the White House

Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

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The latest state to publish insurance rates under Obamacare is Maryland. The results seem consistent with the pattern we’ve seen so far. When state officials want the law to work, it works pretty well. And Maryland officials want the law to work.

The governor is a prominent Democrat and among Obamacare’s most vocal boosters. The state political establishment supports him. The officials in agencies working on Obamacare — the state Department of Health, the Insurance Administration, and the newly created Health Benefits Exchange — feel the same way. None of this is surprising: Maryland is a strongly blue state. Obama is popular there and, one imagines, so is his health plan.

More here

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ABC: How White Are the Reporters Covering Obama? Very, Stats Show

The face of the nation is changing fast, but the White House press corps remains the same.

A new report in The Washington Post details how the news media, and especially the White House press, is disproportionately whiter and less diverse than the country as a whole.

“When the first black president of the United States walked into the White House press room to talk about Trayvon Martin and the complexities of race in America last Friday, the people poised to convey his remarks to the world were overwhelmingly of one race — white….

At a time when one of the most contentious subjects in Washington is immigration reform — an issue of great import to many Hispanics — the people questioning the president on a regular basis are unlikely to be Hispanic themselves,” the Post’s Paul Fahri writes…..

12.4 percent: The proportion of U.S. newspaper journalists who are racial minorities…..

37 percent: The U.S.’s minority population

7: Number of full-time White House correspondents who are African-American or Asian-American, out of 53. That’s 13.2 percent. Figures for other groups weren’t available.

3: Number of African-Americans who have served on the White House Correspondents Association board in its 99-year history.

More here

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David Firestone (NYT): North Carolina: First in Voter Suppression

Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina didn’t like our recent editorial that criticized the state for abandoning its traditions of racial equality, strong public schools, and economic fairness. He wrote a letter to the editor saying he was leading the state to a “powerful comeback.”

That’s demonstrably untrue when it comes to the economy and the schools. But as yesterday’s events in the state capital showed, one thing is making a comeback: an old habit of suppressing the votes of minorities, young people and the poor, all in the hopes of preserving Republican power.

Freed of federal election supervision by the Supreme Court, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill that combines every idea for suppressing voter turnout that Republicans have advanced in other states. Rick Hasen, an election-law expert at the University of California, Irvine, called it “the most sweeping anti-voter law in at least decades.”

…. None of this has anything to do with fraud. Out of 7 million ballots cast in the state in 2012, there were 121 allegations of voter fraud, a rate of .00174 percent….

More here

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NBC News: The United States intends to transfer two additional detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Algeria as part of its effort to close the military prison in Cuba, the White House said Friday in a statement.

“We are taking this step in consultation with the Congress, and in a responsible manner that protects our national security,” the statement from White House spokesman Jay Carney read. “We continue to call on Congress to join us in supporting these efforts by lifting the current restrictions that significantly limit our ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo, even those who have been approved for transfer.”

More here

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The wonderful Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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Yes Republicans, this is one of your own

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Sy Mukherjee: Starting next Thursday, Wisconsin’s Green Bay region will no longer have an abortion provider. That’s because Ob/Gyn Associates, the sole abortion clinic in the area, was recently sold to a health system which announced on Friday that it will stop offering abortion services on August 1st. And their decision, combined with an anti-abortion bill quietly signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker (R) earlier in July, will force Green Bay women who want or need an abortion to travel over 250 miles round trip to find the closest facility.

Practically speaking, the law would force two of the state’s five clinics — a private clinic in Milwaukee and a Planned Parenthood facility in Appleton — to close down entirely.

More here

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Whoa….are pigs flying?

Josh Israel: Since Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcementThursday that the Department of Justice would “ask a federal court in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act,” the reaction from Texas Republicans has been furious. But Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who sponsored the 2006 Voting Rights Act re-authorization, backed the move as legally proper.

But Sensenbrenner told The Hill on Thursday that these critics were misrepresenting the facts. “The [Justice] department’s actions are consistent with the Voting Rights Act,” he said, noting that Voting Rights Act still allows challenges to changes that would suppress minority voters.

More here

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President Obama give the thumbs up as he returns to the White House from Camp David, July 26

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VP Biden, his wife Jill Biden, their daughter Ashley and son-in-law Dr Howard Krein, walk through the Singapore Botanic Gardens, July 26

VP Biden shakes hands with a diner during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Food Centre in Singapore, July 26

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On this day:

July 27, 2012: President Barack Obama hugs a member of the American Legion Boys Nation in the East Wing during their tour of the White House (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

July 27, 2012: U.S. Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova picks up the First Lady during a greet with Team USA Olympic athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

July 27, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama greets former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders, right, and her children, Skye and Spider, following a “Let’s Move! London” event at Winfield House in London, England (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

July 27, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Joshua Wilkins-Waldron during a “Let’s Move! London” event at Winfield House in London (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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26
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama greets the audience after speaking at the Jacksonville Port, July 25

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Today – all times Eastern

9:30 AM: President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews en route to Camp David where he will will host Cabinet members and their families

7:0: Returns to the White House

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Patheos

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Paul Krugman: Republican Health Care Panic

Leading Republicans appear to be nerving themselves up for another round of attempted fiscal blackmail. With the end of the fiscal year looming, they aren’t offering the kinds of compromises that might produce a deal and avoid a government shutdown …. they’re threatening, once again, to block any rise in the debt ceiling, a move that would damage the U.S. economy and possibly provoke a world financial crisis.

Yet even as Republican politicians seem ready to go on the offensive, there’s a palpable sense of anxiety, even despair, among conservative pundits and analysts. Better-informed people on the right seem, finally, to be facing up to a horrible truth: Health care reform, President Obama’s signature policy achievement, is probably going to work.

And the good news about Obamacare is, I’d argue, what’s driving the Republican Party’s intensified extremism. Successful health reform wouldn’t just be a victory for a president conservatives loathe, it would be an object demonstration of the falseness of right-wing ideology. So Republicans are being driven into a last, desperate effort to head this thing off at the pass……

More here

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Greg Sargent: Even Republicans are openly worried about GOP’s sabotage governing

The notion that GOP sabotage governing tactics could ultimately prove counter-productive and self defeating for the Republican Party is now being increasingly voiced by Republicans themselves.

….. with Republicans hurtling towards another set of crises over the debt limit and funding the government they are openly nervous about the GOP’s continued embrace of its intransigent scorched earth governing posture…

…. More public disunity from Republicans about their tactics – even as Dems remain relatively united behind their insistence that they won’t negotiate over the debt limit and will continue to demand new revenues as part of any budget deal – will only encourage the White House to hold a harder line.

More here

And see Steve Benen: Senate GOPer calls shutdown threat ‘the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard’

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Washington Post: White House hardens stance on budget cuts ahead of showdown with Republicans

Senior White House officials are discussing a budget strategy that could lead to a government shutdown if Republicans continue to demand deeper spending cuts, lawmakers and Democrats familiar with the administration’s thinking said Thursday.

The posture represents a more confrontational approach than that of this spring, when President Obama decided not to escalate a fight over across-the-board reductions known as sequestration in an earlier budget battle with Republicans.

The change in tone has been evident in repeated and little-noticed veto threats over the past few weeks by Obama, who has rarely issued the warnings with such frequency. He has made it clear that he will not sign into law Republican spending bills that slash domestic programs even more deeply than sequestration.

More here

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Steve Benen: Either job creation is the top priority or it isn’t

…. In addition to the voluminous list of documented problems, just over the last few days we’ve gotten a better sense of the ways in which [sequestration cuts are] hurting the military, public schools, parks, and the justice system. The poor and minorities are disproportionately suffering.

Did the political world care about these stories? Not really…. So what made yesterday different? This did:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Thursday estimated that keeping the spending cuts from sequestration in place through fiscal 2014 would cost up to 1.6 million jobs …. Canceling the cuts, on the other hand, would yield between 300,000 to 1.6 million new jobs, with the most likely outcome being the addition of 900,000, the CBO said.

More here

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CNN: Organizing for Action, the political advocacy group aligned with President Barack Obama, has turned the hour-long speech the president delivered in Illinois on Wednesday into a 60-second television spot that will air on national cable.

Clips of the president are spliced together with photographs of construction workers, manufacturers, students, and families, all designed to promote the economic message the White House says will be their focus on the coming months.

More here

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Kurt Eichenwald: Zimmerman, Abortion, and Obamacare: 25 Contemplations on Current Events

…. It makes no sense to argue that you support Stand Your Ground and then condemn Trayvon Martin for confronting a guy who was following him. You can’t pick and choose who gets to stand their ground based on a perception of threat. Which is why that law is so obscene.

….. All anti-abortion protesters should be presented, on the spot, with an application to sign up as foster parents. They should also be given the names of children in their area in need of adoptive parents. And if they won’t sign or volunteer, they should shut up.

…. If Obamacare is so awful, why do conservatives have to lie so much about what it really does? (See death panels, government takeover of health care, preventing folks from choosing their own doctors, and pretty much anything any Republican has said about the program over the last few years.)

…. The fact that some folks learned something in school does not make them elitist. It makes them educated.

Full post here – must-read!

Twitter: @kurteichenwald

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Steve Benen: What ‘conservatives gone wild’ looks like in North Carolina

….. [In North Carolina} …. the most sweeping voter-suppression efforts seen anywhere in the United States in generations ….. the proposal is remarkable in its scope, including a needlessly discriminatory voter-ID provision, new limits on early voting, blocks on voter-registration drive, restrictions on extended voting times to ease long lines, an end to same-day registration, new efforts to discourage youth voting, and expanded opportunities for “vigilante poll-watchers to challenge eligible voters.”

How many North Carolina Republican lawmakers supported these suppression tactics for no apparent reason? Each and every one of them…..

More here

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President Obama winks as he speaks at an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room of the White House, July 25

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Ratchet-Ass Lawyer (The Week in Blackness): Drone Policy Is the Most Important Racism

Salon’s arc of fail last week began with David Sirota’s meditation that “we are all targets now,” which spawned a minor revolution on social media and inspired TWiB Prime to break its hiatus for the “This Motherfucker Right Here Hour.” Now, Cornel West, among many others, has repeated the parallel, alleging that Obama is a “global George Zimmerman” because the Administration has sanctioned the use of drones for targeted killing in Yemen and elsewhere.

The strange essence of the critique is that Obama is a hypocrite for publicly, personally identifying with one murdered Black boy while the Administration’s foreign policy justifies the murders of innocent brown people abroad. This inappropriate parallel between Obama and Zimmerman erases the suffering of Black people and other marginalized groups in America, allows white men to co-opt the conversation while claiming that they are anti-racist, ignores crucial differences between vigilante justice and foreign policy, and requires Obama to be superhuman to maintain authority.

There are several incidents of privilege-blindness among the mostly white male drone-obsessed elite….

More here

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You can donate to Wendy Davis’ campaign here

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Dallas News: In Washington, Wendy Davis represents a progressive Texas

It was her stance on abortions that carried Texas Sen. Wendy Davis into the national spotlight, but it wasn’t the reason behind Thursday’s trip to Washington.

A more progressive Texas, not abortion, was the focus of Davis’s trip, which included two fundraisers and multiple meetings with members of Congress and local groups,

“People all across Texas are starting to stand and see that basic Texas values are being abused and abandoned by state leaders,” she told a group of 400, who paid between $25 and $250 to crowd into a bar on Thursday evening to hear Davis speak.

“Those weren’t just Democrats assembled to complain about Republicans,” she said referring to the hundreds who flooded the Texas capitol building last month during her filibuster. “They were Texans.”

More here

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NYT: The Gun Lobby Takes Vengeful Aim

One welcome surprise in gun safety occurred this year in Colorado, where the Democratic-led Legislature dared to defy the gun lobby and mandated universal background checks on firearm sales and 15-round limits on ammunition magazines.

The ink was barely dry, however, before the National Rifle Association was vindictively pressing for recall votes against two supporters of the stronger law….

The recall vote, set for Sept. 10, could hardly be more important as a barometer of whether the public, which repeatedly registers support for tougher gun controls in surveys, will show up at the ballot to defend politicians who bucked the gun lobby.

Full editorial here

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USA Today: Obama’s Fed pick: Yellen or Summers?

An intense, behind-the-scenes battle is going on for one of the world’s most powerful jobs: Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Backers of two major candidates – current Fed member Janet Yellen and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers – are busy lobbying the only voter who counts in this type of campaign: President Obama.

Yellen is the Fed’s vice chair and has helped develop the policies of current chairman Ben Bernanke – a point made by both supporters and critics. Bernanke is expected to retire when his term expires in January.

Senate Democrats are circulating a petition in support of Yellen, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed her in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

More here

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OFA

OFA fellows are fired up and ready for you to join them

Organizing for Action is looking for passionate new leaders who are interested in tackling our country’s big issues for our OFA Fall Fellowship program. This three-month volunteer program is explicitly designed to train the next generation of OFA leaders – if that sounds like you, you can apply today.

Fall Fellows will be working on important issues affecting our country—from protecting Obamacare, to combating climate change, to passing comprehensive immigration reform, Fellows do work that matters every single day.

More here

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On this day…..

President Obama laughs with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius following the official Cabinet group photo in the Grand Foyer of the White House, July 26, 2012. Pictured, from left, are: Energy Secretary Steven Chu; Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; Education Secretary Arne Duncan; and Attorney General Eric Holder (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama with Vice President Joe Biden and Chief of Staff Jack Lew in the Oval Office, July 26, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

PS

Pete Souza: Just ran into Bo on the colonnade




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