I haven’t written much about Ferguson since my last post, mostly because I can’t believe that in 2014 we’re reliving the 1960s.
But, this is something I haven’t done in the string of nights of unrest. I haven’t once turned on our vaunted mainstream media. No CNN, no MSNBC, heavens no Fox News. I’ve relied solely on Twitter to get information.
“But LL,” someone will say, “Twitter? People writing from their parents’ basements?”
Yesterday, the House voted to provide subsidies for summertime children’s lunches only to “rural areas”. That wasn’t even a dog whistle, it was an out and out statement of racism.
A few days ago, a New Hampshire police commissioner not only called President Barack Obama a “n***er”, but defended his statement, saying that the President fit his definition for one. He refused to resign until just a couple of days ago.
Today, Mark Cuban admitted to “biases”. He could cross the street—in what I’m sure is a gated, nearly all-white community—if he saw a young black man in a hoodie coming towards him. Of course, if that young black man in a hoodie had a 42-inch vertical leap, I’m sure he’d take the time to sign him to a contract.
It seems as if the past few weeks have seen an explosion of insanity. As Pres. Obama succeeds in the face of unparalleled obstruction—Obamacare, the economy, isolating Russia—certain sectors of this country have decided on a scorched earth policy. If they can’t exercise untrammeled power, if the country elects and re-elects Pres. Obama, then burn everything, like Russians retreating before Napoleon.
It can be forgiven if one gets to feel downtrodden. The forces arrayed against progress are not minor. They have almost unlimited funding. They drive media narratives. They more or less own five Justices on the Supreme Court. The scenario would prove daunting and depressive to even the hardiest souls.
First Lady Michelle delivers a heartfelt message in Chicago
10:15AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
11:00AM THE PRESIDENT meets with members of the Financial Services Forum
12:05PM THE PRESIDENT holds a conference call with more than 100 local elected officials to discuss summer and year-round pathways to youth employment (Closed press)
2:10PM THE PRESIDENT awardsChaplain (Captain) Emil J. Kapaun, U.S. Army,the Medal of Honor; THE FIRST LADY also attends
2:55PM THE PRESIDENT meets with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
11:30AM Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
As politicians in Washington took a step toward tightening the nation’s gun laws Wednesday, first lady Michelle Obama sat down with Chicago high school students whose stories about violence brought her to tears.
Before the meeting began at Harper High School in West Englewood, Obama said she wanted to hear from each of the 22 students representing youth programs at the school and that she had as much time as they needed to take. She had come home to Chicago, she said, to do a lot of listening.
So for two hours, the first lady sat in the second-floor library media center, away from the news media, as students told story after story about the challenges of dodging bullets, avoiding gangs and — the thing they cannot take for granted — staying alive.
The Debate Over A Path To Citizenship Is Resolved Among The Public, If Not In Congress
Washington Post: As the renewed debate over the nation’s immigration laws continues on Capitol Hill, this much is clear: Most Americans favor creating a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally.
And the more Americans hear about specific requirements a path to citizenship would involve, the more likely they are to endorse it.
Support for a path to citizenship was strongest in a Fox News poll conducted last month in which more than seven in 10 voters expressed support for the idea. Take a closer look at the way the question was asked: “Do you favor or oppose allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country and eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship, as long as they meet certain requirements like paying back taxes, learning English, and passing a background check?”
And even in surveys where a simple support/oppose question was asked without the mention of specific requirements, a majority expressed support for a path to citizenship. In both the Associated Press-Gfk and Washington Post-ABC News polls, 55 percent or more said they favored opening an avenue to citizenship.
NYT: With resistance to tougher gun laws stiffening in Congress, a visibly frustrated President Obama on Thursday implored lawmakers and the nation not to lose sight of the horrors of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn. “The notion that two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened in Newtown happens and we’ve moved on to other things?” Mr. Obama said in remarks at the White House, surrounded by relatives and friends of victims of gun violence, including some from Newtown. “That’s not who we are. That’s not who we are. And I want to make sure every American is listening today.”
Mr. Obama’s appearance, from the East Room of the White House, suggested just how delicate the situation had become. Rather than read from teleprompters, he seemed to speak extemporaneously much of the time and expressed irritation in a way that he generally does not. At some moments, he paused and took a breath as if collecting himself and circled back to some of his points for emphasis. “Shame on us if we’ve forgotten,” he said.“I haven’t forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.”
The renewed push by the president, who will travel to Colorado next week to rally support for new gun measures, is just one piece in a broader nationwide effort, timed to coincide with the two-week Congressional recess, by gun control groups like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s coalition.
Juliet Eilperin: The Environmental Protection Agency will move ahead Friday with a rule requiring cleaner gasoline and lower-pollution vehicles nationwide, amounting to one of President Obama’s most significant air pollution initiatives, according to people briefed on the decision.
The proposed standards would add less than a penny a gallon to the cost of gasoline while delivering an environmental benefit akin to taking 33 million cars off the road, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made yet.
The proposed standards, which had been stuck in regulatory limbo since 2011, would reduce the amount of sulfur in U.S. gasoline by two-thirds and impose fleet-wide pollution limits on new vehicles by 2017.
The Obama administration’s decision to go ahead with the regulations deals a political blow to the oil and gas industry, which had mobilized dozens of lawmakers in recent days to lobby the White House for a one-year delay.
Goodbye Ashley Judd? Why McConnell Might Be More Worried
Roll Call: Ashley Judd’s decision to stay out of next year’s Kentucky Senate race absolutely won’t deprive Democrats of the sort of young woman who’s well-funded and telegenic enough to topple Mitch McConnell. In fact, the chances have gone up on just such a scenario.
That’s because the candidate who’s always been preferred by the Democratic establishment, both in the state and inside the Beltway, is now positioned to step in and take a clear shot at becoming only the third challenger in more than 60 years to deny re-election to an incumbent Senate party floor leader.
She is 34-year-old Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state for the past year and the scion of one of the best-connected Democratic families in the state. Because she’s already won statewide but is in a job that does not require her to stake out firm positions on any of the polarizing issues of the day, Grimes has the potential to be a difficult combination for McConnell to counter.
Julie Pace: President Barack Obama will press Congress to pass new tax incentives and other flexibility measures aimed at attracting more private sector investment in infrastructure projects around the country, a senior administration official said.
The president will flesh out the details of his proposals during a speech Friday at a Miami port that is undergoing $2 billion in upgrades, funded by public and private money.
Among the proposals Obama will call for Friday: Higher caps on “private activity bonds” to encourage the private sector to spend more on highway projects and other infrastructure needs. State and local governments use the bonds to attract investment.
$4 billion in new spending on two infrastructure programs that award loans and grants. A renewed call for a $10 billion national “infrastructure bank”