Posts Tagged ‘Giffords



09
Feb
13

Rest in Peace, Hadiya Pendleton

Tanique Parker, 16, cries as she leaves the wake for friend and classmate Hadiya Pendleton at Calahan Funeral Home on Chicago’s South Side, Feb. 8

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The handwritten note from President Barack Obama on the back of the funeral program for Hadiya Pendleton:

“Dear Cleopatra and Nathaniel, Michelle and I just wanted you to know how heartbroken we are to have heard about Hadiya’s passing. We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence. God Bless.”

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A mourner holds up a program for the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton…

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NBC: The national debate over gun violence took a highly personal turn for first lady Michelle Obama when a Chicago girl was slain near Obama’s family home just days after she performed at the presidential inauguration in Washington.

The first lady and top federal, state and city officials joined hundreds of mourners on Saturday at the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, 15…..

The first lady met privately with members of Pendleton’s family and with about 30 of her friends and classmates before the funeral…..

…. “Hadiya’s life has touched individuals, mothers, fathers, families and governments across this planet,” her aunt, Linda Wilks, said. “If this does not demonstrate the power of light and love, we are a people deeply cloaked in darkness.”

More here

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Chicago Tribune: Slain teen Hadiya Pendleton was remembered today as a laughing youth who brought love and happiness to all her family and friends.

…. Her mother, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, briefly spoke to the standing room only crowd, often with a smile and even a laugh.

“My baby did all this,” she said, wearing a big red flower on her chest and a sparkly scarf, and clearly enjoying the music. “This is all Hadiya”

“The outpouring of support has been absolutely amazing,” she said.

She explained that at points, “you kinda do not know how to act,” and some people might not understand “our sense of humor’’ or “why I have a smile on my face.”

“But I’m not worried about her soul,’’ she said.

More here

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More video from the funeral here

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Jackiegrumbacher: It’s a privilege to have a safe place here where we can mourn Hadiya together.

I think of all the years before there was a cyber place to gather when people had to deal with the grief from a local or national tragedy alone or with family, friends and neighbors. We didn’t get to hear from those in other parts of the country or the world and so our perspective was limited, even though our pain was real.

Now a young girl in Chicago, senselessly shot down in a park, is all of our daughters and we know that the grief we feel is a shared one and so is the anger. Because a child in Chicago is also our child, there’s a stronger possibility that we can put a stop to the intolerable conditions in which we attempt to raise our families.

As Nena pointed out above, we are over 300 million strong and we are very powerful when we choose to be citizens who act together. More and more Americans are saying “enough.” More Americans are “seeing” the ones who are slaughtered and are saying that the senseless death of our collective children will never end until we the people stop it.

It’s past the time when we can vaguely hope that things will get better. They won’t – not without all of us speaking out and not without all of us pushing.

As PBO has told us time and again, we are the citizens. We can make change happen. And our time is now.

We do it for Hadiya. We do it for our children and grandchildren. And we do it for all the children yet to be born who deserve a better world.

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01
Feb
13

“Be bold, be courageous”

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President Barack Obama meets with Chief of Staff Jack Lew in the Oval Office, Jan. 31, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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31
Jan
13

Rise and Shine

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Bloomberg: Consumer spending in the U.S. climbed in December as incomes grew by the most in eight years, a sign the biggest part of the economy was contributing to the expansion as the year drew to a close.

Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, rose 0.2 percent after a 0.4 percent gain the prior month, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 72 economists called for a 0.3 percent rise. Incomes rose 2.6 percent, pushing the saving rate up to a more than three-year high.

More here

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Greg Sargent: Perhaps the most important moment so far in today’s Senate Judiciary hearing on guns came when astronaut Mark Kelly directly confronted NRA head Wayne LaPierre over the shooting of his wife, Gabrielle Giffords …. LaPierre’s argument was completely unmasked for the sham that it is.

During the hearing, LaPierre repeatedly voiced the talking point that there’s no need to expand the background check system because criminals don’t cooperate with background checks. Kelly responded:

“The Tucson shooter was an admitted drug user. He was rejected from the U.S. Army because of his drug use. He was clearly mentally ill. And when he purchased that gun in November, his plan was to assassinate my wife and commit mass murder at that Safeway in Tucson. He was a criminal …. but because of these gaps in the mental health system, in this case, those 121,000 records, I admit did not include a record on him. But it could have. And if it did, he would have failed that background check. ….”

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MinnPost: President Obama’s Monday visit to Minneapolis will be to “discuss with local leaders and law enforcement officials his comprehensive set of common-sense ideas to reduce gun violence,” according to a White House spokesperson.

“Minneapolis is a city [that] has taken important steps to reduce gun violence and foster a conversation in the community about what further action is needed,” White House spokeswoman Joanna Rosholm said in a statement. “President Obama will visit with members of the community about their experiences and discuss additional steps that can be taken at the federal level to reduce gun violence.”

….. No word yet on where or when the Obama event will take place, or what the format will be.

Full post here

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Dana Milbank: Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s chief executive, arrived for his hearing on Capitol Hill in the organization’s trademark fashion: violently.

When he and his colleagues stepped off the elevator in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday morning and found TV cameras waiting in the hallway, LaPierre’s bodyguards swung into action. One of them, in blatant violation of congressional rules, bumped and body-checked journalists out of the way so they couldn’t film LaPierre or question him as he walked.

“You don’t have jurisdiction here!” a cameraman protested as an NRA goon pushed him against a wall. After the melee, congressional officials informed the NRA officials that, in the halls of Congress, they had to follow congressional procedures — which prohibit manhandling.

Full post here

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This undated family photo shows 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton of Chicago. Hadiya was shot and killed when a gunman opened fire while she was hanging out with friends on the warm rainy afternoon under a shelter in the park. Hadiya was a majorette in her high school band and recently performed in Washington, D.C. during the inauguration. President Obama’s Chicago home is less than a mile from the park where Hadiya was killed

Nate Pendleton comforts his son Nathaniel, 10, as they listen to speakers at a press conference in a neighborhood park where Nate’s daughter Hadiya was killed on January 30 in Chicago

Cleopatra Pendelton talks with Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy before a news conference seeking help from the public in solving the murder of Pendelton’s daughter Hadiya

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton holds the hand of her ten-year-old son as they listen to speakers during an event with police and community leaders at a neighborhood park where her daughter Hadiya was killed

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NYT: If ever there were a moment for Democrats to press their political advantage, this is it. Their message on many of the biggest national issues — taxes, guns, education spending, financial regulation — has widespread support, and they have increased their numbers in both houses of Congress. But after years of being out-yelled by strident right-wing ideologues, too many in the Democratic Party still have a case of nerves, afraid of bold action and forthright principles.

That’s particularly evident in the Senate, which the party controls. Last week, Democrats had a rare opportunity to change the Senate’s rules by majority vote and reduce the routine abuse of the filibuster by Republicans, which has allowed a minority to slow progress to a crawl. But there weren’t enough Democrats to support real reform, so a disappointing half-measure was approved. The reason was fear: Fear that they might return to the minority one day, fear that a weakened filibuster might hurt them, fear that Republicans might change the rules to the disadvantage of Democrats if they regain a majority.

More here

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Senators Jack Reed, Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel, Kuwait, 2008

NYT: President Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday morning for what is likely to be a combative confirmation hearing focusing on Iran, Israel and the American military’s role in the world. White House officials say they remain confident about his prospects.

Mr. Hagel, who has gone through three “murder boards,” or mock hearings, in preparation for the real one, has met with nearly 60 members of the Senate. He has spent the past three weeks working out of a modest transition office down the hall from the office of the man he hopes to succeed, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, in the Pentagon E-ring, the corridor with sweeping views of the Potomac River and Washington.

More here

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Charles Pierce: …. if you want to see the walking, living, sweating, mewling manifestation of still runnin’ a’skeered, take a gander these days at Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. This is a man with the gallows in his eyes, Because he hasn’t been entirely insane, and because South Carolina’s wingbits have been deprived of their real campeon de loco, Jim DeMint, and because of, you know, that conspicuous longtime bachelorhood issue, Graham has become something of a target…..

I mention all this because he’s going to get a crack at Chuck Hagel on Thursday, which may bring about the mother of all public tantrums. Somebody give him a cookie and then primary him, just to put him out of his misery.

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TPM: Here’s how the Obama administration wants the Obamacare individual mandate to work.

The IRS and Department of Health and Human Services proposed new rules Wednesday pertaining to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that uninsured taxpayers purchase health insurance, and expanded the circumstances under which Americans may receive an exemption from the so-called “individual mandate.”

Churches, illegal immigrants, incarcerated individuals and members of Native American communities are excluded from the individual mandate, which takes effect in 2014….

More here

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Bloomberg: Calm down. Yes, the U.S. economy surprisingly shrank in the fourth quarter at a 0.1 percent annual rate, weaker than any economist had forecast … But let’s look under the hood. The overall number disguises strong consumer spending and business investment in equipment and software, which zoomed upward.

You could even say the strength of consumer spending and business capital expenditures is the bigger surprise, more than the contraction. Why? Because the fourth quarter also featured a bitter presidential contest and a Washington battle royale over the fiscal cliff, both of which dampened consumer and corporate confidence.

The healthy consumption and business investment pictures were bolstered by another report out today showing that the labor market continues to heal. Companies took on more workers than expected in January, with an increase of 192,000, according to the ADP Research Institute.

Two factors were largely responsible for the poor GDP showing: a steep decline in government spending, especially on defense, and in the growth of business inventories. Combined, they took 2.6 percentage points out of GDP…..

Full post here

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Steve Benen: One of top Politico stories of the day tells readers that, in the wake of yesterday’s economic news, President Obama has a “GDP problem.” After noting that the drop in economic growth was “largely due to a drop in government spending,” the article adds:

Nonetheless, the politics are unambiguously terrible for Barack Obama … and it gave an adrenal jolt to the a GOP messaging establishment left supine by the Mitt Romney mirage and recent soul-searchy infighting.

Politico’s report added that Democrats “will try to spin” the news, but the party’s “narrative” is “not very convincing” and burdened by “weakness.”

It’s almost as if facts, evidence, reason, and a cursory understanding of economic policy no longer matters at all. In reality, the economy shrank a little in the last quarter because of spending cuts, but the party demanding more spending cuts has suddenly received “an adrenal jolt”…..

More here

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BarackObama.com

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ThinkProgress: 5 Reasons To Be Optimistic The Republican Election-Rigging Plan Is Dead (And 3 Reasons It’s Not)

Two weeks ago, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus called upon “states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red” to consider a Republican plan to rig future presidential races……

Six states potentially fit Priebus’ description of a blue state that is currently controlled by Republicans — Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. To date, senior Republicans in four of these states have either voted down the plan or indicated that it will not be taken up in the first place, and the governor of a fifth state has expressed concerns about the plan…

More here

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Moooooooorning!

30
Jan
13

“The Time Is Now”

Americans for Responsible Solutions

30
Jan
13

Gabby at the White House

@PeteSouza

“Gabby Giffords’s Handwritten Notes for Her Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee”

@pourmecoffee

30
Jan
13

“Too many children are dying, we must do something …. the time is now”

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Pride:

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Senate Judiciary Hearing on Gun Violence: Live on C-SPAN * CNN * CBS

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Live streaming:

30
Jan
13

Rise and Shine

President Barack Obama signs an accompanying letter to Congressional leaders after signing H.R. 152, which provides fiscal year 2013 supplemental appropriations to respond to and recover from the severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Jan. 29, 2013. (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

10:0 Senate Judiciary Hearing on Gun Violence: Live on C-SPAN

3:55: President Obama is interviewed by Jose Diaz Balart of Telemundo

4:15: Interviewed by Maria Elena Salinas of Univision

(Interviews will be released at 6:30)

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Washington Post: President Obama is riding a wave of personal popularity into his second term, with his highest favorability ratings since his first year in office, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Fully 60 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Obama in the new poll, up slightly from October but a clear shift in opinion from an election year in which his ratings hovered in the mid-to-low 50s.

More here

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Washington Post: In hailing an emerging bipartisan consensus in the Senate on immigration reform, President Obama added Tuesday to the momentum to fix a broken-down system that long ago stopped making sense and serving the country…

….. the president did the sensible thing by standing aside, for the time being, to let Congress take the lead on crafting a bill in the coming months…..

But Mr Obama also made clear that if progress slows toward a deal, the administration will submit its own bill. The implication, and the threat to Republicans, is clear: Act soon to forge a reasonable deal, or risk being seen — once again — as impeding progress on the issue that will shape political attitudes for the nation’s fastest-growing group of minority voters.

More here

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whitehouse.gov

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On Thursday, learn more about President Obama’s vision for a 21st century immigration system as the White House hosts the next in an ongoing series of conversations with administration officials on Google+. Starting at 1:00 p.m. ET on January 31, Cecilia Muñoz, the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, will join the latest “Fireside Hangout”– a 21st century take on FDR’s famous radio addresses –  to talk about immigration reform.

The conversation will be moderated by Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of Define American….

More here

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Maddow Blog: This visual goes a long way in explaining why Republicans decided to get on board with immigration reform:

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Washington Post: Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is expected to testify Wednesday at a Senate hearing on gun violence, lending the emotional resonance of her experience with the issue to what had already promised to be a dramatic exchange between lawmakers and advocates for and against stricter gun-control laws.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on gun-related violence in 14 months on Wednesday morning, and observers expect that it will help set the tone for congressional debates over legislation introduced in the wake of the deadly shooting last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people, including 20 young children.

More here

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Washington Post: By Mark Barden and Jackie Barden, parents of Daniel who died in the Sandy Hook shootings

Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence is the latest in a series of events following the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our 7-year-old son, Daniel, 19 of his first-grade classmates and six educators were killed in the tragedy. We believe this hearing is an opportunity to rise above the hard-line rhetoric and intransigence that too often lead to inaction and hopelessness, and we hope that our leaders and our nation will start a new conversation with a chance of achieving real change.

…. We have joined with other families, neighbors and friends in making the Sandy Hook Promise (www.sandyhookpromise.org). We hope every member of Congress and Americans nationwide will join us in pledging to honor the lives lost last month by coming together to end these violent tragedies.

More here

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@PaulBegala

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@VP – “State is in good hands – the hands of my good friend John Kerry – VP on Senate confirming Sen Kerry as Sec State”

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ThinkProgress

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BuzzFeed: January marked Fox News Channel’s lowest 25-54 demo delivery for Monday-Sunday Primetime and Sales Prime (M-Su 7p-2a) since August 2001.

January was also the worst month ever for FNC’s On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren in the 25-54 demo. It was also Fox’s lowest total at 10 pm since July ’08.

January saw MSNBC up 11% in the 25-54 demo from Jan. 2012.

MSNBC remained #1 with African American viewers during primetime for the 36th consecutive month.

More here

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Morning!

08
Jan
13

Rise and Shine

Washington Post: President Obama has picked Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights icon Medgar Evers, to deliver the invocation at his public swearing-in later this month. It is believed to be the first time a woman, and a layperson rather than a clergy member, has been chosen to deliver what may be America’s most prominent public prayer.

The inaugural committee Tuesday plans to announce that the benediction will be given by conservative evangelical pastor Louie Giglio, founder of the student-focused Passion Conferences, which draw tens of thousands of people to events around the world.

…. In a statement released by the inaugural committee, the president said the careers of Evers-Williams and Giglio “reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans – justice, equality and opportunity.”

More here

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Myrlie Evers-Williams and her children, Reena, Van and Darrell, photographed shortly after her husband (and their father), Medgar Evers, was assassinated in 1963. Fifty years later she will deliver the invocation for the inauguration of the President of the United States.

“I am humbled to have been asked to deliver the invocation for the 57th inauguration of the President of the United States – especially in light of this historical time in America when we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement.” (NBC)

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Jerry Mitchell (May 2011): It is a life path difficult to imagine.

Aspiring concert pianist turned back by Jim Crow.

Marries Medgar Evers, a leader for the young civil rights movement in Mississippi.

Works as both his secretary and a stay-at-home mother.

Hears a shot just after midnight, June 12, 1963, and she dashes out to see that her husband has been assassinated, shot in the driveway of their home. Her children follow, see their mother cradling him in a pool of blood and cry out for daddy to get up.

He never does…..

Full post here

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More interviews with Myrlie Evers-Williams here

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Charles Pierce: …. Ever since that thoroughgoing, bean-counting, soulless bastard Robert McNamara was in charge of it, the Defense Department steadily has moved away from the notion that its primary constituency is the men and women in uniform. Certainly, to name one recent example, Donald Rumsfeld proved to be far more in love with his own brilliant theories on defense policies than he cared about the fact that we weren’t sending enough poor sods in inadequate body-armor to carry them out. This is a problem that Chuck Hagel never will have.

…. There are good, solid, deeper political reasons to approve of his nomination. But this is the best one. Chuck Hagel knows what the basic job of soldiering really is and, therefore, I think, he knows what the basic job of being Secretary Of Defense is. It’s to fight for people, and not for weapons systems. It’s to care for the human beings in your charge more than the fanciful bloodless academic exercises held at a distance…..

….In a season when Lincoln’s Second Inaugural is the big finish of a box-office bonanza, Hagel has lived the peroration as well as anyone has.

Full post here

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Gabrielle Giffords:

Dear fellow American,

Two years ago, a mentally ill young man shot me in the head, killed six of my constituents, and wounded 12 others. Since that terrible day, America has seen 11 more mass shootings – but no response from Congress to prevent gun violence. After the massacre of 20 children and six of their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary though, it’s clear: This time must be different.

Americans for Responsible Solutions will encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.

Join us today, and tell your elected leaders that Americans are demanding responsible solutions to reduce gun violence.

See here

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Morning everyone, wonderful news about Myrlie Evers-Williams

06
Sep
12

Charlotte 8:0 – 9:30

BarackObama.com * MSNBC 1 * MSNBC 2 * C-Span * CNN * CBS 1 * CBS 2

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All times ET

8:0: Kal Penn’s live coverage of the convention (barackobama.com/convention)

8:0 – 9:0: Gabby Giffords * Caroline Kennedy * Xavier Becerra * Jennifer Granholm * Eva Longoria * Brian Schweitzer * Charlie Crist * John Kerry

9:0 – 10:0: Video: Veterans * John B. Nathman * Angie Flores * Jill Biden * Vice President Joe Biden Video * VP Joe Biden

10:0– 11:0: Video and Remarks * Dick Durbin * President Barack Obama Video * President Obama * Benediction: Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Detailed schedule here

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Lots of Convention videos at the PBS, DemConvention2012 and BarackObama YouTube channels, in the posts below and in the comments

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Boulder, September 2 (Scout Tufankjian for Obama for America)

20
Jun
12

A Dinner Invitation

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From Ohio last week:

13
Jun
12

Rise and Shine

The First Lady has joined Pinterest!

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7:10: President Obama awards Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a dinner at the White House; President Obama and President Peres deliver toasts; Michelle Obama and the Bidens also attend.

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Democratic candidate Ron Barber celebrates victory with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and supporters at a post election event, June 12

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ThinkProgress: Pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson announced today that they are dropping their membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Johnson and Johnson has been facing mounting pressure following a push from Color of Change and other progressive groups to leave the conservative agenda-setting group.

ALEC is responsible for crafting voter suppression legislation that has been used in state houses across the country, and the “Stand Your Ground” law that originally protected Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman. Johnson and Johnson is the latest in a huge wave of groups leaving ALEC.

More here

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Maddow Blog

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Cagle

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Morning everyone ;-)

23
Feb
12

pete souza & chuck kennedy? magic.

…. with St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman after welcoming the team to the White House to honor their 2011 World Series victory, Jan. 17

….. greeting neighbors outside the home of William and Endia Eason in Cleveland, Ohio, Jan. 4

….  during the flight on Marine One to Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., Jan. 11

….. greeting Tuskeegee Airmen in the East Garden Room of the White House prior to a screening of the film “Red Tails” in the Family Theater, Jan. 13

….. watching a performance backstage with iCarly cast members prior to an iCarly screening at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 13

Jan. 27

… boarding Marine One for departure from Cambridge-Dorchester Airport in Cambridge, Md., Jan. 27

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a potato sack race with Jimmy Fallon in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 25

…. signing items for Make-A-Wish child Rafael Mullet during a visit in the Oval Office, Jan. 25

….. with students at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 25

…. hugging Rep. Gabrielle Giffords before delivering the State of the Union address, Jan. 24

How did I miss these, they were posted on Flickr a week ago :???:

More photos here

10
Feb
12

evening all

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk with former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, after the President signed H.R. 3801, the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012, in the Oval Office, Feb. 10, 2012. This bill is the last piece of legislation that Giffords sponsored and voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Steve Benen: If the right was outraged by the patriotic message in Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler ad, conservatives will be looking for the fainting couch after seeing Bruce Springsteen’s new video.

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“Is it patriotic to stash your money in the Cayman Islands?”

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First lady Michelle Obama joins experts from WebMD for a town hall on healthy families at the Homestead YMCA Family Center, Florida

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More Let’s Move photos here

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More clips here

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10
Feb
12

afternoon all

Steve Benen: …. It’s a safe bet the Bishops won’t be satisfied, but it’s a pretty straightforward fix: religiously-affiliated employers that don’t want to pay for contraception coverage as part of their benefits packages won’t have to, but these employees will still get the coverage because the White House will instruct insurers to pick up the costs.

…. several major stakeholders in this fight have already offered praise for the White House move. Planned Parenthood, for example, endorsed the compromise …. Similarly, EMILY’s List said it was “reassured” by the new policy, and NARAL Pro-Choice America’s statement struck a similar note.

What’s more, Sister Carol Keehan and the Catholic Health Association have also endorsed the administration’s position, which not only offers the White House some political cover, but also further isolates the Bishops…..

For the White House, having support from both the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood was critical…..

Full post here

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Greg Sargent: …. the Obama team is betting that any further objections to this policy will unmask opponents primarily as hidebound foes of birth control at any costs, a politically difficult position to sustain, rather than as defenders of religious liberty. Indeed, this looks like an effort to reframe the debate to Obama’s advantage: If Team Obama has its way, the argument will now be about whether all women should have access to contraception, and not about whether these institutions are having their religious freedom impinged upon.

More here

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For those who freaked out about a major compromise with the Catholic church (eh, me):

When will I ever learn?

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Don’t miss Liberal Librarian’s first post at The People’s View – it’s predictably brilliant

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President Obama signs the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012 as former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly look on. The bill was the last piece of legislation on which Giffords voted before she resigned in January, a year after she sustained a gunshot wound to the head.

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TPM

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First lady Michelle Obama high-fives the Dallas Cowboys mascot Rowdy as she arrived at the Kleberg-Rylie Recreation center in Dallas

Michelle Obama judges food, along with assistant White House chef and food initiative coordinator Sam Kass and “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio, during a taping of the TV cooking show “Top Chef” in Dallas

08
Feb
12

evening all

ABC: President Obama “reinforced” his stance on the controversial contraception mandate while speaking at the Democrats’ annual retreat at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. today, Senate Democrats said.

Following President Obama’s speech at the retreat, a small group of Senate Democrats, mostly women, left the retreat early in order to hold a news conference on Capitol Hill to counter the Republicans’ news conference today at which they called for the mandate to be overturned.

Democrats said they will “fight strongly” to keep the mandate in place …. “It’s time to tell Republicans ‘mind your own business,’” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. ”Ideology should never be used to block women from getting the care they need to lead healthier lives.

More here

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Michelle Goldberg (Daily Beast): Mitt Romney has been railing again the Obama administration’s refusal to exempt Catholic-affiliated institutions like hospitals and universities from its mandate that health insurance cover contraception …. Perhaps no one told him that such rules were in place in Massachusetts the entire time he was governor, because as far as I’ve been able to tell, he never raised a word of objection then.

…. many Catholic institutions are already operating in states that require contraceptive coverage, such as New York and California. Such laws are on the books in 28 states, and only eight of them exempt Catholic hospitals and universities. Nowhere has the Catholic Church shut down in response.

…. Nationwide, major Catholic universities including Fordham, Georgetown, and DePaul all offer birth-control coverage. So does Dignity Health, until recently known as Catholic Healthcare West, the fifth-largest health system in the country. In Massachusetts, the six former Caritas Christi Catholic hospitals, which were recently acquired by Steward Health Care System, all complied with the state law.

…. The Obama administration, then, was acting in line with several longstanding state and federal precedents when it issued these new regulations, something that’s been totally obscured amid all the caterwauling we’ve heard in response….

Full post here

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Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): Seriously? He lost to Santorum? …. At this point, it’s fair to start questioning how Romney can really unite this party behind him eventually and make people enthusiastic about him. It sure doesn’t look, on the evidence of last night, like he’ll seriously be able to compete with Obama in Colorado or Minnesota. Even Missouri, which Obama lost by 0.1 percent last time, looks problematic for him right now.

But the Romney contests to watch in some ways aren’t against Obama or Santorum or Newt Gingrich, but against himself and against history – his numbers, and the overall turnout numbers, from last time. If he doesn’t show impressively in Arizona and Michigan on Feb. 28, GOP power brokers are really going to start wondering what they’ve bought into.

More here

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USA Today: President Obama will sign the last piece of legislation sponsored by former representative Gabrielle Giffords on Friday, the White House announced today.

The Arizona Democrat and her husband, Mark Kelly, as well as Vice President Biden will be on hand in the Oval Office for the signing. The legislation gives law enforcement greater authority to combat drug trafficking between the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders.

The bill was the last piece of legislation that Giffords voted on before she resigned on Jan. 25 …

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with members of the national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the Situation Room of the White House, Feb. 8, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Sun Times: First Lady Michelle Obama to embark on three day national tour celebrating second anniversary of Let’s Move!

Thursday: Des Moines, Iowa / Little Rock, Arkansas / Fort Worth, Texas

Friday: Dallas, Texas / Homestead, Florida / Orlando, Florida

Saturday: Longwood, Florida / Orlando, Florida

More here

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@BarackObama

@WhiteHouse

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