Posts Tagged ‘Giffords



16
Apr
13

Catching Up With The Day

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Bloomberg: The Boston Marathon bombing, juxtaposed with the mass murder at Sandy Hook  …. reveals an ideological component to the way Americans assess risk. In particular, Americans’ tolerance of mayhem and death varies depending on the source of the violence.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page, for example, was quick to revisit old fears about foreign terrorism in the wake of the Boston attack…

….. The emphasis on vulnerability and the “continuing need for heightened defenses” represents one side of an existential schism running through U.S. politics, with the dividing line separating mostly, but not always, liberals from conservatives. Many Americans accept the U.S.’s 30,000 gun deaths a year as a sad but inevitable price for all-but-unfettered individual rights to gun possession. A terrorist bombing, on the other hand, signals a need for “heightened defenses,” massive security and the routine compromise of liberty….

Full post here

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Stephen Marche (at Charles Pierce’s blog): As I write this, no one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Boston Marathon …. But this moment, before we know who did it, may be more important than when we do know.

The speculation has established three possible perpetrators: Islamic terrorists, domestic terrorists, or simple lunatics. The potential of this moment is that we can recognize that it could be any of them, that they all want the same thing, that they are, in the only way that matters, the same thing.

…. Whoever it turns out to be will incur a blame for entire groups of people — whether Muslims or American gun nuts — which are entirely accidental to their being. Let us pause, right now, and agree not to make that mistake.

Full post here

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TPM: …. Why were so many people in the media standing on pins and needles, wondering whether Obama would call what happened in Boston terrorism? …..

…. The media was listening for that word yesterday because they identified it as a potential source of a future, contrived political controversy; reporters were acting as opposition researchers for the people they cover, and identified a sin of omission….

…. most major media outlets typically distinguish terrifying violence from violent terrorism by examining motive. No political or ideological motive? Not terrorism … It’s why everyone feels comfortable calling the Unabomber a terrorist, but not the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook massacre.

Full post here

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Charles Pierce: ….. We should commend both Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis for their performance at the press conference Monday night — Patrick for slapping down that Alex Jones idiot plant, and Davis, for going out of his way, in one of the few pieces of actual information that was forthcoming at the whole press conference, to emphasize that there was no “suspect” in custody in any hospital, thereby dropping an anvil on The New York Post, which completely went to the zoo on this story yesterday afternoon. Good on both of them. And for Abdulrahman Alharbi, I hope he can still be as happy here some day as I suspect he was when Monday began.

Full post here

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Steve Benen: …. I’m reluctant to start talking about any single photo being the iconic image of the tragedy, but clearly this shot (see above), captured by Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki, is powerful and hard to forget.

….  there are three main officers seen in the foreground of this image, and the one on our right is Javier Pagan, who is Latino, gay, and the Boston Police Department’s LGBT liaison.

His husband is a retired NYPD sergeant, who helped rescue people on September 11, 2001.

Full post here

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‘Boston Patriots’

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Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords listens as her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly speaks on Capitol Hill during a ceremony to honor Gabriel “Gabe” Zimmerman. Zimmerman was Giffords’ outreach director when he was killed in the January 2011 shooting rampage in Tucson where Giffords was wounded

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Yahoo News: Vice President Joe Biden told a former congressional aide Tuesday during a visit to the Capitol building that the Senate was just two votes short of reaching the 60-vote threshold needed to pass a gun reform bill through the chamber.

After a speech honoring Gabriel Zimmerman … Biden told former Giffords aide Pam Simon that the bill would pass and that two votes were needed.

“We will win,” Biden told Simon, who survived a gunshot wound in the shooting.

…. “We are working to get to 60, and it’s fluid,” Biden said. “I think we’re there, but it’s not unusual as you all know for people to make up their minds at the last minute.”

More here

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Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to participate in a Google+ Hangout about gun control Wednesday.

He will be joined at 2:45 p.m. by the mayors of Gary, Ind.; Baltimore, Md.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Oak Creek, Wis., according to David Agnew, the White House director of intergovernmental affairs.

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Greg Sargent: A representative for families of the Newtown shooting victims has asked Senator Mitch McConnell to hold a meeting with them, according to sources familiar with the request. McConnell’s office initially declined the request on the basis of scheduling, a source says — and now family members are set to call McConnell and reiterate the request personally.

How will McConnell respond?

The request – if granted — would allow the families to come face to face with the primary architect of the GOP’s strategy of blocking everything Dems propose to slow the tide of gun violence. If it is denied, it would be a big story…

More here

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President Barack Obama meets with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to discuss immigration reform, in the Oval Office, April 16, 2013. Also attending, from left, are: Rob Nabors, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy; Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council; and Miguel Rodriguez, Director of Legislative Affairs. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Beyond belief:

The Guardian: How much unemployment did Reinhart and Rogoff’s arithmetic mistake cause? All because two famous economists whose work is used the world over to justify austerity cuts just got their sums wrong.

That’s the question millions will be asking when they see the new paper by my friends at the University of Massachusetts … They show the correct numbers tell a very different story about the relationship between debt and GDP growth than the one that Reinhart and Rogoff have been hawking.

…. This is a big deal because politicians around the world have used this finding from R&R to justify austerity measures that have slowed growth and raised unemployment….

…. If facts mattered in economic policy debates, this should be the cause for a major reassessment of the deficit reduction policies being pursued in the United States and elsewhere. It should also cause reporters to be a bit slower to accept such sweeping claims at face value.

Full article here

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Charles Pierce (on the Next New Deal story): OK, I’ve kept away from this until I’ve read enough people who know what they’re talking about to feel like I know what I’m talking about but, like, wow… I’m still not entirely sure what’s really going on, but there is nothing here to disabuse me of my long-held notion that most economists reach their conclusions by cutting up a sheep on a rock and reading the entrails.

…. And are we at all surprised that a certain zombie-eyed granny-starver of our casual acquaintance was one of the delivery mechanisms into our politics for what may be one of the great public-intellectual blunders (or worse) of the century? Why, no, we are not at all…..

More here

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ABC: First lady Michelle Obama will visit the United States Naval Academy on Wednesday before attending a bill-signing at the Maryland State House.

The first lady will be present as Gov. Martin O’Malley signs into law the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013.

The legislation will enable veterans who apply for occupational and professional licenses in Maryland to get credit for their military training, education and experience.

More here

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Wednesday:

11:45: Jay Carney briefs the press

4:05: President Obama and VP Biden welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House

6:30: President Obama meets with Democratic senators for dinner

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Decatur, Ga., Feb. 14, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

12
Apr
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama talks on the phone with Nicole Hockley and families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., in the Oval Office, April 11 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

12:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

2:05: The President presents the Commander-in-Chief Trophy to the United States Naval Academy football team

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NBC: For former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, gun violence is personal — so she’s going to begin her own in-person push for a new compromise to expand background checks for gun sales when she returns to Capitol Hill next week, NBC News has learned.

And the gun safety group she founded with husband, Mark Kelly, will begin making robocalls Thursday in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, looking to support the two senators who crafted the deal — an attempt to demonstrate that the organization is committed to challenging the gun lobby’s political infrastructure.

More here

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Greg Sargent: What will John Boehner say to Gabrielle Giffords?

This has the potential to create a bit of an awkward moment for Speaker John Boehner, as he weighs whether to allow a House vote on whatever gun legislation clears the Senate.

In a few days, on April 16th, Boehner and Nancy Pelosi will be presiding over a ceremony dedicating the creation of the Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room in the U.S. Capitol, according to an invitation to the event that’s making the rounds. Zimmerman was the community outreach director to Giffords when he was killed in the January 2011 shooting in Arizona that almost claimed Giffords’ life.

Giffords will be attending the event….

More here

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NYT: The Rugged Road for Gun Control

As families of the victims of the Newtown, Conn., massacre watched from the Senate gallery on Thursday, 68 senators, including 16 Republicans, voted to break a conservative filibuster to allow debate to begin on a bill that would expand background checks for most gun sales.

That a procedural vote was considered a breakthrough demonstrated how hard it has been to get even the most fundamental, common-sense reform of the nation’s inadequate gun laws past the gun lobby.

More here

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The People’s View: Surprise! President’s Budget Has Way More New Revenue Than New Cuts

Bet you haven’t heard that one in the national media yet – certainly not on the Left’s media world still in a fit over Chained CPI. I bet here’s what you’ve heard: Obama’s revenue raisers are not enough, his spending cuts are too much, and it’s not ‘balanced’ in terms of revenues and cuts. What you’re hearing is that the president is proposing $1 trillion in cuts! Here’s what they’re not telling you: the president is merely replacing the sequester….

More here

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Greg Sargent: The GOP’s policy nihilism

Mark April 11th, 2013, down on your calendars as the day that the GOP’s fiscal ruse was finally unmasked with total clarity: Republicans don’t actually want entitlement cuts. Or, to put it another way, they say they want entitlement cuts, but they want Dems to own them.

A few of us have been pointing this out for some time, but now it’s breaking through to the neutral press, thanks to the ongoing shenanigans between John Boehner and NRCC chair Greg Walden….

More here

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ThinkProgress: In the first quarter of 2013, states have proposed 694 provisions related to a woman’s body, how she gets pregnant, or how she chooses to end that pregnancy.

A new report released on Thursday by the Guttmacher Institute takes a comprehensive look at how the War on Women has continued past the election cycle and into 2013. It shows that the new legislatures across the country are still very much dedicated to restricting sex education, availability of medication, and abortion access for women. Indeed, 47 percent of the 694 provisions were directly related to abortion….

More here

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President Obama waits for a heavy rain to pass before crossing West Executive Avenue from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to the West Wing of the White House, March 12 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Lots more new photos here

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MooooOOOOooorning!

07
Mar
13

Rise and Shine

OFA

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Today:

12:0 Jay Carney briefs the press

12:30: Michelle Obama delivers remarks to winners of the Let’s Move! Communities

1:55: President Obama signs the Violence Against Women Act; the President and VP Biden deliver remarks

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Sign up!

Jim Messina (Op-ed at CNN) You can’t change Washington from the inside. President Obama was criticized for stating that simple truth during the campaign, but without Americans organizing in support of the issues they believe in, lobbyists and special interests will drive the agenda in Washington.

At this crossroads for our economy, we can’t afford business as usual. That’s why we’ve formed Organizing for Action, to ensure that the voices of the majority of Americans who voted for policies that will strengthen the middle class will be heard.

As we worked for change during the president’s first term, we saw special interests spend unprecedented amounts in an attempt to persuade Congress to vote against policies the American people voted for.

History is repeating itself…..

More here

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TPM: President Obama has invited House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to lunch Thursday at the White House. Rep. Chris Van Hollen has also been invited…

TPM: President Obama dined with 12 Republican senators at Jefferson Hotel in Washington on Wednesday night. In attendance, per the White House:

Senators Lindsey Graham, Bob Corker, Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, Dan Coats, Tom Coburn, Richard Burr, Mike Johanns, Pat Toomey, Ron Johnson, John Hoeven and Saxby Chambliss.

More here

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Jamelle Bouie: Over at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza chides President Obama for “crying wolf” on sequestration…. There’s no doubt the White House indulged in hyperbole during the debate over sequestration. But Cillizza is exaggerating the degree to which Obama’s rhetoric was overheated or overhyped…..

…. Sequester furloughs have already begun for some federal workers, and communities that rely on military bases and federal spending will see real hardship. Over time, if sequestration is allowed to run its course, more and more Americans will feel the consequences of sudden austerity.

Private forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers estimates “sequestration would cost roughly 700,000 jobs …. Did Obama cry wolf on the sequester? No. And besides, it’s only been five days. We’ll see the effects of sequestration as time passes, and they won’t be good.

Full post here

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NYT Editorial: Unable to stop the sequester’s job-killing spending cuts, President Obama now says he wants to move past the endless wars of budget attrition. Though he still wants a long-term deficit deal, he said last week, it is time to turn to immigration, gun control, universal preschool, a higher minimum wage and voting reform.

But Republicans are not going to allow that pivot. Most are unalterably opposed to all of those initiatives, and want to keep their focus on cutting domestic programs and fighting off tax increases…. Paul Ryan will soon unveil his caucus’s 2014 budget, which will start to make good on the party’s ruinous plan to balance the budget in 10 years…..

Republicans are hoping to wear down their opposition with these eternal battles. But their proposals are too dangerous to allow that to happen.

Full editorial here

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Steve Benen: Maybe you agree with Sen. Rand Paul’s civil liberties arguments; maybe you don’t. Perhaps you see him as an ideal messenger for his message; perhaps you notice that he’s a strange conspiracy theorist who talks a little too often about Hitler and believes civil liberties end when a woman wants control of her own reproductive freedoms.

….. as Paul’s allies grew throughout the day, it was hard not to wonder whether at least some of his new-found friends endorsed him on the substance or whether “Stand with Rand” had become a temporary fad on the right, driven by Republicans who were simply happy to see President Obama’s national security agenda facing criticism, even if they happen to agree with President Obama’s national security agenda.

…. There’s room for a real debate about the balance between civil liberties and national security, and if Paul helps spark that conversation, I’d be delighted. But I’ll be eager to know just how much yesterday’s spectacle changed minds and how much of it was about putting on a show.

Full post here

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Will Femia (Maddow Blog): While Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s remarks during oral arguments in the Voting Rights Act case left some of us scratching our heads about where he came up with the “perpetuation of racial entitlement” argument, Chad Flanders, an assistant professor of law at Saint Louis University School of Law, has an idea, tracing the phrase to a 1979 paper by then-professor Scalia…..

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ThinkProgress: Meet 34 Corporations That Help Inflate The NRA’s Membership

….. A recent NRA promotion invited people to join at a discounted $25 rate. In addition to receiving an official membership card, a subscription to an association magazine, and free gun insurance, new members received a $25 gift card for Bass Pro Shops, making the membership essentially free.

In addition to those incentives, members of the NRA and its business alliance receive a bevy of other discounts courtesy of the Association’s corporate affiliates. National and local companies provide discounts on everything from car rentals to identity theft protection. The companies get listed on the NRA’s site as corporate partners and can promote themselves as “NRA endorsed.” And, in some cases, the NRA gets a percentage of the profits.

Among the companies are….

See here

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ThinkProgress: As the 10th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq approaches, the body charged with overseeing Iraq’s reconstruction has issued its final report, capping a tale of spending far too much money for very little results.

Appointed in Oct. 2004, over a year into War in Iraq, the Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) was charged with being a watchdog over the use of funds provided for rebuilding the Iraqi state after the downfall of Saddam Hussein. Those reconstruction and stabilization efforts wound up costing nearly $60 billion — or about $15 million per day — with up to $10 billion of that amount wasted, according to SIGIR Stuart Bowen.

The examples provided of fraud and abuse of the system are staggering both in number and nature….

More here

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MooOOOooOOOoooorning!

06
Mar
13

Gabby Giffords: “Fight, fight, fight.”

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AP: Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to the scene of the horrific shooting that wounded her and killed six people two years ago, urging senators Wednesday to pass background checks for gun purchases in her first public event at the site since the rampage.

Giffords, who is still recovering from her injuries, spoke fewer than 20 words in the parking lot of the Safeway grocery store in her hometown of Tucson in a brief but emotional call for stricter gun control measures.

“Be bold. Be courageous,” Giffords said. “Please support background checks.”

More here

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Gabrielle Giffords listens to a speaker Wednesday as an emotional husband Mark Kelly hugs her during a return to the site of a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that left her critically wounded

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19
Feb
13

They Deserve A Vote …..The Time Is Now

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11
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago: A child reaches out to First Lady Michelle Obama prior to a Faith and Community Groups Leading the Way event at Northland, A Church Distributed, in Longwood, Fla., Feb. 11, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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Today:

12:30: VP Biden holds a roundtable discussion on gun safety with law enforcement officials in Philadelphia

1:45: President Obama will present Clint Romesha with the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony

2:0: Senate lawmakers will debate and vote on re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act

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On Thursday at 4:30 ET: “Fireside Hangout” with President Obama

See more here

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23 years ago today, Nelson Mandela was released from prison having been locked up for 27 years by a racist state

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NYT: President Obama will use his State of the Union speech to reinvigorate one of his signature national security objectives – drastically reducing nuclear arsenals around the world – after securing agreement in recent months with the United States military that the American nuclear force can be cut in size by roughly a third.

…… White House officials are looking at a cut that would take the arsenal of deployed weapons to just above 1,000. Currently there are about 1,700, and the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia that passed the Senate at the end of 2009 calls for a limit of roughly 1,550 by 2018.

But Mr. Obama, according to an official who was involved in the deliberations, “believes that we can make pretty radical reductions – and save a lot of money – without compromising American security in the second term. And the Joint Chiefs have signed off on that concept.”

More here

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Washington Post: President Obama is considering a series of new executive actions aimed at working around a recalcitrant Congress, including policies that could allow struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages, provide new protections for gays and lesbians, make buildings more energy-efficient and toughen regulations for coal-fired power plants, according to people outside the White House involved in discussions on the issues.

More here

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TPM: The Senate is poised to pass the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization early this week, with a final vote expected Monday afternoon or Tuesday.

…. Despite the unusually large Senate consensus, there has been no perceptible movement among House Republican leaders since they passed a scaled-back version of VAWA on a party-line vote last year, rejecting the Senate legislation.

In an exchange on the floor Wednesday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) needled Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on VAWA….. Cantor responded that it’s a “priority” for Republicans to “move and act on this bill”….

…. By the end of the week, House Republican leaders had no progress to speak of. “Silence,” said a senior House Democratic aide.

More here

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NYT Editorial: If you’d like to know why Republicans are trying to shut down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, take a look at three things the agency has already accomplished in its first 18 months:

* It called a halt to predatory practices by mortgage lenders, ensuring that borrowers are not saddled with loans they can’t afford and preventing brokers from earning higher commissions for higher interest rates.

* It won an $85 million settlement from American Express, which it accused of deceptive and discriminatory marketing and billing practices.

* It opened an investigation into questionable marketing practices by banks and credit card companies on college campuses, which often take place after undisclosed financial arrangements are made with universities….

More here

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Paul Krugman: Last week Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, gave what his office told us would be a major policy speech. And we should be grateful for the heads-up about the speech’s majorness. Otherwise, a read of the speech might have suggested that he was offering nothing more than a meager, warmed-over selection of stale ideas.

To be sure, Mr. Cantor tried to sound interested in serious policy discussion. But he didn’t succeed – and that was no accident. For these days his party dislikes the whole idea of applying critical thinking and evidence to policy questions. And no, that’s not a caricature: Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

More here

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NYT: (Missoula, Mont) This funky college town …. has long been a liberal pocket, an isolated speck of blue in a deeply red state. Now Montana is electing more politicians who lean that way, thanks to a different-minded generation of young voters animated by the recession and social issues.

…. these students, and dozens of other young people interviewed here last week, give voice to a trend that is surprising pollsters and jangling the nerves of Republicans. On a central philosophical question of the day – the size and scope of the federal government – a clear majority of young people embraces President Obama’s notion that it can be a constructive force….

…. Here in Montana, a state that backed John McCain in 2008 and Mr. Romney last year, voters under 30 have helped elect two Democratic senators and a new Democratic governor. Nationally, young voters have since 2004 been casting their ballots for Democrats by far wider margins than previous young generations – a shift that could reshape American politics for decades.

More here

Later in the article, the GOP response to young voters in Montanta helping elect Gov Steve Bullock and re-elect Sen Jon Tester (“Both times, polls stayed open hours past their official closing time to accommodate huge lines of students. Both times, Forward Montana ran huge voter registration drives”)?

They are “now trying to undo a Montana law that permits voters to register on Election Day”.

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ThinkProgress: Cleopatra Pendleton, mother of slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton, will be Michelle Obama’s guest at the State of the Union on Tuesday.

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Share the ad through Americans for Responsible Solutions

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NYT: Gabrielle Giffords looked slightly stricken as she considered the question: Would she feel bad about starring in a political advertisement against her former House colleagues who declined to stand with her on guns? “Yes,” she said, it would be painful.

“Sometimes you have to do things that are hard,” said Mark E. Kelly, Ms. Giffords’s husband, as she tucked herself close to him on their couch. Ms. Giffords nodded, as she often does when Mr. Kelly — as he often does — intuits the many thoughts she is still unable to express fully. “Really hard,” she added.

Ms. Giffords, a former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona, a gun owner, an astronaut’s wife, a shooting survivor and an incipient gun-control advocate, is settling into the third act of her public life.

More here

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@BarackObama

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ThinkProgress: The NRA is a big spender when it comes to lobbying and campaigns. ThinkProgress investigated the NRA’s contributions to Members of Congress and — lo and behold — the most heavily NRA-backed congressman are leading the charge against new gun violence prevention measures.

See here

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De naaaaaaaaa:

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MoooOOOooOOOoorning!

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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