Posts Tagged ‘growth

30
Jul
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama waves as he boards Air Force One at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, N.Y., July 30, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern)

11:0: First Lady delivers remarks at the Young African Leaders Summit (link)

12:05: The President delivers remarks on the economy, Uptown Theatre, Kansas City

2:15: Departs Kansas City

4:40: Arrives White House

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The Week Ahead

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Steve Benen: U.S. economy bounces back in a big way

By any measure, the U.S. economy was unusually weak in the first quarter of the year (January through March), though most in the economic, financial, and political sectors were untroubled by the data. Indeed, for most, the winter drop was something of a fluke, caused by unusually harsh weather conditions and an unexpected drop in health spending.

Still, the first-quarter report made the second-quarter data all the more important. Would the economy bounce back? This morning, we received an answer – and for those rooting for economic success, the results were even better than expected.

…. today’s report showing 4% growth is terrific and reinforces the perception of an economy picking up speed.

More here

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Bloomberg: Economy in U.S. Grows More Than Forecast

Gains in consumer spending and business investment helped the U.S. economy rebound more than forecast in the second quarter following a slump in the prior three months that was smaller than previously estimated.

Gross domestic product rose at a 4 percent annualized rate after shrinking 2.1 percent from January through March, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 80 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 3 percent advance. Consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, rose 2.5 percent, reflecting the biggest gain in purchases of durable goods such as autos in almost five years.

More here

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New Republic: McDonald’s Workers Were Just Handed a Huge Victory by the Obama Administration

The news for America’s low-wage workers has been pretty bleak these past, oh, 30 or 40 years or so. Their pay has stagnated and their bargaining power has atrophied, even as their corporate overlords have seen their own profits and compensation soar. But there are signs of a brightening underway, and the latest one arrived Tuesday in the form of a possibly consequential finding against one of the most iconic low-wage employers of all, McDonald’s.

The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, Richard Griffin Jr., ruled that he would include McDonald’s as a “joint employer” in the 43 unfair labor practice complaints filed by McDonald’s workers over the past 20 months that Griffin deemed had merit (the complaints mostly involve retaliation against workers who engaged in organizing efforts). In the past, McDonald’s and other big fast-food chains have avoided responsibility in such cases, on the premise that their thousands of franchisees are the real employers, not the corporate giant in whose name they operate….

More here

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NYT: What Debate? Economists Agree the Stimulus Lifted the Economy

Here’s a simple case study making the point that our political debates about economics have become largely unhinged from those among actual economists. Take the Obama stimulus plan, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. If you took your cues from the political rhetoric in Washington — or even from the occasional virulent debate in the economics blogosphere — you would think the whole question of fiscal stimulus is highly contested.

But it’s not. There’s widespread agreement among economists that the stimulus act has helped boost the economy.

More here

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Roger Cohen (NYT): Zionism and Its Discontents

…. I am a Zionist because the story of my forebears convinces me that Jews needed the homeland voted into existence by United Nations Resolution 181 of 1947, calling for the establishment of two states — one Jewish, one Arab — in Mandate Palestine…

What I cannot accept, however, is the perversion of Zionism that has seen the inexorable growth of a Messianic Israeli nationalism claiming all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River; that has, for almost a half-century now, produced the systematic oppression of another people in the West Bank … that blockades Gaza with 1.8 million people locked in its prison and is then surprised by the periodic eruptions of the inmates; and that responds disproportionately to attack in a way that kills hundreds of children.

…. Hamas is vile. I would happily see it destroyed. But Hamas is also the product of a situation that Israel has reinforced rather than sought to resolve.

This corrosive Israeli exercise in the control of another people, breeding the contempt of the powerful for the oppressed, is a betrayal of the Zionism in which I still believe.

Full article here

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Charles Pierce: All There Is To Do

…. the president announced that new and harsher sanctions would be placed on Russia. The European Union finally came around and joined him, which means, I guess, that knocking a civilian airliner out of the sky is what gets the EU’s attention.

…. the president was right in knocking down the notion that this represents a new Cold War.

First of all, there’s no Russian bloc this time. There’s just Vladimir Putin, who is a Russian nationalist and an autocrat, but not a Tsar or a General Secretary, who fights his proxy wars on his own borders, and not around the world. And, like any autocrat, he is theoretically most vulnerable to other autocrats, either individually or in combination.

Like any nationalist, he is most vulnerable to pragmatists who like to hold onto the lifestyles the country has provided them. As nearly as I can tell, beyond a desire to re-establish Russia as a world power, and to establish himself as a world leader, Putin’s not motivated by any ideology that isn’t vulnerable to financial pressure.

Full post here

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Steve Benen: Parties, presidents, and economic power

Derek Thompson highlighted an interesting economic trend that Republicans very likely find discouraging: “In the 70 years, the U.S. economy has been better, across many metrics, when a Democrat has been the president.” In particular, Thompson noted a “fantastically interesting” paper from Princeton professors Alan Blinder and Mark Watson, who reported that from 1947 to 2013, in literally every category, Democratic presidents outperformed Republican presidents.

…. it’s a democracy and partisan bragging rights matter, too. Why Democrats don’t run around boasting about reports like these is a mystery to me – if Republicans had a talking point like this at their disposal, I suspect we’d never hear the end of it.

Full post here

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ThinkProgress: Obama To Issue Series Of Executive Actions Tackling Methane Leaks From Pipelines

President Obama will announce a series of executive actions on Tuesday designed to tackle the increasing problem of methane leaks from natural gas pipelines, which are significantly contributing to global warming, according to a White House press call.

White House Director of Energy and Climate Change Dan Utech told reporters on Monday that the actions would be part of President Obama’s strategy to cut methane emissions, a key directive under his Climate Action Plan announced last summer. Under the plan, Obama vowed to combat climate change despite inaction from Congress by using his executive powers to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

More here

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Crooks and Liars: A Professor’s Amazing Idea On Dealing With Open Carry Activists

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DPCC: Despite Speaker’s Claims to the Contrary, Dozens of Republicans Irresponsibly Float Impeachment

HOUSE SPEAKER BOEHNER SAYS REPUBLICAN TALK OF IMPEACHMENT IS “ALL A SCAM”

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH): “This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president’s own staff and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Why? Because they are trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year’s election,” Boehner told reporters Tuesday morning. “We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans.” [Washington Post, 7/29/14]

…BUT RECKLESS COMMENTS MADE BY HIS OWN PARTY PROVE OTHERWISE

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK):  Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview Thursday with “The Rusty Humphries Show” that impeachment would become an issue soon over the “greatest cover-up in American history.” “People may be starting to use the I-word before too long,” Inhofe said. “The I-word meaning impeachment?” Humphries asked. “Yeah,” Inhofe responded. [The Hill, 5/10/13]

More here

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ThinkProgress: Appeals Court Saves Mississippi’s Only Abortion Clinic

On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a law that would have closed down Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, invalidating a 2012 measure requiring abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals. The state’s only two abortion providers fly in from out of state to serve patients and were repeatedly denied partnerships with local hospitals.

The three-judge panel ruled that since the U.S. Supreme Court established a constitutional right to abortion, “Mississippi may not shift its obligation for established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state,” the Associated Press reports.

More here

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I’m still laughing at SheriffFruitfly’s caption for this @petesouza gem:

“Dad behind him thinking “wtf the boy never listens to me like that”

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On This Day

Sen. Obama speaks at a campaign stop, July 30, 2008, in Union, Missouri

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

08
Jul
14

President Barack Obama: Doing So Much Good For The Country

Obama New Yorker

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Keith Boykin: Why Obama May Be The Best President Since WWII

I woke up this morning to a disturbingly silly headline. President Obama is the worst president since World War II, according to a plurality of voters in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. When you look beneath the numbers, it’s not what it looks like. Only about 33 percent of those polled called Obama the worst president, but that number roughly mirrors the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Republicans, a group which has tried to sabotage, block, sue and impeach the president in recent years. So for the moment, forget what the polls say. The facts tell the real story of the Obama presidency, and the facts are damn good, especially compared to his predecessor. Under President Obama, the unemployment rate has fallen from 10 percent in 2009 to 6.3 percent today. Under George W. Bush, on the other hand, the unemployment rate rose from 4.2 percent to 7.8 percent. Under President Obama, the U.S. economy is gaining 200,000 jobs a month.

When Bush left office, however, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. Under President Obama, at least 24 million people have gotten health insurance. The rate of uninsured has declined from 18 percent to 13.4 percent and the rate for Blacks has dropped dramatically from 20.9 percent to 14.7 percent. And despite all the exaggerated GOP claims that Obamacare would be a “job killer,” we’ve actually added more than 9 million new private sector jobs since the president signed the law. Under President Obama, businesses are also booming again. In the first few weeks of his presidency, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was sitting at 6547. Today it’s close to 17,000, a 10,000 point increase in five years!

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And corporate profits hit an all-time record high just last year. President Obama ended the war in Iraq, drew down troops in Afghanistan, captured Osama Bin Laden, averted a second depression, helped to rescue the financial sector, stabilized home prices and saved more than a million jobs in the auto industry. At the same time, he enacted the most sweeping health care reform legislation in 50 years, something Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton couldn’t do, and which Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes never wanted to do. as a student of history, as an unapologetic liberal, as an African-American, as a gay man, as a supporter of equal rights for women and as someone who knows what it’s like to lose a job and live without health insurance, I’d say President Obama has done more good for this country than any president before him.

More here

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24
Jun
14

President Obama’s America

markit_june2014_manufacturing_output_employment

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Supply Chain 24/7: US Manufacturing Increases At Fastest Rate In 4 Years

June data pointed to a robust and accelerated improvement in the performance of the U.S. manufacturing sector. At 57.5 in June, up from 56.4, the seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™)1 indicated the strongest upturn in overall business conditions since May 2010. The latest rise in the headline PMI was driven by the fastest output and new orders growth for just over four years. Manufacturing output growth picked up for the third month running to its strongest since April 2010.

Moreover, the average pace of expansion in Q2 was the steepest for any quarter since the survey began in early-2007. Survey respondents generally attributed rising production volumes to improving domestic economic conditions, increased client confidence and a strong pipeline of outstanding work. In line with the trend for output, total new business volumes increased at a sharp and accelerated pace during June.

More here

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21
Dec
13

Rise and Shine

The Obamas arrive in Hawaii

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The Week Ahead:

Sun, sea, sand and sleep, hopefully.

The First Family is scheduled to return on Jan. 5 to Washington, D.C., according to the White House. There are no public events scheduled for their stay in Hawaii.

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Steve Benen: ACA enrollment ‘surging’ in December

The Obama administration has long hoped that Affordable Care Act enrollment would follow a predictable trajectory: the totals would start slow, then pick up steam as the website improves and deadlines draw closer.At this point, the model is proving to be pretty accurate:

States running their own Obamacare insurance exchanges are reporting a significant surge in sign-ups just four days before the first major enrollment deadline. The increase has ranged from 30 percent to 40 percent in the past few weeks….

New York is enrolling about 4,500 people a day. In California, it’s 15,000 a day. In Kentucky, which has become something of a national model for implementation, enrollment totals are up 40% since Thanksgiving.

….. It would appear far-right calls for Americans to stay uninsured on purpose, just to satisfy conservative ideological goals, aren’t going over especially well.

Full post here

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LA Times: Another day, another leak from Issa, another credulous news report

The sun has risen in the East, so there must be a news report somewhere quoting a partial transcript leaked by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) purporting to show the shortcomings of Obamacare.

Bingo! We have not one but two “investigative” news reports, from CBS and ABC, based on the same partial transcript. And both, consequently, have the same level of credibility: none. CBS News even offers a dividend — a thoroughly dishonest and discreditable interview with Issa himself…..

More here

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@WhiteHouse: Reflecting in the Oval

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ThinkProgress: Nearly Four Million Low-Income Americans Now Have Health Coverage Under Obamacare

About 1.7 million poor Americans looking for health coverage were deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in November, according to new government data released on Friday. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also revised previous estimates that about 1.5 million people qualified for Medicaid or CHIP in October up to 2.1 million. All told, that means that just under four million low-income Americans now have access to public health insurance.

More here

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President Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Press Briefing Room of the White House, Dec. 20, 2013 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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Steve Benen: Economic growth picks up steam

When the initial estimates for economic growth in the third quarter – covering July, August, and September – were released in early November, the figures exceeded expectations. Now that the totals have been revised twice, the GDP numbers turned out to be much better than than originally thought:

The U.S. economy expanded at a 4.1% annual clip in the third quarter, the strongest performance in two years … The Commerce Department previously reported that gross domestic product had risen at a 3.6% annual rate. Consumer spending rose 2% instead of 1.4% as previously reported….

To put this number in a slightly larger context, note that 4.1% quarterly growth is the second strongest growth we’ve seen since the start of the Great Recession nearly six years ago. What’s more, this is only the third time in the last nine years that the GDP has topped 4%.

Full post here

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The People’s View: How Has Barack Obama Disappointed YOU in 2013? – Outrage From A Parallel Reality

On Wednesday, NPR’s Liz Halloran told us how Barack Obama has disappointed liberals in 2013, how this was the year of disappointing the liberal base. Immediately, her comment section filled with Lefties panting and falling over themselves to declare how correct she is. And really, when hasn’t he, if you ask whoever this ever illusive “liberal base” is. So disappointing. How disappointing has Obama been to his liberal base? Oh, let me count the ways.

…. I implore you, liberals. Stick to your gut feelings. Stick to truthiness. Even if a preponderance of the evidence points to 2013 being a remarkably liberal year for President Obama and his administration, stick your head in the sand and yell about the NSA and drones. You don’t need evidence, facts, or data. All you need is a conservative columnist yanking your chain so you can lose your sh*t.

Full post here

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Steve Benen: Giving new meaning to ‘Do-Nothing’ Congress

If all goes according to plan, the Senate should wrap up its work for 2013 today and join the House on a holiday break. For his part, President Obama will sign the budget agreement into law before the end of the year, too.

And when he does, that will bring the grand total of bills signed into law in the 113th Congress to … 58…

…. The historic metrics are rather striking: 2013 was the least productive for any Congress since clerks on the Hill started keeping track, and this Congress is on track to pass fewer laws than any modern Congress.

Full post here

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You know, BuzzFeed is beginning to make GOPolitico look fair and balanced – this is hilarious:

ThinkProgress: BuzzFeed Declares Paul Ryan A ‘Champion Of The Poor,’ Offers No Supporting Evidence

If your only recent impressions of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) came from BuzzFeed, you’d be inclined to think that the former vice presidential candidate has made a major shift in policy to start focusing on poverty in the United States. You would be wrong.

On Friday, BuzzFeed ran a glowing profile of Ryan, entitled “Paul Ryan Finds God,” that portrayed him as a man who was inspired by religion and the ascendancy of a new pope to become a caretaker for the nation’s poor. But the piece, similar to another article that ran in the Washington Post last month, offered up no substance to show that Ryan’s policies have changed or that his religious outlook is any different than it was during the 2012 campaign. Rather, it relied on quotes from Paul Ryan’s own supporters — former campaign staffers and members of President George W. Bush’s cabinet — to demonstrate that Ryan has shifted his focus.

More here

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was released from the hospital Friday afternoon, his office announced:

“Senator Reid has been released from the hospital and is back at home with his wife, Landra. As previously stated, he went to the hospital as a precaution,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement. “The doctors diagnosed him as exhausted, not anything more serious, and have cleared him to go back to work. He spent today resting, talking to family, friends and colleagues, reading the news and discussing Senate business. He appreciates the kind words and thoughts sent by so many, thanks the doctors at George Washington University Hospital for the excellent care he received, and wishes everyone a Happy Holidays.”

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ThinkProgress: Ten Women’s Health Heroes Who Inspired Us In 2013

This past year included an overwhelming number of attacks on reproductive health and freedom, including some of the harshest abortion bans this country has seen since Roe v. Wade. However — despite the persistent attempts to silence, shame, and police women and their bodies — there is one positive benefit resulting from the ongoing War on Women. It gave rise to several champions who didn’t back down from fighting for the issues that matter. Here are ten people who inspired us in 2013….

See here

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On This Day:

Snow covers the East Garden at the White House, Dec. 21, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama jokes with Vice President Biden in the Oval Office, Dec. 21, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama rests his foot on the Resolute Desk during a call with British Prime Minister David Cameron in the Oval Office, Dec. 21, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama embraces Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., following a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the Oval Office, Dec. 21, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

The President and Bo ride in the presidential motorcade en route to PetSmart in Alexandria, Va. Dec. 21, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama poses with children outside a Best Buy after doing some Christmas shopping in Alexandria, Va., Dec. 21, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama walks toward the Oval Office with Bo, the Obama family dog, after returning from a Christmas shopping trip, Dec. 21, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!

31
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times Eastern)

10:10: The President meets with the House Democratic Caucus, United States Capitol

11:25: Meets with the Senate Democratic Caucus, United States Capitol

(C-Span have live coverage listed for 11:15, but the meetings are closed so they’ll probably just show statements after)

2:10: President Obama welcomes the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies to honor the team and their 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship

3:0 Congressional leaders join together for a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (C-Span 3)

4:30: The President and VP Biden meet with Secretary of the Treasury Lew

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Steve Benen: Economic growth exceeds expectations

Going into this morning, expectations for economic growth in the second quarter — April, May, and June of this year — were quite poor, making the actual GDP report a little more encouraging.

The U.S. economy grew at a 1.7% annual rate in the second quarter, buoyed by a solid gain in consumer spending and a sharp increase in business investment, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected growth to total 1.0%.

To be sure, 1.7% GDP growth is not, by any fair measure, good news. It tells us the economy is growing, but the recovery is at best sluggish. But given the news we were expecting, 1.7% is a relatively pleasant surprise, especially since the previous quarter’s growth was revised down to 1.1%.

More here

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Bloomberg: Economy in U.S. Expands More Than Forecast on Inventories

The economy in the U.S. grew more than projected in the second quarter, reflecting an unexpected pickup in inventory building as consumer spending cooled. Growth in the previous three months was revised down.

Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, rose at a 1.7 percent annualized rate, after a 1.1 percent gain the prior quarter, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 1 percent advance for last quarter. Consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, climbed 1.8 percent after increasing 2.3 percent.

Job gains and rising home prices are shoring up Americans’ confidence and lifting automobile sales and production, making it likely the U.S. will pick up once government spending cuts and tax increases pose less of a restraint. The report also showed inflation is falling further below the Federal Reserve’s goal….

More here

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Steve Benen: Reality gets in the way of far-right shutdown scheme

As a large group of Republicans push for a government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act, Norm Ornstein offered some compelling context. “You could say it’s a do-nothing Congress but that doesn’t do justice to it,” he said. “These guys are doing something, which is to destroy the economic fabric of the country by holding the functions of government hostage to a non-negotiable demand to eliminate Obamacare.”

That’s plainly true, though Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), arguably the main ringleader of the scheme, apparently believes destroying the economic fabric of the country by holding the functions of government hostage to a non-negotiable demand to eliminate Obamacare is a fine idea. As Sarah Kliff reported, however, there is a flaw in the right-wing premise…..

More here

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Steve Benen: ATF finally poised to move forward with real leadership

Ask conservative opponents of gun reforms what they’d like to see from law enforcement, and you’ll probably get a predictable answer: we should enforce the gun laws we already have, not approve new ones. For the last several years, however, that’s been easier said than done.

Enforcement of existing gun laws generally falls under the purview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which has lacked a permanent, Senate-confirmed leader for the last seven years, thanks to opposition from Republicans and the National Rifle Association, both of which have reflexively balked at the very idea of an ATF chief.

With this in mind, we may be poised for a breakthrough this week….

More here

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ThinkProgress: Texas Lawmakers Are Too Busy Focusing On Abortion Restrictions To Get Anything Else Done

Just over an hour after Texas legislators concluded their second special session — an extra lawmaking session they used to enact sweeping abortion restrictions — Gov. Rick Perry (R) called them back for a third one. An outstanding highway funding bill is the only item on the agenda. “When it comes to transportation, the stakes facing our state could not be higher,” the governor noted in a statement.

Perry cited that same transportation measure as one of the reasons he believed it was necessary to call the first special legislative session at the beginning of June. But instead of focusing on getting that done, the governor demonstrated a different set of priorities — adding a slew of anti-abortion provisions that were unable to advance during the state’s regular session to the docket.

More here

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Bob Cesca: Bradley Manning Lives in a Nation of Laws, and, Hero or Not, He Broke 16 of Those Laws

While fleeing from the law in Hong Kong, Edward Snowden encouraged a return to “the rule of law rather than men.” In spite of his politically incorrect usage of “men” instead of “men and women,” he’s right. Generally speaking, individual citizens shouldn’t be held above the law — least of all a soldier named Pfc. Bradley Manning who stole 720,000 classified documents and handed them over to be be indiscriminately posted for public consumption by Julian Assange’s Wikileaks.

More here

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Two years ago today:

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden shake hands in the Oval Office following a phone call with House Speaker John Boehner securing a bipartisan deal to reduce the nation’s deficit and avoid default, Sunday, July 31, 2011. (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!




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