Posts Tagged ‘issa

07
Mar
14

Rise and Shine

President Barack Obama and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon walk along the Colonnade of the White House, March 7, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (All Times Eastern):

11:05: The President and First Lady depart the White House en route Joint Base Andrews

11:20: Depart Joint Base Andrews

1:40: Arrive Homestead, Florida

2:25: The President and First Lady visit a Coral Reef High School classroom

2:40: The President delivers remarks

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Bruce Japsen: Employer Health Cost Increases At 15-Year Low As ObamaCare Comes Into View

U.S. employers this year face their “smallest increases in health care costs in 15 years,” according to a new survey showing the latest evidence of health inflation slowing. The trend comes as employers move to higher deductible health care plans that make workers think twice about choosing expensive tests and procedures, forcing employees to become better health care shoppers. Employers are also installing additional new strategies to encourage wellness activities such as financial incentives to stop smoking.

Most respondents to the survey are “recalibrating their health strategy” with 18 percent having either adopted a new strategy or updated an existing one, the Towers Watson executive summary of the report said. Another 57 percent of respondents are “in process,” the summary added. Two in five respondents cite the Affordable Care Act as the primary driver of their health care strategy.

More here

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TPM: U.S. Employers Add 175K Jobs Despite Harsh Weather

 U.S. hiring improved in February from the previous two months despite a blast of wintry weather, likely renewing hopes that growth will accelerate this year. The Labor Department said Friday that employers added 175,000 jobs last month, up from just 129,000 in January, which was revised up from 113,000. December’s gain was also revised higher. The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low 6.6 percent. More Americans started looking for work but didn’t find jobs. That’s still an encouraging sign because more job hunters suggest that people were more optimistic about their prospects.

Some recent reports hint that the economy will accelerate as the weather warms. The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits fell last week and is at about the same level as before the Great Recession. Applications essentially reflect layoffs. The decline suggests that companies are confident about future growth, because layoffs would rise if employers expected business to weaken. Instead, businesses advertised more jobsonline last month, according to the Conference Board. Online job ads rose 268,100 in February to 5.19 million.

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AP: Cummings Says Issa Apologized And He Accepts

Rep. Elijah Cummings said Thursday night that California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa called him and apologized for refusing to let Cummings speak during an IRS hearing. The Maryland Democrat said he accepted the apology. Issa abruptly adjourned a hearing of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. He instructed committee staff to turn off the microphone of the committee’s top Democrat, Cummings.

“This evening, Chairman Issa telephoned me and apologized for his conduct, and I accepted his apology,” Cummings said in a statement. “My sincere hope is that as we move forward, we will respect the opinions of all members of the committee, we will proceed in a deliberate and considered manner to obtain the facts, we will refrain from making accusations that have no basis in fact, and we will seek resolution rather than unnecessary conflict.”

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Washington Post: Community Lenders’ Network Commits To Lend $1 Billion In Support Of ‘My Brother’s Keeper’

A network of community lenders is committing to lend $1 billion in support of President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative that aims to boost the life chances of young African and Hispanic men. The Opportunity Finance Network, which represents more than 225 community development financial institutions, will pledge Thursday it will expand financing for organizations and initiatives working to help young minority men.

Obama launched the initiative to help young minority men last week, saying this group of Americans are disadvantaged in today’s economy and deserve the nation’s attention. Obama’s solicited $200 million in financial commitments from foundations and companies to introduce programs aimed at keeping young men of color in the classroom and out of the criminal justice system. Mark Pinsky, chief executive of the Opportunity Finance Network, said his group was inspired by Obama’s commitment and decided to make their own.

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Igor Bobic: Sen. Harkin: Senate Would Have Confirmed Obama’s Top Civil Rights Nominee If He Was White

The U.S. Senate would have confirmed President Obama’s top civil rights nominee if he was white, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) suggested on Wednesday. “Here’s the message we sent today,” Harkin said. “You young people listen up. If you are a young white person and you go to work for a law firm … and that law firm assigns you to a pro bono case to defend someone who killed eight people in cold blood … my advice from this, what happened today, is you should do that … Because if you do that, who knows? You might wind up to be the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.

“However, if you are a young black person and you go to work for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund … and you’re asked to sign an appeal for someone convicted of murder, what the message said today is, ‘Don’t do it! Don’t do it.’ Because you know what? If you do that, in keeping with your legal obligations and your profession, you will be denied by the U.S. Senate from being an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice,” Harkin said.

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NBC News: White House Blocks Visas For Some Tied To Ukraine Crisis

The White House, toughening its response to the crisis in Crimea, said Thursday that it has revoked the U.S. visas of Russians and Ukrainians responsible for “threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

It also threatened financial sanctions against people or companies that the United States determines are responsible for undermining the Ukrainian government. A senior administration official said that the number or names of revoked visas would not be made public. The official also said that no people or companies have yet been sanctioned.

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David Edwards: Paul Ryan At CPAC: Free School Lunches Means Poor Parents Don’t Care About Kids

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) asserted on Thursday that liberals did not understand that kids who got free lunches at school did not have parents who cared about them at home. Speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference, the former Republican vice presidential nominee argued that conservatives should let Democrats be the “party of personality,” while “we will be the party of ideas.”

“I’m optimistic about our chances because the left, the left just isn’t out of ideas, they’re out of touch,” he explained. “Take Obamacare — not literally, but figuratively here, okay? We now know that this law will discourage millions of people from working. The left thinks this is a good thing.” Ryan insisted that liberals were only offering people “a full stomach and an empty soul.”

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Thanks to the GOP

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Boston Globe: US Hiring Improved In February

US hiring improved in February from the previous two months despite a blast of wintry weather, likely renewing hopes that growth will accelerate this year. The Labor Department says employers added 175,000 jobs last month, up from just 129,000 in January, which was revised up from 113,000.

The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low 6.6 percent. More Americans started looking for work, but didn’t find jobs. That’s still an encouraging sign because more job hunters suggest that people were more optimistic about their prospects.

More here

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Think Progress: Three More Abortion Clinics Forced To Close In Texas: ‘This Is A State Of Emergency’

Three more reproductive health care facilities in Texas have been forced to permanently close in the wake of a new state law that imposes stringent restrictions on abortion providers. The clinics are located in communities with high rates of poverty and uninsurance, leaving many vulnerable Texas women with no ready access to reproductive services. Two of the shuttered clinics are operated by Whole Woman’s Health, the largest independent abortion provider in Texas. That group used to operate five clinics in the state — but now, that number is shrinking to three. With the closure of another independently owned clinic in Harlingen, the Lone Star State is down to just 19 abortion clinics in the entire state. That’s a dramatic difference from where the reproductive health landscape stood just a few years ago. Back in 2011, there were 44 facilities in Texas that offered abortion care.

New restrictions on abortion providers went into effect at the beginning of November. Now, abortion doctors are required to obtain admitting privileges from a local hospital within 30 miles of their clinic, a medically unnecessary requirement that’s often impossible for doctors to meet. Nonetheless, the doctors who continue to practice without admitting privileges are at risk of getting their medical license suspended. So dozens of clinics — including Whole Women’s Health facility in McAllen — were forced to halt their abortion services in the fall. But that’s not the only burdensome restriction in Texas’ new law. Starting this September, abortion clinics will be required to bring their facilities in line with ambulatory surgical centers — which typically involves making expensive and unnecessary renovations, like widening hallways and installing water fountains.

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Washington Post: Crimea Sets Referendum On Joining Russia

Pro-Russian lawmakers in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea sparked a showdown reminiscent of the Cold War on Thursday, accelerating their bid to leave Ukraine and join Russia in a move that President Obama, the new government in Kiev and European leaders described as provocative and illegal. Lawmakers in the autonomous region voted Thursday to join the Russian Federation and hold a referendum March 16 to validate the decision. The regional parliament, now led by Sergei Aksyonov — a businessman and politician known around Kiev as the “Goblin”

because of his alleged ties to organized crime, said it would nationalize Ukrainian state industries and begin setting up government ministries separate from Ukraine, which Crimea joined in 1954 when the nation was still a satellite of the Soviet Union. In Washington, Obama said the world was “well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders,” as his administration imposed sanctions on Russians and Ukrainians involved in Russia’s military intervention in Crimea. European leaders also sounded alarms, denouncing the referendum plans as unacceptable.

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Damian Paletta: Unemployed Workers Stage Craigslist Fire Sale

Craigslist.org has always represented something of a virtual yard sale, but for many unemployed Americans it’s become something of a fire sale. You name it, they are selling it. Someone in Springfield, Ore., is selling a men’s watch for $100. “Unemployment is running out need money will sell for $100.00. Call before 8pm and after 8amplease be respectful. We can meet anywhere in public.”

And they are asking for it. Another worker in Kissimmee, Fla., whose post says lost benefits when Congress didn’t extend jobless payments Dec. 28, is asking for dog and cat food. “My dogs & cats are not picky,” the person wrote. Washington is wrangling with whether to extend long-term unemployment benefits, which ran out in North Carolina in July and in the other 49 states in late December as discussed in Monday’s Outlook column. But the financial pressures facing many Americans are much more complex than the Washington debate.

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White House: Readout of President Obama’s call with President Putin of Russia

President Obama spoke for an hour this afternoon with President Putin of Russia. President Obama emphasized that Russia’s actions are in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which has led us to take several steps in response, in coordination with our European partners. President Obama indicated that there is a way to resolve the situation diplomatically, which addresses the interests of Russia, the people of Ukraine, and the international community. As a part of that resolution, the governments of Ukraine and Russia would hold direct talks, facilitated by the international community; international monitors could ensure that the rights of all Ukrainians are protected, including ethnic Russians; Russian forces would return to their bases; and the international community would work together to support the Ukrainian people as they prepare for elections in May. President Obama indicated that Secretary Kerry would continue discussions with Foreign Minister Lavrov, the government of  Ukraine, and other international partners in the days to come to advance those objectives.

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James West: What The Ukraine Crisis Means For The Energy Industry

1. The United States is rushing to push more gas onto the market to undercut Putin’s power. Russia’s presence in Ukraine is prompting calls, especially among congressional Republicans, to loosen export restrictions on US natural gas in the hopes of diminishing Russia’s ability to use gas as a diplomatic weapon, like it did in 2006 and 2009. With America’s newfound dominance in gas production (in 2013, the United States surpassed Russia to become the biggest producer of oil and gas, thanks in part to fracking) comes greater power in energy diplomacy.

2. Russia isn’t as powerful as you might think. But for all the Russian posturing, and the canceled energy deal, Ukraine—and Europe more broadly—does have some leverage over Russia to prevent the situation from deteriorating further, says Edward Chow, an energy and security analyst at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). “Interestingly, the gas pipelines, as well as critically important gas storage facilities, all go through Western Ukraine,” he says. “Until Russians build additional bypass pipelines…they are still highly dependent on Ukraine to transit gas exports to Europe.”

The United States and European Union are making energy reform central to their aid packages. Bill Gibbons, a spokesman for the US Energy Department, said on Tuesday that the Obama administration is directing part of the $1 billion loan guarantee that John Kerry delivered to Kiev this week to “energy security, energy efficiency and energy sector reform.” The European Union’s $15 billion package is also aimed, in part, at modernizing Ukraine’s gas transit system. With patrons of this much-needed aid linking their help to energy reform, there might well be a bigger chance of success, says Chow. “If you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it?” he asks. “Because Russia is not going to be interested in helping individuals from the new [Ukrainian] government extract rent like the previous government unless they can cooperate on other fronts. So this is quite a good opportunity to clean things up.”

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Market Watch: Why Job Hunters Should Cheer The End Of The Winter

The bad weather has done more than give people a case of cabin fever — it’s kept them out of work, which means there’s another reason to cheer for warmer days ahead. While some economists argue that consumer spending and hiring are down for reasons beyond Mother Nature’s control, it’s clear the below-average temperatures have had an impact. For instance, there were 142,000 jobs added to private payrolls in January, about 46,000 jobs short of the four-month average, says Michael Montgomery, a U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight. Some of those jobs were likely held back because of the weather, says Montgomery, adding they may push that hiring to the coming months as the weather gets back to normal.

“Because February stunk too, the makeup is deferred until March or later,” he says. Hiring also tends to pick up in the spring and summer anyway because more people are likely to shop, go out to eat and travel more often when the weather is nice, says Mark Hamrick, the Washington bureau chief for Bankrate.com. Those habits lead to higher demand for workers in the retail and tourism industries, he says. More homeowners also look for help with landscaping and painting the house after the weather warms up, adds Montgomery.

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On This Day:

Sen. Barack Obama at a campaign rally Friday March 7, 2008 in Laramie, Wyoming (Photo by Ken Driese)

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President Obama, Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia, and members of the Australian and American delegations look up at the presidential seal in the Oval Office ceiling following their bilateral meeting, March 7, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama practices passing a football with Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia in the Oval Office, March 7, 2011. Under Australian Football League rules, a player must hold the ball in front of them and punch it with a clenched fist in order to conduct a legal pass to another player (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama greets Davis Marsico, 6, and other supporters upon his arrival at Charlotte Douglas International airport, March 7, 2012

People line the motorcade route as President Obama makes his way to the Mount Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant in Charlotte, N.C, March 7, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama gives a thumbs up after signing the Violence Against Women Act as he is joined by Vice President Joe Biden and members of women’s organizations, law enforcement officials, tribal leaders, survivors, advocates and members of Congress, at the Interior Department on March 7, 2013. The law strengthens the criminal justice system’s response to crimes against women, including domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking

09
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Barack Obama reads in the Rose Garden of the White House, Nov. 9, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Week Ahead:

Today: President Obama departs Miami (3:25 EDT), arrives at the White House (5:55 EDT)

Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled

Monday: The President and First Lady host a breakfast for veterans from across the country. Later in the morning, the President will travel to Arlington National Cemetery where he will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony and deliver remarks there

Tuesday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

Wednesday: The President will address the 2013 Tribal Nations Conference

Thursday: The President will travel to Philadelphia where he will participate in a campaign event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

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@sdtilock

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WH.gov: The Affordable Care Act: Making A Difference In Our Neighborhoods

Community Health Centers enable people to receive health care in the neighborhoods where they live so they can get high-quality care close to home. That’s why the Affordable Care Act builds on this model of care, by making critical investments in new facilities, doctors, nurses, and staff. This week, HHS announced new primary care sites in 236 communities for 1.25 million additional patients, made possible by the Affordable Care Act. These investments will make an enormous difference in people’s lives by increasing access to the care they need, where they need it.

As you can see from the media coverage in states around the country, these types of primary care investments are critical for families who need care. Here’s just a sample of the coverage:

AZ – Arizona Daily Star: New U.S. grant to pay for Sierra Vista community health care A new community health clinic will be operating in Sierra Vista by February, due to an unexpected federal grant of nearly $1 million. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday that $150 million in Affordable Care Act funds will be going to 236 health programs in 43 states. LINK

CA – Recordnet.com: Grants awarded for health center The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday awarded a $691,667 grant to Community Medical Centers Inc. to help it establish a new health center service delivery site. LINK

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Steve Benen: Mental Health Parity

That this health care breakthrough is a long time coming doesn’t detract from its significance:

The Obama administration on Friday will complete a generation-long effort to require insurers to cover care for mental health and addiction just like physical illnesses when it issues long-awaited regulations defining parity in benefits and treatment.

The rules, which will apply to almost all forms of insurance, will have far-reaching consequences for many Americans. In the White House, the regulations are also seen as critical to President Obama’s program for curbing gun violence by addressing an issue on which there is bipartisan agreement: Making treatment more available to those with mental illness could reduce killings, including mass murders.

…. It’s easy to grow weary with unprecedented obstructionism blocking legislation on Capitol Hill, but once in a while, we’re reminded that progress is still possible.

Full post here

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NYT: Cut In Food Stamps Forces Hard Choices On Poor

For many, a $10 or $20 cut in the monthly food budget would be absorbed with little notice. But for millions of poor Americans who rely on food stamps, reductions that began this month present awful choices. Mr. Simmons’s allotment from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called food stamps, has dropped $9. He has already spent the $33 he received for November.

Food stamps are likely to be cut more in the coming years if Congress can agree on a new farm bill, which House and Senate negotiators began tackling this week. The Republican-controlled House has approved cutting as much as $40 billion from the program over 10 years by making it harder to qualify. The Democratic-controlled Senate is suggesting a $4 billion cut by making administrative changes. “We’ll be on our last $3 at the end of the month,” said Rafaela Rivera, 34, a home health aide who earns $10 an hour.

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@I_Karumba

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Media Matters: Former 60 Minutes Producer Mapes: Benghazi Story Aimed At “Obsessed” Right-Wing Audience

Former 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes, who was fired for her role in a controversial 2004 story about President Bush’s service in the Air National Guard, accused CBS News of pandering to a right-wing audience with her former program’s recent Benghazi report, for which the network has been criticized and forced to retract.

“My concern is that the story was done very pointedly to appeal to a more conservative audience’s beliefs about what happened at Benghazi,” Mapes said by telephone from her Texas home. “They appear to have done that story to appeal specifically to a politically conservative audience that is obsessed with Benghazi and believes that Benghazi was much more than a tragedy.”

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Ed Kilgore: Supply Meets Demand On Benghazi

…. the reporter, Lara Logan, has long expressed righteous anger that the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens hasn’t been avenged. So Logan had a personal agenda that nicely merged with her personal interest in getting a big “scoop”.

…. Lara Logan brought the supply and Lindsey Graham brought the demand and a bill of goods were sold. Graham and other Republicans, of course, can now simply argue the dubious report “raised questions,” and that’s all they need for more wallowing in the “story.” An apology from their supplier isn’t enough.

Full post here

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Charles Pierce: My Profession Steps On A Rake

It seems that Senator Aqua Buddha has been shitcanned by the ghost of Sun Myung Moon just in time to get hired by the ghost of Andrew Breitbart. This is a remarkably straight career path into the manure bin for the formerly rising young champion of the brogressive Left, especially those who don’t want to be droned before they score with that cute barista. (Guess what? The champion of human freedom voted against ENDA because liberty!)….

And then there’s 60 Minutes.

Oy. Also, vey.

I held off for a while on this because history tells us that jumping ugly early can have very unfortunate results on stories like this but, Jesus H. Christ on tour with Iron Maiden, does it look like the show screwed the pooch on its big scoop regarding Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! ….

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Business Insider: Here’s The Real Reason People Hate Their Individual Market Health Insurance

Unlike people on Medicare, Medicaid and employer-based insurance, people who buy coverage in the individual market know exactly how much they’re paying for it. A plan that you would only rate “fair” when you have to pay $5,000 for it might merit an “excellent” if its apparent cost to you were only $1,000. Almost all of us should be dissatisfied with our health plans, because the American health care system involves paying twice as much as people in other rich countries do to achieve similar health outcomes.

People love their employer-provided coverage because they have no idea how much it’s costing them. One of the reasons I like the disruptions created by Obamacare, and wish there were more of them, is that many of them involve exposing the true cost of American health care to consumers.

The law requires employers to start reporting the cost of employer-sponsored insurance on W-2 forms, so people know how much of their compensation is eaten up by health insurance. Successful health reform should bring that transparency to other parts of the market. That will make the public angry — not because they’re being made worse off, but because they’re finally realizing how bad they’ve had it all along.

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Text of remarks here

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Igor Volsky: Oversight Chairman Accused Of Leaking Misleading Information About Obamacare Implementation

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are accusing Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) of selectively leaking misinformation about HealthCare.gov in an effort to portray administration officials as misleading the public about the implementation of Obamacare. On Thursday, Issa appeared on Fox News and claimed that he had obtained documents proving that contractors working on Healthcare.gov believed that the site could only handle 1,100 users before launch.

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had publicly stated that the administration believed that the site could handle 60,000 concurrent users. But in a letter to Issa, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking member on the Committee, pointed to an interview Issa’s own staff conducted with Henry Chao, the Deputy Information Officer. Chao explained that the 1,000 figure were “the results of a much smaller testing environment” and were not conducted “with final production testing of the system at full capacity.”

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On This Day:

President Obama offers a toast during the state dinner hosted by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Istana Negara State Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 9, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama winks at another guest at the head table as she participates in a state dinner for her husband President Obama at Istana Merdeka

10
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama waves to his family, standing on the Truman balcony of the White House, as he walks from Marine One on the South Lawn after returning to Washington from California, June 9

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Today:

11:30: The President delivers remarks on the Equal Pay Act

1:0: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

2:10 The President makes a personnel announcement (see below)

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News that actually, you know, impacts people’s lives:

USA Today: The auto industry is about to go on a hiring spree as car makers and parts suppliers race to find engineers, technicians and factory workers to build the next generation of vehicles.

The new employees will be part of a larger, busier workforce. From coast to coast, the industry is in top gear. Factories are operating at about 95% of capacity, and many are already running three shifts. As a result, some auto and parts companies are doing something they’ve been reluctant to consider since the recession: Adding floor space and spending millions of dollars on new equipment.

…. The auto industry’s stepped-up hiring will help sustain the nation’s job growth and help fuel consumer spending. On Friday, the government said U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs in May, roughly the monthly average for the past year and a sign of the economy’s resilience.

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Steve Benen: Proponents of comprehensive immigration reform were in need of some good news. Whereas it looked like the “Gang of Eight” bill was on track for 70 votes in the Senate two weeks ago, the prospects deteriorated quickly last week — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) threatened to oppose his own legislation; bipartisan House talks crumbled; senators questioned whether the bill could overcome a GOP filibuster; and a House Republican vote on Dreamers offered a reminder of just how right-wing the caucus is on the issue.

So, are reform hopes slipping away? Not just yet. In fact, the effort got a bit of a boost over the weekend….

Full post here

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TPM: President Barack Obama will announce Monday that he intends to nominate Jason Furman as the new Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, a White House official said.

Obama will make the personnel announcement at 2:10 p.m. ET at the White House. Furman will succeed Alan Krueger, who is stepping down from the post to return to Princeton University in the fall.

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ThinkProgress: Rep. Elijah Cummings pledged to release transcripts of interviews with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials that Republicans insist demonstrate that the agency’s targeting of conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status was directed by the Obama administration.

Cummings made the remarks on CNN’s State of the Union, a week after Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) appeared on the program and insinuated that the White House directed IRS agents to single out tea party and patriot groups for additional scrutiny. Issa has refused to provide evidence that substantiate that claim.

“I wrote Chairman Issa on Thursday and I wrote to him this morning. I want those transcripts to be released,” Cummings said. “I’m willing to come on your show next week with the chairman with the transcripts if he agrees to do that. If he doesn’t, I’ll release them by the end of the week.”

Cummings insisted that the interviews will prove that “the White House was not involved in this,” pointing out that the Cincinnati IRS manager of the screening group, a career veteran at the agency who identified himself as Republican, told investigators that Washington did not direct the targeting….

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Kinda reckon this is all we need to know about Edward Snowden….

…. but soooo many questions, like the ones Goldie Taylor was asking this morning:

Click here to see the rest of the post

03
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

Two years ago: President Obama greets people in Toledo, Ohio, June 3, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

9:40: President Obama delivers opening remarks to the White House Mental Health Conference

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:0: VP Biden delivers closing remarks at the National Conference on Mental Health at the White House

3:30: Sec. of State Kerry Addresses 2013 American Jewish Committee Forum (C-Span)

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Tuesday: The President will host President Sebastián Piñera of Chile at the White House.

Wednesday: The President will welcome the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens to the White House.

Thursday: The President will travel to the Charlotte area as part of his middle-class jobs and opportunity tour.  From there, he’ll travel to San José, California to attend an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He will spend the night in San José.

Friday: The President will travel to Los Angeles to attend an event for the Democratic National Committee. He will then travel to Palm Springs, California to meet with President Xi Jinping of The People’s Republic of China at Sunnylands, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg estate.  He will remain overnight in Palm Springs.

Saturday: The President will wrap up his meetings with the Chinese President and then will return to Washington, D.C.

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White House Live

Washington Post: President Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks Monday on the issue of mental health, raising it in connection with the sweeping gun-control agenda he unveiled earlier this year.

The morning address will open what the White House has dubbed a National Conference on Mental Health, a gathering of advocates, elected officials, faith leaders and others aimed at increasing awareness of mental illness and highlighting ways that the mentally ill can seek help. Actress Glenn Close and Vice President Joe Biden are slated to speak at the event.

During his speech, Obama is expected to announce a series of “summits” coordinated by Veterans Affairs health centers aimed at bolstering mental health services for veterans.

More here

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Sweeeeeeeeeeet:

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Steve Benen: ….. Unlike Issa’s rhetorical jabs, Plouffe’s brush-back pitch at least has the benefit of accuracy …. Issa, the man Republicans have tasked with leading investigations into alleged administration misdeeds, really has spent a fair amount of his adult life as a suspected criminal. This Ryan Lizza piece in the New Yorker from a couple of years ago remains relevant.

“Many politicians have committed indiscretions in earlier years: maybe they had an affair or hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. Issa, it turned out, had, among other things, been indicted for stealing a car, arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and accused by former associates of burning down a building.”

…… It’s not a secret – Issa’s background is the subject of insider jokes and private chatter – but it’s considered impolite to broach the subject publicly.

Which makes Plouffe’s rhetorical shot all the more interesting.

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ThinkProgress: The Medicare Trustees had great news for American seniors on Friday: the program’s solvency has been extended for two full years past what the trustees predicted in 2012.

In their annual report, the trustees wrote that Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund will be fully solvent through 2026. That’s over a decade longer than what the trustees projected back in 2009….

…. The upward projections are likely a consequence of several factors. First, the 10-year revision from 2009 is a direct result of Obamacare. The health law takes $700 billion of excessive and wasteful payments made to private providers that service the Medicare Advantage program and reallocates it to traditional Medicare. Conservatives have made the outlandish claim that this “robs Medicare,” when in fact it does the exact opposite, and Republicans have included the same savings in their own budgets.

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Paul Krugman: Last month the Congressional Budget Office released its much-anticipated projections for debt and deficits, and there were cries of lamentation from the deficit scolds who have had so much influence on our policy discourse. The problem, you see, was that the budget office numbers looked, well, O.K.: deficits are falling fast, and the ratio of debt to gross domestic product is projected to remain roughly stable over the next decade. Obviously it would be nice, eventually, to actually reduce debt. But if you’ve built your career around proclamations of imminent fiscal doom, this definitely wasn’t the report you wanted to see.

Still, we can always count on the baby boomers to deliver disaster, can’t we? Doesn’t the rising tide of retirees mean that Social Security and Medicare are doomed unless we radically change those programs now now now?

Maybe not……

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@TuxcedoCat

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Michael Tomasky: Who’s Mark Pryor Kidding? …. Arkansas Democratic Senator Mark Pryor has a new reelection ad up in which he says: “The mayor of New York City is running ADS again me, because I oppose President Obama’s gun-control legislation. … I’m Mark Pryor. And I approve this message because NO ONE from New York or Washington tells ME what to do. I listen to ARKANSAS.”

New poll: 60/31 support for background checks in Arkansas

…. So, Senator: bullfeathers. You’re not listening to Arkansas. You’re listening to the NRA…..

More here

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TPM: A lawmaker who helped negotiate a bipartisan bill to overhaul immigration predicted on Sunday that comprehensive legislation would overwhelmingly pass the Senate by July 4 while House Republicans cautioned that they would write their own version, one piece at a time.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he anticipates as many as 70 of the 100 senators will vote for the measure heading to the full Senate on June 10. Even if it passes there, the proposal faces tough prospects in the Republican-led House, where lawmakers are at work on their own piecemeal approach that could stall a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in this country illegally.

More here

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Star Tribune: We will miss Michele Bachmann

She hid in the bushes to protect us from the gays, launched an inquisition into the government to protect us from the Muslims and promised to break the law to save us from the ­census takers.

But now that Rep. Michele Bachmann is calling it quits, who is left to save our incandescent light bulbs?

No one, that’s who.

….. my favorite Bachmann sleight-of-mouth may have been when she said this: “After the debate that we had last week, PolitiFact came out and said that everything I said was true.”

PolitiFact rated that statement a “pants-on-fire” fib…..

More here

Thank you ‏@FORUS50!

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Woah, am I the last to know about the conditions George Preston Marshall left in his will??

Michael Tomasky: There’s a debate brewing – yet again – about whether the name of Washington’s football team is racist. Of course it is.

When George Preston Marshall died in 1969, he … directed that the bulk of his estate be used to set up a foundation in his name. He attached, however, one firm condition: that the foundation, operating out of Washington, D.C., should not direct a single dollar toward “any purpose which supports or employs the principle of racial integration in any form.” Think about that. This was not 1929 or 1949….

This is the man who gave the Washington Redskins their name. He was one of the most despicable racists in the American sporting arena of the entire 20th century. He thought Redskins was funny, just as he thought the war paint and feather headdress he made the head coach wear were funny. And this is the legacy that current Redskins owner Dan Snyder wants to uphold?

More here

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MoooOOOooorning!!!

Enoooooooooooormous thanks to UT and LovelyPlains for their posts yesterday,

I am so tempted to buy you both this costume to demonstrate your wonderfulness:

Yes, that’s what you are: human Cheesy Puffs.

16
May
13

Rise and Shine

508x595px-LL-40abc8c1_cool-story-bro-obama

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Washington Post: Doing the same thing over and over again — and expecting a different result — is supposed to be the definition of insanity. On Thursday, it is the only thing on the calendar for the House of Representatives.

Since Republicans took over in 2011, the House has voted five times to repeal President Obama’s health-care law. It has also voted 31 other times to repeal individual pieces of the law or to strip away its funding.

Still, on Thursday the House will do it all once more — voting on a new bill to repeal the law. It will pass again. Then it will die in the Senate, again.

More here

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Joy-Ann Reid: Amid the uproar, and calls for investigations, over IRS employees using inappropriate criteria and questions to vet applications for 501(c)4 non-profit status by tea party groups, a few facts are falling through the cracks. Among them: tea party groups weren’t the only ones subjected to unfair scrutiny. And while none of the dozens of tea party groups who complained of bias had their applications denied, in the case of at least one Democratic leaning organization, the IRS said “no” to their request to be declared tax exempt.

More here

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Original jerk tweet.

Much better tweet. :D

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Rachel Maddow on Benghazi: “The president was right and ABC was wrong and ABC should apologize; and I don’t say that lightly”

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Ed Kilgore: Well, it doesn’t get much more official than this: an VandeHei/Allen “Behind the Curtain” column announcing that D.C. (“the town”) is “turning on” Barack Obama, and there will be nothing but venom coming from any direction for the foreseeable future

Too bad, voters, and all those who have an interest in their federal government doing something constructive; Obama has to have his spanking from “D.C. stakeholders,” so enjoy it or look the other way.

What amazes me the most about this column is the forthright announcement that the MSM are going to make explicit common cause with the GOP

More here

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Click here to see the rest of the post

13
May
13

Rise and Shine

(London, May 2011)

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Today:

10:0: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron

11:15: The President and PM Cameron hold a joint press conference

White House live * C-Span

1:55: The President departs the White House

3:05: Arrives New York City

4:30: Delivers remarks at a DNC event (Private Residence)

6:05: Delivers remarks at a DNC event (Private Residence)

8:40: Delivers remarks at a DCCC/DSCC event (The Waldorf Astoria Hotel)

10:0: Departs New York City

11:05: Arrives the White House

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Most ‘amusing’ headline of the morning ….. “may be asked” ….. may? He’ll be asked about nothing else – because, you know, nothing else matters :roll:

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The week ahead:

Tuesday: The President attends meetings at the White House

Wednesday: Delivers remarks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, an annual ceremony honoring law enforcement who were killed in the line of duty in the previous year

Thursday: Welcomes Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey to the White House for meetings and a working dinner

Friday: Travels to Baltimore, Maryland in his second Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour

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ThinkProgress: Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a Republican who was appointed to the position by George W. Bush, told CBS News on Saturday that he would have handled the situation in Benghazi the same way that the Obama administration did last September.

During an interview that aired on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday morning, Gates defended the administration’s reaction to the attacks in Libya and dismissed many of the criticisms leveled by his fellow Republicans as “cartoonish”….

More here – and see Steve Benen too

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Steve Benen: There were several oddities about the House Oversight Committee’s Benghazi hearing last week, but one of the unanswered questions related to Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) choice of witnesses. Yesterday, on “Meet the Press,” this grew even more problematic.

The hearing was supposed to be about the committee getting more answers about the attack, but Issa chose not to invite former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, a veteran diplomat from the Reagan and Bush administrations, who helped oversee the independent investigation into the events in Benghazi. If the goal was to get more information, why not ask Pickering to appear?

More here

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Addicting Info: 10 Examples Of Why The Republican ‘Benghazi’ Talking Point Is Hypocritical

At this point it’s well-established there was no wrongdoing by President Barack Obama or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when it came to the response to the terror strike in Benghazi that Fox News and conservatives around the nation have been trying to use to score political points against the high-profile Democratic leaders.

Unfortunately for Republicans, the fact that they have pushed so hard when there was no “scandal” shows that they were only out to use Benghazi for the political ammunition. Here’s even more proof, with 10 examples of other things that Republicans didn’t seem nearly so upset about or interested in investigating….

More here

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In case you missed it: ‘Republicans raising money off Benghazi effort’ (Washington Post)

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Michael Cohen in The Guardian

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Click here to see the rest of the post

22
Feb
12

rise and shine (and heads up)

White House live

CNN live streaming

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James Fallows (The Atlantic): … but then he gets a chance to sing at the White House tonight, doing Sweet Home Chicago with Mick Jagger and also B.B. King?? Jeesh, talk about being the most powerful man in the world.

…. The guy does have a charm that is hard to imagine the Santorums or Romneys ever matching ….  for extra enjoyment check out the shots of White House chief of staff Jacob Lew bopping in the background. A real hep cat, for sure!

More here

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AP: A surging Rick Santorum is running even with Mitt Romney atop the Republican presidential field, but neither candidate is faring well against President Barack Obama eight months before Americans vote, a new survey shows.

Obama tops 50 percent support when matched against each of the four GOP candidates and holds a significant lead over each of them, according to the Associated Press-GfK poll….

….. Obama holds an 8-point lead over Romney, 9 points over Santorum and 10 points over Gingrich or Paul…. Notably, the survey showed the president dominating among independents, a group central to Obama’s 2008 victory, whose support for him had faltered in recent months. According to the poll, 6 in 10 independents would choose Obama over any of the Republicans.

More here

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MSNBC

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Marquette: President Barack Obama leads each of his Republican rivals in Wisconsin, according to the new Marquette Law School Poll. Obama leads former Senator Rick Santorum 51 percent to 40 percent and leads former governor Mitt Romney by 53 percent to 38 percent. In January, Obama’s lead over Romney was 48 percent to 40 percent. The president holds a 52 percent to 36 percent lead over Rep. Ron Paul and a 56 percent to 33 percent margin over former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

More here

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Esquire

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Charles Pierce: It should be A Very Special Episode, this Wednesday night’s season finale of the 1,329,465,771.5 Republican debates. They should invite the whole cast back, all the people who left the show for their own spinoffs, the way they brought Rhoda and Phyllis back when Mary Richards got fired at WJM. Look, here’s Herman Cain, and there’s Michele Bachmann, and there’s Rick Perry, stumbling and falling into the potato salad. And there’s the formerly invisible Jon Huntsman. Who knew he was so tall?

More here

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The Week

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Chris Matthews video here, Ed Schultz here

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TPM

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Steve Benen: Last week, the House Oversight Committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa, held a one-sided hearing on contraception access, featuring an opening panel of five conservative men – and no one else. Democrats on the committee had invited a witness, Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, but Issa refused to allow her to participate.

House Dems aren’t taking “no” for an answer …. Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that a Democratic panel will meet this week to hear testimony from just one witness: Sandra Fluke….

…. There was, however, an unexpected twist yesterday afternoon … the Republican-controlled Committee on House Administration has refused to allow the hearing to be televised ….. what is it, exactly, about Fluke’s perspective that has Republicans so concerned? The law student wants to share the story of a classmate who lost an ovary due to an ailment that could have been treated with birth control.

Full post here

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Morning everyone ;-)

24
Oct
11

good afternoon

Visit thanksobamacare.org

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Original video at Mediaite – thanks Donna Dem

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Even Mr Bigot himself, Pat Robertson, thinks the GOP is too extreme. Seriously:

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I didn’t actually read Halperin’s lead story about Perry, but I think it refers to his IQ.

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I don’t read HuffyPo any more, but I’m guessing it’s looking something like this these days …..

;-)

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:oops:

GOPolitico: The Michele Bachmann of political reporting.




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