Statement from the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden:
Yesterday our son Beau underwent a successful procedure. He is in great shape and is going to be discharged tomorrow and heading home to Delaware. He will follow up with his local physicians in the coming weeks.
FACT: In the 250 days since Newtown, more than 7,000 Americans have been killed by gun violence. #WhatWillItTake for Congress to act?
A few months ago, conservative senators felt the need to kill a popular, bipartisan proposal on firearm background checks, and relied primarily on a single talking point: the proposal might lead to a firearm database. The very idea of some kind of national gun registry was so offensive to the right that the legislation had to die at the hands of a Republican filibuster.
It didn’t matter that the bipartisan bill had no such database. It didn’t matter that the bipartisan bill explicitly made the creation of such a registry a felony. All that mattered was that conservatives had a lie they liked, and which they used to great effect.
Four months later, Steve Friess reports that a massive, secret database of gun owners exists after all. But it wasn’t built by the Justice Department or the Department of Homeland Security; it was compiled without gun owners’ consent by the National Rifle Association.
ThinkProgress: The Worst Thing In That Maureen Dowd Column Isn’t Actually Her Misquote Of Bill DeBlasio’s Wife
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is taking a lot of very justified heat for a column about New York City mayoral candidate Bill DeBlasio and his wife Chirlane McCray, in which she appears to have distorted a quotation of McCray’s to imply that McCray is impugning rival Democratic candidate Christine Quinn for being a lesbian.
…. Dowd is now suggesting that a noisy coffee shop obscured her audio recording, and she ended up relying on what turn out to have been bad-quality notes for the quotation….
…. as bad as Dowd’s quoting malpractice is, and as frivolous as the overall column is, these problems aren’t actually the worst part of the column. That would be the way Dowd describes McCray’s sexual orientation, and places it in a context of Sexuality and the New York Mayoral Race….
Completely random old pic (Portsmouth, N.H., Sept. 7, 2012)
Today (all times Eastern)
11:0: President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing
11:45: Meets with senior advisors
12:45: Josh Earnest briefs the press
2:15: President Obama meets with independent financial regulators
A sign along Harding Hill in West Tisbury, Massachusetts, August 18
USA Today: Coming off a week’s vacation, President Obama deals Monday with new rules on the financial system.
Obama holds a closed-door meeting with financial regulators to discuss the impact of new laws, the White House says, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill and the Consumer Protection Act.
The guest list includes the Comptroller of the Currency, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
Also: The chairs of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In a rare occurrence, Vice President Joe Biden will join President Barack Obama in Scranton for the last stop on the president’s two-day bus tour promoting affordable higher education.
…. The president is scheduled to appear Friday at Lackawanna College, a school spokeswoman and the White House confirmed Friday. The school will be the last stop on a tour that takes Mr. Obama on Thursday to the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y., and the State University of New York and Henninger High School in Syracuse. Hours before the Scranton stop, the president will take part in a town hall at Binghamton University.
“At each stop, the president will discuss the importance of ensuring that every American has the opportunity to achieve a quality education by reducing cost and improving the value of higher education for middle-class students and their families,” a White House official said…
ThinkProgress: How Testicular Cancer Convinced A Former Republican Staffer To Leave His Party
Before he could realize the value of affordable health care, one Republican campaign staffer had to experience what it’s like to be without it.
Clint Murphy, who’s been involved with Republican campaigns since the 1990s, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000 when he was 25 years old. Four years and four rounds of chemo treatment later — all of which was covered by insurance — Murphy was in remission. Insurance wasn’t a problem in his subsequent political jobs — he worked on John McCain’s election campaign in 2008 — but when he quit politics in 2010 and entered real estate, he realized just how difficult obtaining insurance with a pre-existing condition could be.
…. That’s why Murphy had this to say to his Republican friends who oppose Obamacare on Facebook last week: “When you say you’re against it, you’re saying that you don’t want people like me to have health insurance.”
Steve Benen: Far-right ‘ready to erupt’ over health care?
President Obama’s weekly addresses tend to be pretty tame, at least as far as political rhetoric goes, but over the weekend his latest weekly message included some fairly pointed language about Republican efforts to sabotage the federal health care system.
Some congressional Republicans, Obama said, are “working hard to confuse people, and making empty promises that they’ll either shut down the health care law, or, if they don’t get their way, they’ll shut down the government…. A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they’ll somehow be sticking it to me. But they’d just be sticking it to you.”
And while the White House pushes against the GOP shutdown threats, far-right activists continue to push in the opposite direction.
Recent political reporting suggests that Republican leaders are in a state of high anxiety, trapped between an angry base that still views Obamacare as the moral equivalent of slavery and the reality that health reform is the law of the land and is going to happen.
But those leaders don’t deserve any sympathy. For one thing, that irrational base is a Frankenstein monster of their own creation. Beyond that, everything I’ve seen indicates that members of the Republican elite still don’t get the basics of health reform — and that this lack of understanding is in the process of turning into a major political liability.
On the unstoppability of Obamacare: We have this system in which Congress passes laws, the president signs them, and then they go into effect. The Affordable Care Act went through this process, and there is no legitimate way for Republicans to stop it.
Reuters: Illinois expands background checks to all gun purchases
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a gun-control measure into law on Sunday that expands background checks to cover all firearms purchases in the state, closing what he said was a loophole that exempted gun sales between private parties.
The new law also requires all gun owners to report any lost or stolen firearms to local police within 72 hours.
“Guns are a plague on too many of our communities,” Quinn, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Making sure guns do not fall into the wrong hands is critical to keeping the people of Illinois safe. This commonsense law will help our law enforcement crack down on crime and make our streets safer.”
The expanded background checks go into effect on January 1, 2014.
Michael Tomasky: Julian Assange Loves Rand Paul and His ‘Very Principled Positions’
Julian Assange, who back when he roamed the earth freely used to do things like show up on the steps of St. Paul’s to protest the wrongs of capitalism, has now apparently placed his faith in the man who is arguably the capitalists’ single biggest lickspittle in Washington, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). In and of itself, this is only mildly interesting. But Assange’s admirers on the left are so seduced by his oppositionalist posture and his desire to stick it to the man (as long as the man is the government of the United States) that they seem willing to follow him off any cliff, maybe even the cliff of voting for Paul in 2016. It’s a jejune politics, and ultimately a politics of leisure. No one whose day-to-day life is materially affected by the question of who is in office has time for such silly games, and therefore, no one who purports to be in solidarity with those people should either.
… these seemingly left-wing anti-establishment types should never be trusted. These are just playtime politics, luxuries for the leisure class. If you want a real left-winger, I say stick with Marx. At least he understood that politics is chiefly about economic relations. Anyone who doesn’t understand that is sending you down blind alleys, knows little about politics to begin with, and should be shunned by anyone who claims to be anywhere on the broad left side of the spectrum.
They carried signs that demanded “Voting Rights,” “Jobs for All” and “Decent Housing.” They protested the vigilante killing of an unarmed black teenager in the South and his killer’s acquittal. They denounced racial profiling in the country’s largest city.
This isn’t 1963 but 2013, when so many of the issues that gave rise to the March on Washington fifty years ago remain unfulfilled or under siege today. That’s why, on August 24, a broad coalition of civil rights organizations, unions, progressive groups and Democratic Party leaders will rally at the Lincoln Memorial and proceed to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the march and dramatize the contemporary fight. (President Obama will participate in a separate event commemorating the official anniversary on August 28.)
The Supreme Court’s decision gutting the Voting Rights Act in late June and the acquittal of George Zimmerman less than three weeks later make this year’s march “exponentially more urgent” with respect to pressuring Congress and arousing the conscience of the nation, says Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, a co-sponsor of the march.
The Vice President and Dr. Biden talk about their visit with children and their military mentors participating in the USO/TAPS Good Grief Campout at Camp Pendleton, a U.S. Marine Corps Base in Southern California. TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) is a national non-profit organization that is made up of, and provides services to, those who have lost a loved one on active duty with the Armed Forces. @TAPS4America
The Vice President speaks about the Supreme Court decision to overturn The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the positive impact it will have across the country and among his own staff.
1985 Vice President Biden, with his son Hunter, and Father Roberto Balducelli in Italy.
10:20 AM: President Obama delivers remarks marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice
6:30 PM: VP Biden and Dr Jill Biden visit with U.S. service members, military families, and Defense Department employees at an event at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii
The Week Ahead:
Monday: The President will welcome the San Francisco Giants to the White House to honor the team and their 2012 World Series Championship
Tuesday: The President will travel to the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to give the first in a series of policy speeches on his better bargain for the middle class. The speech is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Wednesday: The President will welcome NCAA Champion UConn Huskies to honor the team and their 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. Also on Wednesday, he will travel to Capitol Hill for a meeting with Democrats in both chambers
Thursday: The President will host Yemeni President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi at the White House
Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House
The latest state to publish insurance rates under Obamacare is Maryland. The results seem consistent with the pattern we’ve seen so far. When state officials want the law to work, it works pretty well. And Maryland officials want the law to work.
The governor is a prominent Democrat and among Obamacare’s most vocal boosters. The state political establishment supports him. The officials in agencies working on Obamacare — the state Department of Health, the Insurance Administration, and the newly created Health Benefits Exchange — feel the same way. None of this is surprising: Maryland is a strongly blue state. Obama is popular there and, one imagines, so is his health plan.
ABC: How White Are the Reporters Covering Obama? Very, Stats Show
The face of the nation is changing fast, but the White House press corps remains the same.
A new report in The Washington Post details how the news media, and especially the White House press, is disproportionately whiter and less diverse than the country as a whole.
“When the first black president of the United States walked into the White House press room to talk about Trayvon Martin and the complexities of race in America last Friday, the people poised to convey his remarks to the world were overwhelmingly of one race — white….
At a time when one of the most contentious subjects in Washington is immigration reform — an issue of great import to many Hispanics — the people questioning the president on a regular basis are unlikely to be Hispanic themselves,” the Post’s Paul Fahri writes…..
12.4 percent: The proportion of U.S. newspaper journalists who are racial minorities…..
37 percent: The U.S.’s minority population
7: Number of full-time White House correspondents who are African-American or Asian-American, out of 53. That’s 13.2 percent. Figures for other groups weren’t available.
3: Number of African-Americans who have served on the White House Correspondents Association board in its 99-year history.
Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina didn’t like our recent editorial that criticized the state for abandoning its traditions of racial equality, strong public schools, and economic fairness. He wrote a letter to the editor saying he was leading the state to a “powerful comeback.”
That’s demonstrably untrue when it comes to the economy and the schools. But as yesterday’s events in the state capital showed, one thing is making a comeback: an old habit of suppressing the votes of minorities, young people and the poor, all in the hopes of preserving Republican power.
Freed of federal election supervision by the Supreme Court, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill that combines every idea for suppressing voter turnout that Republicans have advanced in other states. Rick Hasen, an election-law expert at the University of California, Irvine, called it “the most sweeping anti-voter law in at least decades.”
…. None of this has anything to do with fraud. Out of 7 million ballots cast in the state in 2012, there were 121 allegations of voter fraud, a rate of .00174 percent….
NBC News: The United States intends to transfer two additional detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Algeria as part of its effort to close the military prison in Cuba, the White House said Friday in a statement.
“We are taking this step in consultation with the Congress, and in a responsible manner that protects our national security,” the statement from White House spokesman Jay Carney read. “We continue to call on Congress to join us in supporting these efforts by lifting the current restrictions that significantly limit our ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo, even those who have been approved for transfer.”
Sy Mukherjee: Starting next Thursday, Wisconsin’s Green Bay region will no longer have an abortion provider. That’s because Ob/Gyn Associates, the sole abortion clinic in the area, was recently sold to a health system which announced on Friday that it will stop offering abortion services on August 1st. And their decision, combined with an anti-abortion bill quietly signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker (R) earlier in July, will force Green Bay women who want or need an abortion to travel over 250 miles round trip to find the closest facility.
Practically speaking, the law would force two of the state’s five clinics — a private clinic in Milwaukee and a Planned Parenthood facility in Appleton — to close down entirely.
Josh Israel: Since Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcementThursday that the Department of Justice would “ask a federal court in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act,” the reaction from Texas Republicans has been furious. But Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who sponsored the 2006 Voting Rights Act re-authorization, backed the move as legally proper.
But Sensenbrenner told The Hill on Thursday that these critics were misrepresenting the facts. “The [Justice] department’s actions are consistent with the Voting Rights Act,” he said, noting that Voting Rights Act still allows challenges to changes that would suppress minority voters.
VP Biden, his wife Jill Biden, their daughter Ashley and son-in-law Dr Howard Krein, walk through the Singapore Botanic Gardens, July 26
VP Biden shakes hands with a diner during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Food Centre in Singapore, July 26
On this day:
July 27, 2012: President Barack Obama hugs a member of the American Legion Boys Nation in the East Wing during their tour of the White House (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
July 27, 2012: U.S. Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova picks up the First Lady during a greet with Team USA Olympic athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
July 27, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama greets former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders, right, and her children, Skye and Spider, following a “Let’s Move! London” event at Winfield House in London, England (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
July 27, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Joshua Wilkins-Waldron during a “Let’s Move! London” event at Winfield House in London (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
National Park Board Chief Executive Hong Yuen Poon presents Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill with the certificate for “Dendrobium Joe and Jill Biden”, the orchid named after the couple at National Orchid Garden in Singapore, July 26