A letter 6-year-old Jack Pinto’s best friend wrote him after Sandy Hook
President Obama signs executive orders on gun violence flanked by 8-year old letter writer Hinna Zeejah (L), 10-year old letter writer Taejah Goode (3rd L), 11-year old letter writer Julia Stokes and 8-year old letter writer Grant Fritz (R)
Julia and Taejah’s letters
President Barack Obama signs letters written by Hinna Zeejah, Grant Fritz, Julia Stokes, and Teja Goode backstage in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium after unveiling new gun control proposals as part of the Administration’s response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and other tragedies, Jan. 16. The children wrote to President Obama in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety. (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama in the Connecticut Post: As a society, our first task must be to care for our children – to shield them from harm and give them the tools they need not only to pursue their dreams, but to help build this country. That is how we will be judged. And in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, it’s clear we have a long way to go.
That’s why, last month, I asked Vice President Biden to lead an effort to come up with concrete steps we can take right now to keep our kids safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. And on Wednesday, I put forward a specific set of proposals based on Joe’s recommendations. Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence – if even one life can be saved – we have an obligation to try.
As President, I’m committed to doing my part. That’s why I signed 23 executive actions giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.
Read the full Op-Ed here
Thank you Zizi
Random old pic – Pete Souza: “Following remarks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the fiscal cliff negotiations, the President greets a couple of OMB workers as he walked back across on West Executive Avenue as he walked back to the West Wing of the White House. He gave them an elbow-bump, because he had just put Purell on his hands.” (Photo by Pete Souza, Dec. 31, 2012)
Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled
Monday: Will participate in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony at the White House
Will spend the rest of the week in Washington, DC and attend meetings at the White House
A word from Bobfr:
Letter sent to PBO and VP Biden ….
Dear Mr President,
300+ million guns in the possession of folk in America is way beyond the proverbial ‘horse has left the barn.’ It would be great to ban anyone other than the military & police organizations from owning semi-automatic weapons, but I think you have a much more pragmatic way of addressing that issue and several other gun violence significant challenges.
You and your legal advisers are way more sophisticated than I ever will be so please forgive if you’ve already considered the following.
1. Focus on the ‘well regulated’ clause of the 2nd Amendment and leverage it to issue and enforce substantial reforms via Executive Order – i.e., use the law of the land to maximum extent rather than rely on new legislation (for all the reasons we know how intractable that path currently is);
2. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as every gun being registered and accounted for at all times;
3. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as each person in possession of a gun is properly trained, certified, licensed, free of any criminal record, & insured for liability for unintended or illegal harm they might cause;
4. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as any person owning more than one gun was properly trained, certified and licensed for EACH gun and that their liability insurance covered EACH gun;
5. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as ensuring that each gun owner had their certification and license to possess every gun they own be renewed on an annual basis;
6. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as an accounting of every round of ammunition (as well as the equipment and components for assembling ammunition) a licensed gun owner purchased with limits set on the frequency of purchase no less stringent than the purchase of ‘Sudafed’;
7. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as any violation of the use of a gun, any conviction for DUI, any conviction for assault of any form, any conviction for use of illegal drugs, and any conviction for any form of violent threat or crime automatically results in confiscation of any gun, ammunition, etc., in possession of the offender.
These pragmatic steps do not infringe on ‘2nd Amendment’ rights. These pragmatic steps do not require anyone to surrender whatever type of gun they have.
These pragmatic steps require any person in possession of one or more guns to prove they are properly trained, licensed and insured – requirements no more onerous than those drivers of automobiles, operators of a vast range of equipment, school bus drivers, etc., must adhere.
All those other activities do not have as their intended consequence killing. Only a gun has that intended consequence.
So, it is merely reasonable that the operator of a gun meet at least as rigorous a set of training, license and insurance responsibilities given that that device has ONLY ONE intended outcome – DEATH.
NYT: President Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week.
Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will propose the changes in one comprehensive bill, the officials said, resisting efforts by some Republicans to break the overhaul into smaller pieces — separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers or highly skilled foreigners — which might be easier for reluctant members of their party to accept.
Full article here
NYT: As lawmakers take to the Sunday shows to express their opinions on President Obama’s cabinet nominations, Colin L. Powell, the retired general and former secretary of state, will join NBC’s “Meet the Press” to voice his support for Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense.
NBC will also feature a roundtable discussion of Washington’s next debates on the debt ceiling and more with Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark and Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor.
:roll: —-> Senator John McCain and Senator Joe Manchin will appear on CBS’s “Face the Nation” to share their views on Mr. Obama’s national security picks…..
Meet the Press: Colin Powell, Cory Booker, Haley Barbour, Mike Murphy, Andrea Mitchell
Face the Nation: John McCain, Joe Manchin, Stanley McChrystal, Antonio Villaraigosa, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, John Dickerson, Amy Walter
This Week: Jack Reed, Bob Corker, Richard Haass, Martha Raddatz, Joe Manchin, Jon Huntsman, Al Hunt, Paul Krugman, Peggy Noonan, David Walker, Judy Woodruff
State of the Union: David Keene, Chris Murphy, Joe Manchin, Jon Huntsman, Elijah Cummings, Marsha Blackburn, Jeff Zeleny, Michael Scherer
10:20: The President departs the White House
11:30: Arrives New York City
12:15: Views storm damage, talks with citizens who are recovering from the storm and thanks first responders who put their lives at risk to protect their communities
2:55: Departs New York City
4:05: Arrives the White House
4:35: Hosts cast and crew members of the film Lincoln for a screening at the White House
All times ET
11:50: President Obama departs Williamsburg, Va.
12:00: VP Biden travels to Penn Valley, Pa., to attend the funeral services for Senator Arlen Specter
12:55: President Obama arrives in New York
2:50: Michelle Obama speaks to grassroots supporters in Chapel Hill, N.C.
9:00: The Debate
11:05: President Obama departs New York
12:15: Arrives at the White House
Greatest website ever:
Thank you Bill!
Washington Post: Romney’s 12-million job promise has garnered a lot of attention. We became interested in this ad after a reader asked whether the campaign had provided much detail on how he would reach this total …
…. the candidate’s personal accounting for this figure in this campaign ad is based on different figures and long-range timelines stretching as long as a decade — which in two cases are based on studies that did not even evaluate Romney’s economic plan. The numbers may still add up to 12 million, but they aren’t the same thing — not by a long shot.
… Clearly, some clever campaign staffer thought it would be nice to match up poll-tested themes such as “energy independence,” “tax reform” and “cracking down on China” with actual job numbers. We just find it puzzling that Romney agreed to personally utter these words without asking more questions about the math behind them.
Read the full article here
Greg Sargent: …. Let’s recap what Kessler has discovered here. The plan that is central to Romney’s candidacy on the most important issue of this election — jobs — is a complete sham. This is every bit as bad — or worse — than Romney’s claim to have created 100,000 jobs at Bain, or his vow to cut spending by eliminating whole agencies without saying which ones, or his refusal to say how he’ll pay for his tax cuts.
This could not have come at a better time for Obama. Here is the evidence he needs to spell out as clearly as possible that Romney is peddling economic hokum to the American people. Any fair reading of the backup the Romney campaign itself supplied for his plan reveals that it is nothing but a bill of goods. Obama needs to seize on this in a big way. This should be a big story.
Oh, and by the way: Economists have evaluated Obama’s jobs plan. And they concluded it would create one to two million jobs. The bottom line is simple: One candidate has a jobs plan, and the other doesn’t.
Ohio State University, Oct 9 (Larry Downing/Reuters)
OFA: Just before stepping on stage in Fairfax, Virginia, President Obama takes a minute to read a thank you letter from Lori, Ian’s mom
You can see video of Michelle Obama’s Loudoun County speech here
1:05 (approx): President Obama delivers remarks at Bowling Green State University, Ohio
Enthusiasm gap? :lol:
5:30: President Obama delivers remarks at Kent State University, Ohio
Email from Jeremy Bird, National Field Director, Obama for America:
If you think your $5 isn’t enough to make a difference in this campaign, take a minute to read the letter below – it’s officially gone viral among campaign staff (with the sender’s permission).
The most powerful thing about making a donation is that you’re joining more than 3 million other Americans who believe ordinary people should decide this election.
It adds up. And it depends on each of us doing our part:
Dear President Obama,
I’m writing to tell you about the $15 my family just donated to your 2012 campaign.
It was $15. That’s really all we could give.
My husband Steve is currently a student at Temple University. Since starting his degree, three years ago, we’ve been living considerably below the poverty level (I keep forgetting which percent … does it matter?). But we aren’t complaining. Two healthy daughters; dusty, well-travelled backpacks in the basement; a house full of memories — a future full of hope. We’re the lucky ones.
So — we’re currently “poor on money — rich in life” (as we like to say). It hasn’t always been like this. My husband spent most of his life doing what he loved — playing or coaching basketball. Born in SE Iowa, he was an Academic All-American and once-upon-two-good-knees-ago, the “local town hero” of his small town — after bringing home the State Championship during high school, followed by NJCAA National Championship years later as a coach. He’s a big a fan of yours by the way … as a player, father and president … not necessarily in that order.
But this really wasn’t supposed to be a letter about him.
It’s about this year’s campaign. It’s about wanting to say that $15 means something these days and deserves a moment of pause (and some words on paper) for this girl and her family of Obama fans.
— $15 is a special pizza dinner at our local pizza stop (Poppi’s in Wynnewood).
— It’s 1 1/2 tickets to see the newest film at the old-school cinema we walk our daughters to.
— It’s getting fresh fruit, instead of frozen; fresh veg, instead of canned.
— It’s tickets to the Franklin Institute in the heart of Philly. (We’ve never been.)
It’s all these things to a family like ours.
I’ve listened with curiosity, mostly frustration, as the nation debates Citizens’ United and the string of new laws that now allow the bellowing voices of private interest to drown out the sounds of tiny voices (like ours/mine). Our pebble-in-the-ocean support feels almost pointless. “Leave the campaigns to the rich,” I think to myself, “Get your daughters a pizza instead.”
But I refuse to allow new laws to stop us/me from being A PART of this campaign. After all, I will never be a “player” (in the political sense), but I still want to believe I can play a part.
Then, out of the blue, there you are — shooting a jumpshot on my (Facebook) wall — and asking for “players” to join you on your home court. I had to smile, and then I couldn’t resist. And so, I have relinquished those $15.
Please know that they count. To us. Please stay in Washington. Do, in this second term, what you were not assisted/supported to do during your first term. Get this country moving/working/hoping again.
Please continue being a champion for the middle class — I’m hoping the next pizza will be on you.
Wishes to your brave wife and beautiful daughters from another brave wife with two beautiful daughters.
All good things,
Sandy & Family, PA
(Thank you BWD)
While you’re waiting….
An Open Letter To Candidate Romney by Sara Zacharias
Dear Mitt Romney:
I saw your video.
I saw you speaking candidly and off the cuff about me. Don’t get me wrong, I know that you didn’t mention me by name or anything, but we both know you were talking about me.
When you were talking about 47% of the population that is never going to vote for you because we are “dependent victims” who lazily live on government programs like food stamps, I can’t help but take personal offense. In fact, once you decided to lump in anybody who is never going to vote for you, you weren’t just talking about me, but many people I love, and about 90% of the people I know.
My children eat because of food stamps, Mr. Romney. Now, sir, I want you to picture a Wyoming cowgirl: a mother, a fighter, a righteous, determined, God-loving woman. A Rocky Mountain Grizzly Bear Mamma that would make Sarah Palin’s makeup-wearing pit bull shudder. Picture me staring you in the eyes as I ask you, “What business have you got talking about me and mine like that?”…..
Read the full letter here
See more at the Booman Tribune
Thank you Japa
President Obama talks on the phone with NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover team aboard Air Force One during a flight to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Aug. 13 (Pete Souza)
Steve Benen: Just this morning, I noted that Mitt Romney publicly gave his word, on camera, that he would “go back and look” to let us know what tax rates he paid over the last decade. The good news is, Romney really did “go back and look,” and elaborated on the findings today.
The bad news is, his answer was horrible:
“…I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. So I paid taxes every single year. Harry Reid’s charge is totally false. I’m sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him. I don’t believe it for a minute, by the way. But every year I’ve paid at least 13 percent and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20 percent.”
Let’s walk through the top five reasons this answer is woefully unacceptable…..
Full post here
David Simon: Can we stand back and pause a short minute to take in the spectacle of a man who wants to be President of The United States, who wants us to seriously regard him as a paragon of the American civic ideal, declaiming proudly and in public that he has paid his taxes at a third of the rate normally associated with gentlemen of his economic benefit.
Am I supposed to congratulate this man? Thank him for his good citizenship? Compliment him for being clever enough to arm himself with enough tax lawyers so that he could legally minimize his obligations?
Thirteen percent. The last time I paid taxes at that rate, I believe I might still have been in college. If not, it was my first couple years as a newspaper reporter. Since then, the paychecks have been just fine, thanks, and I don’t see any reason not to pay at the rate appropriate to my earnings, given that I’m writing the check to the same government that provided the economic environment that allowed for such incomes.
I can’t get over the absurdity of this moment, honestly: Hey, I never paid less than thirteen percent. I swear. And no, you can’t examine my tax returns in any more detail. But I promise you all, my fellow American citizens, I never once slipped to single digits. I’m just not that kind of guy.
This republic is just about over, isn’t it?
ABC: After repeated denials, Paul Ryan has admitted he requested stimulus cash even after sharply criticizing the program.
Ryan had denied doing so as recently as Wednesday, when he spoke to ABC’s Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO, in Ohio.
“I never asked for stimulus,” Mitt Romney’s new running mate said. “I don’t recall… so I really can’t comment on it. I opposed the stimulus because it doesn’t work, it didn’t work.”
Two years ago, during an interview on WBZ’s NewsRadio he was asked by a caller if he “accepted any money” into his district. Ryan said he did not.
…. But as we’ve now learned, Ryan did write letters. He did request stimulus funds.
Charles Pierce: The president is angry. The president is an angry man. The president is black. The president is an angry black man …. That is the four-point plan on “the economy” on which Willard Romney apparently intends to run for president for a while…..
“If you look at the ads that have been described and the divisiveness based on income, age, ethnicity and so-forth, it’s designed to bring a sense of enmity and jealousy and anger and this is not in my view what the American people want to see,” Romney said.
Ethnicity? And so forth…. If he blows that dog-whistle any louder, Seamus may return from that great roof-rack in the sky.
This should surprise absolutely nobody, because, if there’s one thing candidate Romney has demonstrated, it is that he really is quite a remarkable liar…. Asking a Republican presidential candidate to abandon race-baiting entirely is to ask for an awful lot of 13-second Republican stump speeches. Asking Willard Romney to do it is to assume that there is muck so foul that he will not immerse himself in it to be president….
…. There was nothing Romney wouldn’t do in business to make a buck. Why should we be surprised that he campaigns the same way? ….
…. Since you can count on Rafalca’s hooves the number of times in his life that Willard Romney has been in a fair fight, it’s no great shock to discover that, since he can’t fight hard, he’ll fight dirty, because winning is not something you earn. Winning is something you inherit…..
Full post here
McClatchy: …. Paul Ryan will leave sizable footprints on the 2012 presidential race. His controversial plan to overhaul the federal budget has been the chief talking point of the campaign since Mitt Romney put him on the GOP ticket last weekend.
…. According to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, “[Medicaid] Cutbacks might involve reduced eligibility … coverage of fewer services, lower payments to providers, or increased cost-sharing by beneficiaries – all of which would reduce access to care.”
Those cuts and the Ryan plan’s calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act would add tens of millions of low-income Americans to the ranks of the uninsured. It also would raise taxpayers’ bill for emergency room indigent care and cause an increase in private insurance rates.
…. Ryan’s plans for Medicare have caused a stir … In order to slow spending in the national health plan for seniors, Ryan would replace Medicare’s guarantee of coverage for new beneficiaries in 2023 with a flat payment to seniors known as a “voucher” or “premium support” ….
Ryan’s planned tax cuts favor the affluent. Those who earn more than $1 million annually would see an average tax cut of $265,000 and a 12.5 percent increase in after-tax income … But at the lower end of the scale, people earning between $20,000 and $30,000 would get no tax cut …
…. All told, the Tax Policy Center said, Ryan’s tax plans would increase the deficit by $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years. His call to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for high-earning Americans would boost the deficit by an additional $5.4 trillion.
Full article here
NYT Editorial: Three days after Paul Ryan became the presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate, he made a pilgrimage on Tuesday to the Las Vegas gambling palace of Sheldon Adelson, the casino tycoon who is spending more than any other donor to try to send Mr. Ryan and Mitt Romney to the White House. No reporters were allowed, perhaps because the campaign didn’t want them asking uncomfortable questions about the multiple federal investigations into the company behind Mr. Adelson’s wealth.
Those questions, though, aren’t going away, and neither are the ones about the judgment of Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan in drawing ever closer to a man whose business background should lead them to back away — fast. By not repudiating Mr. Adelson’s vow to spend as much as $100 million on their behalf, the two candidates seem more eager to keep the “super PAC” dollars flowing than to preserve the integrity of their campaign.
The issues swirling about Mr. Adelson’s business practices are not new and can hardly come as a surprise to the Romney campaign…. A careful presidential campaign would put distance between itself and a businessman like Mr. Adelson … By allowing Mr. Adelson to have such an outsize role in their race, the candidates themselves are placing a very risky bet.
Full editorial here
NYT: As Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan fanned out across the country this week, glad-handing voters and donors, a smaller but no less important gathering was taking place on Capitol Hill: Mr. Romney’s transition team met on Tuesday with more than a dozen loyalists from the private and public sectors in space borrowed from a law office.
Mr. Romney’s transition team …. offers a glimpse of what might be Mr. Romney’s approach to governing, functioning much like his old private equity firm, Bain Capital. The team is assessing the government and looking for ways to make it more efficient and streamlined…..
The rest of the article didn’t interest me too much – a transition team for something that will never happen :roll: – it was just this line:
“The team also offers a glimpse of what might be Mr. Romney’s approach to governing, functioning much like his old private equity firm, Bain Capital…..”
Davenport, Iowa, August 15 (Scout Tufankjian for OFA)
Morning everyone ;-)