Posts Tagged ‘Malcolm X

17
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

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Happy Birthday to the best First Lady, America has been fortunate to have at the White House. Wishing First Lady Michelle Obama long life, happiness, love, laughter, and prosperity.

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern):

11:0 AM EST: President Obama delivers remarks on signals intelligence programs, Department of Justice

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Brian Beutler: Desperate, Last-Ditch Effort For Obamacare Haters Fails

After the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in 2012, most reasonable people assumed the right had missed its one big shot at using the courts to destroy the law. But Obamacare mania isn’t an ailment that afflicts reasonable people, and so conservatives turned their attention to an even more far-fetched legal challenge.  The short version is that if you take one phrase of the Affordable Care Act statute out of context,

it appears as if the law does not provide for premium tax credits on federally facilitate exchanges. Conservatives are thus asking the courts to invalidate and prohibit Obamacare subsidies in all Healthcare.gov states.

Well, a D.C. District Court judge has looked at this argument, and concluded that it’s total nonsense. I obviously agree. And if you agree, too then you also must conclude that the challengers and their supporters are either dishonest or so blinded by Obamacare hatred that they’ve lost the ability to read. There are no other interpretations.

More here

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Edward-Isaac Dovere: Obama To Nominate First Black Lesbian Judge In 20 Years

President Barack Obama has already nominated more African-American judges and more LGBT judges than any previous president. On Thursday, he’ll announce the nomination of Staci Michelle Yandle, the first African-American lesbian federal judge he’s picked. Yandle, who’s in private practice, will be Obama’s pick for the district court for the Southern District of his home state of Illinois.

If confirmed, that would make her the first African-American judge ever on that court, and the first openly gay judge in the 7th Circuit, which covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. There’s another first among the four new nominees Obama will announce Thursday: Salvador Mendoza, Jr., currently a county Superior Court judge in Washington state, will be Obama’s pick for the district court for the Eastern District of his state, where he would be the first Hispanic judge in that position.

More here

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The Republic: Superior Court Judge Salvador Mendoza Jr. Of Tri-Cities Nominated To Become Federal Judge

A state judge from the Tri-Cities has been nominated by President Obama to become a federal judge for Eastern Washington. Salvador Mendoza Jr. was nominated on Thursday, and would be the first Hispanic to serve as a federal judge in Eastern Washington.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., says Mendoza has an inspiring life story, including working as a migrant farm worker in the Yakima Valley. Mendoza has been a Superior Court judge for Benton and Franklin counties since last year.

More here

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USA Today: OFA Sponsors Spring Fellowships

Organizing for Action, the political group set up to push President Obama’s political agenda, is looking to expand its roster.

OFA is launching what it calls a “Spring Fellowship program,” assigning more than 60 veteran organizers to train more than 1,400 new volunteers to promote items such as an immigration bill and Obama’s health care law.

“It’s about making sure that voices on our side are heard, and people are held accountable,” said Jon Carson, executive director of OFA.

The trainers — which include OFA alumni, long-time volunteers, and former fellows — will be located in 22 states. They will train fellows who hail from at least 29 states (plus Washington, D.C.), and range from college students to adults making their first foray into politics.

The program, which includes data and digital training, runs from Feb. 8 to April 15.

More here

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Reuters: Senate Approves $1.1 Trillion Bill To End Government Funding Battle

Washington’s battles over government funding ended with a whimper on Thursday as the U.S. Senate approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill that quells for nearly nine months the threat of another federal agency shutdown.

The measure, which funds thousands of government programs from the military to national parks through the September 30 fiscal year-end, passed by a strong, 72-26 majority. President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law.

The vote came exactly three months after the end of a 16-day government shutdown in October that was waged over disputed funding of “Obamacare,” the president’s signature health care law.

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Jonathan Cohn: Obamacare’s A “Bailout” Now? Conservative Critics Are Getting Desperate

Conservatives used to say Obamacare is socialized medicine. Now they say it is a “government bailout” of insurers. The new claim is just as misleading and cynical as the old one.

The latest conservative plaything is a pair of previously obscure Obamacare features: “reinsurance” and “risk corridors.” ….

…. Conservatives might object to reinsurance and risk corridors on principle, regardless of amounts involved. That would be a perfectly legitimate argument, except for one thing: Reinsurance and risk corridors are already a feature of some government programs, most prominent among them Medicare Part D…

What’s that? You haven’t heard Republicans attacking Medicare Part D an insurer bailout? Maybe that’s because of one other, obvious difference between Part D and the Affordable Care Act. Only one of them was signed into law by a guy named Barack Obama.

More here

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Julie Pace: AP Source: NSA Phone Data Control To Come To End

President Barack Obama on Friday will call for ending the government’s control of phone data from millions of Americans, but will not offer a plan for where the information should be held, a senior administration official said. While the move would mark a significant shift for the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk phone record collection program, it’s unclear how quickly the plan could be carried out or whether it will ultimately need congressional approval. The government will continue to hold the data for now, though Obama is ordering that, effective immediately, a judicial finding will be required to access the information.

Obama will announce the decisions in a highly anticipated speech at the Justice Department. The official said the president will call on the attorney general and intelligence community to recommend where to move the data before March 28, when the collection program comes up for reauthorization. The official says the administration will also consult with Congress on the data transfer. Privacy advocates say moving the data outside the government’s control could minimize the risk of unauthorized or overly broad searches by the NSA.

A presidential review panel proposed moving the data to the telephone companies or a third party. However, the phone providers have balked at changes that would put them back in control of the records, citing liability concerns if hackers or others were able to gain unauthorized access to the records. The moves are more sweeping than what many U.S. officials had been anticipating about the president’s surveillance decisions.

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USA Today: 20 subpoenas Issued In N.J. Bridge Scandal

A newly formed special state committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal issued 20 subpoenas Thursday, including several to key staff members of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The legislative committee sent subpoenas to 17 individuals and three institutions. None was immediately named.

Assemblyman John Wisinewski, who is leading the investigation, said no names would be revealed until the recipients were officially served. That could happen Friday. A New Jersey Senate committee is also investigating whether Christie’s top advisers orchestrated or covered up lane closures near the bridge for political purposes.

More here

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The Hill: AP Gives Award To Reporters Of Untruthful ‘Spanglish’ Story

The Associated Press’s recent error-filled article concerning the ObamaCare Spanish-language site apparently is the best story published by the AP over the last month.

The story claimed that the site was written in “Spanglish,” but the site is actually written in proper Spanish, a fact easily discerned by any fluent Spanish-language reader.

Michael Oreskes, AP’s senior managing editor, yesterday gave a “Best of the States” award to the reporters and editors involved in the ObamaCare Spanish-language hatchet job. In an email, Oreskes exalted the high-quality reporting that created this story — above and beyond other stories produced by the AP in the last month.

…. Not only did the AP story suffer from errors of the “Spanish as a second language” variety, but also it badly stumbled on factual mistakes that could have been fact-checked on Google in seconds.

More here

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Bill Quigley: Ten Examples Of Welfare For Corporations And The Ultra-Rich

There are thousands of tax breaks and subsidies for the rich and corporations provided by federal, state and local governments, but these 10 will give a taste. 1. State and local subsidies to corporations: An excellent New York Times study by Louise Story calculated that state and local government provide at least $80 billion in subsidies to corporations. Over 48 big corporations received over $100 million each. GM was the biggest, at a total of $1.7 billion extracted from 16 different states, but Shell, Ford and Chrysler all received over $1 billion each. Amazon, Microsoft, Prudential, Boeing and casino companies in Colorado and New Jersey received well over $200 million each.

2. Direct federal subsidies to corporations: The Cato Institute estimates that federal subsidies to corporations cost taxpayers almost $100 billion every year. 3. Federal tax breaks for corporations: The tax code gives corporations special tax breaks that have reduced what is supposed to be a 35-percent tax rate to an actual tax rate of 13 percent, saving these corporations an additional $200 billion annually, according to the US Government Accountability Office.

More here

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NYT: A First Lady At 50, Finding Her Own Path

Michelle Obama is in many ways the embodiment of the contemporary, urban, well-heeled middle-aged American woman. On Saturday night, Mrs. Obama will celebrate her 50th birthday with dancing and sweets throughout the state floor of the White House, drawing the nation’s attention away from her husband, at least for an evening. Guests will sip fine American wines, consume delicate macarons and be entertained — the expectation is by Beyoncé.

Marc Howard, whose daughter Zoe once played on the soccer team with Sasha, recalled how his daughter drained the tiny water bottle he had brought for her one hot Washington day on the field. Mrs. Obama lightheartedly chided him. “She said, ‘What kind of water bottle is that?’ and gave Zoe hers,” Mr. Howard said. “Those are things far away from the cameras.”

While Mrs. Obama has been careful not to define herself or her role strictly through race, she has paid steadfast attention to her role as a model and mentor to minority children from poor backgrounds like her own, and has built much of her policy agenda around them. “She is more self-determinative than prior first ladies because she very rarely allows herself to be drawn into distracting conversations,” said Carl Anthony, a historian of first ladies. In addition, he said, “She speaks to a demographic pretty much ignored by the White House by all first ladies except for Eleanor Roosevelt.” He cited trips Mrs. Obama has made to the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington and White House invitations she has extended to local working-class African-Americans.

More here

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On This Day:

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman in the Red Room after welcoming the team to the White House to honor their 2011 World Series victory, Jan. 17, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama greets David Hall, one of eight Citizen Co-Chairs for the Inauguration, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Jan. 17, 2013 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

14
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

Pete Souza: “We were on Air Force One heading to the Summit of the Americas in Singapore. Since the 1990’s, the host country for this Summit chooses a shirt that all heads of state wear to the formal ceremony. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was showing the President pictures of past leaders wearing – shall we say – not the most dignified of shirts.” Nov. 14, 2009

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Today (All Times Eastern):

11:35: President Obama to make announcement on a fix for health plans canceled under ACA

12:0: First Lady Michelle Obama delivers keynote address at Disney’s first-ever Veterans Institute workshop at Walt Disney World Resort

1:0: President Obama departs the White House

2:25: Arrives in Cleveland

2:30: VP Biden delivers remarks in Atlanta

2:55: President Obama tours ArcelorMittal, Cleveland

3:40: Delivers remarks on the economy

4:35: Departs Cleveland

5:30: VP Biden attends DNC event in Atlanta

5:45: President Obama arrives in Philadelphia

7:45: Delivers remarks at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

9:10: Departs Philadelphia

10:05: Arrives at the White House

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Igor Volsky: The Official Obamacare Numbers And What They Mean For The Future Of Health Care Reform

The Obama administration released October’s enrollment numbers for HealthCare.gov on Wednesday afternoon, providing the first official glimpse into the administration’s progress towards implementing the Affordable Care Act. Here is the breakdown: 106,185: filled out the application and have selected a plan through a federally run or state run exchange. 79,391: filled out the application and have selected a plan through a state-run exchange.

26,794: filled out the application and have selected a plan through a federal exchange. 846,184: filled out the application but have not yet selected a plan 1,509,883: individuals applying for coverage with completed applications 1,081,592: total individuals eligible to enroll in an exchange plan 396,261: eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. Enrollees by state: California 35,364; Federal exchange 26,794; New York 16,404; Washington 7,091; Kentucky 5,586.

More here

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Media Matters: The Obamacare Fact-Check CBS Should Have Done (But Didn’t)

CBS News, already in trouble for not bothering to fact-check sensational claims about the Benghazi attacks, has stepped in it again with an exclusive story on the Affordable Care Act that has quickly fallen apart.

On November 11, CBS News reported that the “project manager in charge of building the federal health care website was apparently kept in the dark about serious failures in the website’s security.”

CBS investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s report was based on an exclusive “first look at a partial transcript” of closed-door testimony by project manager Henry Chao that was likely leaked to the network by Republicans on the House Oversight Committee. Other media outlets picked up CBS’s scoop and ran with it.

…. Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) questioned Chao at a November 13 Oversight Committee hearing and revealed how misleading CBS News’ report was….

More here

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Charles Pierce: If It’s Not One Thing, It’s CBS

…. Gee, CBS gets scammed by a con-man like Darrell Issa. Hoocoodanode?

Perhaps a CBS reporter who has proven to be a reliable mark in the past.

Sharyl Atkisson? The Sharyl Atkisson? The one who proved so valuable to Issa in his attempt to promote the Fast And Furious fakery? …. She was also a dependable mouthpiece in the early days of Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! …. the Sharyl Atkisson who did so much to mainstream anti-vaccine propaganda and give Julia Ioffe whooping cough? That Sharyl Atkisson?

The Tiffany Network is having a tough week.

Full post here

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Greg Sargent: What The Obamacare Enrollment Numbers Really Tell Us

To Larry Levitt, a vice president at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, another very telling number is this one: over 975,000 have been determined eligible for a marketplace but haven’t yet chosen a plan.

“That’s one of the most telling numbers — a million people have been determined eligible,” Levitt tells me. “That means if the website had been working well, and a million people had gotten to the end of the process, we’d be looking at a very different trajectory now. We heard about the surge in traffic when HealthCare.gov went live. This suggests there is in fact a lot of interest.”

Meanwhile, the 100,000 number is getting a lot of attention, but the report also finds nearly 400,000 were determined eligible for Medicaid. “In total that’s over 500,000 people who signed up for insurance in the midst of a tumultuous launch,” Levitt says. “People make a distinction between the marketplace and Medicaid, but those are both elements of the Affordable Care Act — both are mechanisms to get people insured.”

More here

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Mother Jones: If GOP Repeals Obamacare, 137 Million Americans Could Get Cancellation Notices

how many Americans’ health plans would receive some form of cancellation notice if GOP hardliners got their wish and repealed Obamacare? Probably at least 137 million. Let’s do the math. Most of the 49 million Americans who were uninsured before the Affordable Care Act will now be eligible to obtain health coverage—either through the expansion of Medicaid or through federal subsidies they can use to purchase insurance on the cheap through the exchanges.

From that number, subtract the 30 million or so low-income people who will not sign up for coverage, either because they can’t afford it, or they live in one of the 24 states where Republican governors decided not to expand Medicaid. That takes us down to 19 million uninsured Americans whose coverage would disappear if Republicans repeal Obamacare. Now add to that number the 267 million Americans who have insurance, but will now receive better coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

More here

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Bob Cesca: The Truth About The Obamacare Enrollment Numbers

You’ve probably heard the number 106,000 bouncing around the tubes today. It represents the supposed number of Americans who have signed up for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Of course it’s not the most accurate indication of what October really looked like.

According to Jonathan Cohn, the total number of Americans who have submitted applications for coverage via Healthcare.gov and state exchanges? Try 1.5 million people, if you factor in households with multiple people receiving coverage — dependents and so forth, who, by the way, are included among the 30 million Americans without insurance prior to the ACA.

More here

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ABC6: Obama Says He Will Visit Indian Country Next Year

President Barack Obama told Native American leaders Wednesday that he will make his first trip as president to Indian Country next year, expanding on his vow to enhance the bond between the federal and tribal governments. Obama told the tribal leaders at the fifth annual White House Tribal Nations Conference that the federal government still has work to do to sustain a strong relationship with tribal governments.

He says the United States can do more to give tribes more control over their communities and says that high rates of poverty among Native Americans are “a moral call to action.” In addition, he says the federal government needs to ensure that Native Americans have access to affordable health care and must help tribes be good stewards of their native homelands.

More here

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Tim Dickinson: How Republicans Rig The Game

As the nation recovers from the Republican shutdown of government, the question Americans should be asking is not “Why did the GOP do that to us?” but “Why were they even relevant in the first place?” So dramatically have the demographic and electoral tides in this country turned against the Republican Party that, in a representative democracy worthy of the designation, the Grand Old Party should be watching from the sidelines and licking its wounds. Not only did Barack Obama win a second term in an electoral landslide in 2012, but he is also just the fourth president in a century to have won two elections with more than 50 percent of the popular vote.

What’s more, the party controls 55 seats in the Senate, and Democratic candidates for the House received well over a million more votes than their Republican counterparts in the election last year. And yet, John Boehner still wields the gavel in the House and Republican resistance remains a defining force in the Senate, frustrating Obama’s ambitious agenda. Through a combination of hyperpartisan redistricting of the House, unprecedented obstructionism in the Senate and racist voter suppression in the states, today’s GOP has locked in political power that it could never have secured on a level playing field.

More here

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Steve Benen: HHS Releases Obamacare Enrollment Data

Over the first month of open-enrollment, 106,185 consumers signed up for health insurance through an exchange – about a quarter of that total signed up by way of the federal marketplace. In addition, another 396,261 Americans have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion. By this reasoning, about 500,000 consumers gained health insurance in October thanks to the Affordable Care Act

nearly 1 million consumers – on top of those who gained coverage – began the process “by applying and receiving an eligibility determination” but have “not yet selected a plan.” For many of these folks, this is the result of the broken website – the totals are not a reflection of demand, but rather, capacity.

And therein lies the point: the administration assumed that that demand for coverage would be there, and those assumptions were correct. The problem, of course, is the dysfunctional website – people haven’t been able to purchase the product they want to buy. Fix the site and the pieces of the system fall nicely into place.

More here

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Digital Journal: President Obama Signs School Access To Emergency Epinephrine Act

President Obama today signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act during a ceremony attended by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) CEO John L. Lehr, members of FARE’s board of directors and key congressional sponsors. This historic and potentially lifesaving legislation is the first federal law encouraging schools to stock epinephrine for use in allergic emergencies, and has been championed by FARE for more than two years.

The law, passed by the Senate on Oct. 31 and by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 30, encourages states to require schools to keep lifesaving epinephrine on hand and ensure school personnel are trained to use it. The bill received strong bipartisan support and was passed by unanimous consent in both chambers. “We are thrilled to see this legislation signed by President Obama and thank him for bringing national attention to the need to protect students with food allergies,” said John L. Lehr, CEO of FARE

More here

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Department Of Justice: Court Authorizes IRS To Issue Summonses For Records Relating To U.S. Taxpayers With Offshore Bank Accounts

U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood of the Southern District of New York entered an order on Nov. 7, 2013, authorizing the IRS to issue summonses requiring Bank of New York Mellon (Mellon) and Citibank NA (Citibank) to produce information about U.S. taxpayers who may be evading or have evaded federal taxes by holding interests in undisclosed accounts at Zurcher Kantonalbank and its affiliates (collectively, ZKB) in Switzerland; and U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman of the Southern District of New York entered an order today authorizing the IRS to issue summonses requiring Mellon, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA (JPMorgan),

HSBC Bank USA NA (HSBC), and Bank of America NA (Bank of America) to produce similar information in connection with undisclosed accounts at The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited and its affiliates (collectively, Butterfield) in the Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Malta, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These cases once again demonstrate the department’s resolve to uncover and identify taxpayers who tried to hide money overseas as a way to avoid federal taxes,” said Assistant Attorney General Keneally.

More here

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Think Progress: Senate Democrats Unveil Pro-Choice Bill To Prevent States From Chipping Away At Abortion Rights

Last week, Senate Republicans introduced a national abortion ban that would chisel away at the constitutional rights guaranteed under Roe v. Wade. Now, their Democratic colleagues are striking back with some abortion-related legislation of their own. a group of pro-choice senators plan to introduce the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013, a measure intended to stem the barrage of state-level restrictions on reproductive rights.

the new bill would preempt state’s efforts to indirectly restrict abortion by requiring new laws to be medically necessary. The measure emphasizes that new abortion regulations shouldn’t decrease access to abortion services or require doctors to go against their best judgment.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: The Democrats Need To Stop Freaking Out About Obamacare And Take Charge

Bill Clinton conceded those rhetorical inches to the right on Obamacare, which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) seized on immediately. At least two blue-state senators, Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Jeff Merkley (OR), have jumped on the “fix Obamacare” bandwagon. At the same time, there’s no need for panic. Even with the continued existence and success of Fox, reality is still reality, and in the end, reality usually trumps cable and hyperventilating reports about who won the morning in Politico. And reality says the enrollment period doesn’t end until next spring, and it’s really not possible to tell how things are going until enrollment has ended and we see both the number of people who’ve enrolled and what percentage healthy vs. sick, because insurers made their guesstimates and pegged their rates to those guesstimates.

I remember a lot of other times when it was supposedly curtains for Obama, too, because inside the Beltway, the more disciplined Republicans, who after all are in the luxurious position of just sitting back and firing away, have an easier time winning news cycles. But out beyond the Beltway, the party that shut down the government for three weeks and killed immigration reform and wants to decimate food stamps and can’t even pass its own spending bills doesn’t look very appealing to most people. The fate of Obamacare can be changed. The DNA of the GOP cannot.

More here

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On This Day:

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and President Obama laugh as they brush their hair during a group photo during the APEC summit

First Lady Michelle Obama hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ spouses luncheon at Kualoa Ranch in Ka’a’awa on the island of Oahu in Hawaii on November 13, 2011 (Okay, a day late)

President Obama chats with Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, right, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the APEC leaders dinner in Singapore, Nov. 14, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama shares a laugh with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the APEC leaders dinner in Singapore, Nov. 14, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama eats a green tea ice cream bar during his visit to the Great Buddha of Kamakura at the Kotoku-in Temple in Kamakura, Japan, Nov. 14, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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06
Oct
13

Journalistic Failure

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Dan Froomkin: Shutdown Coverage Fails Americans

holding the entire government hostage while demanding the de facto repeal of a president’s signature legislation and not even bothering to negotiate is by any reasonable standard an extreme political act. It is an attempt to make an end run around the normal legislative process. There is no historical precedent for it. The last shutdowns, in 1995 and 1996, were not the product of unilateral demands to scrap existing law; they took place during a period of give-and-take budget negotiations.

But the political media’s aversion to doing anything that might be seen as taking sides — combined with its obsession with process — led them to actively obscure the truth in their coverage of the votes. If you did not already know what this was all about, reading the news would not help you understand. What makes all this more than a journalistic failure is that the press plays a crucial role in our democracy. We count on the press to help create an informed electorate. And perhaps even more important, we rely on the press to hold the powerful accountable.

That requires calling out political leaders when they transgress or fail to meet commonly agreed-upon standards: when they are corrupt, when they deceive, when they break the rules and refuse to govern. Such exposure is the first consequence. When the transgressions are sufficiently grave, what follows should be continued scrutiny, marginalization, contempt and ridicule. In the current political climate, journalistic false equivalence leads to an insufficiently informed electorate, because the public is not getting an accurate picture of what is going on.

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03
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

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The Week Ahead (All Times Eastern):

Today:

9:45 AM: President Obama and VP Biden meet with members of Congress

8:30 PM: President Obama departs the White House en route Stockholm, Swede

Wednesday: The President will arrive in Stockholm. While there, he will hold a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Reinfeldt. He will then participate in an event honoring Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue in Stockholm and tour an expo featuring clean energy innovations at the Royal Institute of Technology. In the evening, he will take part in a dinner with Nordic Leaders.

Thursday: The President will hold a bilateral meeting with the King and Queen of Sweden. He will then depart Stockholm en route Saint Petersburg, Russia where he will attend the G-20 Summit.

Friday: Attends the G-20 Summit. Returns to Washington, DC on Friday evening.

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ABC: Obama to Include LGBT Activists in Russia Meetings

President Obama will include members of Russian LGBT groups among the NGO leaders, democracy activists and human rights advocates he meets later this week when he is in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the G-20 summit, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News.

It’s typical for visiting U.S. officials, including the president, to meet with civil society members here in Russia, something that always irks the Kremlin. But this appears to be the first time LGBT groups have been included in a presidential-level meeting.

…. It comes after a summer of international outrage over Russia’s new gay “propaganda” law, which outlaws even discussing homosexuality around minors. Violators could be fined and jailed. Foreigners face similar penalties plus deportation.

During an appearance on Jay Leno’s show last month, Obama was asked about the law and said he has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”

More here

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USA Today: Obama’s day: Lobbying Congress, leaving for Europe

President Obama spends a big part of a busy Tuesday making his case for a military strike on Syria, speaking with invited members of Congress at the White House.

The White House did not release a guest list, but it is expected to include members of military and national security committees, as well as congressional leaders.

….. Obama’s lobbying effort goes global later in the week.

On Tuesday night, the president departs for Stockholm, Sweden. After a brief stop there, he heads to St. Petersburg, Russia, for the G-20 summit, where Syria is likely to be a dominant topic.

Full post

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Rick Ungar (Forbes): Media Outlets Spitting Mad At Obama For Spoiling Their Plans To Cash In On War

Following the President’ surprise announcement that he would seek the advice and consent of Congress before launching an attack on Syria, it seemed that no matter where you landed on the cable news dial everyone was in a state of upset.

With visions of TV screens filled with ‘shock and awe’ dancing in their heads along with the blessed promise of the ratings that follow the hysteria of war—not to mention a sublime ending to the slow news agony of August that dogs all news show production staffs, writers and broadcasters (trust me,I know)—Obama had held out the football for Charlie Brown to kick and then pulled it away at the last minute.

And the media was pissed.

…. And then there were the pundits appearing on networks representing all sides of the political spectrum — including those who claim to play it ‘down the middle’ — who took to the airwaves to angrily argue that the President’s backing off an attack pending Congressional approval would weaken America in the eyes of the world.

Really?

More here

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Washington Post: Where The Votes Stand On Syria:

See here for details

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Charles Pierce: Joe Lieberman – Just Shut Up

Let me be more precise. Just shut your fking piehole. Forever. You useless walking, bloodstained pile of casual death.

…. Let us be clear. There is no blazing, murderous maw into which Joe Lieberman would not be willing to feed someone else’s child ….. The man could care less about the dead. He’d feed on them himself, if he could.

Fk him with a Hellfire.

Now that my throat’s clear, let’s start the day.

Full post here

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The People’s View: The Most Worker Friendly President Since FDR

…. The working folk of America needed a champion – we needed a fierce advocate, if you will. And we elected one in 2008. If by some miracle of happenstance, President Obama didn’t have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition, even from “liberals” in the media, it would be patently obvious to everyone that the man presently occupying the Oval Office is the most worker-friendly president since Franklin Roosevelt. Barack Obama is a president who has more than kept his word to always make the best decision for people who work for a living.

…. a look at basically all of the president’s domestic policy – from bills that became law to bills that were blocked by Republicans, from legislation to administrative rulemaking – has been focused on one thing and one thing alone: helping America’s workers regain a footing in this economy. His job has not been easy, to put a severely mild point on it. But if on this labor day, we’re looking for a best friend of the American worker in government, the man behind the presidential seal is a pretty good pick.

Full post here

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Tom Kludt: Obama Discusses Syria With Japan PM

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday discussed the purported chemical weapons attack in Syria.

According to a White House readout of the phone call, both leaders “agreed that the use of chemical weapons is a serious violation of international norms and cannot be tolerated” while pledging to stay in close consultation on a potential response against the Assad regime in Syria.

More here

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Jerusalem Post: Obama Offers Rosh Hashanah Greetings In Conference Call With Rabbis

US President Obama reflected on the High Holidays and offered New Year’s greetings in a conference call with nearly 1,000 rabbis.

Obama in the call on Friday afternoon extended the greetings on behalf of himself and the first lady for a sweet, happy and healthy New Year….

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins on Wednesday evening.

More here

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Think Progress: Eleven Other Things American Workers Deserve (Besides A Day Off)

Labor Day is meant to celebrate the accomplishments of the American worker, who spends most days on an oil rig or in an office, on the assembly line or on the docks, making the American economy run. The holiday originated in 1894, after two dozen people were killed during the Pullman Strike, a railway workers’ boycott of low wages and high rent. From there, it became an American tradition, meant to honor the accomplishments of the people who make this nation run.

The battle is not yet won. Unions are on the decline, while income inequality is on the rise. Women still aren’t earning what men make. And many employees still aren’t free from discrimination at their jobs. Here are just eleven of the fights we’re still fighting for the American worker

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Caitlin McDevitt: Robert De Niro On Obama: He’s Trying His Best

Actor Robert De Niro defends President Barack Obama as a “good person” who’s “trying his best” for the country in the in the fall issue of Du Jour magazine:

Working as an actor his entire life means that De Niro sees everything through that lens. In describing his steadfast support for Barack Obama, he compares the president’s challenges to a filmmaker’s. “He’s a good person, period,” he says. “He’s trying his best. He’s going to do things that people feel are not right or violating one right or another. But at the end of the day, he represents, I think, the best of the type of people that I would like to see running the government. He has to play that game, the political game. They all do. They make statements they can’t honor because they’re impossible to honor. Once you get into that Washington machinery, you’ve just got to figure it out and swim against the current and grab onto this rock and that, and just try to maintain your course.”

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“You know, it’s one thing to be a critic,” he continues. “It’s another thing to be directly involved. It’s like directing a movie and you edit the film and then someone will give you a suggestion: ‘You could do this, you could do that.’ You look and you say, ‘Yeah, but the reason I can’t do that is because I don’t have that shot, and if I use this shot that’s better here, it impacts on this one and it’s a story point.’ In other words, it can’t be done. You have to make these choices with the government, and you’re going to be criticized. If you took the time to explain it all to the public, they’d say, ‘OK, I get it.’ Can you explain to everybody? No. You just have to say, ‘I made this choice because I felt it was the right choice.’”

More here

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