Posts Tagged ‘Marijuana

26
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

President Obama talks on the phone with a foreign leader in the Oval Office, Jan. 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

****

Sara Kliff: Don’t Look Now, But Obamacare Might Just Hit A Sign-Up Projection

Three million people have signed up for private insurance coverage through the health law marketplaces, according to Health and Human Services. Health and Human Services says that at least 800,000 people signed up for coverage through this week. So this new figure shouldn’t be seen as representing overall January enrollment–that number will likely inch up a bit, when the Obama administration releases a monthly enrollment report in February. Back in September, the Obama administration had projected 1.1 million people would sign-up in the first month of 2014–and these new figures suggest that enrollment could easily hit that number.

More here

****

Bd4xGRTCUAEBP0Y.jpg-large

****

Louise Radnosfky: Court Says Missouri Can’t Block Health-Law Helpers

A federal court has temporarily blocked Missouri officials from restricting organizations in the state from helping people sign up for health insurance as part of the federal health-overhaul law.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted an injunction Thursday blocking the Missouri insurance department from enforcing a state law passed last year that limited the activities of people seeking to enroll the uninsured through new insurance exchanges.

Judge Ortrie Smith granted a preliminary injunction on the grounds that the plaintiffs, St. Louis Effort for AIDS and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, were likely to prevail in their argument that the state had improperly tried to override the federal government’s efforts to implement the health-care overhaul.

More here

****

****

Edward Lucas: Edward Snowden: Did The American Whistleblower Act Alone?

Spy agencies engage in espionage, an inherently disreputable trade: it involves stealing secrets. When details leak, they look shocking. But the hypocrisy of the Snowdenistas is as jarring as their naivety. Our enemies – notably Russia and China – are spying on us. So too are our allies. France runs a mighty industrial espionage service for the benefit of its big companies. Germany has an excellent signals intelligence agency, the Kommando Strategische Aufklärung. Germany’s spies were recently caught spying on their Nato ally, Estonia, using an official who was also spying for the Russians. Far from denigrating American intelligence, we should applaud it. It helps catch terrorists, gangsters and spies. Moreover, its oversight and scrutiny is the toughest in the world. America has taken the most elusive and lawless part of government and crammed it into a system of legislative and judicial control.

America is also part of the world’s only successful no-spy agreement, with its close allies – notably Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. A list of countries that would trust Germany or France not to spy on them would be rather shorter.  Instead, the great grievance of the Snowden camp is what they see as the arbitrary power of the NSA and GCHQ. Who gave these agencies the power to bug and snoop? The real answer to that is simple: the elected governments and leaders of those countries, the judges and lawmakers charged with supervising the intelligence services, and the directors of those agencies in the exercise of their lawful powers. The question deserves to be posed in the other direction. What gives the Snowdenistas and their media allies the right to leak our most closely guarded and expensive secrets?

The Snowden affair is a story of secrecy and deception – but not on the side of the intelligence agencies. Far too little attention has been paid to the political agendas of the most ardent Snowdenistas – people such as the bombastic Brazil-based blogger, Glenn Greenwald, hysterical “hacktivist” Jacob Appelbaum, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. They cloak their extreme and muddled beliefs in the language of privacy rights, civil liberties and digital freedoms.

More here

****

Be1tk1SCYAA61E0

****

Think Progress: Why Target’s Part-Time Employees Will Be Better Off Under Obamacare

Chain retailer Target announced on Wednesday that it will stop offering health insurance to employees who work less than 30 hours per week, instead sending these workers to Obamacare’s insurance marketplaces to buy new plans. Target will continue offering insurance to those who work for 30 hours or more per week, the threshold Obamacare sets for large employers with 50 or more employees. The company won’t be cutting anyone’s work week in order to save on its bottom line, will employ consultants to help workers sign up for new health plans, and will give them a one-time cash payment of $500 to help with the cost.

The sorts of plans that retailers and restaurants offer to part-time workers are nothing approaching comprehensive. By contrast, Obamacare’s marketplace plans have to offer comprehensive benefits, including for mental health services and prescription drugs, and cannot place annual or lifetime limits on coverage. A 27-year-old non-smoking Target employee named Jane makes $12 per hour and works 29 hours per week. Jane has a pre-tax annual income of about $16,704, meaning she is at about 145 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF) subsidy calculator shows that Jane would pay less than $52 per month for a mid-level “Silver” plan under Obamacare after getting her premium subsidy.

Since Jane makes less than 2.5 times the poverty level, she’d be eligible for even more Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies that would limit her yearly deductible and hold her maximum out-of-pocket medical expenses at $2,250 per year. An employee who made even less, like a 24-year-old non-smoker making $9 per hour, would qualify for Medicaid if he or she lived in a state that took place in Obamacare’s expansion of the program, or would have to pay just $20 per month for a Silver plan on the marketplaces.

More here

****

****

The Atlantic: Obamacare Is A Powerful New Crime-Fighting Tool

An astonishing two-thirds of the 730,000 men and women released from America’s lockups each year have either substance abuse problems, mental health problems, or both. Very often, those problems were largely responsible for getting them locked up in the first place. Most addicted and mentally ill prisoners receive little or no effective treatment while they’re incarcerated or after they’re turned loose, so it’s little surprise that, like Sanders, they soon wind up back in jail. But for some, that revolving door may stop spinning this year, thanks to a little-noticed side-effect of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Obamacare, it turns out, might be a crime-fighting tool.

Among many other reforms, the ACA is drastically expanding Medicaid, the federal insurance scheme for the poor. Previously, able-bodied childless adults were generally not covered by Medicaid, regardless of how impoverished they might have been. But starting this year, any American citizen under age 65 with a family income at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line—about $25,000 for a family of three—is eligible for Medicaid (at least in the two dozen states that have so far agreed to participate in this aspect of Obamacare). Meanwhile, citizens and legal immigrants earning between 138 percent and 400 percent of the poverty line are now entitled to subsidies to help pay for private insurance. Taken together, those two provisions mean that tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of the inmates released every year are now eligible for health insurance, including coverage for mental health and substance abuse services.

Providing treatment to those former prisoners could yield enormous benefits for all of us. The average cost to incarcerate someone for a year is roughly $25,000. That means if only one percent of each year’s released inmates stay out of trouble, taxpayers will save nearly $200 million annually— “Success in implementing the Affordable Care Act has the potential to decrease crime, recidivism, and criminal justice costs, while simultaneously improving the health and safety of communities,” sums up a recent report by the federal Department of Justice.

More here

****

BewSMA2CcAEPfNg

****

George Zornick: Justice Department Could Ease Regulations For Legal Weed Businesses ‘Very Soon’

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that the Obama administration will “very soon” issue some regulations that would make it easier for commercial banks to do business with legal marijuana operations—a seemingly small change, but one that could be seminal in launching legal marijuana into the mainstream. Currently, state-sanctioned marijuana outfits essentially have no access to normal venues for banking and finance. Banks worry that accepting deposits from legal marijuana operations, or giving them loans, could expose the bank to legal or regulatory action, given the patchwork set of laws that make marijuana illegal on the federal level, even if certain states have legalized it.

This is, naturally, a huge problem for commercial marijuana retailers—how can you launch and run a business without any loans? They also often have to pay bills and employees in cash, which is difficult from a logistical perspective. At the University of Virginia on Thursday, Holder cited the problem of undeposited cash and suggested changes are on the way. “You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places. They want to be able to use the banking system,” he said. “There’s a public safety component to this. Huge amounts of cash, substantial amounts of cash just kind of lying around with no place for it to be appropriately deposited, is something that would worry me, just from a law enforcement perspective.” Holder added that “we will be issuing some regulations I think very soon to deal with that issue.”

More here

****

MoocherNation

****

Sam Polk: For The Love Of Money **(This piece is a MUST READ. 1% + Greed = Obscene)**

IN my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted. After graduation, I got a job at Bank of America. At the end of my first year I was thrilled to receive a $40,000 bonus. Over the next few years I worked like a maniac and began to move up the Wall Street ladder. I became a bond and credit default swap trader, one of the more lucrative roles in the business. Just four years after I started at Bank of America, Citibank offered me a “1.75 by 2” which means $1.75 million per year for two years.

Now, working elbow to elbow with billionaires, I was a giant fireball of greed. I’d think about how my colleagues could buy Micronesia if they wanted to, or become mayor of New York City. They didn’t just have money; they had power. I wanted a billion dollars. It’s staggering to think that in the course of five years, I’d gone from being thrilled at my first bonus — $40,000 — to being disappointed when, my second year at the hedge fund, I was paid “only” $1.5 million. But in the end, it was actually my absurdly wealthy bosses who helped me see the limitations of unlimited wealth. I was in a meeting with one of them, and a few other traders, and they were talking about the new hedge-fund regulations. Most everyone on Wall Street thought they were a bad idea. “But isn’t it better for the system as a whole?” I asked. The room went quiet, and my boss shot me a withering look. I remember his saying, “I don’t have the brain capacity to think about the system as a whole. All I’m concerned with is how this affects our company.”

BeYFYvrCUAEsef6

From that moment on, I started to see Wall Street with new eyes. I noticed the vitriol that traders directed at the government for limiting bonuses after the crash. I heard the fury in their voices at the mention of higher taxes. These traders despised anything or anyone that threatened their bonuses. I had recently finished Taylor Branch’s three-volume series on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, and the image of the Freedom Riders stepping out of their bus into an infuriated mob had seared itself into my mind. I’d told myself that if I’d been alive in the ‘60s, I would have been on that bus. But I was lying to myself. There were plenty of injustices out there — rampant poverty, swelling prison populations, a sexual-assault epidemic, an obesity crisis. Not only was I not helping to fix any problems in the world, but I was profiting from them. During the market crash in 2008, I’d made a ton of money by shorting the derivatives of risky companies. As the world crumbled, I profited.

More here

****

****

****

On This Day:

Sen. Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama take the stage for his victory rally at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center January 26, 2008 after winning the South Carolina Democratic primary

****

President Obama is briefed before the Swearing-in Ceremony for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the U.S. Treasury Department, Jan. 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama is briefed prior to making phone calls to foreign leaders in the Oval Office, Jan. 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

President Obama and Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), call the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team from the Oval Office to thank them for raising over $1 million to help the relief efforts in Haiti through “Hoops for Haiti,” Jan. 26, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

President Obama exchanges greetings with a supporter after speaking at a UPS facility, Jan. 26, 2012, in Las Vegas

05
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

5434127165_1ef03d340d_b

Pete Souza: President Barack Obama talks with Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office while National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Counsel to the President Bob Bauer, right, confer in the Outer Oval Office, Jan. 5, 2011.

****

****

HealthInsurance.org: Anatomy Of An Obamacare ‘Horror Story’

Texas daily went digging for victims of the ACA and Surprise! Reporter unearthed three Tea Partiers who hate the new law.

….. Yesterday I posted about a Fort Worth Star Telegram article that leads with the tale of Whitney Johnson, a 26-year-old new mother who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS). Her insurer just cancelled her policy, and according to Johnson, new insurance would cost her over $1,000 a month.

That claim stopped me in my tracks. Under the ACA, no 26-year-old could be charged $1,000 monthly – even if she has MS.

Obamacare prohibits insurers from charging more because a customer suffers from a pre-existing condition. This rule applies to all new policies, whether they are sold inside or outside the exchanges.

At that point, I knew that something was wrong.

More here

****

****

Fred Kaplan: Why Snowden Won’t (And Shouldn’t) Get Clemency

I firmly disagree with the New York Times’ Jan. 1 editorial (“Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower”), calling on President Obama to grant Snowden “some form of clemency” for the “great service” he has done for his country. It is true that Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens—far vaster than any outsider had suspected, in some cases vaster than the agency’s overseers on the secret FISA court had permitted—have triggered a valuable debate,leading possibly to much-needed reforms. If that were all that Snowden had done, if his stolen trove of beyond-top-secret documents had dealt only with the NSA’s domestic surveillance, then some form of leniency might be worth discussing.

But Snowden did much more than that. The documents that he gave the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman and the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald have, so far, furnished stories about the NSA’s interception of email traffic, mobile phone calls, and radio transmissions of Taliban fighters in Pakistan’s northwest territories; about an operation to gauge the loyalties of CIA recruits in Pakistan; about NSA email intercepts to assist intelligence assessments of what’s going on inside Iran; about NSA surveillance of cellphone calls “worldwide,” an effort that (in the Post’s words) “allows it to look for unknown associates of known intelligence targets by tracking people whose movements intersect.”

In his first interview with the South China Morning Post, Snowden revealed that the NSA routinely hacks into hundreds of computers in China and Hong Kong. These operations have nothing to do with domestic surveillance or even spying on allies. They are not illegal, improper, or (in the context of 21st-century international politics) immoral. Exposing such operations has nothing to do with “whistle-blowing.” In fact, as Snowden himself told the South China Morning Post, he took his job as an NSA contractor, with Booz Allen Hamilton, because he knew that his position would grant him “access to lists of machines all over the world [that] the NSA hacked.” He stayed there for just three months, enough to do what he came to do.

More here

****

BdOPjjDCYAAzNGF.jpg-large

@StateDept: #SecKerry discusses South Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Mideast peace talks. Read his remarks: http://go.usa.gov/Zm2A 

****

AlJazeera America: New York To Allow Limited Medical Marijuana Use

New York will soon allow the limited use of medical marijuana for seriously ill patients under a plan the state’s governor will announce in the next few days, the New York Times reported on Saturday. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has steadily resisted pressure to legalize marijuana, was expected to announce the plan at Wednesday’s State of the State address, according to the newspaper’s website. The newspaper said the policy will be far more restrictive than the laws in Colorado or California, where medical marijuana is available to people with conditions such as backaches.

The move comes amid sharply shifting attitudes in the United States toward marijuana use. Earlier this week, Colorado became the first state to regulate and sell marijuana for recreational use. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have passed laws in recent years allowing for various uses of medical marijuana — though only Colorado and Washington have decriminalized its recreational use. Washington is not slated to open its first retail establishments until later in 2014. Under Cuomo’s plan, 20 hospitals across New York will be allowed to prescribe marijuana to patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma and other serious diseases that meet standards to be set by the state Department of Health, the newspaper said.

More here

****

BbULj09IcAAlUZI

****

Morgan Whitaker: How A Minimum Wage Hike Could Lift Nearly 5 Million From Poverty

Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could help to lift nearly 5 million Americans out of poverty, according to a new study released this week. University of Massachusetts-Amherst economist Arindrajit Dube found that proposals to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 would reduce the number of non-elderly living in poverty by around 4.6 million in the short term, and that nearly 7 million would be lifted from poverty over the long term. Shortly after winning re-election, President Obama first proposed raising the minimum wage to $9 during his State of the Union address in February.

Shortly thereafter Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. George Miller introduced an even more ambitious plan to raise the wage to $10.10 (the proposal reviewed in the study.) The White House indicated in November that Obama would support that increase to $10.10, and Obama’s newly selected Labor Secretary, Tom Perez, said shortly thereafter that he would make a minimum wage hike a number one priority. But most Republicans oppose the minimum wage hike. A Gallup poll released in November found more than three quarters of Americans support raising the minimum wage to Obama’s proposed $9, and that the support increased by 5-points from when Obama initially made his pitch for the hike.

More here

****

****

Kyle Balluck: State Department: South Sudan Talks ‘Critical’

The State Department late Saturday urged negotiators participating in South Sudan peace talks in Ethiopia to make “rapid, tangible progress.” The Intergovernmental Authority on Development announced the start of direct talks in Addis Ababa on Saturday. “The parties must use these talks to make rapid, tangible progress on a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access, and the status of political detainees,” State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement. Harf said the U.S. urges South Sudan to uphold its commitments and release political detainees immediately.

Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the start of talk, but said they were “only a first step.” “Both parties need to put the interests of South Sudan above their own, and that has been a message we have consistently delivered to those engaged in this conflict,” Kerry told reporters in Jerusalem. “Negotiations have to be serious. They cannot be a delay gimmick in order to continue the fighting and try to find advantage on the ground at the expense of the people of South Sudan. They have to be credible talks, and both parties need to approach the talks with courage and with resolve, with the clear intent of trying to find a political solution.”

More here

****

****

NYT: Kerry Opens Door To Iran’s Participation In Syrian Peace Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Sunday that Iran might play a role at the peace talks on Syria that are scheduled to take place later this month. It was the first time that a senior American official indicated that Iranian diplomats might participate in the session, which is to convene in Switzerland on Jan. 22. But Mr. Kerry also made clear that there would be limits on Iran’s role if Tehran did not formally accept that the goal of the conference would be to work out arrangements for a transitional authority that would govern Syria if President Bashar al-Assad could be persuaded to give up power.

“Now, could they contribute from the sidelines? Are there ways for them conceivably to weigh in?” Mr. Kerry said, referring to the Iranians. “Can their mission that is already in Geneva be there in order in order to help the process?” “It may be that that could happen but that has to be determined by the secretary general,” he added, referring to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations. “It has to be determined by Iranian intentions themselves.” Mr. Kerry made the comments at a news conference in Jerusalem before he headed to Jordan to continue his consultations with King Abdullah on the Middle East peace talks. Mr. Kerry planned to head to Saudi Arabia later Sunday to meet with the Saudi monarch before returning to Israel.

More here

****

****

Lauren Rankin: The Unprecedented Attack On Reproductive Rights

As if we needed any more proof that a war is being waged on reproductive freedom in the United States, a new report from the Guttmacher Institute definitely answers yes. According to the report, more abortion restrictions were enacted from 2011-2013 than in the entire preceding decade. From 2000-2010, 189 abortion restrictions were enacted. From 2011-2013, that number jumps to 205. Two hundred five abortion restrictions in three years isn’t just a trend; it’s a crisis. According to the report, 22 states enacted 70 abortion restrictions in 2013 alone, making it second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions passed in a single year. 2013 saw unconstitutional 20-week, 12-week, and even 6-week abortion bans, from Texas to Arkansas to North Dakota, and this report makes clear that anti-choice activists aren’t slowing down — they’re actually growing more brazen in their attacks.

The terrain continues to shift from under our feet. The Guttmacher Institute reports that in 2000, 31 percent of women of reproductive age lived in one of the 13 states hostile to abortion rights. By 2013, 56 percent of women or reproductive age live in one of the 27 states hostile to abortion rights. There is no middle ground anymore, as even purple states like Ohio and Virginia, or even more traditionally blue states like Michigan and Wisconsin, have embraced fanatic anti-abortion restrictions.

More here

****

****

Jason Seher: No Clemency For Snowden, Ex-Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano Says

Count Janet Napolitano among the Washington luminaries dismissing the possibility of clemency for NSA leaker Edward Snowden. In an interview with NBC’s David Gregory that aired Sunday on “Meet the Press,” the former Homeland Security secretary rejected any possibility of excusing the contractor-turned-whistleblower, saying Snowden significantly damaged the United States’ intelligence infrastructure.

“I think Snowden has exacted quite a bit of damage and did it in a way that violated that law,” the ex-DHS chief said. “The damage we’ll see now and we’ll see it for years to come.” Asked by Gregory whether she believes the administration should consider negotiating a plea bargain with Snowden in exchange for the return of classified documents, the former Department of Homeland Security chief hesitated to weigh in, saying she “would require intimate knowledge of what he allegedly has” to properly evaluate if such a deal could be brokered. “From where I sit today, I would not put clemency on the table at all,” she said.

More here

****

****

WSOCTV: Affordable Care Act Takes Full Effect

The new year has a new meaning for Tracy Morgan. She has health coverage under the ACA without worry of a pre-existing condition leaving her without insurance. “It means that if anything happens to me. I won’t be dropped from a policy,” said Morgan.  In 2010, she lost coverage when the company she worked for filed for bankruptcy, a year after her husband was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. With the forecast calling for costly treatments, getting covered seemed impossible. “I was just distraught,” she said. She received coverage through a state-run program and became an advocate for healthcare reform. North Carolina was an early adopter of the Affordable Care Act.

More here

****

****

Husband Of The Year

11665299943_e4c103ed63_b

****

Hawaii News Now: First Lady Gets A Few Extra Days Of Hawaiian Sun

First lady Michelle Obama is getting a few extra days of Hawaiian sun. While President Barack Obama is departing Hawaii late Saturday, Mrs. Obama is staying behind to spend time with friends ahead of her upcoming 50th birthday party. The White House says the extra time in the islands is part of Mrs. Obama’s birthday gift from the president. The first lady turns 50 on Jan. 17. The White House did not say when she planned to return to Washington.

More here

****

2014-01-05T154143Z_1923766936_GM1EA151TR301_RTRMADP_3_USA

The First Family is back at the White House

****

Hawaii News Now: President Barack Obama’s Hawaii Vacation: Day 15

How President Barack Obama spent Day 15 of his holiday vacation in Hawaii on Saturday: WEEKLY ADDRESS: Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to urge Congress to reinstate job benefits for more than 1 million Americans. The president said failing to do so will cause the economy to slow. A Senate proposal would extend the benefits for three months. Obama says he will sign it if it passes.

HIKING: Obama and his wife went on a brief morning hike Saturday, visiting a popular trail near their Kailua vacation home that overlooks the ocean. GOLF: The president played one last round of golf at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, having hit the links frequently during his trip. DINNER: For their final dinner in Hawaii on this trip, the Obamas went to Buzz’s Lanikai, a steakhouse and seafood restaurant across the street from Kailua Beach Park that has been a regular stop for the family on previous vacations.

More here

****

A Year Ago Today:

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama make their way to board Air Force One on January 5, 2013 upon departure from Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu

05
Apr
13

Rise and Shine…It’s Friday!

11139_212175313097_7962048097_4190725_5902619_n

*****

Voters Trust Obama More On Budget; Blame GOP For Gridlock

The Hill: A full half of Americans trust President Obama more than congressional Republicans to deal with the federal budget.

The survey by USA Today and Marist found that 50 percent of voters trust President Obama to make the right decisions on the budget, compared to 41 percent who say congressional Republicans are more trustworthy. Eight percent say they don’t believe either will make the right choices on budget priorities.

Among independents, 46 percent say they trust the president more, while 37 percent say they believe congressional Republicans have the advantage. Meanwhile, 48 percent of voters say Republicans are responsible for partisan gridlock holding up a deal on the federal budget.

Read more here

*****

350px-N

 *****

The Beltway Media’s Fainting Spell Over President Obama’s 2014 Pursuits.

Alec MacGillis: Flash forward to this week, as Obama embarks on a trip to California to raise money for House Democrats, the first of 14 fundraisers he’s holding this year for the Democratic Party, up from only five that he held in 2009. Is this a sign that he learned a lesson from the 2010 disaster and the lashing he received afterward, and is determined to do better in his second midterm election? No—that would be too consistent a reaction for the Beltway. Obama’s fundraising—doing what he was slammed for not doing enough of four years ago—is now proof of his hypocritical betrayal of his principles.

But underlying the tut-tutting about Obama’s fundraising is a broader, longstanding confusion in the Washington establishment over what is to be expected of Obama. We scorn him for seeking to hold himself above the fray and then lash him with high dudgeon as soon he deigns to descend into the muck. Never mind that he is following in the footsteps of his two-term predecessors—as the Post noted, “Ronald Reagan participated in 20 fundraisers for Republicans in 1985, and George W. Bush did 14 in 2005…. Bill Clinton, committed to helping the Democratic Party eliminate debt after the 1996 campaign, appeared at a whopping 77 fundraisers in 1997.” One need look no further than the National Rifle Association’s success at blocking legislation favored by a majority of Americans to realize that the bully pulpit alone is inadequate to the task, and that it would help to spend some money on behalf of the legislation. After a bruising first term in office, Obama is painfully aware of these realities. But when he tries to address them, the Beltway blanches, to the bewilderment of those who’ve seen the realities that Obama is up against.

Read more here

*****

gop-hate

*****

Ta-Nehisi Coates: The present darling of the right wing, Dr. Benjamin Carson, is a distinguished neurosurgeon who went from the depths of Detroit poverty to the heights of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. But his current status among conservatives isn’t so much rooted in Carson’s redemptive rise from rags to respectability, as it is in the belief that he is, in the long winter of Obama, the one they’ve been waiting for.

Last week, Carson came under attack for comparing advocates of same-sex marriage with advocates of bestiality and the North American Man/Boy Love Association. He then cast himself as a victim of political correctness, besieged by white liberals — “the most racist people there are” — who could not countenance his heterodoxy and wanted to keep him on the “plantation.”

Read more here

*****

Majority Now Support Marijuana Legalization

ABC News: For years, supporters of marijuana legalization have pointed to polls trending their way, claiming the issue was about to tip as favorable to a majority of Americans. Now, their prediction has finally come true.

For the first time, a major U.S. poll shows a majority of nationwide support for legalizing marijuana: 52 percent now back legalized pot, compared with 45 percent who oppose it, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. Pew has been asking about marijuana since 1969, when only 12 percent thought it should be legal, and 84 percent said it shouldn’t be.

The legalization charge is being led by young people: Support ranked highest among 18-29-year-old respondents, 64 percent of whom think pot should be legal. Politically, liberal Democrats overwhelmingly think marijuana should be legal, at 73 percent.

But the idea of legalization has grown by making inroads among Republicans. Since 2010, the demographic that has shifted more support than any other–including groups broken down by age, political leaning, race, gender, and education–is liberal and moderate Republicans. Among them, support has jumped 17 percentage points in the last three years, from 36 percent in 2010 to 53 percent today.

Read more here

*****

obama-cares

*****

Washington Post: President Barack Obama’s budget next week will steer clear of major cuts to Medicaid. White House officials aren’t commenting, but Obama’s budget would set up a clear contrast with the Republican-led House. The GOP budget would turn Medicaid over to the states and sharply reduce future spending from currently projected levels. It would also repeal the expansion of Medicaid, along with the rest of Obama’s health care law.

Under Obama’s overhaul, Medicaid would be expanded to bring in low-income adults, mainly people with no children at home but also some parents. In states that accept the expansion, those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — about $15,400 for an individual — would be entitled to receive Medicaid. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the expansion’s cost for the first three years, starting in 2014. Washington’s share would gradually phase down to 90 percent.

Read more here

*****

obama-McDonough *****

The Man Who Could Put Climate Change On The Agenda

Coral Davenport: Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, is best known for two things: his national security chops—he had key roles on the White House National Security Council—and the high regard in which he’s held by President Obama. McDonough has been part of Obama’s inner circle for nearly a decade, and the president has called his new chief of staff one of his “closest and most trusted advisers.”

Here’s what a lot of people don’t know about McDonough: He has a background on climate change, and he takes the issue very seriously. Here’s why that’s important: If Obama wants to follow through on his 2013 Inaugural Address pledge to make climate change a cornerstone of his legacy, he’ll need to make a series of tough, highly controversial executive decisions. Ultimately, of course, the U.S. agenda on climate change will be set by the president himself. But Obama’s selection of a key adviser with such a deep record on the issue suggests he intends to take it seriously.

Read more here

*****

common-sense-e1302495226830 *****

Why Obama Wants A Grand Bargain

Greg Sargent: The news of the morning is that President Obama will propose a budget next week that includes specific cuts in Social Security and Medicare along with new revenues — an effort to bring Republicans back to the table for a “Grand Bargain” to replace the sequester. The entitlement cuts include Chained CPI for Social Security and a combination of means testing and provider-side cuts on Medicare, in addition to other spending cuts, which will anger liberal Democrats. The budget seeks $580 billion in new revenues via closing loopholes enjoyed by the wealthy and oil and gas companies. There will reportedly be some new spending offset by money raised elsewhere — which is designed to prove that you can reduce the deficit and spend to prime the economy and help the middle class at the same time.

At a certain level, this shouldn’t surprise anybody. On entitlements, Obama is merely reiterating what he’s previously offered John Boehner, and it has long been clear that this offer is still on the table. Obama and his advisers don’t necessarily view Chained CPI as good policy. But they think a Grand Bargain is ultimately a better outcome than continued sequestration, and the only way to the former is to peel off individual Republicans who are open to new revenues. They believe a Grand Bargain is good for Democrats in general, because it essentially would lock in a medium-term agreement over core disputes — about the safety net and about the size of government, and who should pay for it — that have produced a debilitating stalemate in Washington.

Liberals who oppose Chained CPI need to start thinking right now about how to answer this question: Which is worse, a Grand Bargain, or continued sequestration?

Read more here

*****

President Obama’s Daily Schedule; All Times Eastern

9:15AM: President Obama Hosts An Easter Prayer Breakfast. VP Biden Also Attends.

10:30AM: President Obama and Vice President Biden Receive The Presidential Daily Briefing.

12:45PM: Press Secretary Jay Carney Briefs The Press.

12:45PM: Vice President Biden Delivers Remarks At The 2013 Annual Conference Of The Export-Import Bank.

*****




@BarackObama

@WhiteHouse

@FLOTUS

@blog44

@PeteSouza

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

@TheObamaDiary

@NerdyWonka

@DaRiverZkind

@Lib_Librarian

@amk4obama

@zizii2

Categories

Blog Stats

  • 24,746,505 hits

Archives

April 2014
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930