Posts Tagged ‘marriage



31
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

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The Week Ahead:

Today, tomorrow and Monday: The President has no public events scheduled.

Tuesday: The President will attend meetings at the White House. In the evening, he will depart Washington, DC en route Stockholm, Sweden.

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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Vice President Biden listens as President Obama speaks to members of the media about Syria during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30

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Washington Post: The one map that shows why Syria is so complicated:

…. The map, from Columbia University’s really exceptional Gulf/2000 Project, shows the different ethnic and linguistic groups of the Levant, the part of the Middle East that’s dominated by Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Each color represents a different group. As you can see, there are a lot of groups swirled together. There are enclaves, and there is overlap.

Ethnic and linguistic breakdowns are just one part of Syria’s complexity, of course. But they are a really important part. The country’s largest group is shown in yellow, signifying ethnic Arabs who follow Sunni Islam, the largest sect of Islam. Shades of brown indicate ethnic Kurds, long oppressed in Syria, who have taken up arms against the regime. There are also Druze, a religious sect, Arab Christians, ethnic Armenians and others.

More here

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Graphic showing foreign forces and bases in the Middle East and selected military equipment

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Washington Post: 9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask

The United States and allies are preparing for a possibly imminent series of limited military strikes against Syria, the first direct U.S. intervention in the two-year civil war, in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.

If you found the above sentence kind of confusing, or aren’t exactly sure why Syria is fighting a civil war, or even where Syria is located, then this is the article for you. What’s happening in Syria is really important, but it can also be confusing and difficult to follow even for those of us glued to it.

Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions.

More here

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A Word from CarolDuhart:

This week more than ever has reminded me of how lucky and blessed we are to have chosen Obama. His deliberation in the face of a howling chorus is a far contrast to any other President in my lifetime. And in far contrast to the other alternatives. Those emoprogs and those having Iraq flashbacks and comparing him to Bush need to remember that unlike Bush, Obama makes his own decisions based on logic, truth, and in his own time. He doesn’t lie, he doesn’t chestbeat, he doesn’t rush in without planning. He doesn’t need to cement a place in history: just being the first African-American President has secured that. Obama is the man that Shrub could never be, the President he couldn’t even try to be. That very maturity drives both right and left crazy, for we haven’t had a President like him, really, ever. Think about it: a President who isn’t driven by his insecurities like Nixon or Carter, who doesn’t buy into ideological crap like Reagan or Daddy Bush, or sometimes the captive of his appetites like Clinton, or lazy like Bush. There are no hooks on him to make him do something he doesn’t want to do.

Sometimes I think many on the left have issues with power and the responsibility it brings. Having been the subjects of the abuse of power has allowed a certain “righteousness” without responsibility. It’s easy to think all uses of American military or financial power are corrupt without nuance. As long as daddy “conservatives” ran the place, there was no need to think about the deep decisions regarding America’s place in the world. Instead one could choose to “drop out” or talk “third party” or be haplessly pacifist in the face of an armed world. And one could have a progressive fiefdom of adoring followers without the need to reach out to others or be civilly engaged.

Syria is a tough cookie, no matter how you slice it. Assad is just like his father, a brutal bastard who has shown he would kill everyone he can to keep a power that was never granted to him either by election or a legitimate monarchy. And while many of the rebels just want Assad gone and a chance to take their lives in their own hands, some of the assistants just want another theocracy like Iran, which is simply tyranny by another name. But chemical weapons are the cruelest of all weapons. Even after the dead are buried, the soil is heavily contaminated, killing people long after the war is over. So Obama has a hard decision to make, but he’s up to the task and I trust him based on experience to make the right one or at least the best one he can make. If he goes for it, he has a plan to get things done. If he pulls away from the brink, he’ll have something to show for it.

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Spandan C (The People’s View): The US Intelligence Assessment on Syria and the Next Steps in the National Debate

…. This president and his administration has done everything possible up to this point to avoid getting involved in Syria militarily, against the drum beats of the war mongers. Even now, he has shown considerable restraint. But it is important to remember that Barack Obama was not elected on the promise of complete and total pacifism; he was elected on the promise of careful consideration, judgment and letting the facts speak for themselves.

Whatever the president does, I am sure his critics will be many and the criticisms will be far and wide. As has been noted, he has no good options here. But as we debate this going forward, I want us to understand the complexity of the issue, drop the righteousness (either side – no one should take the idea of dropping bombs lightly just as no one should make light of the massacre from the chemical weapons), and do something the pundits won’t do – let’s keep it on the facts, not the conjectures and the rhetoric.

Full post here

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SmartyPants: In the meantime…progress

As we’ve all been consumed with what President Obama will do in Syria, this administration is making some serious progress in other areas. For example:

President Obama took executive action to close gun purchase loopholes.

The IRS will recognize all gay marriages.

HHS announced that Medicare benefits will be extended to same-sex couples.

In yet another step to end the “war on drugs,” Attorney General Eric Holder gave a green light to state measures legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

But yeah, to some folks, Obama is just like Bush. LOL

See post here – with links to all that beautiful progress

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Washington Post: Ginsburg will be first justice to officiate at same-sex wedding

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first Supreme Court member to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday when she officiates at the Washington wedding of Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser.

The gala wedding of Kaiser and economist John Roberts at the performing arts center brings together the nation’s highest court and the capital’s high society and will mark a new milepost in the recognition of same-sex unions.

…. During a recent interview, Ginsburg seemed excited about being the first member of the court to conduct such a ceremony and said it was only a logical next step.

“I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship,” Ginsburg said.

More here

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Excellent:

Dallas News: Wendy Davis raises $470,000 from outside Texas following her nationally viewed filibuster

In the six weeks following her headline-grabbing filibuster, Wendy Davis raised $1.2 million — nearly 40 percent of it from outside Texas. Davis drew national attention following the filibuster against an abortion-restriction bill that helped shut down the Texas Senate and prompted Gov. Rick Perry to call lawmakers back into another special session. In the wake of Davis’ new-found fame, Davis has been urged by some Democrats to run for governor next year. She says she will announce her political plans — whether to run for reelection as a senator from Fort Worth or as a Democrat for governor — in a few weeks.

More here

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Hey, our very brilliant Liberal Librarian has a new admirer, the very brilliant Kurt Eichenwald of Vanity Fair:

Congratulaaaaaaaaations LL!! But if you end up being hired by Vanity Fair, don’t forget us!

In case you missed it: LL’s post on Syria yesterday here

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Not such a good time, though, for another of our friends on Twitter - Jovie, I should not (literally) cry laughing at your misfortune, but it’s reeeeeeally hard:

This morning: “New account it’s my fifth in 2 weeks.

LOL!

Guinness book world of records.”

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MooooOOOOooooOOOOoooorning.

30
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

@petesouza: President Obama in the Oval Office, talking on phone to German Chancellor Merkel

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Today:

2:15 EDT: The President meets with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania, and President Andris Bērziņš of Latvia; the Vice President also attends

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CBS: Obama administration set to release Syria intel report

The administration will release on Friday a declassified version of its intelligence report on last week’s purported Syria chemical weapons attack, a senior administration official told CBS News late Thursday.

The official also said the administration would go public with its legal justification for taking military action against the Syrian regime if and when President Obama orders a strike.

More here

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Steve Benen: The prospect of going alone in Syria

A few days ago, it was largely seen as a fait accompli – British Prime Minister David Cameron would get approval from the British Parliament for the use of force in Syria, and a coalition would move forward apace.

With these expectations in mind, last night’s developments were as stunning as they were dramatic. For the first time in generations, a British prime minister’s appeal for military authorization was rejected by members of Parliament, even after Cameron watered down the scope of his original request.

It’s safe to assume the White House, which appears eager to intervene in Syria and assumed the UK’s support was in hand, was rattled by Parliament’s decision. Indeed, it left President Obama in an unsettling global dynamic….

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: Another Story of Obamacare Rate Shock That Isn’t

Another Obamascare article is making the rounds. This one, from National Journal, is about what people buying their own insurance will pay on the new Obamacare exchanges — and how those prices compare to what people pay when they get coverage from their employers.

“For the vast majority of Americans,” reporter Clara Ritger writes, “premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. … Whether the quality of care in the new market is comparable to private offerings remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: The cost of care in the new market doesn’t stack up.”

…. this analysis doesn’t really tell us what the Obamacare critics think it does. In fact, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t really tell us what Ritger thinks it does….

More here

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Jonathan Bernstein: Here comes more Obamacare misinformation

Wow. National Journal really booted one today on the Affordable Care Act …..it should be tossed in the garbage…

….. National Journal only has initial estimates of what plans in the exchanges will look like; over time, we don’t know how they’ll change. And, yes, there is surely a fair amount of uncertainty about how employers will react over time.

What we do know, however, suggests that this National Journal analysis doesn’t get it right, at all.

More here

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Steve Benen: Eric Holder steps up, digs in, and breaks out

…. Eric Holder appears to have quietly positioned himself not only as a progressive champion, but as one of the more accomplished attorneys general in recent memory.

Think about some of the recent policies Holder has chosen to tackle: voting rights; sentencing reforms; condemnations of “Stand Your Ground” laws, and of course the drug policy announced yesterday. These are critically important law-enforcement policies, some of which have been neglected and ignored by officials in both parties for years, long in need of leadership – which Holder is now providing…..

Full post here

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FACT SHEET: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence

The Obama administration announced two new common-sense executive actions to keep the most dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands and ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities. These executive actions build on the 23 executive actions that the Vice President recommended as part of the comprehensive gun violence reduction plan and the President unveiled on January 16, 2013.

Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals, like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the President and Vice President remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress toward reducing gun violence.

More here

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Treasury: All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26th Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” said Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

More here

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David Frum is hardly in a position to comment, but he’s right on this:

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TPM: Is This The Beginning Of The End Of The War On Drugs?

It’s America’s 40-year war. From Nixon through Nancy — “Just Say No!” — to Clinton not inhaling. From coke to crack to meth.

Throughout the War on Drugs, the drive has been for more law enforcement, stiffer sentences and less tolerance. The limitations of interdiction and incarceration are well-documented. But the push for harsher penalties rarely abated, and the emphasis remained on drugs as a criminal matter for law enforcement. Until Thursday, when the first real retreat of any kind was made official.

The Justice Department’s announcement that it would not block Colorado and Washington from implementing state laws legalizing marijuana marked a sea change.

More here

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Seamus Heaney, the Irish Nobel Prize-winning poet, died today.

This poem, which I used in an abysmally made YouTube video back in 2008, was, I always thought, perfect for the campaign – and still is:

“History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave,
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.”

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Morning everyone.

29
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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President Barack Obama reacts to a picture presented to him of a younger Robert Gibbs, who played soccer at North Carolina State, following a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern)

10:15AM: Pres. Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

11:00AM: Pres. Obama meets with senior advisors

12:00PM: Pres. Obama and Hillary Clinton have lunch

2:05PM: Pres. Obama welcomes the San Francisco Giants to the White House to honor the team and their 2012 World Series Championship

2:45PM: Pres. Obama meets with Civil Rights leader and local elected officials

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Tom Kludt: Obama, Hillary Clinton To Have Lunch At The White House Today

President Barack Obama will welcome a fixture from his first term cabinet back to the White House on Monday when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins him for lunch. According to Obama’s schedule, the two will meet at noon ET.

More here

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Nicole Winfield: Pope Francis Says He Will Not Judge Gay Priests

Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.

More here

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Donna Cassata: Sen. Gillibrand Fights To Remove Commanders From Military Sex Assault Cases

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who helped force the military to allow gays in its ranks, is determined to upend laws governing how the armed services handle an epidemic of sexual assaults.

She is slowly and steadily building support for a proposal to strip commanders of their authority to prosecute cases of sexual assault, instead handing responsibility to seasoned military lawyers. She now has 44 backers, including Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who signed on last week, as well as conservative Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Gillibrand’s measure would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial. That judgment would rest instead with seasoned trial lawyers who have prosecutorial experience and hold the rank of colonel or above.

More here

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Catherine Thompson: Slim Majority Of Americans Support Legalizing Gay Marriage In All 50 States

A slim majority of Americans would vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

While 52 percent of Americans would vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage across the country, 43 percent said they would vote against such a federal law, the poll found.

A number of groups posted more than 60 percent support for national legalization of same-sex marriage in the Gallup poll, including self-identifying liberals, those who said they subscribed to “no religion” or “rarely/never attend church,” Democrats, 18- to 34-year-olds, moderates, Easterners, and Catholics.

More here

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President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting in a Kroger’s Supermarket in Bristol, Va. on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Nicole Flatow: Governor Admits He ‘Does Not Know Enough’ About The Voter Suppression Bill He’s About To Sign

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said Friday he would sign a bill passed by the North Carolina legislature that would become the most suppressive voting law in the nation. But when asked to speak about a provision in the bill that would prohibit 17-year-olds from registering in advance of their 18th birthday, McCroryadmitted he “did not know enough” and had not read that portion of the bill.

The bill, passed just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act and paved the way for new suppressive state laws, imposes a laundry list of new restrictions on access to the ballot, including eliminating same-day registration, cutting early voting, easing campaign contribution limits, and expanding the mechanisms for alleging voter fraud. In remarks saying he would sign the bill, McCrory focused on his support for the bill’s voter ID requirement — a particularly suppressive and discriminatory policy that McCrory has long supported. But when asked by an Associated Press reporter about another provision in the bill to limit new voter registration opportunities, McCrory said, “I don’t know enough. I’m sorry. I haven’t read that portion of the bill.”

More here

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President Barack Obama listens to a question at a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009.

(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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Sandhya Somashekhar: Exclusive: Kathleen Sebelius On ObamaCare’s ‘Very Tight’ Deadlines

Sec. Kathleen Sebelius: Well, we are testing all of the data systems like crazy to try and make sure that information can flow easily through the system. I’m sure there will be operational challenges in the opening of the markets, but I think we’re trying to build in redundancies and be able to respond very rapidly. And really we see Oct. 1 as the beginning of the campaign that really lasts for six months.

KS: It is very tight…Ideally what you would do if you were building a data hub that needs this kind of information, you’d put a piece together and test that. You test it, if you will, sequentially. We have to build and test simultaneously…it’s a big operational issue but all systems are a go for the first of October.

More here

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President Barack Obama listens to a question during a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Caitlin McDevitt: Kevin Spacey On Obama, Congress

“House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey thinks President Barack Obama deserves more credit for what he’s accomplished.

“President Obama will go down as having passed some of the most historic bills in the history of this country,” Spacey told Hot Press magazine in a recent interview. “That despite constant knee-jerk opposition from the Republicans. A lot of people don’t realize how much he’s done in the most difficult of circumstances.”

As for Congress, Spacey is less impressed.

“It’s maybe interesting for an American audience that’s sat through the most non-productive Congress in the history of the United States, in terms of bills passed, to watch a fictional show [“House of Cards”] where some bills actually get passed,” he said.

More here

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A picture of President Barack Obama rests on the ground during a town hall meeting held at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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 Reuters: Amazon Unveils New Hiring Spree Ahead Of Obama Visit

Amazon.com Inc unveiled a new hiring spree on Monday ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama to one of the Internet retailer’s giant distribution warehouses this week.

Amazon said it is looking to fill more than 5,000 new full-time jobs at 17 of its fulfillment centers across the United States. That’s roughly a 25 percent increase in full-time fulfillment center staff, which currently number more than 20,000 in the country.

Amazon has been building lots of new fulfillment centers closer to customers in recent years as the company tries to speed up delivery of online orders and reduce shipping costs.

Amazon needs a lot of workers to pick, pack and ship orders alongside high tech robots that whiz around its warehouses. The company’s demand for employees is so strong that it has created special programs to woo candidates.

More here

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First Lady Michelle Obama hugs LeBron James following the USA vs. France men’s basketball game at Olympic Park during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, July 29, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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President Barack Obama eats a peach following a town hall meeting at Kroger’s Supermarket in Bristol, Va. on July 29, 2009. Seconds later, the President handed a dollar bill to the CEO of Kroger’s, who attended the event. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Have An Obamariffic Day! :D




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