Posts Tagged ‘nra



22
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

Random old pic, because, well, it’s Education Day – Occidental College, 1981

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Today (all times Eastern):

9:0 AM: President Obama departs the White House

10:20: Arrives in Buffalo, N.Y.

11:05: Delivers remarks at the University of Buffalo

5:55: Delivers remarks at Henninger High School, Syracuse

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USA Today: President Obama is back on the road Thursday, starting a two-day bus trip to promote plans to cut college costs.

First up is a flight to upstate New York, where Obama will speak at the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York. The president and his bus then travel to Henninger High School in Syracuse.

“At these two schools, the President will discuss his plan to make college more affordable, tackle rising costs, and improve value for students and their families,” says the White House schedule.

…. After discussing college costs in Buffalo and Syracuse, Obama spends the night in Auburn, N.Y. The president wraps up his bus tour on Friday with stops in Binghamton, N.Y., and Scranton, Penn.

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Matthew Yglesias: Obama’s Radical Agenda on Higher Education

The White House is tackling the status quo that’s sent college costs out of control.

For decades now, America’s approach to higher-education policy has been a delightful synthesis of left-wing and right-wing ideas. In stark contrast to the K–12 universe, college is a playground for individual choice and market competition …. In a speech Thursday morning in Buffalo, N.Y., on ways to enhance college affordability, President Obama will likely lay out policy measures that, while relatively modest on their own terms, propose to radically subvert that bargain on a conceptual level.

The president has decided, essentially, that the old bargain has failed …. he wants to find ways for the federal government to put its muscle behind an idea that’s both modest and radical: that public money should pay for outcomes, not just more stuff. Attempting to nudge the health care system in that direction was a key element of the Affordable Care Act. Nudging K–12 education in that direction has been the centerpiece of the Obama education agenda. Bringing it to the realm of higher education in a serious way would be extremely difficult but also an extraordinary achievement if we can be sent down that path.

More here

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NYT: Obama’s Plan Aims to Lower Cost of College

President Obama plans to announce a set of ambitious proposals on Thursday aimed at making colleges more accountable and affordable by rating them and ultimately linking those ratings to financial aid.

A draft of the proposal, obtained by The New York Times and likely to cause some consternation among colleges, shows a plan to rate colleges before the 2015 school year based on measures like tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend. The ratings would compare colleges against their peer institutions. If the plan can win Congressional approval, the idea is to base federal financial aid to students attending the colleges partly on those rankings.

“All the things we’re measuring are important for students choosing a college,” a senior administration official said. “It’s important to us that colleges offer good value for their tuition dollars, and that higher education offer families a degree of security so students aren’t left with debt they can’t pay back.”

More here

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USA Today: Small-business jobs rise as economy improves

Small-business hiring and confidence about the future are rising, a signal of the economy’s growing strength and diminishing concerns about employee insurance coverage required by the new health care law.

Job creation at small companies has almost doubled in the last six months, reaching 82,000 jobs at firms with 49 or fewer employees in July, according to payroll processor ADP. Borrowing by small businesses and sales of new franchises have also climbed, indicating business owners are willing to take on new expenses and risk.

More here

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The Atlantic: Immigration Reformers Are Winning August

Opponents of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants had a plan to apply grassroots pressure on congressional Republicans in their home districts. Why did it fizzle?

Activists opposed to immigration reform were all set to spend this month putting pressure on lawmakers to kill the legislation. But it hasn’t exactly been a show of force.

Last week, the Tea Party Patriots and NumbersUSA, two groups opposed to “amnesty” legislation, heavily publicized a rally in Richmond, Virginia, featuring Steve King … but only a few dozen people showed up – far short of the hundreds organizers had planned for.

…. as August winds down, the Richmond event seems indicative of the overall trend. Hundreds of immigrant advocates have appeared at rallies and town halls across the country. But the other side, the opponents, have been mostly absent.

More here

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Steve Benen: The nation’s full faith and credit is not a ‘leverage point’

About a week ago, National Review’s Robert Costa reported that congressional Republicans are considering an incredibly dangerous new plan: they’re prepared to hold the nation’s debt limit hostage again, creating a crisis comparable to the one we saw in the summer of 2011, unless Democrats agree to take health care benefits away from millions of Americans.

Earlier this week, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a prominent member of the House Democratic leadership, said he now sees this scenario as likely. And overnight, Reuters reported (see here) that another GOP debt-ceiling crisis appears to be on the way…..

… In other words, GOP leaders are effectively prepared to swap one hostage for another …. this is nothing short of madness. As Ezra Klein recently put it, “Trading a government shutdown for a debt-ceiling breach is like trading the flu for septic shock”….

More here

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TPM: Republican Governors: Shhh, Don’t Call Our Obamacare Money Obamacare!

A variety of Republican governors have sought federal funds under Obamacare, many of them to expand Medicaid eligibility for more residents, a centerpiece of the law that the Supreme Court made optional for states last year.

But shhh! Don’t call it Obamacare, they say, for they despise that law.

In the latest example, vociferous Obamacare critic and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is seeking roughly $100 million in federal funds under a program set up under Obamacare, called Community First Choice … “The bottom line is it has nothing to do with Obamacare,” said Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle.

Only it has everything to do with Obamacare …

Perry is in good company among Republican governors, many of whom want billions of federal funds under the law’s Medicaid expansion, but don’t want to call it Obamacare …. One example is Arizona’s Jan Brewer …. another is Florida’s Rick Scott….

More here

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NBC: Even Republican young adults want health insurance, poll finds

Obamacare may have become a partisan issue, but more Republicans than Democrats have signed up for one of its most popular provisions, according to a survey published Wednesday.

The survey also pokes holes in the idea that most 20-somethings act like “Young Invincibles” who believe they don’t need health insurance.

A team at the Commonwealth Fund, which strongly supports healthcare reform, looked at one of the main target groups of the 2010 Affordable Care Act – young adults who have been going without health insurance. One of the most popular provisions of the law lets people age 26 and younger stay on their parents’ health insurance.

…. They found that by last March, 63 percent of young adults identifying as Republicans had enrolled in a parent’s health plan in the last 12 months, compared to 45 percent of those who considered themselves Democrats….

More here

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Texas Tribune: Voter ID Debate Heats Up as Dallas County Joins Fight

A fight against the state’s contentious voter ID laws escalated this week when Dallas County became the first Texas county to claim that the requirements would disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters.

In a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, the Dallas County Commissioners Court voted to join U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, in a lawsuit urging a federal district court to issue an injunction against the voter ID law. The law requires voters to present one of seven forms of state or federal identification or a so-called election identification certificate, which can be obtained from the state’s Department of Public Safety.

On Wednesday in an appearance on MSNBC, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins applauded the commissioners’ decision. Jenkins said 220,000 of 1.1 million total registered voters in Dallas County indicated they did not have the required forms of ID to vote.

More here

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On this day:

Pete Souza: “On vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, the President was golfing at the Vineyard Golf Club. I switched my digital camera to the black-and-white setting to capture the ominous clouds.” Aug. 22, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama greets attendees during a Joining Forces event at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 22, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

21
Aug
13

This and That

Statement from the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden:

Yesterday our son Beau underwent a successful procedure. He is in great shape and is going to be discharged tomorrow and heading home to Delaware. He will follow up with his local physicians in the coming weeks.

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Steve Benen: The registry the NRA warned against

A few months ago, conservative senators felt the need to kill a popular, bipartisan proposal on firearm background checks, and relied primarily on a single talking point: the proposal might lead to a firearm database. The very idea of some kind of national gun registry was so offensive to the right that the legislation had to die at the hands of a Republican filibuster.

It didn’t matter that the bipartisan bill had no such database. It didn’t matter that the bipartisan bill explicitly made the creation of such a registry a felony. All that mattered was that conservatives had a lie they liked, and which they used to great effect.

Four months later, Steve Friess reports that a massive, secret database of gun owners exists after all. But it wasn’t built by the Justice Department or the Department of Homeland Security; it was compiled without gun owners’ consent by the National Rifle Association.

More here

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ThinkProgress: The Worst Thing In That Maureen Dowd Column Isn’t Actually Her Misquote Of Bill DeBlasio’s Wife

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is taking a lot of very justified heat for a column about New York City mayoral candidate Bill DeBlasio and his wife Chirlane McCray, in which she appears to have distorted a quotation of McCray’s to imply that McCray is impugning rival Democratic candidate Christine Quinn for being a lesbian.

…. Dowd is now suggesting that a noisy coffee shop obscured her audio recording, and she ended up relying on what turn out to have been bad-quality notes for the quotation….

…. as bad as Dowd’s quoting malpractice is, and as frivolous as the overall column is, these problems aren’t actually the worst part of the column. That would be the way Dowd describes McCray’s sexual orientation, and places it in a context of Sexuality and the New York Mayoral Race….

More here

More at NYMag and, well, Charles Pierce says it all

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Continue reading ‘This and That’

18
Jul
13

The Time is Now

Erica Lafferty, daughter of Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, stops at her mother’s grave on her wedding day

People: ….. “I wanted to let her know how much I missed her,” Lafferty says. “No daughter should ever have to do that on her wedding day … and I make sure she is always part of every day, like she always had been.”

…. For her bridal ensemble, Lafferty wore custom-dyed converse sneakers, something she and her mom often joked about.

“My mom always teased me because I was such a tomboy,” she says. “When I was picking out my dress, we found you could custom Converse sneakers, so she knew I had ordered them.”

Lafferty works with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, “to fight common-sense gun laws and join with others who’ve lost loved ones. I’m using my voice to make sure that things change and ensure no one else has to experience one of the most important days of their life without their mother due to gun violence.”

Full article here

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The most heartbreaking graveyard image I’ve seen since:

Both lives utterly, pointlessly wasted.

28
May
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago: President Obama is reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall as he delivers remarks during the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War commemoration ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 28, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

10:05: The President departs the White House

11:05: Arrives New Jersey

11:15: Attorney General Eric Holder will deliver keynote remarks to 70 new citizens at a special naturalization ceremony in the Justice Department

1:15: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the White House Kitchen Garden Summer Harvest

1:30: President Obama delivers remarks at Asbury Park Convention Hall

2:15: VP Biden, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and President Martelly Speak to the Press, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (Audio Only at WH Live)

2:50: President Obama departs New Jersey

3:55: Arrives the White House

5:30: Delivers remarks at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration at the White House

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Rick Ungar (Forbes): Every now and again, a political pundit is required to stand up and admit to the world that he or she got it wrong.

For me, this would be one of those moments.

For quite some time, I have been predicting that Obamacare would likely mean higher insurance rates in the individual market for the “young immortals” and others under the age of 40….

It is increasingly clear that I had it wrong.

More here

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Slate

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Can anyone explain why there is almost no questioning in the media today of McCain’s trip to Syria? Anyone??

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Steve Benen: It’s been nearly a week since President Obama announced his vision for ending the nation’s post-9/11 war footing and rejecting the notion of perpetual war, and while the pushback from the right was immediate, Republican opposition to the shift appears to be hardening.

…. of particular interest were Republican complaints about the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay ….. Rep. Peter King: “…. The president had five years to end this if he really wanted to. He could’ve moved most of those prisoners out of the country.”

….. I couldn’t help but laugh …. Less than a month after President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, King’s Republican colleagues began throwing a major tantrum over the very idea of closing the detention facility….. Three months later, Congress blocked the president from transferring detainees. A year later, they Congress did it again. Does King not remember any of this? If not, why not?

Full post here

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VP Biden, Dr Jill Biden and Colombia’s Commander of the Armed Forces Alejandro Navas, stand for the Colombian national anthem during a ceremony to honor Air Force servicemen fallen on the line of duty in a chapel at the Air Force base in Bogota, May 27

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06
May
13

This and That

Photo: Pete Souza

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Line of the day?

Charles Pierce: Just as Darrell Issa and his merry men are ready to engage in another round of Outrage Kabuki on the subject of Benghazi, BENGHAZI!, BENGHAZI!!, some of the air is going out of the balloon already, and the high-pitched whistling seems to have reached a frequency that can be heard at the dog’s breakfast known as Fox And Friends.

And when you’ve lost a human tack-hammer like Brian Kilmeade, it’s going to be tough to sell anyone smarter, which is, you know, like, everybody.

More here

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Jonathan Bernstein: If you’re not inside the conservative information feedback loop, you might not be aware that within that loop the Benghazi “scandal” is still going at 100 percent strength. Months after the actual incident, which was back in September. Even though no one has ever made clear exactly what terrible secret was the subject of the supposed cover-up; even though a succession of “revelations” have all turned out to be nonsense (here’s one from just last week). Doesn’t matter; discredited accusations are just forgotten and new ones are substituted.

More here

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Dan Rather: “All of these things we’ve said about what the president could do, should do, might have, could have, but the central  thing to keep in mind is his opponents — you talk about taking them out to dinner, making nice with them — these people, politically, want to  cut his heart out and throw his liver to the dogs.”

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on The View today:

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06
May
13

Rise and Shine

Two years ago: President Obama walks across the tarmac with Vice President Biden prior to departure from Fort Campbell, Ky., May 6, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

The President has no scheduled public events

12:45 Jay Carney’s press briefing

4:0: VP Biden meets with members of the faith community at the White House to discuss gun safety

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Jonathan Chait: State of the Union addresses are wearying rituals, in which stitched-together lists of never-gonna-happen goals are woven into idealistic catchphrases, analyzed as rhetoric by an unqualified panel of poetry-critic-for-a-night political reporters, quickly followed by a hapless opposition-party response, and then, in almost every case, forgotten. This year, plunked into the midst of the tedium was a gigantic revelation, almost surely the most momentous news of President Obama’s second term. “I will direct my Cabinet,” he announced, “to come up with executive actions we can take now and in the future to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

Here was a genuine bombshell. It sounded a little vague, and the president did not explain precisely what he intended to do or how he would pull it off. But a handful of environmental wonks had a fairly strong grasp of the project he had committed himself to, and they understood that it was very, very real and very, very doable. If they were to have summarized the news, the headline would have been OBAMA TO SAVE PLANET…..

More here

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USA Today: President Obama is turning back to the jobs issue, launching a series of “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tours” starting Thursday with an appearance in Texas.

Obama will visit growing areas “to learn what has helped them become successful and use these models of growth to encourage Congress to act,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

On Thursday, the president opens the new effort with a tour in Austin, Texas, where he will visit a high school, and speak with leaders of the city’s high-tech industries.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: There Are No ‘Absolute’ Rights – Nearly every idea in the Bill of Rights comes with restrictions and limitations. To think that the Second Amendment should be any different is absurd

Every time I write a column on guns, the howl arises that I am talking about a right that is enshrined in the Constitution, buddy, and I better watch myself. The howl then transmutes into an extended harangue that this right is absolute, and no libtard fascist, whether me or the Satanesque Dianne Feinstein, is going to limit the right in any way.

The first soldier to charge across this rhetorical veld is followed by hundreds harrumphing their assent. The only problem is that it’s an ahistorical, afactual, and barbaric argument. No right is absolute. In fact, the Second Amendment arguably has fewer restrictions on it these days than many of the other first ten, and there is and should be no guarantee that things are going to stay that way. In fact, if we’re ever going to be serious about trying to stop this mass butchery that we endure every few months, they cannot.

More here

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VP Biden: ….. We fell short on our first effort to pass Manchin-Toomey in the Senate, but we will not be deterred by one setback. We have an obligation to make sure that the voices of victims, not the voice of the NRA, ring the loudest in this debate.

For too long, members of Congress have been afraid to vote against the wishes of the NRA, even when the vast majority of their constituents support what the NRA opposes. That fear has become such an article of faith that even in the face of evidence to the contrary, a number of senators voted against basic background checks, against a federal gun trafficking statute and against other common-sense measures because they feared a backlash.

…. In the end, I believe we will prevail. And those who wrote off gun safety legislation last month will come to realize that moment wasn’t the end at all. It was the turning point.

Full editorial here

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