Posts Tagged ‘o’donnell

20
Jun
14

Rise and Shine

Parade

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Today (all times Eastern)

10:55: President Obama meets with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand

1:0 Josh Earnest briefs the press

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Parade: The President and Michelle Obama on Work, Family, and Juggling It All

… On Monday, June 23, the President and Mrs. Obama will host a Working Families summit in Washington, D.C. to discuss the need for affordable childcare and paid family leave, raising minimum wage, and achieving equal pay for all. In an interview conducted by Parade, the Obamas opened up about their personal connection to these issues and what they hope to accomplish during their remaining time in the White House.

President Barack Obama and wife Michelle have never been your typical working stiffs. With four Ivy League degrees between them, they’ve enjoyed high incomes and strong job security. But before and during college, they each worked minimum-wage jobs. And there was a time when they felt the same kind of financial aches and marriage strains that today’s dual-income families know all too well. As a young married couple in Chicago, they were mired in student debt, juggling multiple jobs and two kids, and bickering over who did what housework. “I wouldn’t fold,” remembers the president. “I didn’t separate, and Michelle’s point was, that’s not laundry.”

More here

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TPM: Obama Administration To Extend Family Leave To Same-Sex Couples

The Obama administration announced that it would direct the Department of Labor to begin issuing regulations to extend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to same-sex couples, according to a White House official.

After the Supreme Court’s struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, Attorney General Eric Holder and other members of the administration began to reviewing relevant statutes and laws to extend federal benefits to same-sex couples. The administration said that its extension of FMLA is simply part of that process. The new regulations will clarify that an employee is eligible to take leave to care for a same-sex spouse in the instance of an illness, regardless of whether that employee lives in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.

More here

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Paul Krugman: Veterans and Zombies – The Hype Behind the Health Care Scandal

…. it’s important to understand that the Veterans Affairs scandal, while real, is being hyped out of proportion by people whose real goal is to block reform of the larger system.

…. A scandal is a scandal, and wrongdoing must be punished. But beware of people trying to use the veterans’ care scandal to derail health reform.

And here’s the thing: Health reform is working. Too many Americans still lack good insurance, and hence lack access to health care and protection from high medical costs — but not as many as last year, and next year should be better still. Health costs are still far too high, but their growth has slowed dramatically. We’re moving in the right direction, and we shouldn’t let the zombies get in our way.

Full post here

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Washington Post: Ukraine claims full control of its border with Russia

Ukraine announced Friday that it has regained full control of its border with Russia, which the government has set as an important precondition for a unilateral ceasefire in its conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the east.

The sealing off of the border, which could not be independently verified, would be significant because it would rob the rebels of an important supply route for new fighters and weapons.

The announcement that troops had recaptured the border area near the village of Izvaryne in the Luhansk region comes as President Petro Poroshenko is set to unveil the details of his 14-point peace plan.

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Smartypants: The “what about me?” syndrome

For years black academics criticized the Obama administration for not targeting programs to the African American community. Obamacare didn’t count – even though it has disproportionately affected people of color. All of his talk about income inequality didn’t matter, neither did his proposal for universal pre-K. What they wanted to see were initiatives that directly (and only) affected African Americans.

Then along came the announcement about President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” program targeting boys of color. It didn’t take long for many of the same critics to go after that one because it didn’t include girls. As I see it, this is what most efforts to target a specific community will eventually face…the “what about me?” syndrome.

That’s not to say that its wrong to initiate and promote targeted programs. Sometimes they’re needed. Its more about the fact that when they are proposed, we need to remember WHY they’re targeted and – by definition – will exclude.

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ThinkProgress: Governor Scott Walker Accused Of ‘Criminal Scheme’

New federal court documents released Thursday reveal that Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is the subject of a “Joe Doe” investigation. Prosecutors allege Walker was part of a “criminal scheme” to circumvent state election laws. While the courts are still mulling a motion by the dark money outside groups at the center of the allegations to stop the investigation, the facts of the case are yet another demonstration of the folly of the Supreme Court’s assumptions in the infamous Citizens United ruling.

The documents show that prosecutors believe illegal coordination occurred in the 2011 and 2012 Wisconsin Senate and Gubernatorial recall elections and that groups like the Wisconsin Club for Growth worked with Scott Walker’s campaign arm (“Friends of Scott Walker”) to arrange undisclosed spending by an array of pro-Walker tax-exempt organizations. They note that several individuals were working both for Friends of Scott Walker and Wisconsin Club for Growth at the time, and that Walker himself boasted of the coordination in an email to Karl Rove.

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Esquire: Prosecutor Is Closing In on Gov. Christie

Indictments against four cronies are near certain, sources say. Only question is if David Samson, Christie’s longtime mentor, will flip.

“It’s over, it’s done, and I’m moving on.” – Chris Christie, reassuring potential donors in Utah on June 14th

Back on planet Reality, meanwhile, Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, wades through the sewage of Christie’s stewardship. Two sources with intimate knowledge of the case say Fishman’s pace is quickening – he has empaneled a second grand jury, and the U.S. Justice Department has sent assistant prosecutors and FBI agents to work the case.

“What’s taking the most time,” according to one source, “is separating what’s viable from all the bad stuff they’re finding that may not be viable.”

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Daily Beast: The Crash and Churn of Lawrence O’Donnell

In an exclusive interview, the MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell reveals how he survived a head-on car crash, and why afterwards he cut himself off from the negative litany of the news cycle.

“What a stupid way to die,” Lawrence O’Donnell thought to himself.

A split-second earlier, the host of MSNBC’s 10 p.m. program, The Last Word, had been gazing down at a map on his iPhone, following the progress of his taxi, a Chevy van, as he and his older brother Michael rode to dinner on the resort island of Tortola. It was around 7:45 p.m., Saturday, April 12, the start of what promised to be a lovely vacation in the British Virgin Islands with his big brother, a Boston lawyer.

The vacation didn’t happen. Instead, O’Donnell, 62, underwent a life-altering crucible that he’s still trying to make sense of, while figuring out how to explain it to viewers when he returns to his show on Monday night after two-and-a-half months off the air.

More here

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On This Day

President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with National Security Staff in the Situation Room of the White House, June 20, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with Vice President Biden on the Colonnade of the White House outside the Oval Office, June 20, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with a bipartisan group of mayors to discuss the economy and local efforts to create jobs and spur economic growth, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, June 20, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Pueblo, June 20, 2012

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MoooOOOooorning!

07
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

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Clare Kim: Obama Talks Surveillance, Hillary, And Trayvon Martin With Leno

On The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, President Obama talked with host Jay Leno about everything from the Affordable Care Act and NSA leaker Edward Snowden to the economy, his relationship with Hillary Clinton, and the death of Trayvon Martin. Leno asked the president about the ongoing skepticism for the NSA surveillance program that collects phone record metadata in order to prevent terrorist attacks. Obama firmly stated that the government has not encroached on the privacy of citizens, and that they have not “abused these powers” in any way. He added that America does not “have a domestic spying program,” but intelligence gathering is “a critical component” for a counter-terrorism program.

‘What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat, and, you know, that information is useful,” Obama said. “But, you know, what I’ve said before, you know, and I want to make sure I repeat and that is we should be skeptical about the potential encroachments on privacy. None of the revelations show that the government has actually abused these powers, but they are pretty significant powers.” Jay Leno also brought up the recent crackdown on gays in Russia, comparing the country’s treatment of homosexuality to the way Nazi Germany persecuted Jews. President Obama 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.”

Leno told the president he’d spoken eloquently about the death of Trayvon Martin. “I could tell you were speaking from the heart,” he said. “Tell me about that.” He told Leno that he spoke about the case because he “wanted to try to explain why this was a particularly sensitive topic for African-American families because a lot of people who have sons know the experience they had of being followed and being viewed suspiciously…what we also believe in is people, everybody, should be treated fairly and the system should work for everyone. And so what I’m trying to do is just make sure that we have a conversation and that were all asking ourselves ‘are there some things we can do to foster better understanding’ and to make sure we don’t have laws in place that encourage the kind of violent encounter that we saw there that resulted in tragedy.”

More here

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern)

1:00PM: Pres. Obama is interviewed by Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff

3:50PM: Pres. Obama delivers remarks at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

5:20PM: Pres. Obama departs Los Angeles

9:50PM: Pres. Obama arrives Joint Base Andrews

10:05PM: Pres. Obama arrives at the White House

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Julie Pace: In Rebuke, Obama Cancels Moscow Summit With Putin

 In a rare diplomatic rebuke, President Barack Obama on Wednesday canceled his Moscow summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The decision reflected both U.S. anger over Russia’s harboring of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and growing frustration within the Obama administration over what it sees as Moscow’s stubbornness on other key issues, including missile defense and human rights.

Obama will still attend the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, but a top White House official said the president had no plans to hold one-on-one talks with Putin while there. Instead of visiting Putin in Moscow, the president will add a stop in Sweden to his early September travel itinerary. “We’ll still work with Russia on issues where we can find common ground, but it was the unanimous view of the president and his national security team that a summit did not make sense in the current environment,” Rhodes said.

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Steve Benen: PolitiFact Finds Its Pants On Fire

What Cantor said was the opposite of the truth — he said the nation has a “growing deficit,” when in reality, we have a shrinking deficit. We can have a discussion about whether the House Majority Leader was deliberately trying to deceive the public — Republicans have an incentive to convince the public that U.S. finances are in worse shape than they really are — or whether Cantor simply doesn’t know the basics of current events. But I’m afraid it’s either one or the other. Unless, that is, you’re PolitiFact.

I would have hoped for a “Pants on Fire” rating, but would have settled for at least a “False” conclusion. But the House Majority Leader can make a claim that’s the polar opposite of reality and it’s “half true”? Seriously? In theory, I’m not reflexively opposed to the idea of websites fact-checking important claims made by political figures, but if you’re going to have the word “fact” in your name, you have a responsibility to get the details right. And too often, PolitiFact just isn’t good at its job.

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President Barack Obama listens during a health care reform meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, on Aug. 7, 2009.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Greg Sargent: The GOP’s Fundamental Miscalculation About ObamaCare

What if Republicans — in their drive to repeal and even defund Obamacare — are making the same mistake they made in 2012 about the economy? Last year, Republicans gambled that high public dissatisfaction with Obama’s economic performance meant majorities had concluded that the President had been an abject failure, meaning there was simply no chance he’d be reelected. Instead, exit polls suggested voters didn’t hold Obama to blame for the economy in high enough numbers to ensure his defeat. One possible explanation — advanced by Ron Brownstein, yours truly and others — is that despite their disappointment, they found the sluggishness of the recovery understandable, given the circumstances, and saw the election as a nuanced choice between sticking with a disappointing status quo and a worse alternative. Republicans appeared caught off guard by this.

A similar miscalculation may be guiding the current GOP drive to repeal Obamacare — and the conservative drive to shut down the government to force its defunding.  polls that offer a more nuanced range of options — such as changing the law or repealing parts of it — find only minority support for the GOP position of full repeal. This pattern has been clear for years now. Meanwhile, polls that ask directly whether Republicans should keep blocking the law find majority opposition to that. It seems reasonable to surmise that dissatisfaction with the law may not necessarily translate into broad support for getting rid of it entirely (let alone replacing it with nothing). As in 2012, voters may be taking a longer, more nuanced view than Republicans think.

More here

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President Barack Obama meets with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) in the State Dining Room, on Aug. 7, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Jonathan Capehart: Blacks Could Rock The Vote In 2014 – If They Vote

There was a line in Dan Balz’s terrific analysis of the Republican Party’s political dilemma that kind of bugged me. Not because he was wrong, but because he could be easily disproven. All that’s needed is for black folks to vote. During the 2012 presidential election, Republicans certainly thought past patterns would prevail. Specifically, they thought the coalition of minorities and women, many of whom were first-time voters, wouldn’t return to the polls for two reasons. First, there was a strong belief that because those first-time voters didn’t have a tradition of voting, many of them would stay home on Election Day. Second, there was an even stronger belief that President Obama’s coalition was so disillusioned by what their guy was unable to achieve that they would be too demoralized to vote. Wrong and wrong, again.

Blacks were the only race or ethnic group to show a significant increase between the 2008 and 2012 elections in the likelihood of voting (from 64.7 percent to 66.2 percent). The 2012 increase in voting among blacks continues what has been a long-term trend: since 1996, turnout rates have risen 13 percentage points to the highest levels of any recent presidential election. A House of Representatives returned to Democratic control and the Democratic majority hanging on in the Senate would allow Obama to get his agenda through and get something done for the American people. All that’s required is for the 2014 electorate to be less white than it has ever been.

More here

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President Barack Obama gestures during a roundtable discussion with Hispanic print and web media in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, on Aug. 7, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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 President Barack Obama talks with members of the 2012 Summer White House intern class before a group photo in the East Room of the White House, Aug. 7, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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01
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama talks with Coach Geno Auriemma in the Blue Room of the White House prior to an event to honor the NCAA Champion University of Connecticut Huskies and their 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, July 31 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (All Times Eastern):

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:15: President Obama meets with a group of bipartisan members of Congress

3:45: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi of the Republic of Yemen

5:55: Hosts a reception for the 50th Anniversary of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law

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Jason Linkins: What If Ron Fournier Can’t Read (great response to Fournier’s BS)

Suffice it to say, Ron Fournier is wrong and I am right. Also, Greg Sargent is right,Brendan Nyhan is right, John Sides is right, Jonathan Bernstein is right, and historian George Edwards is right. If you are harboring a belief that former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used “fireside chats” to overcome political opposition, you are not remembering that correctly. It’s very pretty to think that, but you’re wrong. And that will just as true tomorrow as it is today, full stop.

Fournier, in his most recent attempt, titled “What If Obama Can’t Lead?,” seems to be rather upset at being accused of supporting what Sargent calls the “Green Lantern Theory” of presidential power. He simply believes that “great presidents overcome great hurdles,” and that’s that. Once you’ve established “greatness,” then all hurdles are defeated. If hurdles remain, then you’ve not established “greatness,” no matter how many hurdles you’ve previously overcome. (And to be sure, Obama has overcome quite a number of those.) I’m afraid that Fournier doesn’t have much of a clue as to the process by which these obstacles are surmounted. And he’s opted to simply pant with extreme impatience, rather than undertaking an exploration as to how this process works. He proceeds from the premise that at one point in history, there were presidents, and at other points in history, stuff happened that was possibly attributable to those presidents. Rather than taking a searching inventory of the relevant history or undertaking an effort to understand the political science, he attributes the fact that “Presidents did stuff” to a hazy concept called “leadership” and proceeds to conclude that if a president isn’t successfully “doing some stuff” then that president “can’t lead.”

More here

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Republican IRS Hearing Fails To Deliver On Claims Of White House Link

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Tara Culp-Ressler: The First State That Tried To Defund Planned Parenthood Is Officially Giving Up

After a legal battle that has stretched over the course of two years, the state of Indiana has agreed to put an end to its efforts to strip Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood clinics. Indiana was the first state that attempted to target the national women’s health organization by blocking it from receiving state-level Medicaid dollars for the services it provides to low-income women.

In 2011, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) signed a law to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving any Medicaid funding simply because it is an abortion provider — even though that money actually funds general health screenings for thousands of low-income women, not abortions. But those efforts have been largely unsuccessful. Multiple courts have determined that states aren’t allowed to discriminate against qualified Medicaid providers simply because of their stance on abortion rights, saying that low-income women deserve the freedom to choose their own doctors.

More here

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James Fallows: A False Equivalence Classic

The 44th president, like his 43 predecessors, believes that the United States should honor its sovereign debt, as part of maintaining the “full faith and credit of the United States.” He also believes that the policy on government spending first applied under George Washington and in force since then should still be the policy now: once Congress has voted programs or benefits into law, then the government is legally and morally obligated to carry out those programs, until and unless they are repealed.*

To which the other “side” to the dispute replies: Who cares! We don’t like you or your programs, and to prove it we’re willing to risk a default on the national debt. What’s going on now is more like the 1970s-era hijackers Brendan Koerner describes in his recent book, who would threaten to blow up the plane unless they got the ride to Cuba they wanted. Or, if you want a less violent analogy, it’s like me walking into a restaurant, ordering and enjoying a meal, and then when I finished just tearing up the check and saying that I was “digging in my heels” about whether I should pay.

More here

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Greg Sargent: Ostrich Punditry Refuses To reckon With Reality Of Today’s GOP (another fantastic rebuttal to Fournier’s BS)

Now that President Obama has proposed tax reform that would lower corporate tax rates and provide for new stimulus spending — which Republicans have flatly rejected — it has renewed the seemingly endless, intractable debate over the causes of gridlock and failure to compromise in Washington. There is no prominent commentator who is more determined to blame both sides for what is happening than Ron Fournier, so his latest explanation for what ails us is worth a response.

Advice such as this seems deliberately designed to be impossible to meet. Whatever Obama does, the pundit can simply respond with, “not enough; do more of it, or do it more effectively.” After all, Obama is already doing some of the things Fournier wants him to do: He is holding discussions with GOP lawmakers in hopes of enticing them to break away from the leadership/Tea Party alliance’s hostility to compromise on the budget, infrastructure spending, and other matters.

If anything, it’s punditry such as Fournier’s that constitutes a surrender of sorts. It’s not enough to claim Obama’s legacy will inevitably seen as a failure  to overcome GOP intransigence (should that happen), because history isn’t fair. The question is, shouldthat be the case, and would blaming Obama for failing to overcome it be a reasonable and accurate assessment?

More here

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President Barack Obama disembarks Air Force One upon his arrival at Mansfield Air National Guard Base in Mansfield, Ohio, Aug. 1, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama samples fudge offered by Squirrel’s Den fudge shop owner LaDonna Secrist, left, during a stop in Mansfield, Ohio, Aug. 1, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Have A Michelleriffic Day! :D

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10
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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President Barack Obama greets departing Associate Counsel to the President Alison J. “Ali” Nathan, left, Meg Satterthwaite, and their twin sons Oliver and Nathan, in the Outer Oval Office, July 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Daily Presidential Schedule (All Times Eastern)

11:0: The President meets with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

12:45: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

1:00: Michelle Obama delivers remarks to mayors and other local officials engaged in Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties

2:0: The President awards the 2012 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal; The First Lady also attends

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Knox News: Makenna Hurd’s tasty banana muffins got her through the White House door. While she was there, the 9-year-old delivered something extra: Hugs for President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.

…. Makenna earned the invitation by being one of the winners of a recipe challenge that is part of the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” initiative to promote healthy eating.

“I’m at the White House!” exclaimed Makenna, who has Down syndrome.

…. As news photographers jostled to record the scene, Obama squatted down by Makenna’s seat and thanked her for coming. Makenna thanked him back, threw her arms around his neck and gave him a hug.

Her mother, Amanda Hurd, who watched with tears in her eyes, was so caught up in the moment that she forgot to pull out her own camera and take photos.

“I was too busy soaking in the fact that my daughter was hugging the president,” Hurd said.

More here

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USA Today: This morning, President Obama meets with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to talk about the major immigration bill now pending in the U.S. House.

The bill would increase border security and provide a path to citizenship for some 11 million people who are already in the country illegally.

The Obama administration is also releasing a report Wednesday arguing that an overhaul of the immigration system would strengthen the economy, create more jobs, increase worker productivity, and decrease budget deficits.

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This exchange is worth the read. This is how STUPID Republicans are and their stupidity will kill thousands of women

Jennifer Bendery: Texas State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R), the author of the radically anti-abortion bill making its way through the Texas Legislature this week, argued for hours on Tuesday that lawmakers should support her bill because of its strong protections for a person’s “pre-born life.” But back in 2007, she made the case against treating the unborn as people — at least, when it comes to qualifying for health care services. During a House debate on an appropriations bill that year, Laubenberg, a staunch conservative, put forward an amendment that would require expectant mothers to wait three months before they could begin receiving prenatal and perinatal care under the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, a program that helps cover uninsured children in low-income families.

Laubenberg’s amendment drew criticism from Democratic Rep. Rafael Anchia, who said the change would mean that more than 95,000 children, in utero, would be kicked out of the CHIP program. As the two sparred over whether that was true — Anchia cited CHIP data from hospitals, Laubenberg alleged it was “misinformation” — Anchia asked if Laubenberg recognized those in-utero babies as people. “You do know, don’t you, that these are U.S. citizens?” Anchia asked. “But they’re not born yet,” Laubenberg said.

Laubenberg’s response drew a look of shock from Democratic Rep. Dawnna Dukes, who could be seen standing next to Anchia during the exchange. Anchia also appeared to relish the moment as he pressed Laubenberg that she was now arguing against treating a fetus as a person. “That’s the whole point, see?” Anchia said. “You have an anti-life amendment.” Laubenberg fired back that there is “no one more pro-life” in the House than her, and again said Anchia’s data was wrong. Still, something he said must have rattled her because she pulled down her amendment. “I will be back,” Laubenberg said as she prepared to leave the podium. “But right now, out of consideration for the body, I will pull this amendment down.”

More here

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Well, hellooooo Governor Transvaginal Probe

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2012 National Medal of Arts:

Herb Alpert * Lin Arison * Joan Myers * Renée Fleming * Ernest Gaines * Ellsworth Kelly * Tony Kushner * George Lucas * Elaine May * Laurie Olin * Allen Toussaint * Washington Performing Arts Society, Washington, DC

2012 National Humanities Medal:

Edward L. Ayers * William G. Bowen * Jill Ker Conway * Natalie Zemon Davis * Frank Deford * Joan Didion * Robert Putnam¸* Marilynne Robinson¸* Kay Ryan * Robert B. Silvers * Anna Deavere Smith¸* Camilo José Vergara

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More Americans still rightfully angrier at George Bush over the state of the economy than Pres. Barack Obama

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Jared Bernstein: First, “not hurting” isn’t the same as “helping.” But more important, it is hurting. Real GDP growth was only 1.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, with the government sector subtracting 0.9 percent (that’s percentage points) from the growth rate. That’s not all sequestration, of course, but it is implicated.

Catherine Rampell also has a very useful bit of analysis over at the NYT, showing job impacts. As many have, she notes that while public sector jobs have been declining for years now, federal government job losses accelerated in March when the sequester hit; they’re down 40,000 since then.

More here

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Becca Aaronson: After more than 10 hours of debate, the House voted 98-49 to tentatively approve the abortion regulations in House Bill 2, which would ban abortions at 20 weeks and add regulations to abortion providers and facilities that opponents argue would effectively eliminate access to abortion in Texas. The House must approve the bill again on another calendar day before it will be sent to the Senate. State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, urged lawmakers to realize that no one is “pro-abortion,” and expressed discontent that some supporters of the bill had labeled opponents of the legislation “baby killers.” She said that the question is not when life begins but rather, “It’s a question of decisions that have to be made along the way.”

Howard said that during the regular session, a bipartisan group of lawmakers came together to increase financing for family planning services, which decrease maternal deaths, infant deaths and unplanned pregnancies. “What we’re talking about here is going backwards,” she said. “It’s embarrassing that we’re doing this.”

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Michael Tomasky: There’s an assumption embedded in the argument that no one disputes: namely, that whites will always be as conservative as they are now and will always vote Republican in the same numbers they do now. This assumption is wrong. White people—yep, even working-class white people—are going to get less conservative in coming years, so the Republicans’ hopes of building a white-nationalist party will likely be dashed in the future even by white people themselves.

Everyone knows and concedes all this. And everyone counters it by saying that the Republicans will just goose the less-educated white vote. As I noted above, everyone agrees that that vote is theirs for the goosing. But what if it isn’t? Back in March, the Brookings Institution and the Public Religion Research Institute released a big poll on immigration. Those findings are interesting as far as they go, but the questions and results went beyond that. It’s the first poll I’ve seen that breaks the white working class into four distinct age groups (65-plus, 50-64, 30-49, 18-29) and asks respondents attitudes about a broad range of social issues. And guess what? White working-class millennials are fairly liberal!

More here

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From Monday:

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Fantastic takedown of Sean Trende’s “GOP WILL BE SAVED BY MISSING WHITE VOTERS” drivel; using FACTS

ThinkProgress: As GOP House members continue their Kamikaze mission to scuttle the immigration reform bill, many political observers are wondering why. After all, isn’t it obvious that Republicans need more minority, particularly Hispanic support, and that therefore their self-interest should lead them to support a reasonable bill? Karl Rove thinks so. But lots and lots of Republicans dissent from that analysis, preferring to put their faith in a group they’re much more comfortable with: white voters. The most influential empirical analysis supporting this view was recently published by Sean Trende in a four part series on RealClearPolitics. Trende’s analysis is built around the idea of “missing white voters.”

What he means by this is that, given the estimated number of white voters in 2008 (derived from exit polls) and the natural increase in white eligible voters between 2008 and 2012 there should have been far more white voters than there actually were (again, estimated from the exit polls). He labels the difference between his projected and actual numbers of white voters as “missing” white voters. He goes on to say that “[i]f these white voters had decided to vote, the racial breakdown of the electorate would have been 73.6 percent white, 12.5 percent black, 9.5 percent Hispanic and 2.4 percent Asian — almost identical to the 2008 numbers.” Get it? The only real demographic change of importance between 2008 and 2012 was all those white voters who didn’t show up.

What’s wrong with this analysis? Plenty. Start with Trende’s projected natural increase in white voters—around 1.5 million voters, based on an assumed 55 percent turnout rate of additional white eligible voters. This implies that Trende was using an estimate of around 2.7 million additional eligible whites between 2008 and 2012. That’s wrong: Census data show an increase of only 1.5 million white eligibles. At Trende’s assumed 55 percent turnout rate, that translates into only 825,000 additional white voters from “natural increase.” So: GOP phone home! Your missing white voters have been found, and it turns out they weren’t really missing. They were simply sitting out a relatively low turnout election along with a large number of their minority counterparts. They may be back next time if it’s a higher turnout election — but then again so will a lot of minority voters. Bottom line: your demographic dilemma remains the same. The mix of voters is changing fast to your disadvantage and there is no cavalry of white voters waiting in the wings to rescue you.

More here

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President Barack Obama meets with senior advisors in the Situation Room of the White House, July 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Have A Broccoli Loving Day Courtesy Of President Barack Obama! :D

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11
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

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President Barack Obama speaks with White House Counsel Gregory Craig in the Oval Office, June 11 2009. (White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Sara Kliff: The Obama administration will comply with a court order to allow over-the-counter emergency contraceptive sales to women and girls of all ages, according to documents filed late Monday.

While the Department of Justice initially appealed this policy, it has now asked a judge with the Eastern District Court of New York to withdraw that challenge, provided he approves the federal government’s plan for compliance.

The reversal means that emergency contraceptives, a heated policy area that has vexed two presidential administrations, will soon be available to young women off of the pharmacy shelf.

More here

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John Stanton: House Democratic Assistant Leader James Clyburn charged Monday that a series of high-profile leaks about secret domestic spying programs are part of a broader effort by opponents of President Barack Obama to damage the administration politically. “There is an attempt by several people to do political harm to this president. I just think this is part of that,” Clyburn told BuzzFeed.

Clyburn, one of the top Democrats in the House, said he “absolutely” believes Snowden, who is currently in Hong Kong, should be extradited back to the United States to face charges.

More here

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and0611web

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Brad Plumer: On Monday evening, the Senate voted 66 to 27 to approve a massive farm bill that will set the course of U.S. food policy for the next half-decade. The old farm bill expired last year, and its replacement is 1,150 pages long, costing some $955 billion over 10 years. So what’s actually in it?

Food stamps and nutrition, $760.5 billion over 10 years. This is by far the biggest part of the farm bill, with the bulk taken up by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low-income families pay for food. The Senate bill tweaks some of the rules governing eligibility and cut spending slightly by $3.9 billion compared to what would happen if current policy was kept. (There’s also a controversial amendment by David Vitter to ban anyone convicted of a violent crime from food stamps for life.)

More here

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This is a hero.                          This is not a hero.

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31
May
13

Rise and Shine

@lacasablanca: Oval Office meeting: President Obama and @sr_simone of “Nuns on the Bus” discussed #ImmigrationReform

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Today:

10:20: The President delivers remarks on student loans (White House Live)

10:50: Meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

12:30: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

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Yep, how things have changed…..

Washington Post (March 2006): Off the Record, Bush Makes Media Inroads …. As he defends his Iraq policy with a public campaign of speeches and a recent news conference, President Bush also has been waging a private campaign that has included off-the-record sessions with White House reporters….

One gathering, which took place Thursday in the White House residence, was an unusual gesture by Bush, who has agreed to comparatively few lengthy exchanges with reporters during his five years in office….

Last week’s session involved reporters from several prominent broadcast and print outlets, including ABC News and The Washington Post. Under the off-the-record ground rules, the journalists were barred from reporting what was discussed. White House officials said they also hoped the meetings’ mere existence would remain under wraps….

More here

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Joe Conason (National Memo): …. The notion that Barack Obama is “Nixonian” – or that his administration’s recent troubles bear any resemblance to “Watergate” – is the biggest media lie since the phony “Whitewater scandal” crested during the Clinton presidency.

…. Only in a country afflicted with chronic historical amnesia could they issue such accusations without shame or embarrassment. Only under those circumstances could the Republicans continue their fitful fabrication of a “Democratic Watergate” without fear of being laughed off the stage….

…. But certain liberals in the media have fretted loudly over Obama’s “scandals,” too …..  is it all just trumped-up hysteria? To answer those questions, it helps to remember what Nixon and his gang actually did to America – and why they were driven out of Washington and, in many cases, sent to prison….

More here

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Steve Benen: Student loans reclaim center stage ….. President Obama will deliver remarks, flanked by college students, on a subject that too often goes overlooked: student loans. With a looming interest rate hike, the president will reportedly “call on Congress to help keep college affordable for middle-class families and students by preventing student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1.”

…. House Republicans say they’ve already passed a bill on this, which is true. They also say their bill is worthwhile and consistent with White House demands, which is not true…..

More here

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SmartyPants

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Yep, austerity works so well:

Bloomberg: Euro-area unemployment increased to a record in April after the currency bloc’s recession deepened in the first quarter, increasing pressure on its leaders and the European Central Bank to spur economic growth.

The euro-area jobless rate rose to 12.2 percent from 12.1 percent in March…. to 19.38 million in April, up 95,000 from the previous month. Youth unemployment was at 24.4 percent …. Spain had the highest rate at 26.8 percent. No April data were available for Greece, which had a 27 percent rate in February.

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@WhiteHouse

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17
May
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

11:0: The President departs the White House

11:25: Arrives Baltimore, Maryland

11:35: Visits an Elementary School

1:05: Tours Ellicott Dredges (which manufactures innovative dredges and dredge equipment being sold for infrastructure projects across the country and around the world)

1:20: Delivers remarks

2:15: Visits a community center

3:0: Departs Baltimore

3:25: Arrives the White House

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Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): It’s Official: Those Bogus Email Leaks Came From Republicans

It’s not as if we didn’t know this already, but Major Garrett made it official: last week’s leaks that misquoted the Benghazi emails came directly from Republicans….

So here’s what happened. Republicans in Congress saw copies of these emails two months ago and did nothing with them. It was obvious that they showed little more than routine interagency haggling. Then someone got the bright idea of leaking two isolated tidbits and mischaracterizing them in an effort to make the State Department look bad…..

But it was typical GOP overreach. To their surprise, the White House took Republicans up on their demand to make the entire email chain public, thus making it clear to the press that they had been burned. And now reporters are letting us all know who was behind it.

More here

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Steve Benen: Whether or not an issue is a “scandal” tends to be a subjective question — one voter’s world-changing controversy may be another voter’s meaningless distraction. Indeed, the Beltway has spent a week telling the nation that the White House is engulfed in three ongoing scandals, though many of us suspect this analysis is deeply flawed.

But if we’re going to talk about real political scandals, can we at least have a conversation about Republicans lying to reporters about Benghazi?

More here

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Jeffrey Goldberg (Bloomberg): So it turns out that Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and, before a group of leading Senate Republicans decided that she was evil incarnate, a top contender to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, had nothing to do with formulating the White House’s response to the fatal attacks last year at the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

…. Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, among others, argued for weeks that Rice was a crucial cog in a huge conspiracy to hide the facts of Benghazi from the American people….

…. I don’t expect that Graham will apologize to Rice for accusing her of engaging in an enormous conspiracy, when all she seems to have done is take the consensus of several government agencies and present it publicly. But you would hope Graham would think twice before threatening again to stop her advancement in government.

Full post here

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01
May
13

This and That

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Greg Sargent: Top liberals throw their weight behind Obama’s housing pick

The news that Obama has nominated Congressman Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Administration, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is potentially a huge deal, with possible long term consequences for untold numbers of struggling homeowners — and, by extension, the health of the economy. There are two key questions to be asked about Watt, who would replace the Bush-appointed Ed DeMarco, who has been widely pilloried by liberals for refusing administration requests to allow Fannie and Freddie to offer debt relief to distressed home borrowers.

More here

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President Obama congratulates U.S. Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) after nominating him to be the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency

…. with Tom Wheeler, the President’s nominee to replace the outgoing Federal Communications Commission Chairman

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Charles Pierce: Noted sprawler-across-staircases Maureen Dowd has fashioned herself another Chronic Ward of a newspaper column today on her now-regular theme of what a wimpety-wimp-wimp Barry Obama is, and why she never should have let him take her to prom instead of the hunky Andrew Shepherd from The American President who, while admittedly fictional, never would take this guff from actual human beings like John Boehner and Eric Cantor …

…. Dowd once again seems to be writing from an assisted-living facility on the far side of a world Beyond The Planet Of The Ultra-Vixens.

…. It is the president’s job to get Congress to behave? Where in Article I does that part of the job description appear? It is the job of the voters not to elect morons. It is the job of the non-morons in the congressional leadership to keep the morons from driving the entire train over a cliff. When those two checks fail, as they obviously have, it still is not the job of the president to be the country’s chief moron-wrangler. I think we are heading into the endless thicket of Dowdian Daddy Issues here again…..

Full majestic post here

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