Posts Tagged ‘parks

04
Jul
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the fireworks over the National Mall from the roof of the White House, July 4, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

Today (All Times Eastern)

11:0: The President speaks at a naturalization ceremony for active-duty service members and civilians

****

6:0: The President and First Lady attend the “Salute to the Military” July 4th celebration at the White House; the President delivers remarks

****

8:10: USO concert for troops and military families featuring recording artist Pitbull

****

9:10: Fireworks show on the National Mall

****

****

****

David Horsey: Unsung Civil Rights Heroes Fought And Died For Our Freedom

On the Fourth of July, as on all national holidays, we are encouraged to think about the men and women who have fought and died for our freedoms; the likes of Washington, Lincoln and all the soldiers who have fought in our wars. This standard roster of heroes is venerable, but it is far from complete. … in 1955, a weary black woman refused to give up the seat she had taken in the white section of a bus in Montgomery, Ala. In 1957, one lone black girl walked into Little Rock’s Central High School amid the jeers of a furious mob.

In 1958, a few young blacks sat down at the whites-only counter at the Dockum Drug Store in Wichita, Kan., and refused to leave. In 1961…. …. Rosa Parks, John Lewis, James Meredith, Fannie Lou Hamer, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, Medgar Evers and so many others showed bravery as great as that of any soldier. They stood firm, sacrificed and, in many cases, died for our freedom. This Independence Day, think of them and stand in awe.

More here

****

****

Eugene Robinson: This July 4, Governing In The Spirit Of Revenge

As we celebrate the Fourth of July, who can argue that our democracy is working the way the Founders intended? And who can deny that most of the blame for dysfunction must fall to the Republican Party? … Whatever the motivation, Republicans have paralyzed our government in a way that would have shocked and depressed the Founders. Compounding the outrage, Republicans have the temerity to criticize Obama for using his executive powers in the national interest. This is dangerously close to nihilism.

Think about this for a moment. Urgently needed legislation has been passed by the Senate, is supported by the president and has enough votes in the House. Yet it goes nowhere, as chaos on the border worsens and thousands of children remain in limbo. Is this what the Founders had in mind? Today’s Republican Party opposes the Affordable Care Act, so it refuses to work with the Obama administration in legislating technical fixes that would make the law work more smoothly. Is this in any sense patriotic? the GOP cares more about ideology, reelection and opposing Obama’s every initiative than about the well-being of the nation. It is scant comfort, on Independence Day, to remember that the republic has survived worse.

More here

****

President Obama’s interview with Marketplace

****

****

Full interview and transcript here

****

Danny Vinik: Recovery Summer May Finally Have Arrived Finally, A Jobs Report Routs Expectations

For the past few years, it was like clockwork: A disappointing summer of job growth would give way to a much stronger winter. Economists would hesitantly forecast that the economy was about to kick into second gear. Then the summer would come and the disappointing data would return. But finally, it looks like we are ready to break that trend: The economy added 288,000 jobs in June, soundly beating economists’ expectations of 211,000, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent.

… Consumers, businesses and investors are all showing renewed confidence in the economy. On Monday, pending home sales hit a four-year high. Automakers also reported surprisingly high sales. Many economists even expect wage growth in the second half of the year. The June jobs report only adds further support for the recovery summer. … There are few commentators on Twitter who parse the jobs report better than economist Justin Wolfers. In recent years, it was often him who urged caution as the economy picked up in the winter and would shoot down any reporters showing too much optimism. But even he couldn’t find anything to be pessimistic about in this jobs report:

****

More here

****

****

NYT: Hiring Is Strong And Jobless Rate Declines To 6.1%

American companies are finally getting comfortable enough with the economy’s prospects to add new workers at a very healthy pace, after years of saying they lacked the confidence to hire people aggressively during a fitful recovery. Employers added 288,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department said Thursday, the fifth month in a row that hiring has topped the 200,000 mark. The unemployment rate dipped to 6.1 percent last month, the best reading since September 2008, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers turned what had been a mild recession into an economic rout. Factoring in June’s increase and upward revisions for estimated hiring in April and May, employers added an average of 231,000 workers a month in the first half of 2014, the best six-month run since the spring of 2006. “We’re clicking on all cylinders in terms of job growth,” said Dean Maki, chief United States economist at Barclays. Just as significant as the headline figures,

Mr. Maki said, is that June’s hiring was broad-based, as industries as varied as health care, manufacturing, financial services and retailing all added workers. “Every major sector showed job growth in June, including the private service sector, where the bulk of jobs in the U.S. are created,” Mr. Maki said. In an important turnabout, there were encouraging gains not just in well-paid white-collar professions, or in low-wage sectors like retail and restaurants, but also in the vast middle tier of jobs that enable workers to gain a foothold in the middle class. For example, manufacturers hired 16,000 workers, while transportation companies added 17,000 employees and the long-dormant public sector saw an addition of 26,000 positions.

More here

****

BrevTAJCcAAmvvA.jpg-large

****

Sally Kohn: Hobby Lobby: Sex, Lies, And Craft Supplies

“Birth control is cheap.” Hobby Lobby was about four forms of contraception that are not cheap (PDF). Plan B costs $35 to $60. Ella costs around $55. An IUD costs anywhere from $500 to $1,000. As the Notorious RBG (known to some as Ruth Bader Ginsburg) pointed out in her scathing 35-page dissent, “the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.” Similarly, for someone making $7 an hour — even if she’s lucky enough to get 40 hours of shifts in a week, which is rare — the cost of Plan B or Ella is roughly 10 percent of her take-home pay before taxes.

“Whatever, Hobby Lobby still covers 14 other kinds of contraception.” Funny thing, it actually provided all 20 until the lawyers behind the Hobby Lobby case contacted the company to see if they wanted to file suit. It was only then that the company discovered its insurance plan covered Plan B, and the two IUDs at issue—and then stopped covering them. And then Hobby Lobby sued the government for making it do something that up until that moment it had been doing on its own. Even today, Hobby Lobby’s 401(k) plan still invests not only in the manufacturers of these forms of birth control but also companies that make drugs used in medical abortions.

More here

****

****

Irin Carmon: Female Justices Issue Searing Dissent Over New Contraceptive Case

The fierce disagreements dividing the Supreme Court over this week’s Hobby Lobby decision were laid bare Thursday in a searing dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who said the Justices’ decision in a separate contraceptive case “undermines confidence in this institution.” The dissent was signed by all three female Justices. The dissent was in an order to grant an emergency request from Wheaton College, an evangelical college in Illinois. At issue is the “accommodation” the Obama administration worked out for religiously-identified non-profits: Sign a form certifying your objection, and the insurer will provide the coverage directly, without the objecting organization having to pay.

As of now, 122 non-profits have sued, claiming that signing the opt-out form for someone to get contraception violates their religious liberty. “Let me be absolutely clear: I do not doubt that Wheaton genuinely believes that signing the self-certification form is contrary to its religious beliefs,” Sotomayor wrote. “But thinking one’s religious beliefs are substantially burdened … does not make it so.” She added, “Not every sincerely felt ‘burden’ is a ‘substantial’ one, and it is for courts, not litigants, to identify which are.”

More here

****

****

****

Jeanna Smialek: Trade Gap In U.S. Shrinks More Than Forecast On Record Exports

The trade deficit in the U.S. narrowed more than forecast in May on record exports, signaling a pickup in global growth that will boost American manufacturers. The gap shrank by 5.6 percent, the biggest drop since November, to $44.4 billion from the prior month’s $47 billion, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 69 economists called for a contraction to $45 billion.

Sales to foreign customers climbed 1 percent on growing demand for autos and parts, petroleum products and aircraft engines. Economic expansions abroad that are gaining traction will probably continue to invigorate demand for American goods. A narrowing deficit would mean trade becomes less of a drag on gross domestic product in the second quarter after the world’s largest economy contracted in the first three months of 2014.

More here

****

****

Lucia Graves: One Big Thing Everyone Is Missing In Hobby Lobby

The ruling is not just about sex, it’s about health. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her scathing dissent of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in the Hobby Lobby case this week, made an important point about women’s health that’s been almost entirely overlooked elsewhere: For many American women, the birth-control pill has nothing to do with controlling births. It’s a life-saving medicine. “The coverage helps safeguard the health of women for whom pregnancy may be hazardous, even life-threatening,” wrote Ginsburg. “And the mandate secures benefits wholly unrelated to pregnancy, preventing certain cancers, menstrual disorders, and pelvic pain.”

The decision, which found that closely held corporations may refuse for religious reasons to cover contraceptives in their health plans, may affect millions of women who suffer from a variety of medical conditions. These women depend on the pill to regulate their hormones and do everything from ease pain to reduce the risk of cancer. These medical benefits have nothing to do with sex or the prevention of pregnancy, which have become the sole focus of political debate around the decision. Even if these women never have sex once in their lives, they need to be on birth control.

More here

****

The Nightmare Has Begun. Vote. Vote. Vote.

****

****

****

****

ThinkProgress: Missouri Governor Vetoes 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period: ‘This Is Insulting To Women’

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) rejected a measure on Wednesday that would have required women to wait three full days before being allowed to have an abortion procedure. His veto prevents Missouri from joining Utah and South Dakota, which are the only two states in the nation that currently have a 72-hour abortion waiting period on the books. But on Wednesday, Nixon explained that he couldn’t approve the bill because it’s unnecessary in light of his state’s existing 24-hour waiting period. “Lengthening the already extensive waiting period serves no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women who have undoubtedly already spent considerable time wrestling with perhaps the most difficult decision they may ever have to make,” the governor said in a statement.

“Expanding the mandatory waiting period presupposes that women are unable to make up their own minds without further government intervention. This is insulting to women, particularly in light of what the law already requires.” Nixon also pointed out the measure demonstrates a “callous disregard” for women’s well being by failing to include an exception for victims of rape and incest — which means that women who become pregnant through those crimes would be put through a potentially emotionally damaging wait before they’re allowed to end the pregnancy. “It victimizes these women by prolonging their grief and their nightmare,” the governor noted.

More here

****

Bk45Y68CMAEMx26.jpg-large

****

Yahoo: Putin Tells Obama He Wants Better Ties, Equal Treatment

President Vladimir Putin called for an improvement in ties between Russia and the United States on Friday in an Independence Day message to Barack Obama, urging Washington to treat Moscow as an equal partner. Relations between the two presidents and countries are at a low ebb following disagreements over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and over human rights, democracy and defence matters.

“The head of the Russian state expressed hope that … ties between the two countries will develop successfully on the basis of pragmatism and equality despite difficulties and disagreements,” the Kremlin said in a statement, outlining a telegram sent to Obama on the July 4 holiday. “Vladimir Putin also highlighted that Russia and the United States, as countries carrying exceptional responsibility for safeguarding international stability and security, should cooperate not only in the interests of their own nations but also the whole world.”

More here

****

Good Morning, my fellow Americans. Today, we laugh at the Brits and people who spell words using the letter “u!” :)

****

On This Day

Senator Obama laughs with Sasha before speaking at a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa on July 4, 2007

****

Senator Obama hugs Malia as they watch a Fourth of July parade in Butte, Mont., July 4, 2008

****

President Obama kisses a baby while greeting military families at the White House on July 4, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet military families at the White House on July 4, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the fireworks over the National Mall from the White House on July 4, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pretend to march to music in the Blue Room of the White House, July 4, 2010, before delivering remarks to military families during a Fourth of July celebration (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets military families gathered for July 4th festivities on the South Lawn of the White House on July 4, 2010

President Obama greets guests during the Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

A young girl salutes President Obama as he shakes hands along a ropeline with members of the military and their families during the Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch fireworks from the roof of the White House, July 4, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

President Obama holds a baby while greeting guests during an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

****

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch from the White House roof as fireworks erupt over the National Mall, July 4, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

President Obama holds a baby as he greets members of the military and their families during a Fourth of July celebration on the White House’s South Lawn, July 4, 2013

****.

11
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

3648443468_68d93de8f2_b

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

**********

*********

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

********

*********

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

********

and0611web

*********

*********

3648440940_a7d0975173_b

********

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

********

This is a hero.                          This is not a hero.

*********

Click here to see the rest of the post

01
Mar
13

Rise and Shine

****

Today:

10:05: President Obama hosts the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress at the White House; VP Biden also attends.

11:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

****

****

AP: The White House says automatic spending reductions set to kick in will be put off until as close to midnight Friday as possible.

The law, passed by Congress on Jan. 2 simply says that “on March 1, 2013, the president shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013.” That’s budget talk for an $85 billion reduction in defense and domestic spending between now and Oct. 1.

Obama can issue that order at any point in the day.

And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, Friday – or as close to midnight as possible: 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds.

Because, Carney says, Obama remains “ever hopeful.”

****

See here – thanks Desertflower

****

And this is what the GOP is trying to destroy, the economic recovery:

Bloomberg: Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at a faster pace than forecast in February, reaching the highest level since June 2011 as factories boosted production to meet greater demand.

…. The figures exceeded the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey in which the median projection was 52.5. A reading greater than 50 signals expansion.

…. Orders expanded the most in almost two years, the report showed, as manufacturers such as Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) emerged from an industry setback in the second half of 2012….

More here

****

****

Zing:

Paul Krugman: So, after reading the Bob Woodward saga of the alleged “threat” from Gene Sperling, the White House supereconwonk, I went through my own correspondence with Gene, and couldn’t find anything threatening – although I guess you could read his injunction, at one point, to “take care” in an ominous tone of voice.

Hey, don’t I rate some proper intimidation?

But then, Woodward’s story is looking supremely silly too. Can Robert Redford unportray him, or star in a sequel titled “All the president’s crybabies”?

****

@noamscheiber

It’s mighty interesting reading Scheiber’s review now -

Noam Scheiber (October 2012): …. I didn’t find Woodward’s book unusually tedious. In fact, I learned a lot from it. What I found it to be was remarkably slanted.

…. it is relentlessly biased against the president. Woodward argues that the White House and Congress failed to reach a major deficit-reduction deal last summer because Obama didn’t provide the necessary leadership, even though this thesis is untethered from Woodward’s own reporting, to say nothing of reality.

But, in another sense, the book is perfectly in sync with Woodward’s oeuvre. There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency: he hadn’t put in his time before running, didn’t grasp the majesty of the office, evinced no respect for the way things were done. He not only won without courting the city’s elders, he had the bad manners to keep his distance even after winning. This is the view Woodward distills.

Woodward telegraphs his contempt from the get-go…..

Full review here

I reckon this line says it all: “There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency…..”

****

ThinkProgress: Bob Woodward appeared on Fox News’ Hannity on Thursday to complain about Gene Sperling’s email…. During his interview with Sean Hannity, Woodward claimed that he had been “roughed up” by Sperling and agreed with the host’s characterization of the Washington journalists as liberals who are disinterested in challenging the president with Bill Ayers, an education advocate who was part of the group the Weather Underground:

HANNITY: The fact that the president …. wasn’t asked about his association with Bill Ayers was troublesome to me, I think we’ve got a media that’s not as critical as perhaps it once was in, for example, the days of Watergate.

WOODWARD: Well, I agree with that. We need to be very aggressive and it’s one of the judges that said democracies die in darkness and I really think that’s true.

More here

Oh boy.

****

Do not miss Charles Pierce

****

New Republic

****

****

Todd Purdum (Vanity Fair – Feb 21): With drastic government spending cuts due to kick in, the top job at the Pentagon still vacant, and Congress conveniently out of town for its Presidents’ Day recess, the White House press corps has paused this week to bemoan not the state of the republic but of itself.

…. as a class, they are the world’s biggest whiners. I know because I was once one of them, and a first-class whiner myself. I don’t think their argument holds water. The modern presidency is so sprawling and complex that the reporters best equipped to cover it are the experts in various fields, from defense to transportation, to agriculture, to health care….

What the White House reporters are good at is “gotcha,” at catching a president’s inconsistencies, slipups, and animadversions—at stirring the pot and producing a sharp headline, however fleeting. When The New York Times can ask Obama (with a theoretically straight face) whether he is a “socialist,” then anything can happen. Is it any wonder that he has not given the paper an interview since 2010? What president would? ….

Full article here

Thanks Lovely Plains

****

MoooOOOooorning!

28
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago: President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick listen as students from Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, Mass., perform Dr. Marin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Feb. 28, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

Today:

The President has no public appearances scheduled

12:0 EST: First Lady Michelle Obama will return to her hometown of Chicago to make a major announcement about bringing physical activity back to schools. She will be joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, NIKE President & CEO Mark Parker, Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas, Allyson Felix, Bob Harper, Bo Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Sarah Reinertsen, Paul Rodriguez, Serena Williams, a surprise musical guest and thousands of Chicago area teachers and students (Details here)

12:30 EST: Press briefing by Jay Carney

3:25 EST: First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to Springfield, Missouri to see changes Walmart has made as part of the company’s commitment to Let’s Move! to open or expand up to 300 stores in communities with limited access to healthy, affordable food. (Details here)

****

****

Bloomberg: Fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, showing companies were looking beyond looming government spending cuts and maintaining staffing.

Jobless claims decreased by 22,000 to 344,000 in the week ended Feb. 23, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 360,000 applications. The number of people collecting unemployment insurance dropped to the lowest level since June 2008.

More here

****

****

Dana Milbank: For a quarter-century, Antonin Scalia has been the reigning bully of the Supreme Court, but finally a couple of justices are willing to face him down.

As it happens, the two manning up to take on Nino the Terrible are women: the court’s newest members, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The acerbic Scalia, the court’s longest-serving justice, got his latest comeuppance Wednesday morning, as he tried to make the absurd argument that Congress’s renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2006 by votes of 98 to 0 in the Senate and 390 to 33 in the House did not mean that Congress actually supported the act. Scalia, assuming powers of clairvoyance, argued that the lawmakers were secretly afraid to vote against this “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

Kagan wasn’t about to let him get away with that….

More here

****

ThinkProgress

****

Washington Post: Seeking to avoid a protracted and politically damaging fight over reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, Republican leaders are prepared to allow the House to vote Thursday on a version of the bill favored by Democrats, an unusual move that acknowledges GOP divisions on the touchy issue.

The House will vote first on a Republican version of the bill, which authorizes funding for programs to aid prosecution of domestic violence and sexual assault cases and assist victims.

But with Democrats unified in opposition and Republicans divided, the GOP’s alternative appears likely to fail.

More here

****

Business Insider

****

@pourmecoffee

****

Steve Benen: Given how contentious the process was surrounding Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s confirmation process, it was easy to forget that Jack Lew’s Treasury Secretary nomination was advancing at roughly the same time – and Senate Republicans don’t like him, either….

But with his detractors unable to generate any meaningful controversies, and with Hagel drawing the most fire, Lew managed to earn confirmation late yesterday without much trouble.

…. Consider it this way: President Obama nominated a qualified official to a key cabinet post; the nominee had already been subjected to Senate confirmation processes before – five times – and had never received an opposition vote; and the nominee’s detractors couldn’t find anything especially wrong with him. But when it was time for a vote, 25 of the Senate’s 45 Republicans opposed the nomination anyway.

Full post here

****

****

USA Today: We should know Thursday whether President Obama will weigh in on a landmark same-sex marriage case pending before the Supreme Court.

That’s the deadline for friend-of-the-court briefs as the high court reviews Proposition 8, the California measure that bans gay marriage.

The Obama administration is not obligated to file a brief — and it would not be legally binding in any event — but Obama indicated he is thinking about it…

More here

****

Wall St Journal

****

Michigan Chronicle: … On Wednesday, the statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol ….. The audience included many of Parks’ surviving relatives, most of whom currently live in Detroit.

One moment that stole the show was an adorable photo snapped of President Obama with one of the legendary leader’s youngest family members. It shows 3-year-old Terrell Anderson Jr. in the arms of our nation’s leader as he curiously touches his hair.

More here

****

A year ago:

****

MoooOOoooOOOoorning!

27
Feb
13

Chat Away

The ultimate ‘got your back’.

27
Feb
13

Catching Up

President Barack Obama with a three-year-old relative of Rosa Parks after unveiling a statue in her honor

Reminded me of:

Flickr

****

This evening:

7:30: President Obama delivers remarks at the Business Council dinner and answer questions, Park Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC (Pooled Press for Remarks)

****

TPM

****

Just catching up with reaction to what Scalia said today. Absolutely stunning. More in the morning, just a few snippets:

ThinkProgress: There were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge, where audio of the oral argument is pumped in for members of the Supreme Court bar, when Justice Antonin Scalia offered his assessment of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He called it a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

….It should be noted that even one of Scalia’s fellow justices felt the need to call out his remark. Justice Sotomayor asked the attorney challenging the Voting Right Act whether he thought voting rights are a racial entitlement as soon as he took the podium for rebuttal.

Full post here

****

Charles Pierce: …. Sotomayor, for whom this seems very, very personal, made an argument from history that discrimination is an infinitely mutable thing and that, as soon as you find a remedy for one form of it, human ingenuity will devise three new ones…..

……it was hard not to go back to Florida, and to all the people I met who were waiting in line for six and seven hours to vote because the state had deliberately enacted policies to make it more difficult. Those policies were discriminatory. The people enacting them knew exactly what they were doing. They knew who those policies were aimed at as surely as did the county registrars administering the literacy tests did back in 1965…..

Full post here

****

Greg Sargent: Judging by all the early reporting on the first round of Supreme Court arguments about a key section of the Voting Rights Act, that provision may be in real peril. Conservative justices expressed sharp skepticism of the law, with much attention being paid to Antonin Scalia’s description of it as a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

…. all may not be lost. That’s because proponents of the Voting Rights Act are focused mainly on holding on to Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Full post here

****

****

Steve Benen: I’m beginning to think an infectious disease is spreading in the nation’s capital. Symptoms include memory loss (forgetting everything Republicans have done in recent years), blurred vision (an inability to see obvious GOP ploys), and an uncontrollable urge to blame “both sides” for everything, even when it doesn’t make any sense.

The disease has already affected pundits like Bob Woodward, Ron Fournier, David Brooks, nearly everyone on the network Sunday shows, and today reaches the editorial board of the Washington Post. Indeed, the Post’s editors seem to have come down with an especially acute case today, as evidenced this bang-your-head-against-your-desk editorial on the sequester, which cavalierly ignores the paper’s own reporting, and demands that President Obama “lead” by somehow getting congressional Republicans to be more responsible.

Full post here

****

****

President Barack Obama talks with Congressional leaders prior to the Rosa Parks statue unveiling ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2013. Pictured, from left, are: Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.; Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

****

First lady Michelle Obama at a “Let’s Move!” event in Clinton, Miss.

… with Rachael Ray

More in the morning

27
Feb
13

Rosa

‘Thank you’

President Barack Obama reaches out to touch a statue in honor of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, at its unveiling in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, February 27

****

Text of remarks here

****

President Barack Obama with a three-year-old relative of Rosa Parks after unveiling a statue in her honor

****

“Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walked so Barack could run, Barack ran so our children can fly”

****

****

****

Click here to see the rest of the post

27
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

****

Today (all times EST):

10:0: Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the proposed “assault weapons ban of 2013″ (C-Span)

11:0: The President delivers remarks at the unveiling of a statue of Rosa Parks, United States Capitol

White House live * C-Span * CBS * CNN

11:0: VP Biden Addresses Attorneys General on Gun Control

3:0: First Lady Michelle Obama will join Rachael Ray in Clinton, Mississippi as part of the Let’s Move national tour

7:30: President Obama delivers remarks at the Business Council dinner and answer questions, Park Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC (Pooled Press for Remarks)

****

****

Reuters: The Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider whether to strike down a key provision of a federal law designed to protect minority voters.

During the one-hour oral argument, the nine justices will hear the claim made by officials from Shelby County, Alabama, that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is no longer needed.

The key issue is whether Congress has the authority under the 15th Amendment, which gave African Americans the right to vote, to require some states, mainly in the South, to show that any proposed election-law change would not discriminate against minority voters.

More here

****

****

Steve Benen: Defense Secretary-designate Chuck Hagel will take the oath of office later today, which will likely be a satisfying resolution to a difficult confirmation process. But before he’s sworn in, Senate Republicans issued one last challenge to their former colleague…..

… This has to be one of the more amusing things I’ve heard from Senate Republicans in quite a while. In effect, the line from the GOP minority is, “We smeared Chuck Hagel, we questioned his patriotism, we questioned his loyalties, and we accused him without proof of having ties to America’s enemies. Now that he’s confirmed, we expect Hagel to start mending the relationship we destroyed on purpose as part of our partisan scorched-earth campaign.”

Even by Republican standards, this is pretty nutty.

More here

****

ThinkProgress

****

Click to see the rest of the post

23
Feb
13

The Week Ahead

… listening to Gladys Knight perform during the Governors Dinner, Feb. 27, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

****

Sunday: The President and the First Lady will welcome the National Governors Association to the White House for the 2013 Governors’ Dinner (7:10 EST). The Vice President and Dr Biden will also attend.

****

Monday: The President and the Vice President will deliver remarks to the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room. The First Lady and Dr Biden will also deliver remarks.

****

Tuesday: The President will travel to Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, in Newport News, Virginia, to highlight the devastating impact that the sequester will have on jobs and middle class families if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise to avert the sequester by March 1.

****

Wednesday: The President will deliver remarks at the unveiling of a statue of Rosa Parks at the United States Capitol. In the evening, he will deliver remarks at the Business Council Dinner in Washington, D.C.

First Lady Michelle Obama will join Rachael Ray in Clinton, Mississippi (3:0 EST) as part of the Let’s Move national tour.

****

****

Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

First Lady Michelle Obama will return to her hometown of Chicago to make a major announcement to bring physical activity back to schools. The First Lady will be joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker, Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas, Allyson Felix, Bob Harper, Bo Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Sarah Reinertsen, Paul Rodriguez, Serena Williams, a surprise musical guest and thousands of Chicago area teachers and students at the event. (12:0 EST)

Later on Thursday (3:25 EST), the First Lady will travel to Springfield, Missouri to see changes Walmart has made to reduce sodium and added sugars from packaged food items, to make healthier food more affordable. More details here on the Let’s Move! national tour schedule.

****

Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

20
Feb
13

Catching up with the Day

President Barack Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, Mich., April 18, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

This will be a beautiful day……

Washington Post: President Obama will head to the Capitol next week for the dedication of a new statue honoring civil rights icon Rosa Parks, a White House official confirmed Wednesday.

The statue – which will be the first of an African American woman to be placed in the Capitol — will be unveiled next Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Statuary Hall, the exhibition space that sits just south of the Capitol Rotunda.

More here

File photo of Rosa Parks attending ceremony where she was presented Congressional Gold Medal on Capitol Hill

****

Thursday:

11:25: President Obama records radio interviews with Al Sharpton, Joe Madison and Yolanda Adams

12:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at a conference on gun violence at Western Connecticut State University

1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press

****

****

“I knew that I better keep my day job”:

****

Stephanie Cutter’s Organizing for Action call tonight on gun violence prevention

****

Vice President Joe Biden receives a bracelet from Paige Baitinger, wife of fallen St. Petersburg, Fla., police Sgt. Thomas Baitinger, following a Medal of Valor ceremony in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Feb. 20, 2013. The Vice President and Attorney General Eric Holder presented 18 recipients with the Medal of Valor, which is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others from harm. Baitinger accepted the award on behalf of her husband who was killed in the line of duty in 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

****

Secretary of State John Kerry made his first public remarks regarding U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy Wednesday to students and faculty at the University of Virginia – see the speech here

****

BobCesca.com: Obamacare is Working …. Projections for Medicare spending between 2011 and 2020 have fallen by $500 billion.

…. The Affordable Care Act is bringing down the cost of healthcare by challenging a culture of waste, not by throwing momma from the train.

See post here

****

Hopefully, the full interview will be on Rachael Ray’s site soon – meanwhile, here’s a clip:

****

WH.gov: First Lady Michelle Obama to Embark on National Tour Celebrating Third Anniversary of Let’s Move!

On February 27, 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama will kick off a two day nation-wide tour celebrating the third anniversary of Let’s Move!, her initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. The tour will showcase progress and announce new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children. Mrs. Obama will also travel to New York City this week to talk about the third anniversary of Let’s Move! on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show.

More here

****

Steve Benen: …… John Boehner has a 900-word op-ed in the Wall Street Journal … devoted almost entirely to a desperate attempt to avoid blame …. Reading this breathtakingly dishonest op-ed, I can’t help but wonder about the House Speaker’s frame of mind. Either Boehner actually believes the transparent nonsense he wrote, which would mean the Speaker is alarmingly ignorant about the basics of current events, he’s deliberately trying to deceive the public, counting on Americans to be foolish enough to buy demonstrable falsehoods.

Either way, Boehner’s mendacious piece is a profound disappointment, and beneath the dignity of his office. If the Speaker is still capable of shame, he should be embarrassed to peddle such nonsense.

See full post here – Benen shreds Boehner’s op-ed, point by point

****

****

Bloomberg: President Barack Obama enters the latest budget showdown with Congress with his highest job- approval rating in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents’ popularity stands at a record low.

Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance in office, his strongest level of support since September 2009, according to a Bloomberg National poll conducted Feb. 15-18. Only 35 percent of the country has a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest rating in a survey that began in September 2009. The party’s brand slipped six percentage points in the last six months, the poll shows.

More here

****

****

ThinkProgress: Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), a former hospital CEO and ardent Obamacare critic, announced at a press conference Wednesday evening that he will accept Obamacare funding in order to expand his state’s Medicaid program for low-income Americans. The move comes after Scott secured a waiver to privatize the public insurance program.

The decision represents a marked departure from Scott’s previously held stance. Scott didn’t just initially oppose taking part in the expansion — which the Supreme Court ruled to be optional last summer — he knowingly cited wildly inaccurate figures to inflate the program’s cost to the state by 2500 percent in an effort to discredit it. He eventually dropped his estimate for the expansion by $23 billion in the face of intense media scrutiny…..

More here

****

****

Not being, well, a drones ‘fan’ (is anyone??), I’m half reluctant to post this – one civilian death is too many. But, still, an interesting take on the issue:

William Saletan (Slate): In Defense of Drones – They’re the worst form of war, except for all the others.

“UN: Drones killed more Afghan civilians in 2012,” says the Associated Press headline. The article begins: “The number of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan jumped 72 percent in 2012, killing at least 16 civilians in a sharp increase from the previous year.” The message seems clear: More Afghans are dying, because drones kill civilians.

Wrong. Drones kill fewer civilians, as a percentage of total fatalities, than any other military weapon. They’re the worst form of warfare in the history of the world, except for all the others.

Start with that U.N. report. Afghan civilian casualties caused by the United States and its allies didn’t go up last year. They fell 46 percent. Specifically, civilian casualties from “aerial attacks” fell 42 percent….

Jet planes. Machine guns. Bombing. Drones aren’t the problem. Bombs are the problem.

More here

****

****

Columbus Dispatch: President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address at Ohio State University’s graduation ceremonies this year, the White House announced today.

The trip is his first scheduled trip to Ohio since he stopped in Columbus with singer Bruce Springsteen and rapper Jay-Z.

Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for noon on Sunday, May 5 at Ohio Stadium. This will be the largest class in university history and the first spring graduation on the semester system. About 12,000 students are expected to graduate that day.

More here

****

****

AP: The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that would mark a political victory for advocates of same-sex unions and a deepening commitment by President Barack Obama to rights for gay couples.

Obama raised expectations among opponents of the Proposition 8 ban when he declared in last month’s inaugural address that gays and lesbians must be “treated like anyone else under the law.” The administration has until Feb. 28 to intervene in the case by filing a “friend of the court” brief.

More here

****

@ImAngelaBassett

****




@BarackObama

@WhiteHouse

@FLOTUS

@blog44

@PeteSouza

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

@TheObamaDiary

@NerdyWonka

@Lib_Librarian

@Our4thEstate

@DaRiverZkind

@zizii2

RSS OFA

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Steve Benen

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Categories

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 28,776,692 hits
December 2014
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031