Posts Tagged ‘reform



12
Aug
13

News of the Day

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice briefs President Barack Obama during his Presidential Daily Briefing in Chilmark, Mass., August 12 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Tom Kludt: Obama To Continue Economic Tour In New York, Pennsylvania

President Barack Obama is expected to embark on a two-day bus tour next week to both New York and Pennsylvania where he’ll “discuss another cornerstone of his vision for a better bargain for the middle class,” a White House official told a pool reporter.

Obama will travel through the two states on Aug. 22-23. Politico’s Maggie Haberman, citing sources familiar with Obama’s plans, said the President will deliver the remarks in upstate New York.

More here

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Adam Peck: Missouri State Fair Apologizes After Mocks, Threatens Rodeo Clown In An Obama Mask

Officials from the Missouri State Fair are busy putting out fires after the organizers of the fair’s bull riding exhibit brought a clown in an Obama mask into the ring and goaded the bull into chasing him around the enclosure.

Videos of the racially-charged incident began circulating across local news organizations shortly after it took place on Saturday evening, and public consternation was quickly followed by condemnations from Republican Party officials and lawmakers across the state. Officials from the state fair issued a public statement via its Facebook page on Sunday evening, calling the performance “inappropriate and disrespectful.”

More here

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TPM: Biden To Attend Harkin’s Annual Iowa Steak Fry

Vice President Joe Biden is expected to deliver the keynote address at Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) annual steak fry this year in Iowa, The Des Moines Register reported. A Biden spokesperson told the Register that Biden has intended to attend the event, one of the biggest fundraisers for the Democratic Party in the Hawkeye State, ever since he was unable to make it last year.

San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julian Castro, who delivered the keynote address at last year’s Democratic National Convention, is also expected to attend the steak fry, scheduled to be held Sept.15, in Indianola, Iowa.

More here

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OFA

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Becca Aaronson: New Abortion Limits, But More Money For Women’s Health

When Anastasia Tolmasoff went to a Planned Parenthood clinic in March to receive her quarterly injection of Depo-Provera, she discovered she could no longer afford to receive birth control there. “I’m living paycheck to paycheck, so getting pregnant and having another child is not an option for me,” said Tolmasoff, 33, who rehabilitates wildlife at a nonprofit organization. She and her husband cannot afford health insurance. Tolmasoff is one of thousands of women affected by the Texas Legislature’s 2011 decisions to drastically cut family planning financing and remove “abortion affiliated providers” — namely, Planned Parenthood — from state health programs.

In its 2013 session, the Legislature sought to mitigate the impact of those cuts with the largest financial package for women’s health services in state history, increasing spending to $214 million in the 2014-15 budget from $109 million. Still, women’s health advocates have raised concerns that the financing does not go far enough. Moreover, some advocates argue that strict abortion regulations approved during a special session will create additional burdens on women already struggling to access contraception……

More here

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President Obama chats with former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk while golfing at Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Aug. 12

12
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

Four years ago today: President Obama hugs Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient actor Sidney Poitier during the award ceremony in the East Room of the White House,  August 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Grio: Holder to call for major reform of mandatory minimum sentencing

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce in a speech today that the Department of Justice will no longer charge low-level, non-violent drug offenders with crimes that trigger mandatory minimum sentences, a major shift in American drug policy and an indication that President Obama wants to reduce the number of Americans who serve long prison sentences over drug crimes and rethink American laws that have existed for decades.

“I have mandated a modification of the Justice Department’s charging policies so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences,” Holder is expected to say Monday at a meeting in San Francisco of the American Bar Association, according to excerpts of his remarks provided to theGrio….

In effect, Holder is calling for prosecutors to charge defendants for lesser crimes than they may have actually committed, thereby allowing juries and judges more latitude in imposing sentences, instead of following mandatory minimums created by Congress that many in both parties say are now outdated.

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See SmartyPants

1:0 EST: AG Eric Holder Address the American Bar Association

C-Span

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OFA

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Love this:

Michael Tomasky: Obama Is Giving Up Some Executive Power, and He’ll Still Get No Credit

Predictably, everyone is unimpressed by the measures Barack Obama has announced to bring a little ray of transparency to America’s surveillance programs …. I think it’s pretty remarkable that a president, any president, announced, without absolutely being forced to, a series of steps that relinquish some degree of executive power. Of course he’ll get no credit for that, because civil libertarians tend to be absolutists and other liberals tend to be afraid or even terrified of their wrath…

…. Obama was headed down this course before the Snowden leaks. Those began on June 5. But on May 23, he gave a speech at the National Defense University in which he foreshadowed the moves he just announced. Combine all this with John Kerry’s recent announcement that we have a plan for ending drone strikes in Pakistan, and you might have thought liberals would be cheering.

I suppose some liberals are. I am. But not civil libertarians. With them, it’s all or nothing. If you’re not signed on to the whole program, you might as well be Joe McCarthy….

…. Obama has public opinion to think about. And of course he has keeping the country safe to worry about, and no one at the ACLU is sitting in on those intel briefings and learning the things the president is learning every day about threats to the nation, and no one at the ACLU will be responsible if our wall of security is breached. Obama is responsible, and I think mere willingness of the man in that position to have this conversation, let alone take some concrete steps, does him enormous credit.

Full post here

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Truly, these people are deranged:

Next tweet will probably be: ‘Ask not what the Nobel Prize can do for Bradley Manning, ask what Bradley Manning can do for the Nobel Prize’

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Andrew Liepman (LA Times): What did Edward Snowden get wrong? Everything

Edward Snowden is now out of his limbo at Moscow’s airport, presumably ensconced in some Russian dacha, wondering what the next phase of his young life will bring. Having spent 30 years in the intelligence business, I fervently hope the food is lousy, the winter is cold, and the Internet access is awful. But I worry less about what happens to this one man and more about the damage Snowden has done — and could still do — to America’s long-term ability to strike the right balance between privacy and security.

More here

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LittleGreenFootballs: Sen. Al Franken: “I Assure You This Isn’t About Spying on the American People”

“I have a high level of confidence that it is used to protect us”

Noted far right nutjob (do I need a snark tag on that?) Sen. Al Franken says he was not surprised by the Greenwald/Snowden NSA revelations…..

More here

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Steve Benen: Steve King just can’t help himself

Democrats and other proponents of immigration reform caught another lucky break over the weekend: Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) appeared on “Meet the Press” yesterday, and just kept talking. If the progressive goal is to see reform opponents discredit themselves on the national stage, the right-wing Iowan has become the left’s most reliable ally.

Indeed, who do you think was happier to see King on the air, the DNC or the RNC?

More here

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The Root: Politics Gets Its Own Cheerios Ad – The black son of a white candidate tackles stop and frisk in a campaign ad.

Earlier this year, Cheerios generated extensive media attention — and countless racist comments online — for becoming the first major American brand to feature a mixed-race family in a television advertisement. Now, an ad for a political campaign is poised to be just as groundbreaking, and potentially controversial.

This weekend television advertisements began airing starring the teenage son of New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. De Blasio is white, his wife, Chirlane McCray, is black, and their son, Dante, sports a sizable Afro in the ad, in which he makes the case for why he believes his father is the best candidate for mayor.

While he touches upon a number of issues, including affordable housing, the ad’s most powerful moment comes when he talks about his father’s position on stop and frisk….

More here

The ad:

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That pic again, but a bigger, shinier, lovelier version:

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On this day:

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with Justice Sonia Sotomayor prior to a reception for the new Supreme Court Justice at the White House, on Aug. 12, 2009 (Pete Souza)

President Obama and Justice Sonia Sotomayor meet in the Oval Office prior to a reception for the new Supreme Court Justice at the White House, on Aug. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama greet guests at a reception for Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients and their families, Aug. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk in the Blue Room of the White House before the start of the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony on Aug. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Neighbors sing Happy Birthday to President Obama during a walk in the Hyde Park/Kenwood section of Chicago, Ill., Aug. 12, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOOooorning!

08
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

On this day, Aug. 8, 2012 – Pete Souza: “Overcome with emotion, eight-year old Make-A-Wish child Janiya Penny reacts just after meeting the President as he welcomes her family to the Oval Office.”

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Today (all times Eastern)

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:55: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of Greece

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President Obama greets Marines and their families before a speech in Camp Pendleton, Calif., August 7

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Steve Benen: Jobless claims inch higher, but remain near five-year low

It’s never good news when initial unemployment claims climb, but the new figures out this morning are better than expected and are still near a five-year low:

The number of people who applied for new unemployment benefits rose by 5,000 to 333,000 in the week ended Aug. 3, but the level of initial claims remained close to a five-year low in a possible sign of some improvement in the U.S. labor market. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to climb to 339,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The average of new claims over the past month, a more reliable gauge than the volatile weekly number, fell by 6,250 to 335,500 to the lowest level since November 2007.

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Four years ago today, Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice

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ThinkProgress: These Six States Want To Allow Health Insurers To Deny Coverage To Sick People

Officials in Texas and five other GOP-led states are refusing to oversee even Obamacare’s most basic — and popular — consumer protections and insurance market reforms. That includes the law’s ban on denying coverage or charging more because of a pre-existing condition and discriminating against women on the basis of gender. The decision could present major hurdles to Americans who buy health insurance through federally-run marketplaces in the Lone Star State, Arizona, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.

More here

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Watch “Serve” highlighting the incredible story of Alejandro Morales, a young undocumented immigrant who was brought to the United States when he was only seven months old. Alejandro was the highest ranking cadet in Chicago JROTC and his biggest dream is to serve his county in the U.S. Marines. He is an American; this is the only country he’s ever known. He wants to serve and protect his country, but our broken immigration system prevents him from doing so because he is an undocumented immigrant:

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Greg Sargent: The conventional wisdom on immigration reform is wrong

The chances that comprehensive immigration reform will ever pass the House  are very slim. However, the easy conventional wisdom about what’s happening now — which holds that the conservative base controls the outcome completely, that the death of reform is preordained, and that House Republicans are only looking for a way to kill reform blamelessly — is overly simplistic and is increasingly looking like it’s just wrong.

To understand what’s really happening, the key question to ask is: Are House Republicans just playing for time, or are they actually grappling with the issue of immigration reform and what to do about the 11 million undocumented immigrants?

More here

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Action August

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TPM: How Immigration Reform Can Still Pass Congress

Despite the long odds, Democrats see a narrow road through which comprehensive immigration reform could still pass both houses of Congress and become law.

The road is murky and full of landmines. But here’s how it would go….

More here

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ThinkProgress: How A Powerful Group Of Corporations Quietly Tried To Roll Back Clean Energy Standards, And Failed Miserably

When the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, wants a law passed, the law typically gets passed.

The organization is known for helping to advance corporate interests by writing and then pushing to pass conservative legislation at the state level. With funding to the tune of $500,000 from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch’s foundations from 2005-2011, and $1.4 million from Exxon Mobil this past decade, it shouldn’t be a surprise that ALEC has had many successes in its 40 years of existence. ALEC has most notably pushed “Stand Your Ground” and “Right-to-Work” legislation through state legislatures across the country. The organization has also created model legislation with intended loopholes that allow energy companies to withhold names of certain chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

This year ALEC decided to prioritize the dismantling of states’ renewable energy standards and targets across the country. Their record? 0 for 13. In the states where ALEC and its members sought to repeal or weaken renewable energy standards or targets, not a single bill passed in 2013….

More here

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On this day….

Aug. 8, 2010 – Pete Souza: “The President has made several trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and several other hospitals to visit wounded soldiers and personally award Purple Heart medals. Although I do take photographs of him meeting these soldiers, we make these pictures only available to the soldiers themselves. Here, he’s about to enter the room of a wounded soldier who received a Purple Heart.”

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ThinkProgress: After Airing Pro-Keystone XL Ads, NBC Station Rejects Ad Opposing The Pipeline

NBC has rejected an ad opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, despite running ads in favor of its construction. The climate group NextGen Climate Action says it was notified at the last minute Tuesday night that a Washington, D.C. NBC station rejected its ad, submitted for President Obama’s appearance on the Tonight Show. A representative for the group suggested that the station may have bowed to oil corporate pressure in rejecting the ad and challenged the station to disavow that polluter interests played a role in the decision.

More here

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On this day….

Aug. 8, 2010: President Obama greets First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha upon their arrival at a barbecue in celebration of his 49th birthday on the South Lawn of the White House (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 8, 2010: President Obama sits with daughter Sasha during a barbecue with family and friends in celebration of his 49th birthday on the South Lawn of the White House (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 8, 2010 – Pete Souza: “We were walking through a locker room at the University of Texas when White House Trip Director Marvin Nicholson stopped to weigh himself on a scale. Unbeknownst to him, the President was stepping on the back of the scale, as Marvin continued to slide the scale lever. Everyone but Marvin was in on the joke.”

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MooooOOOOoooorning!




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