Posts Tagged ‘reid



22
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: Members of the audience cheer as President Obama delivers remarks on the American Jobs Act at Manchester Central High School in Manchester, N.H., Nov. 22, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern)

12:0: Jay Carney briefs the press

12:45: VP Biden meets with Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc of Turkey at the White House

1:45: President Obama commemorates the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy’s assassination with an event devoted to an institution created by JFK: The Peace Corps. He will participate in a video conference with Peace Corps Volunteers in Tanzania

2:15: First Lady Michelle Obama hosts the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) National Arts and Humanities Youth Program

2:40: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with King Mohammed VI of Morocco

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President Obama:

“A half century ago, America mourned the loss of an extraordinary public servant.

“With broad vision and soaring but sober idealism, President John F. Kennedy had called a generation to service and summoned a Nation to greatness. Today, we honor his memory and celebrate his enduring imprint on American history.

“In his 3 years as President of the United States, John F. Kennedy weathered some of the most perilous tests of the Cold War and led America to the cusp of a bright new age.

“His leadership through the Cuban Missile Crisis remains the standard for American diplomacy at its finest. In a divided Berlin, he delivered a stirring defense of freedom that would echo through the ages, yet he also knew that we must advance human rights here at home.

“During his final year in office, he proposed a civil rights bill that called for an end to segregation in America. And recognizing women’s basic right to earn a living equal to their efforts, he signed the Equal Pay Act into law.

“While President Kennedy’s life was tragically cut short, his vision lives on in the generations he inspired — volunteers who serve as ambassadors for peace in distant corners of the globe, scientists and engineers who reach for new heights in the face of impossible odds, innovators who set their sights on the new frontiers of our time.

“Today and in the decades to come, let us carry his legacy forward. Let us face today’s tests by beckoning the spirit he embodied — that fearless, resilient, uniquely American character that has always driven our Nation to defy the odds, write our own destiny, and make the world anew.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 22, 2013, as a Day of Remembrance for President John F. Kennedy.”

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NYT Editorial: Democracy Returns to the Senate

For five years, Senate Republicans have refused to allow confirmation votes on dozens of perfectly qualified candidates nominated by President Obama for government positions. They tried to nullify entire federal agencies by denying them leaders. They abused Senate rules past the point of tolerance or responsibility. And so they were left enraged and threatening revenge on Thursday when a majority did the only logical thing and stripped away their power to block the president’s nominees.

… Given the extreme degree of Republican obstruction during the Obama administration, the Democrats had little choice but to change the filibuster rule. As Mr. Reid noted on the floor, half of all filibusters waged against nominations in Senate history have occurred since Mr. Obama was elected….

…. Today’s vote was an appropriate use of that power, and it was necessary to turn the Senate back into a functioning legislative body.

Full editorial here

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ThinkProgress: Why Senate Democrats Had To Invoke The ‘Nuclear Option’

Well, it finally happened.

After five years of filibusters, obstruction, lengthy waits for confirmation and arguments over whether the party that failed to win either the White House or the Senate nonetheless has the power to hold top government jobs open for as long as Barack Obama is president, Senate Democrats finally decided that enough is enough. On Thursday, nearly every member of the Democratic caucus invoked a procedural maneuver that will allow the Senate to confirm several blocked nominees by a majority vote. The era of minority rule is over, at least where it comes to almost every confirmation…..

More here

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Greg Sargent: For liberals, a long crusade finally pays off in reform

In 2007, when Jeff Merkley was considering a run for the Senate from Oregon, he met privately with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. Merkley suggested to the two Dem leaders that the Senate needed to reform the filibuster — having watched both parties, including Dems in 2005, abuse it so badly that it was rendering the Upper Chamber dysfunctional.

…. That meeting may have been the genesis of a long tale that culminated this afternoon, six years later, when Reid finally went nuclear and changed the rules by simple majority — after a years-long campaign in which Merkley and other Senate liberals were instrumental.

…. Dem leaders had to be pushed to this point, but from the point of view of liberals, they did the right thing. “The filibuster has been used to wage continuous warfare on the presidency,” Merkley said. “The Senate said today that’s not acceptable. A huge thank you to the leadership team.”

Full post here

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Greatest opening paragraph ever?

Charles Pierce: And Boom Goes The Plutonium

I have no doubt that the civility crowd will scream bloody murder now that Harry Reid has dropped the big one in the Senate. They may need the Jaws of Life to pry Ruth Marcus off the fainting couch. As I said before. I was nervous about this prospect for years, but recently passed over the International Fk You Line. The country has a right to be governed by the president and the philosophy for which the country voted. Vandalism is not debate. It is not governing. It is long past time for Barack Obama actually to be allowed to be president.

More here

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Milt Shook: Once Again, Progressives Should be Thanking Harry Reid

What every progressive needs to learn is that political things don’t just happen because someone wants them to. They happen when a majority is ready to vote to make them happen.

Back in January, as many of you will recall, I took a lot of heat because I stood up for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his valiant attempt to change filibuster rules. The man worked his ass off to make changes, and he actually got quite a few of them, despite the fact that he didn’t have 51 votes to make them happen. He was able to change the rules, so that Senators could no longer put a blind hold on a nomination – they had to make themselves known – and he also got an agreement from Republicans to stop holding up nominations. This was a crucial deal. He did all of this, despite the fact that he had between 45 and 47 votes, because he was able to convince the Republican leadership that he had 51, which scared them silly.

…. Progressives underestimate Harry Reid at our peril. This guy is tougher than he looks.

Full post here

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Reuters: Nearly 80,000 Californians sign up for Obamacare plans

Nearly 80,000 Californians have enrolled in private health insurance plans through the state’s exchange marketplace created under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, the Covered California exchange said on Thursday.

The latest data, which charts enrollment from the October 1 start through November 19, means that about 20,000 more people signed up for plans since the exchange’s initial update on its enrollment released November 13.

California, which is the most populous U.S. state and embraced the Affordable Care Act early on, is considered a crucial region for the administration’s enrollment effort. The state is one of 14 operating their own exchanges, as opposed to relying on the federal government.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Nearly Three-Quarters Of Americans With Individual Plans Qualify For Obamacare Subsidies

Over 70 percent of Americans under age 65 who buy insurance through the individual market will either qualify for Obamacare subsidies or the health law’s expansion of Medicaid in the states that accept it, according to a new study by Families USA.

…. Researchers also noted that ….“[U]nder the ACA, only 0.6 percent of Americans under age 65 will be at risk of losing their current individual market plan and will not be income-eligible for financial assistance that will make their new insurance plan more affordable. Even among this 0.6 percent, some have insurers who will not or cannot cancel their plans. Others will decide that they are better off with higher-value plans in the new insurance marketplaces.”

More here

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Texas Observer: Texas’ Other Death Penalty

A Galveston medical student describes life and death in the so-called safety net.

… There’s a popular myth that the uninsured — in Texas, that’s 25 percent of us — can always get medical care through emergency rooms … The myth is based on a 1986 federal law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which states that hospitals with emergency rooms have to accept and stabilize patients who are in labor or who have an acute medical condition that threatens life or limb. That word “stabilize” is key: Hospital ERs don’t have to treat you. They just have to patch you up to the point where you’re not actively dying. Also, hospitals charge for ER care, and usually send patients to collections when they cannot pay.

…. The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, could have been a huge relief. However, Gov. Rick Perry rejected billions of dollars in federal funding to expand Medicaid, funding that should have brought access to more than a million Texans, including many St. Vincent’s patients.

Perry’s refusal is catastrophic health policy. For patients, it means that seeking medical care will still require risking bankruptcy, and may lead nowhere. For doctors, the message was not only that our patients’ lives don’t matter, but also that medicine—our old profession, so full of people who genuinely want to help others—will continue to be part of the economic machine that entrenches poverty. When the poor seek our help, they often wind up with crippling debt.

More here

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On This Day:

First Lady Michelle Obama joins students for a “Let’s Move!” Salad Bars to Schools launch event at Riverside Elementary School in Miami, Fla., Nov. 22, 2010 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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President Barack Obama shares a lighter moment during a meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, Nov. 22, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama at Manchester High School Central, N.H., Nov 22, 2011

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President Obama jokes with players from the Oregon State University basketball team in the Oval Office on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, 2012. The team’s head coach is Craig Robinson, brother of First Lady Michelle Obama.
(Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama visits with the Corkery family during a stop at Julien’s Corner Kitchen in Manchester, N.H., Nov. 22, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!

21
Nov
13

A New Day

1:55 EST: President Obama delivers a statement

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Continue reading ‘A New Day’

20
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: First Lady Michelle Obama at a ‘Joining Forces’ event before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway, November 20, 2011

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Today (all times Eastern):

11:05: President Obama honors recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony; VP Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr Jill Biden also attend

1:0: President Obama participates in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery; First Lady Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton also attend

4:05: President Obama meets with representatives from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

7:10: President Obama Speaks at a Dinner in Honor of Medal of Freedom Awardees

8:40: President Obama Attends a Performance by Arturo Sandoval in Honor of Medal of Freedom Awardees at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

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New Yorker: Americans Like Obamacare Where They Can Get It

As the Washington press corps reports that the Obama Administration is failing — and threatening to take down with it the entire philosophy of liberalism — a funny thing is happening out there across the country. In a number of states that have working online health-care exchanges, more and more people are signing up for the insurance coverage that is available under the Affordable Care Act.

….. During the first two weeks of November, almost sixty thousand people signed up for private insurance policies or for Medi-Cal in California, the local version of Medicaid. That’s more than twice the figure for all of October. “What we are seeing is incredible momentum,” Peter Lee, the director of Covered California, said at a press conference on Monday.

Similar things are happening in other states across the country …. Connecticut, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Washington are on track to exceed their enrollment targets. Here in New York, too, there are positive signs….

What these states have in common are state-run Web sites that are working pretty well; they are also all controlled by Democrats who are pushing the new reform. This progress points to something that has been absent in much of the reporting about the troubled rollout of healthcare.gov and the cancellation of individual policies: in places where Americans know about the comprehensive and heavily subsidized health coverage available under the Affordable Care Act and can easily access it, they are doing so in substantial numbers.

More here

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Steve Benen: ‘This is sabotage, plain and simple’

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who’s never been the Affordable Care Act’s biggest fan, appeared on MSNBC yesterday to join the critical chorus. In reference to the Obama administration, the conservative Democrat said, “The bottom line is that they messed up, they messed up royally. There’s no excuse for this.”

The administration’s missteps have been well documented, and officials have earned much of the criticism they’ve received. But to say there’ “no excuse” is to overlook Republican sabotage efforts that have made a real difference.

Todd Purdum recently made the case, for example, that “calculated sabotage by Republicans at every step” is a “less acknowledged cause” of the rollout’s troubles. Jamelle Bouie added this week, “If Republicans have shown anything over the last four years, it’s that they’ll do anything to stop the Affordable Care Act, even if it amounts to legislative sabotage.”

More here

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Jonathan Cohn

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Charles Pierce: Healthcare Enrollment Is Now…Surging?

You mean, if you commit to making something work, instead of deliberately conspiring to make something not work – like if you put gas in your car and not hydrochloric acid – that thing is more likely to, you know, work?

Genius!

…. However, I’m not sure I follow this bit of logic.

LA Times: “The growing enrollment in those states is a rare bit of good news for backers of the Affordable Care Act ….”

The Affordable Care Act is working the way it is supposed to work in those states in which officials have decided that it should work. How is that “bit of good news” “rare,” exactly, except when compared to the constant, fact-free and plan-free harping of the Republicans in the House and their pundit enablers? …..

Full post here

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Steve Benen: Right flubs Gettysburg story – twice

…It’s worth noting that Fox isn’t the only one raising a fuss – conservative outlets have been complaining about Obama “snubbing” Gettysburg for months.

There are, however, some angles to this the right has overlooked. First, there have been 28 presidents since Lincoln, and 27 of them did not commemorate the anniversaries of the Gettysburg Address – and this includes Reagan, who did nothing on the 125th anniversary, and never visited Gettysburg as president. (The exception was William Howard Taft.) Obama, in other words, is doing largely what nearly all of his predecessors have done without controversy.

Second, I’m trying to imagine the uproar from some of these same conservative critics if Obama did go to Gettysburg to mark the occasion today. We can all probably imagine the predictable rhetoric: Obama thinks he’s Lincoln! The arrogance! Why is he trying to politicize a cemetery? ….

Making matters slight worse is, well, this…..

More here

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Media Matters: Right-Wing Noise Machine Fabricates Gettysburg Address Omission To Attack Obama

President Obama’s recitation of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is sparking hysteria from the right-wing media who slammed the president for omitting the phrase “under God.” But ironically, in their hurry to attack the president, they omitted the fact that Obama was reading the first draft of the speech — a draft that did not include “under God” — at the request of filmmaker Ken Burns.

More here

As Steve Benen put it, “In other words, the right became apoplectic about Obama not using a phrase Lincoln didn’t write.”

Smart people.

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Charles Pierce: A Call To Democrats To Stop Sitting Back On This Business With Judges

It seems that the Republicans are bound and determined not to allow the president to fill the empty seats on the D.C. Court of Appeals. It also seems that the Democratic leadership in the Senate is bound and determined to be very publicly vexed about the whole business. If this seems to you to be something of a mismatch as regards to who really holds power in that august body, you are not alone.

This time, it’s Robert Wilkins, an enormously qualified federal judge who happens to be African American. The previous three nominees whom the Republicans denied confirmation were women. Have I mentioned recently that I despair of The Rebranding?

It’s time, Harry. Really, it is. I was on the other side of this issue for a very long time because I didn’t want to confront the possibility of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with the unlimited power to do anything that President Scott Walker wanted. That kind of thing still gives me pause. But this business with the judges has long passed over the International Fk You Line.

….. Do it, Harry. Drop the big one. This is getting ridiculous.

Full post here

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July 2, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Greg Sargent: Harry Reid is set to go nuclear

Senator Harry Reid appears set to go nuclear — before Thanksgiving.

With Senate Republicans blocking a third Obama nomination to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide tells me Reid is now all but certain to move to change the Senate rules by simple majority — doing away with the filibuster on executive and judicial nominations, with the exception of the Supreme Court – as early as this week.

… As Jonathan Chait argues, Republicans may not have even thought through the full implications of the position they’ve adopted. But Dems have, and taking it to its logical conclusion, they believe Republicans have presented them with a simple choice: Either they change the rules, or they accept those limits on Obama’s power. And that really leaves only one option.

Full post here

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Steve Benen: A step forward, a step back for reproductive rights

Over the summer, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed severe new restrictions on women’s health choices, which carried sweeping consequences statewide. Reproductive rights proponents hoped to prevail in the courts, and scored a partial legal victory in late October.

It didn’t last. Far-right jurists on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Perry a few weeks ago, and last night, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to block implementation of the law came up one justice short … It’s worth emphasizing that this is not the final word on the subject….

… the news for reproductive rights supporters wasn’t all bad last night.

Voters in Albuquerque defeated a historic ballot measure that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks, dealing the anti-abortion movement a blow….

More here

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On This Day: First Lady Michelle Obama at a ‘Joining Forces’ event in Miami, November 20, 2011

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A rare Politico link, but this is beautiful (thank you Dudette!):

Terry McMillan: With unapologetic grace, first lady makes history

I knew Michelle Obama was going to be the first lady when I met her in 2005 at Oprah’s big shindig she threw to honor African-American women. We were both youngins’ … It’s not that I’m telepathic, but like my mama always used to say: “Some folks just got it.”

That entire weekend I couldn’t help but notice how regal and poised she was. At almost 6 feet tall, she floated through the crowd in much the same manner Princess Diana and Jackie Kennedy did. The way she held out her hand and really shook yours. I believe she used both to squeeze. Michelle gave me her business card and I emailed to tell her about my premonition. I didn’t hear back until I saw her at the first presidential debate in Washington in 2007. She apologized for not getting back to me. I just pointed to the acrylic podium where her husband would soon be standing and smiled.

And then history was made.

Millions of us couldn’t stop crying out of sheer amazement. I am thankful to have been alive to witness it all. Now, twice! That my son has grown up knowing he could in fact be president one day. For real.

More here

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Thousands of people lined the streets of Tokyo as the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy headed off to the Imperial palace to present her credentials to the Emperor Akihito (Thank you LP!)

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Harold Meyerson: Voter suppression the new GOP strategy

Better bring some identification — and not just any identification, official though it may be — if you plan to vote in Republican-controlled states. However, if you contribute tens of millions of dollars to sway an election on Republicans’ behalf, the party will fight to keep your identity a secret.

Consider, for instance, what happened to some attempting to participate in this month’s elections in Texas. The New York Times reported that “Judge Sandra Watts was stopped while trying to vote because the name on her photo ID, the same one she had used for voter registration and identification of 52 years, did not exactly match her name in the official voter rolls.”

Both Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis and Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott — the front-runners in next year’s gubernatorial contest — encountered the same obstacle. As did Jim Wright, the 90-year-old former speaker of the U.S. House. Wright, who represented his Fort Worth district in Congress for 34 years, told the local paper that he had voted in every election since 1944 and that he had realized shortly before Election Day that his identification — a driver’s license that expired in 2010 and a university faculty ID — would not suffice under the state’s 2011 voter ID law. Indeed, officials required Wright to produce a certified copy of his birth certificate to procure a personal identification card that would allow him to vote.

More here

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The Hill: DCCC sets off-year October record

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has set a record for its largest haul in October of a non-election year, bringing in $7.1 million in the month.

The big haul came during Democratic base fury over the government shutdown and was boosted by two events held with President Obama. The committee has $25.3 million in the bank and no debt.

“House Republicans’ reckless and irresponsible agenda is not only driving their approval ratings to record lows — it’s rallying our support to record highs,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) says in a statement. “The American people believe enough is enough — and they’ve had enough with the dysfunction of this Republican Congress and the pain they’ve caused America’s middle class.”

More here

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On This Day:

An exhausting trip: President Obama at the East Asian Summit Plenary Session at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 20, 2012

President Obama waves from Air Force One as he prepares to return to the United States following the East Asia Summit, November 20, 2012

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MoooOOOooorning!




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