Posts Tagged ‘rights



26
Jul
13

News Of The Day

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Powerful words from Sybrina Fulton: “No prom for Trayvon. No high school graduation for Trayvon. No college for Trayvon. No grandkids coming from Trayvon. All because of a law; a law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for this awful crime.”

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The sad reality of the far right’s blind Obama hatred:

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ObamaCare is freaking awesome….screw you GOP:

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Washington Post: Maryland issues insurance rates that are among lowest in U.S.

Maryland insurance officials approved final rates Friday for health plans to be sold in the online marketplace for individuals beginning Oct. 1. The rates offered by nine carriers are among the lowest of the 12 states that have proposed or approved rates for comparison and among the lowest in the D.C. area, according to an analysis by Maryland officials who will be operating the state’s marketplace.

More here

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Yes Republicans, there is a war on women:

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“I didn’t want to be right,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says about her prediction that striking a key prong of the Voting Rights Act will lead to a wave of minority voter suppression, “but sadly I am.” In an interview with the Associated Press’ Mark Sherman, Ginsburg reiterated one of the core points of her dissent from the five Republican justices’ voting rights decision — “The notion that because the Voting Rights Act had been so tremendously effective we had to stop it didn’t make any sense to me,” Ginsburg said. “And one really could have predicted what was going to happen” once the law was struck down.

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@VP: VP & son-in-law Howard stop for some lime juice & talk w/ employees @ a hawker market in Singapore

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Yes Republicans, the truth does indeed hurt:

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President Obama walks across the South Lawn as he departs the White House. Obama invited all the members of his cabinet and their families to spend the day at Camp David.

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Sweeeeeeeeeet!

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Cuteness alert!

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26
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama greets the audience after speaking at the Jacksonville Port, July 25

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Today – all times Eastern

9:30 AM: President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews en route to Camp David where he will will host Cabinet members and their families

7:0: Returns to the White House

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Patheos

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Paul Krugman: Republican Health Care Panic

Leading Republicans appear to be nerving themselves up for another round of attempted fiscal blackmail. With the end of the fiscal year looming, they aren’t offering the kinds of compromises that might produce a deal and avoid a government shutdown …. they’re threatening, once again, to block any rise in the debt ceiling, a move that would damage the U.S. economy and possibly provoke a world financial crisis.

Yet even as Republican politicians seem ready to go on the offensive, there’s a palpable sense of anxiety, even despair, among conservative pundits and analysts. Better-informed people on the right seem, finally, to be facing up to a horrible truth: Health care reform, President Obama’s signature policy achievement, is probably going to work.

And the good news about Obamacare is, I’d argue, what’s driving the Republican Party’s intensified extremism. Successful health reform wouldn’t just be a victory for a president conservatives loathe, it would be an object demonstration of the falseness of right-wing ideology. So Republicans are being driven into a last, desperate effort to head this thing off at the pass……

More here

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Greg Sargent: Even Republicans are openly worried about GOP’s sabotage governing

The notion that GOP sabotage governing tactics could ultimately prove counter-productive and self defeating for the Republican Party is now being increasingly voiced by Republicans themselves.

….. with Republicans hurtling towards another set of crises over the debt limit and funding the government they are openly nervous about the GOP’s continued embrace of its intransigent scorched earth governing posture…

…. More public disunity from Republicans about their tactics – even as Dems remain relatively united behind their insistence that they won’t negotiate over the debt limit and will continue to demand new revenues as part of any budget deal – will only encourage the White House to hold a harder line.

More here

And see Steve Benen: Senate GOPer calls shutdown threat ‘the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard’

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Washington Post: White House hardens stance on budget cuts ahead of showdown with Republicans

Senior White House officials are discussing a budget strategy that could lead to a government shutdown if Republicans continue to demand deeper spending cuts, lawmakers and Democrats familiar with the administration’s thinking said Thursday.

The posture represents a more confrontational approach than that of this spring, when President Obama decided not to escalate a fight over across-the-board reductions known as sequestration in an earlier budget battle with Republicans.

The change in tone has been evident in repeated and little-noticed veto threats over the past few weeks by Obama, who has rarely issued the warnings with such frequency. He has made it clear that he will not sign into law Republican spending bills that slash domestic programs even more deeply than sequestration.

More here

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Steve Benen: Either job creation is the top priority or it isn’t

…. In addition to the voluminous list of documented problems, just over the last few days we’ve gotten a better sense of the ways in which [sequestration cuts are] hurting the military, public schools, parks, and the justice system. The poor and minorities are disproportionately suffering.

Did the political world care about these stories? Not really…. So what made yesterday different? This did:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Thursday estimated that keeping the spending cuts from sequestration in place through fiscal 2014 would cost up to 1.6 million jobs …. Canceling the cuts, on the other hand, would yield between 300,000 to 1.6 million new jobs, with the most likely outcome being the addition of 900,000, the CBO said.

More here

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CNN: Organizing for Action, the political advocacy group aligned with President Barack Obama, has turned the hour-long speech the president delivered in Illinois on Wednesday into a 60-second television spot that will air on national cable.

Clips of the president are spliced together with photographs of construction workers, manufacturers, students, and families, all designed to promote the economic message the White House says will be their focus on the coming months.

More here

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Kurt Eichenwald: Zimmerman, Abortion, and Obamacare: 25 Contemplations on Current Events

…. It makes no sense to argue that you support Stand Your Ground and then condemn Trayvon Martin for confronting a guy who was following him. You can’t pick and choose who gets to stand their ground based on a perception of threat. Which is why that law is so obscene.

….. All anti-abortion protesters should be presented, on the spot, with an application to sign up as foster parents. They should also be given the names of children in their area in need of adoptive parents. And if they won’t sign or volunteer, they should shut up.

…. If Obamacare is so awful, why do conservatives have to lie so much about what it really does? (See death panels, government takeover of health care, preventing folks from choosing their own doctors, and pretty much anything any Republican has said about the program over the last few years.)

…. The fact that some folks learned something in school does not make them elitist. It makes them educated.

Full post here – must-read!

Twitter: @kurteichenwald

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Steve Benen: What ‘conservatives gone wild’ looks like in North Carolina

….. [In North Carolina} …. the most sweeping voter-suppression efforts seen anywhere in the United States in generations ….. the proposal is remarkable in its scope, including a needlessly discriminatory voter-ID provision, new limits on early voting, blocks on voter-registration drive, restrictions on extended voting times to ease long lines, an end to same-day registration, new efforts to discourage youth voting, and expanded opportunities for “vigilante poll-watchers to challenge eligible voters.”

How many North Carolina Republican lawmakers supported these suppression tactics for no apparent reason? Each and every one of them…..

More here

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President Obama winks as he speaks at an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room of the White House, July 25

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Ratchet-Ass Lawyer (The Week in Blackness): Drone Policy Is the Most Important Racism

Salon’s arc of fail last week began with David Sirota’s meditation that “we are all targets now,” which spawned a minor revolution on social media and inspired TWiB Prime to break its hiatus for the “This Motherfucker Right Here Hour.” Now, Cornel West, among many others, has repeated the parallel, alleging that Obama is a “global George Zimmerman” because the Administration has sanctioned the use of drones for targeted killing in Yemen and elsewhere.

The strange essence of the critique is that Obama is a hypocrite for publicly, personally identifying with one murdered Black boy while the Administration’s foreign policy justifies the murders of innocent brown people abroad. This inappropriate parallel between Obama and Zimmerman erases the suffering of Black people and other marginalized groups in America, allows white men to co-opt the conversation while claiming that they are anti-racist, ignores crucial differences between vigilante justice and foreign policy, and requires Obama to be superhuman to maintain authority.

There are several incidents of privilege-blindness among the mostly white male drone-obsessed elite….

More here

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You can donate to Wendy Davis’ campaign here

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Dallas News: In Washington, Wendy Davis represents a progressive Texas

It was her stance on abortions that carried Texas Sen. Wendy Davis into the national spotlight, but it wasn’t the reason behind Thursday’s trip to Washington.

A more progressive Texas, not abortion, was the focus of Davis’s trip, which included two fundraisers and multiple meetings with members of Congress and local groups,

“People all across Texas are starting to stand and see that basic Texas values are being abused and abandoned by state leaders,” she told a group of 400, who paid between $25 and $250 to crowd into a bar on Thursday evening to hear Davis speak.

“Those weren’t just Democrats assembled to complain about Republicans,” she said referring to the hundreds who flooded the Texas capitol building last month during her filibuster. “They were Texans.”

More here

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NYT: The Gun Lobby Takes Vengeful Aim

One welcome surprise in gun safety occurred this year in Colorado, where the Democratic-led Legislature dared to defy the gun lobby and mandated universal background checks on firearm sales and 15-round limits on ammunition magazines.

The ink was barely dry, however, before the National Rifle Association was vindictively pressing for recall votes against two supporters of the stronger law….

The recall vote, set for Sept. 10, could hardly be more important as a barometer of whether the public, which repeatedly registers support for tougher gun controls in surveys, will show up at the ballot to defend politicians who bucked the gun lobby.

Full editorial here

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USA Today: Obama’s Fed pick: Yellen or Summers?

An intense, behind-the-scenes battle is going on for one of the world’s most powerful jobs: Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Backers of two major candidates – current Fed member Janet Yellen and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers – are busy lobbying the only voter who counts in this type of campaign: President Obama.

Yellen is the Fed’s vice chair and has helped develop the policies of current chairman Ben Bernanke – a point made by both supporters and critics. Bernanke is expected to retire when his term expires in January.

Senate Democrats are circulating a petition in support of Yellen, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed her in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

More here

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OFA

OFA fellows are fired up and ready for you to join them

Organizing for Action is looking for passionate new leaders who are interested in tackling our country’s big issues for our OFA Fall Fellowship program. This three-month volunteer program is explicitly designed to train the next generation of OFA leaders – if that sounds like you, you can apply today.

Fall Fellows will be working on important issues affecting our country—from protecting Obamacare, to combating climate change, to passing comprehensive immigration reform, Fellows do work that matters every single day.

More here

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On this day…..

President Obama laughs with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius following the official Cabinet group photo in the Grand Foyer of the White House, July 26, 2012. Pictured, from left, are: Energy Secretary Steven Chu; Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; Education Secretary Arne Duncan; and Attorney General Eric Holder (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama with Vice President Joe Biden and Chief of Staff Jack Lew in the Oval Office, July 26, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

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Pete Souza: Just ran into Bo on the colonnade

25
Jul
13

This and That

Pete Souza: Pres Obama speaking in Jacksonville, Florida

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Steve Benen: AG Holder to fight Texas on voting rights

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act, Republican policymakers acted with remarkable speed – literally, less than 24 hours – to approve new voting restrictions, most notably a controversial voter-ID law.

When the Voting Rights Act was intact, changes to voting laws in the Lone Star State would need to be cleared with the Justice Department in advance of being implemented, but with the law gutted by a narrow Supreme Court majority, GOP officials in Texas assumed the Justice Department is no longer relevant, and they could do as they pleased.

The nation’s Attorney General apparently believes otherwise….

More here

And see TPM: Holder’s Move Against Texas Could Send The Voting Rights Act Back To The Supreme Court

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Steve Benen: Among voter-suppression bills, ‘This is the single worst’

Over the last few years, we’ve seen quite a few states take up new voting restrictions, immediately on the heels of Republican gains in the 2010 election cycle, so much so that the notion of a “Republican war on voting” was widely recognized and understood. After the 2012 elections, despite the failures of voter suppression, state GOP officials renewed their efforts.

But it’s probably fair to say we haven’t seen anything quite as astounding as the proposed restrictions in North Carolina. Barbara Arnwine, president of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said, “This is the single worst bill we have seen introduced since voter suppression bills began sweeping the country.”

More here

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BlackAmericaWeb: Is Anyone Black Enough for Cornel West?

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This really is beyond belief:

ThinkProgress: Ohio Plans Unspeakably Cruel Appeal Of Dying Man’s Last Wish

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President Obama tours Jacksonville port with, from left, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx; Dennis Kelly, TracPac Regional Vice President and General Manager; Ray Schleicher, CEO of the Jacksonville Port Authority, and Fred Wakefield, International Longshoreman’s Association Representative

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Text of the President’s remarks in Jacksonville today here

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President Obama talks with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx aboard Air Force One during the flight to Jacksonville, July 25 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Norm Ornstein: The Unprecedented, Contemptible GOP Quest to Sabotage Obamacare. What the Republicans are doing now goes beyond mere hardball politics – and could hurt millions of Americans affected by health-care reform.

And from Steve Benen: None dare call it sabotage

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President Obama reaches up to touch a media microphone while talking with people along a tarmac ropeline after arriving at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., July 24 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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ThinkProgress: Washington Nationals Use Teddy Roosevelt Mascot To Promote Obamacare

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USA Today: President Obama is declaring Saturday to be Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.

“I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor our distinguished Korean War veterans,” Obama said in a proclamation signed Thursday.

Obama will commemorate the event with a speech on Saturday at the Korean War memorial in Washington, D.C.

More here

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Pete Souza: Pres Obama signing photos backstage in Jacksonville

25
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama speaks about the economy during a visit to Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, July 24

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern)

10:15: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam

11:30: The President departs the White House

1:25: Arrives Jacksonville, Florida

1:55: Tours the Jacksonville Port Authority

2:35: Delivers remarks

3:40: Departs Jacksonville

5:35: Arrives the White House

8:45: Hosts an Iftar dinner

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Knox College, July 24

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Steve Benen: After a whole lot of buildup from the White House, President Obama delivered one of those rare speeches that has its own name: “A Better Bargain for the Middle Class.”

… This was a very forward-thinking speech. While Republican leaders regularly present a vision of a different kind of America – one without a safety net, without access to affordable health care, without retirement security, without education, without environmental protections, without the right to organize or bargain collectively, but plenty of Ayn Rand-approved “freedom” – this was the president’s opportunity to sketch out a more progressive alternative.

…. what Obama thinks should be next is a center-left approach, built on the belief that lasting prosperity comes from an economy that rejects a top-down model in which we help the rich and wait for wealth to someday trickle down, but focuses instead on a “middle-out” model that emphasizes the middle class. (The president used the phrase “middle class” 25 times in this speech.)

If the president’s detractors have anything even remotely as compelling, I’m eager to see it.

Full post here

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Statement by the President on Student Loans

A better bargain for the middle class means making a college education available to every single American willing to work for it.  That’s why I applaud the wide bipartisan majority of Senators who passed a bill to cut rates on nearly all new federal student loans, rolling back a July 1st rate hike and saving undergraduates an average of more than $1,500 on loans they take out this year.

This compromise is a major victory for our nation’s students.  It meets the key principles I laid out from the start: it locks in low rates next year, and it doesn’t overcharge students to pay down the deficit.  I urge the House to pass this bill so that I can sign it into law right away, and I hope both parties build on this progress by taking even more steps to bring down soaring costs and keep a good education – a cornerstone of what it means to be middle class – within reach for working families.

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Norm Ornstein: The Unprecedented — and Contemptible — Attempts to Sabotage Obamacare

Doing everything possible to block the law’s implementation is not treasonous — just sharply beneath any reasonable standards of elected officials.

When Mike Lee pledges to try to shut down the government unless President Obama knuckles under and defunds Obamacare entirely, it is not news—it is par for the course for the take-no-prisoners extremist senator from Utah. When the Senate Republicans’ No. 2 and No. 3 leaders, John Cornyn and John Thune, sign on to the blackmail plan, it is news — of the most depressing variety.

I am not the only one who has written about House and Senate Republicans’ monomaniacal focus on sabotaging the implementation of Obamacare — Greg Sargent, Steve Benen, Jon Chait, Jon Bernstein, Ezra Klein, and many others have written powerful pieces. But it is now spinning out of control.

It is important to emphasize that this set of moves is simply unprecedented….

More here

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Robert Plumber, a Korean War Vet who was one of the first African-American Navy UDT divers (AKA Frogmen, the precursors to the US Navy SEALs), talks about the importance of defending Voting Rights after being arrested with Rev. Barber and dozens of others at the 12th Moral Monday action in Raleigh, North Carolina. Plumber, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement was arrested previously with Dr. Martin Luther King.

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This is IMPORTANT. If you are a TOD Twitterer, join and help President Obama. All hands on deck for 2014:

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

24
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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All times Eastern:

10:0: The President departs the White House

12:10: Arrives Galesburg, Illinois

12:55: Delivers remarks at Knox College

3:50: Departs Galesburg en route Warrensburg, Missouri

4:40: Arrives Warrensburg

5:20: Delivers remarks at the University of Central Missouri

6:15: Departs Warrensburg

8:15: Arrives Joint Base Andrews

8:30: Arrives the White House

Detailed schedule here

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President Obama talks with Director of Speechwriting Cody Keenan in the Oval Office, July 23 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Yahoo: President Barack Obama’s speech on economic policy Wednesday will be the first in an ambitious series of six addresses laying out a sweeping vision for America’s future. The philosophy at the core of the campaign will be familiar, but there will be “aggressive new ideas.”

That’s according to Cody Keenan, the speechwriter in charge of crafting what may be Obama’s most far-reaching second-term effort to get Americans to sign on to his plans.

… Obama’s six speeches will cover education, housing, retirement security, health care, poverty and jobs, Keenan said…

“In the weeks ahead — especially when it comes to college costs, which is something he’s obsessed with — we’ll have some aggressive new ideas,” said Keenan.

More here

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Time: Why Obama Keeps Going Back to One Small Illinois College

…. Knox has a special place in the President’s heart and in American history. “It’s the place where I gave my first big speech after I had been elected to the U.S. Senate,” Obama said at a recent event in Washington. Wednesday marks his third visit – once as a Senate candidate, once as a Senator and now as commander-in-chief – adding to a long history of presidents and political figures who have left a mark on the college.

Founded in 1837 by religious missionaries who opposed slavery, Knox College was, from its beginning, a progressive institution that welcomed women and people of color. In 1858, the college was the site of the fifth of seven Lincoln-Douglas debates, where Abraham Lincoln, challenging incumbent Senator Stephan A. Douglas, debated the nature and future of slavery.

More here

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Headline of the week?

Leaders of the Republican Party are still predicting that Obamacare will be a disaster, one that will wreak havoc on American health care. Most of their allies in the media say the same thing. But a small group of conservative intellectuals has been warning that the law might not be so apocalyptical — that, with full implementation about to begin, wholesale repeal may no longer be possible…

… Once Americans can take advantage of the law’s benefits — once more low-income people become eligible for Medicaid, and once more low- and middle-income people start to get subsidies that will help them buy private insurance — taking those benefits away will be nearly impossible, particularly since Republicans still haven’t proposed an alternative that would come close to providing the same level of security.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: Don’t Repeal Any Laws, Repeal John Boehner

The speaker says Republicans should be judged on how many laws they repeal. This is unprecedented, irresponsible, and terrifying. …

It would be impossible to name the craziest thing said by a Republican so far this year….

New entrants arrive constantly and the competition is feral. And yet paradoxically they don’t even shock anymore. But one recent Republican remark should arrest you and deserves your contemplation: John Boehner’s statement on Face the Nation Sunday that he and his House Republicans “ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.”

It’s not an outrageous statement in the Obama-wants-to-impose-Sharia vein, but in its way it’s more disturbing. The Republican Party now sees dysfunction as not just an unfortunate consequence of a set of historical factors, something that they might work every now and again to correct. Now, the Republican Party sees dysfunction as its mission.

More here

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Read Steve Benen on King here and Ed Kilgore here

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La Opinión: Cruel and Indecent

Family values are a pillar of traditional Republican discourse. But as soon as it comes time to address immigration issues, all of their emphasis on family unity goes out the window, replaced by advocacy for division.

This is the logical conclusion that follows from the KIDS Act, being developed by the House of Representatives. While this House bill would legalize the status of minors brought to the United States without papers by their parents, it would be the only measure the lower house would approve to regularize the status of anyone undocumented, unlike the Senate bill that initially aspired to benefit 11 million people.

The bill’s sponsor, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, speaking in favor of the measure, stated that this is a matter of “decency and compassion”…..

More here

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

22
Jul
13

News Of The Day

This is a very insightful commentary by Justice Stevens.

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Where’s the outrage from the poutragers….hmmm?

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And here we go….BOOM!

God weighs in.

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Heartless

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Continue reading ‘News Of The Day’

19
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times Eastern):

10:45: Rep. Nancy Pelosi Holds Weekly Press Briefing (C-Span)

11:30: VP Biden meets with law enforcement officials to discuss common sense immigration reform

1:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

5:0: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host the Diplomatic Corps Reception (Closed press)

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Occupy Democrats: Watch a Doctor Destroy a Koch Brother-Funded Anti-Obamacare Ad in 2 Minutes:

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The Hill: The Obama administration on Thursday highlighted lower-than-expected premiums for healthcare plans sold through ObamaCare’s new insurance marketplaces.

In the 11 states that have released rates for next year, premiums for a middle-of-the-road plan are an average of 18 percent cheaper than the Congressional Budget Office had expected.

…. New York is the latest state to report that premiums for plans offered through its exchange would be cheaper than expected — and, on average, 50 percent cheaper than comparable policies available in the state today …. California also reported lower-than-expected premiums…

Six states have released rate filings for plans available to small businesses through a separate exchange. Those policies are also an average of 18 percent cheaper than existing coverage options, HHS said.

Full post here

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Jonathan Cohn: The Obamacare Train Still Hasn’t Wrecked

President Obama on Thursday touted some good news about Obamacare. And, lord knows, he’s earned the right. Republicans and conservative intellectuals keep seizing on setbacks — some real, some imagined — and predicting that Obamacare will be a catastrophe. They are almost certainly wrong.

Ironically, one of the best reasons to believe in Obamacare may be the very issue that has inspired so much chortling on the right: The insurance premiums for people who buy on their own, because they don’t get coverage from an employer or through a government program.

Insurers around the country have already submitted bids…. they are coming in lower than most experts had predicted….

…. it means the overall price of Obamacare — the amount of money the government must spend, in order to make the law function — is going to be even lower than predicted.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Most Media Coverage Ignores Premium Drop, Focuses On GOP Effort To Undermine Obamacare

Early on Wednesday, as House Republicans prepared to vote for a delay of the Affordable Care Act’s employer and individual mandates, New York state officials announced that health care premiums in the new exchange will plummet by at least 50 percent as a result of the law.

For reform advocates, the story represented a reprieve from the constant drum beat of media coverage about implementation delays, predictions of rate shock, and employers dropping coverage. But a ThinkProgress analysis of television reports about the health care law for Wednesday, July 18th, confirms that even with good news to report, bookers and segment producers are still far more interested in broadcasting stories about the political brinkmanship in Washington, DC than the actual, tangible progress of implementation.

More here

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Steve Benen: The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act did not actually strike down the entire civil-rights law, but rather, gutted it by rejecting Section 4 of the VRA. The burden then shifted to Congress to find a remedy …. Yesterday, the House held its first hearing on the VRA since the court ruling, and if the public comments were any indication, the odds of success in the near future appear long…

Most of the Republican members of the panel apparently didn’t think the hearing was especially important – which is to say, they didn’t show up ….

… Anyone predicting congressional Republicans might do the right thing on voting rights should probably adjust their expectations accordingly. GOP policymakers at the state level are rushing to impose new restrictions to keep voters from participating in their own democracy, and GOP policymakers at the federal level appear content to do nothing to stop them.

Full post here

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Charles Pierce: Some Voting Rights Act Fakery

As part of our Summer Of Fakery, the House allegedly has taken up the job of repairing the damage done to the Voting Rights Act that occurred when John Roberts declared the day of jubilee. One of the witnesses today was Hans von Spakovsky, who’s been scamming this particular scam for over a decade now. Anyway, this is what von Spakovsky was peddling today.

“[That section] was an unprecedented, extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty……..”

…. Not to bring that pesky Constitution into things again, but here’s an extraordinary intrusion into state sovereignty:

Amendment XIII: Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction…..

…. If you want to understand why modern conservatives seem so impatient with settled law, remember that they owe their modern ascendancy to the people who refused to accept any of these three Amendments because they didn’t believe the freaking Civil War changed anything.

Full post here

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ThinkProgress: On Thursday, three Texas Republicans filed a measure that would criminalize abortion services after a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which typically occurs around six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they’re pregnant.

The Texas legislature is currently in the midst of a special session that was convened specifically to give lawmakers more time to consider abortion restrictions. The session will end on July 31. Until then, GOP lawmakers have been busy proposing a slew of anti-abortion bills in the hopes of being able to rush them through.

More here

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

17
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times Eastern)

10:50: The President delivers a statement on the confirmation of Richard Cordray as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

12:45: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

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NYT: Individuals buying health insurance on their own will see their premiums tumble next year in New York State as changes under the federal health care law take effect, state officials are to announce on Wednesday.

State insurance regulators say they have approved rates for 2014 that are at least 50 percent lower on average than those currently available in New York. Beginning in October, individuals in New York City who now pay $1,000 a month or more for coverage will be able to shop for health insurance for as little as $308 monthly. With federal subsidies, the cost will be even lower.

Supporters of the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, credited the drop in rates to the online purchasing exchanges the law created, which they say are spurring competition among insurers that are anticipating an influx of new customers. The law requires that an exchange be started in every state.

“Health insurance has suddenly become affordable in New York,” said Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president for health initiatives with the Community Service Society of New York. “It’s not bargain-basement prices, but we’re going from Bergdorf’s to Filene’s here.”

“The extraordinary decline in New York’s insurance rates for individual consumers demonstrates the profound promise of the Affordable Care Act,” she added.

More here

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AG Eric Holder: “So Trayvon’s death last spring caused me to sit down to have a conversation with my own 15-year-old son, like my dad did with me. This was a father-son tradition I hoped would not need to be handed down. But as a father who loves his son and who is more knowing in the ways of the world, I had to do this to protect my boy. I am his father, and it is my responsibility, not to burden him with the baggage of eras long gone, but to make him aware of the world that he must still confront. This is a sad reality in a nation that is changing for the better in so many ways.”

Full NAACP speech from yesterday (transcript here):

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Michael Tomasky: Reid Crushes McConnell

…. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell struck a deal, abetted apparently by John McCain, that averted the invocation of the nuclear option by Reid and the Democrats. Reid got just about everything he wanted. The Senate is going to pass through all seven nominees that Reid brought up in this skirmish….

…. About as clear a win for one party over another as we’ve seen in a long time. Why did it happen? Because everyone in the room knew that the Democrats had the 51 votes to change the rules. Stand together or fall apart, as the old cliche goes. It’s true. It’s still pathetic that it had to come to this for the president to fill his cabinet (and sub-cabinet), but it goes to show that holding the line as a group works.

Full post here

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Steve Benen: …. Will what transpired in the Senate yesterday actually, you know, matter? …. The cautious answer is that it’s evidence of incremental progress, the results of which will have a real-world impact on the lives of real people.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for example, looks out for consumers against predatory excesses from the financial industry. As Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Chris Hayes last night, in light of yesterday’s deal and Richard Cordray’s confirmation, “We know this agency is here to stay. No more clouds over what it legally is entitled to do. No more attacks that say maybe we’re going to be able to undercut it in this way or weaken it in that way. We’ve got a full-fledged watchdog. The one we fought for, and [Cordray] is going to be there to fight for us.”

…. I’ve heard plenty of criticisms of yesterday’s agreement, and detractors have raised fair concerns … But in today’s environment, incremental progress is still progress, and there’s ample reason to believe yesterday’s deal moves the ball forward.

Full post here

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McClatchy: Congress revisits Voting Rights Act

Congress is taking the first steps toward bringing back pre-clearance of voting laws under the Voting Rights Act this week, as activists express tempered optimism in lawmakers’ willingness and ability to act.

The U.S. Supreme Court last month tossed out the Voting Rights Act’s formula that determined which jurisdictions must submit their voting law changes to the federal government before enacting them. The 5-4 ruling did not get rid of pre-clearance altogether but said Congress must come up with an updated standard to enforce it rather than the 1965 version that covered Georgia and other Deep South states with a history of overt discrimination.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will kick off the congressional response with a hearing Wednesday featuring Congress’ civil rights conscience: Atlanta Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: …. the narrative about the IRS targeting Obama’s enemies has been thoroughly debunked….

The IRS “scandal,” lately dormant, is returning soon to cable-news channel near you: Tomorrow, Russell George, the Treasury Department inspector general who produced the original report at Darrell Issa’s request, is going back before Issa’s committee, and this time he’s in for some pretty serious grilling from Democrats. The evidence is now even more preponderant than it already was that there was absolutely no political agenda in the IRS’s review of 501(c)(4) applications. In fact, evidence is mounting that if anyone was behaving politically here, it was George — and, of course, Issa and the other Republicans who launched into their baseless tirades about “enemies lists” and other such nonsense.

…. what about the mainstream media that swallowed whole from the Republican-conservative spoon, running huge headlines and ominous editorials, all those breathy stories that got nearly half the American public believing, on the basis of zero hard evidence, that the White House was involved here? It’s not in the nature of the beast to run huge headlines saying “No Scandal Here.” But it should be in the beast’s nature to take a much harder look at Issa, George, and the other perpetuators of this non-story. And it should start tomorrow, when George testifies.

Full post here

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Reuters: President Barack Obama on Tuesday for the first time admitted that it was unlikely that the Republican-led House of Representatives would pass sweeping immigration reforms before lawmakers left Washington for a month-long break in August.

In television interviews taped with four Spanish-language newscasts, Obama said he thinks many Republicans need more time to grapple with concerns about border security and the changing demographics of America.

…. Obama has insisted that reforms must include the path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. “It does not make sense to me, if we’re going to make this once-in-a-generation effort to finally fix the system, to leave the status of 11 million people or so unresolved,” he told Telemundo’s Denver affiliate.

Many House Republicans oppose that measure, calling it “amnesty” for people who have broken existing immigration laws. But Obama said ignoring the problem would resign undocumented immigrants to “a lower status.” “I think that’s not who we are as Americans,” he said.

More here

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Wendy Davis and San Antonio mayor Julián Castro (left) and his twin brother, Congressman Joaquín Castro, in Austin on July 7, 2013

Texas Monthly: The Life and Death (and Life?) of the Party

Democrats once ruled Texas. Then came five decades of steady decline. Can Wendy Davis, the Castro brothers, and Team Obama’s vaunted field operation return their party to power? And if they can’t, can anyone?

“Somebody has to step up,” Wendy Davis observed one evening in late May over drinks at the bar of the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin. “As long as the Democrats continue to buy into the same bullshit that some of the Republicans are saying — ‘Oh no, it’s Texas, it’s hopeless’ — and continue to act like it won’t happen for six, eight, twelve, sixteen years from now, that perpetuates the problem.”

“So are you going to run for statewide office?” I asked.

Her green eyes sparkled. “One day, someday,” she said coyly.

One day, someday, about a month later, on the morning of June 25, the petite fifty-year-old Democratic state senator from Fort Worth fixed herself a single boiled egg for breakfast. It would be her only meal of the day. She slipped on a pair of pink tennis shoes, headed over to the Capitol, and stepped up……

More here

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President Obama hosted members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority at the White House on Tuesday as the group gather in Washington for their annual convention. The Oval Office meeting marked the 100th anniversary of the African-American sorority and the 51st anniversary of its convention. Obama met with members including the sorority’s president, Cynthia Butler-McIntyre.

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@petesouza: Pres Obama with make-a-wish visitor Suhail Zaveri, 14, and his family in the Oval Office

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CBS: Cuban and U.S. officials will hold the first migration talks between the two nations since 2011 in Washington on Wednesday. Analysts believe both countries have a strong interest in getting them off the ground again.

…. The Bush Administration broke off these twice-yearly talks, along with taking other measures such as severely restricting the rights of Cuban Americans to travel back to the island – limiting them to only one visit every three years.

President Obama reestablished the rights of Cuban Americans to visit their homeland as much as they want and resumed the talks, only to break them off over the detention and jailing of U.S. contractor Alan Gross, which the State Department has repeatedly said remains a major obstacle to any improvement in relations between the two neighboring countries.

More here

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Morning!

16
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago …… July 16, 2012: President Obama kisses First Lady Michelle Obama for the “Kiss Cam” while attending the U.S. Men’s Olympic basketball team’s game against Brazil at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

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Today (All times Eastern):

10:0 Vice President Biden will swear in Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) as the freshman Massachusetts senator at the U.S. Capitol

11:0: President Obama is interviewed by Spanish language news anchors

12:45: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

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On Thursday, the First Lady, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Amy Rule, will visit Urban Alliance Chicago, a year-long career education and employment program for underserved high school seniors which enriches students’ lives through paid internships, formal training, and mentoring. The visit is part of the First Lady’s focus on youth empowerment and providing more opportunities for young people to achieve their full potential.

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George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush present President Obama with a pair of socks, July 15 (Photo by Pete Souza)

@ObamaFoodorama

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Steve Benen: For three-and-a-half hours last night, nearly every member of the Senate met behind closed doors in the Old Senate Chamber to discuss a political crisis of sorts: whether the minority would continue to block President Obama’s executive-branch nominees and what the majority intended to do about it.

The meeting itself was rather odd. Senators already have a forum in which they can hold a debate — it’s called the Senate. But their usual chamber has cameras and public seating, and last night, for whatever reason, members wanted to debate in private for a candid conversation.

By all accounts, it was a constructive conversation, but there was no resolution. As I type, there are some back-channel talks underway, but barring a breakthrough, the Senate Democratic leadership intended to move forward with its “nuclear option” plans.

More here

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Eugene Robinson: Justice failed Trayvon Martin the night he was killed. We should be appalled and outraged, but perhaps not surprised, that it failed him again Saturday night, with a verdict setting his killer free. Our society considers young black men to be dangerous, interchangeable, expendable, guilty until proven innocent. This is the conversation about race that we desperately need to have — but probably, as in the past, will try our best to avoid. Jurors knew that Zimmerman was an overeager would-be cop, a self-appointed guardian of the neighborhood who carried a loaded gun. They were told that he profiled Martin — young, black, hooded sweatshirt — as a criminal. They heard that he stalked Martin despite the advice of a 911 operator; that the stalking led to a confrontation; and that, in the confrontation, Zimmerman fatally shot Martin in the chest.

If anyone wonders why African Americans feel so passionately about this case, it’s because we know that our 17-year-old sons are boys, not men. It’s because we know their adolescent bravura is just that — an imitation of manhood, not the real thing. We know how frightened our sons would be, walking home alone on a rainy night and realizing they were being followed. We know how torn they would be between a child’s fear and a child’s immature idea of manly behavior. We know how they would struggle to decide the right course of action, flight or fight. And we know that a skinny boy armed only with candy, no matter how big and bad he tries to seem, does not pose a mortal threat to a healthy adult man who outweighs him by 50 pounds and has had martial arts training (even if the lessons were mostly a waste of money). We know that the boy may well have threatened the man’s pride but likely not his life. How many murders-by-sidewalk have you heard of recently? Or ever?

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

13
Jul
13

Chat Away

13
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

Abortion rights advocates fill the rotunda of the State Capitol as the Texas Senate neared the vote on Friday night, July 12

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The Week Ahead:

Monday: The President and the First Lady will host former President George H.W. Bush, former First Lady Barbara Bush, and members of the Bush family for an event to honor the winner of the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award

Tuesday and Wednesday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

Thursday: The President will participate in an ambassador credentialing ceremony at the White House

Friday: The President and the First Lady will host the Diplomatic Corps reception for the Foreign Diplomatic Corps at the White House

* The Obama family plans to vacation on Martha’s Vineyard between August 10 and 18, the White House confirmed yesterday

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Texas state troopers stand over pro-abortion rights protesters after they were taken from the Texas Senate gallery as the Senate debated an abortion bill

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Texas Tribune: After impassioned, often personal speeches from lawmakers in both parties noting the emotions that have followed House Bill 2 through the legislative process, the Texas Senate approved the omnibus abortion measure late Friday night.

…. Democrats offered 20 amendments, ranging from proposals to add exceptions to the bill’s 20-week abortion ban for victims of rape and incest to requiring annual inspections of abortion facilities and allowing teen mothers to be excluded from a state law requiring parental consent for family planning services. All were rejected on party-line votes in a debate that lasted until nearly midnight on Friday.

…. Alluding to Democrats’ hope that the passion from opponents of the abortion legislation translates into votes at the ballot box in the coming election cycle, State Sen. Wendy Davis said, “The fight for the future of Texas is just beginning.”

…. A suggestion from Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston that senators who voted for the legislation were “listening a little closer” to God than those who opposed it prompted a heated response from Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, who told his colleague he had crossed the line.

“Don’t question the faith of any member,” he said.

More here

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Texas Tribune: The Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday that officers had discovered more than a dozen jars containing “suspected” feces and urine at the Texas Capitol, the site of an intense debate among state senators over abortion restrictions.

In a press release, the agency offered scant details about the seizures and did not say where the items were taken or what happened to them, prompting abortion rights activists to express doubts about the official account.

…. DPS officers outside the Senate gallery and at each entrance to the Capitol told The Texas Tribune they had not seen or found jars containing feces or urine, and multiple officers throughout the Capitol said they had not heard of any jars being found until a reporter mentioned it. Several officers also said they had not heard anything on the DPS radio system about jars of any excrement.

On social media and in interviews, abortion rights protesters questioned the report, calling it an attempt by DPS to bolster Republican credibility during a contentious debate that has drawn national attention.

More here

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Updated – Erick Erickson deleted this tweet from last night:

“Dear Liberals, go bookmark this site now: http://t.co/uqrepa1Ktn

…. which linked to:

No words.

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Steve Benen: Only a good guy with a tampon can stop a bad guy with a tampon

Inside Texas’ state legislature (yesterday), loaded guns are fairly common. As the New York Times reported in March …. but as debate begins in the state Senate on sweeping restrictions to reproductive rights, tampons are being confiscated. No, seriously.

…. Apparently, conservatives believe progressive activists will, after the vote, throw tampons at Republican state lawmakers who approve the bill. So, anything that “can be thrown at” the senators is being confiscated before citizens can enter the gallery.

Sometimes the war on women is offensive, and sometimes, it’s just farcical. When tampons are considered more dangerous than loaded firearms, I think it’s safe to say Texas Republicans have gone off the deep end.

More here

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Margaret and Helen: Tampons don’t kill people. Republicans do.

Margaret, last night there was a rally at the Texas State Capitol to let Rick Perry and the Republican controlled house and Senate know that Texas women have had enough of this backward ass war on women. And do you know what those crazy asshats did? They confiscated everyone’s feminine hygiene napkins at the door. Now there is some good bullshit if you ask me.

As God as my witness, you could legally carry a concealed weapon into the Texas Capitol but you had to surrender your tampons. I can only assume the Texas legislators… I guess Rick Perry decided… The State Troopers.. You know what, Margaret? For the first time in my life I’m speechless. What in God’s name has gotten into these yahoos?

More here

Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

12
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

The President has no public events scheduled

12:45 Jay Carney briefs the press

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NYT Editorial: In the House, a Refusal to Govern

On two crucial issues this week, the extremists who dominate the Republican majority in the House of Representatives made it clear how little interest they have in the future prosperity of their country, or its reputation for fairness and decency.

The House will refuse to consider a comprehensive immigration bill that could lead to citizenship for millions of immigrants, Republican leaders said on Wednesday, and will slowly and casually consider a few border-security measures that have no chance of passing on their own.

And, on Thursday, the House passed a farm bill that stripped out the food stamp program, breaking a pact that for decades has protected the nutrition needs of low-income Americans. It was the first time since 1973 that food stamps haven’t been part of a farm bill, and it reflected the contempt of the far right for anyone desperate enough to rely on the government for help to buy groceries.

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Robert Greenstein: For several decades, legislation to reauthorize farm programs and SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) have moved together. Now, the House Republican leadership is splitting the bills, moving a stand-alone farm bill today and planning to move a separate SNAP bill later.

The reason is clear. Even though the farm bill the House defeated a few weeks ago contained more than $20 billion in SNAP cuts (nearly all of them in food assistance benefits) as well as an unprecedented measure allowing states to cut families off SNAP if a parent wants to work but can’t find a job and letting state politicians take half of the resulting savings and use them for any purpose, that wasn’t enough for many of the most conservative House Republicans.  So the House leadership has dropped the SNAP provisions and plans to come back later with a still harsher SNAP bill designed to pass solely with Republican votes.

This turn of events is deeply disturbing….

More here

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Andrew Rosenthal (NYT): Just because there is no sign of actual governing arising from Congress, it doesn’t mean that the right-wing dominated House Republican Caucus is just sitting around doing nothing. To the contrary, in addition to plotting the demise of the first real chance at immigration reform in decades, House G.O.P. leaders are thinking of new ways to continue their long-running show of trying to stop health care reform from taking effect.

…. Nothing is going to stop Congressional Republicans from this kind of outrageous behavior. It’s worth keeping an eye on, though, if for no other reason than to see your tax dollars at work.

Full post here

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Wendy Davis: It’s the real Texans who count

I stood up and began talking on the floor of the Texas State Senate not long ago because I hoped the Republicans in power would listen to how their latest cruel health care proposal would hurt the women of Texas.

Simply put, this bill would take away access to the most fundamental form of health care women need.

It would close down almost 90% of the women’s clinics in this state. This comes after more than 50 women’s health clinics providing cancer screening and family planning services were closed because the Republicans withdrew state-financed support from them. We now have 42. Under this draconian proposal, a state as expansive as Texas would have only five clinics remaining to serve thousands and thousands of women.

Real Texans don’t want any woman to die of cancer because she can’t get decent health care or medical advice. Real Texans don’t want any woman to lose control of her life because she can’t get birth control.

More here

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Texas Tribune: The abortion fight that has engulfed the Texas Capitol this summer appears headed toward a dramatic conclusion today.

At 2 p.m., the state Senate will take up the sweeping abortion legislation that late last month fell victim to a filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, giving rise to two weeks of fiery protests and sustained national media attention.

The House approved the legislation — which would ban abortion after 20 weeks and potentially close up to 90 percent of the state’s abortion clinics — on Wednesday, leaving only Senate approval standing between the bill and Gov. Rick Perry’s desk.

More here

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Steve Benen: Back in April, the federal government ran a surplus of $113 billion. In case anyone’s forgotten what a surplus is – the word largely disappeared from our vernacular after Bush/Cheney took office in 2001 – it’s the opposite of a deficit. In the month of April, the federal government took in $113 billion more than it spent.

And then in June, it happened again:

The U.S. government posted an unexpectedly large budget surplus in June, a further sign of the rapid improvement in public finances that has taken the heat off Congress to find savings and raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

Rising tax revenue, public spending cuts and big payments to the Treasury from government-backed mortgage companies helped the government take in $117 billion more last month than it paid out, the U.S. Treasury said on Thursday.

It was the largest monthly surplus in the United States in over five years, and the largest June surplus in the nation’s history….

More here

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Jon Favreau: The GOP Is Terrified Obamacare Could Be a Success

I know, we’re all supposed to think the End Is Nigh because the government has decided to give the 10 percent of large employers who don’t insure their workers another 365 days to do so before levying a small penalty. This could not possibly be a reasonable accommodation to protect jobs and businesses, because as everybody knows, this president hates jobs and businesses.

No, this brief delay must be a sign that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is destined to result in abject failure. After all, that’s what every Congressional Republican with the ability to hit send on a press release has told us, over and over again, hoping that repeating their prediction enough times will somehow make it true.

But here’s my question: if Republicans are so confident Obamacare will end badly, why not just shut up about it? It’s not like they have the votes to repeal the law — a math problem they still haven’t solved after 37 different tries. Their appeal to the Supreme Court ended in defeat at the hands of a conservative chief justice. And now the bulk of the plan will begin to take effect in just a few months.

More here

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Arizona Daily Star: Less than five months before the Affordable Care Act fully kicks in, hospitals are improving care and saving millions of dollars with one of the least touted but potentially most effective provisions of the law.

While much of the focus on the health law has been on the government rush to open insurance exchanges by Oct. 1, 252 hospitals and physician groups across the country have signed up to join the administration’s accountable-care program, in which they share the financial risk of keeping patients healthy.

…. The government expects the savings may be as much as $1.9 billion from 2012 to 2015. Early indications suggest they are starting to add up.

More here

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Jonathan Chait: Obamacare Haters Struggling to Understand What ‘Nonessential’ Means

Many of us have suggested that the employer mandate, which the Obama administration is delaying for a year, isn’t a crucial element to making the law work. Cato scholar Michael Tanner has a killer reply: “If the provision is so unimportant, one might wonder why it was included in the law in the first place, given its potential for reducing employment.” Well, then I guess Michael Tanner has proven that every single provision of the Affordable Care Act is essential to the entire thing. Why would it be in there if it wasn’t absolutely necessary?

It’s surprising to encounter such naïveté in a professional policy analyst, let alone one of staunch anti-government bent, but here goes: Sometimes laws contain provisions that are not essential to their central purpose. (I hope this revelation does not so sadden Tanner as to make him even more dogmatically anti-government than he already is.) Some of those extraneous provisions served useful ancillary purposes. For instance, Obamacare requires restaurant menus to label calories, a helpful health-related measure, but one that could be removed without harming the main functions of the law.

More here

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Business Insider: Elizabeth Warren Introducing A Bill That Would Be Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare

Elizabeth Warren is making good on her promise to scare Wall Street. Today (Thursday), she’ll introduce a bill to reenact Glass-Steagall.

Glass-Steagall is the 1933 law that separated commercial and investment banking. Back in 1999 it was repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act at the urging of Wall Street heavyweights like then-Citi CEO Sandy Weill.

Then the financial crisis happened. Many banks failed and others got swallowed up into larger banks.

…. Elizabeth Warren was elected to the Senate based in part on her crusade against Wall Street excess. For many, this is one massive way to do that….

More here

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Washington Post: Democrats offer new evidence that IRS targeted progressive groups

The House Oversight committee’s top Democrat on Friday will release new evidence that the Internal Revenue Service targeted both progressive and conservative groups for extra scrutiny during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a draft letter to committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif) that congressional investigators have discovered training materials from an July 2010 “Screening Workshop” that prove IRS agents were told to be on the lookout for groups from both sides of the political spectrum.

More here

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Timothy Egan (NYT): The Charade of Darrell Issa

So, this guy who made a stink-pile of money in the car alarm business, and had some youthful trouble with the law over auto-related liberties, gets the break he’s been waiting for after Republicans win control of the House in 2010. He’s given the keys to the biggest Caddie in Congress: the main oversight committee. It’s loaded with everything — subpoena power, an overhead cam worth of auditors and investigators, a hyperkinetic staff devoted to keeping shine on the boss.

He’s got plans, lots of plans. He’s going to stage television-ready hearings and investigations of the White House. He will bring Barack Obama to his knees. “I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks,” he says. Don’t worry about substance, he says of one subject field, “it’ll be good theater.”

… But then, after millions of dollars in investigative forays, the wheels come off the ride. Fast and Furious … Move along …. Solyndra …. Next…. Internal Revenue Service …. D’oh!

More here

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USA Today: PETA is especially happy with President Obama’s newly proclaimed love of broccoli.

So much so that the animal rights group is offering a special “Broccoli Obama” T-shirt, perhaps in an effort to discourage the president from future hamburgers, ribs or steaks.

“Now you can celebrate our veggie-loving commander-in-leaf,” PETA says on its website…..

More here

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On this day….

July 12, 2012: President Obama blows a kiss to Oren Baer, son of Ken Baer, the departing Associate Director for Communications and Strategic Planning at OMB, during a visit to the Oval Office (Photo: Lawrence Jackson)

July 12, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama with Nancy Reagan, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosalynn Carter at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy)

July 12, 2011: President Obama talks with Andrew Kline, outgoing Chief of Staff, Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement, in the Oval Office. Kline’s daughter, Logan, sits atop the Resolute Desk (Photo: Pete Souza)

July 12; 2011: President Obama hugs Bertha Petry, the grandmother of Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry, U.S. Army, in the Blue Room of the White House. The President later awarded SFC Petry, left, the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in Paktya, Afghanistan, in May 2008. (Photo: Pete Souza)

July 12, 2010: President Obama shakes hands with Cub Scout Raphael Cash from Bowie, Md., in the Oval Office (Photo: Pete Souza)

July 12, 2010: First Lady Michelle Obama walks along the beach during her visit to Panama City Beach, Fla. (Photo: Samantha Appleton)

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MoooOOOooorning! 50 gazillion thank yous to UT, LP and LL for their posts yesterday, I wasn’t (unexpectedly) able to be around at all, so endless thanks for posting such brilliant stuff and keeping the ship sailing – legends!

11
Jul
13

The end of DOMA & Prop 8

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Continue reading ‘The end of DOMA & Prop 8’

11
Jul
13

News Of The Day

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Pete Souza – Photo of POTUS today w members of 1963 Loyola Ramblers, NCAA men’s basketball champs, who helped integrate the sport

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Elise Viebeck: Senate Democrats on Thursday defeated a series of Appropriations panel amendments designed to foil the implementation of ObamaCare. The victory for Dems came as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) threatened to reject any bill to fund the government unless it defunds the healthcare law.

With the congressional budget process at a stalemate, the remarks from Rubio signal what could become another showdown over funding for the Affordable Care Act. The health appropriations bill that advanced in committee Thursday provides more than $5 billion to the agency charged with overseeing healthcare reform.  Amendments offered by the GOP would have delayed the employer and individual mandates, rescinded funds for the insurance exchanges and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and stopped the exchanges if technical glitches or other problems came up before Oct. 1.

More here

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Russell Berman: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday said “a vast majority” of House Republicans want to deal with immigration reform but, it wasn’t clear if legislation that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants could pass the House. Boehner spoke at a press conference a day after he convened a special conference meeting to discuss the party’s approach to President Obama’s top domestic priority.

The pivotal question for the conservative House GOP is whether a majority of its members could back eventual citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants — a central demand of Obama and congressional Democrats. “Well, we’re going to find out,” Boehner said. “But it’s clear from the conversation yesterday that members do believe, that a vast majority of our members, do believe that we need to wrestle with this problem.

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Continue reading ‘News Of The Day’

11
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

Hair-raising …… a year ago: President Obama plays with Katia Wolfsthal, daughter of departing staffer Jon Wolfsthal, July 11, 2012. (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern):

10:15AM: President Obama and VP Biden meet with Senators McCain and Schumer to discuss immigration reform

12:10PM: The President meets with the 1963 Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers championship basketball team

12:45: Jay Carney briefs the press

3:45PM: President Obama and VP Biden meet with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi

4:45PM: VP Biden administers the oath of office at a ceremonial swearing-in for Anthony Foxx at the Department of Transportation

5:30PM: President Obama attends a DNC event, Washington (Closed press)

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USA Today Editorial: GOP poisons ObamaCare, then claims it’s sick: Our view

Making ObamaCare work was always going to be hard, which is exactly what you’d expect for a complex new program that affects one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

…. That explains — but hardly excuses — Republicans’ latest assault on ObamaCare. Having lost in Congress and in court, they’re now using the most cynical of tactics: trying to make the law fail. Never mind the public inconvenience and human misery that will result.

Their assault is under way on several fronts. The most disturbing is a concerted attempt to keep the public ignorant about how to use the health care exchanges where uninsured people will be able to sign up for coverage beginning Oct. 1.

More here

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Media Matters: The Sunday Morning Shows Are Still White, Conservative, And Male

In the first six months of 2013, white men dominated the guest lists on the broadcast network Sunday shows and CNN’s State of the Union. MSNBC was the only network achieving notable diversity in its guests, particularly on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show. Republicans and conservatives are hosted significantly more on the broadcast Sunday shows than Democrats and progressives.

…. During the first six months of this year, white men were no less than 58 percent and as high as 66 percent of guests on This Week, Face the Nation, Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday, and State of the Union. Melissa Harris-Perry stands out as having a much more even distribution between white men and women and African-American men and women than all other shows.

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President Obama talks with Military Aide LTC Owen Ray during his departure ceremony in the Oval Office, July 10 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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NYT (March 2013): Fifty years ago, as the 25th N.C.A.A. men’s final began at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., basketball fans saw for the first time something they take for granted today. As the two top men’s teams in the country, Loyola of Chicago and Cincinnati, prepared for the opening tip, most of the players on the floor, 7 of 10, were black.

… All-black colleges were not yet welcome in the N.C.A.A. tournament … but the Bearcats, the favorites in the 1963 final, had three black starters … they were hoping to become the first team to win three consecutive national titles.

They faced the Ramblers of Loyola, a Jesuit school that had never been to the tournament. They had four black starters … In the final, Loyola staged one of the most surprising comebacks in tournament history. Trailing by 15 points with less than 12 minutes to go  …. they won, 60-58, with a buzzer-beater at the end of overtime.

… During the regular season, the players on both teams had endured prejudice and humiliation: awkward moments in restaurants and hotel lobbies; hostile crowds hurling garbage and abuse; social isolation on their own campuses.

Jerry Harkness, Loyola’s star and captain, felt pressure from two sides, from the characters who sent him hate mail signed “KKK” and from the neighborhoods and churches of black Chicago.

“We were winning, we were four blacks, and boy, the black community was excited about us,” Harkness said. “We go to a dance: ‘Man you guys are great, you can’t lose now. Please don’t lose’.”

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Dana Milbank: Last week, the administration announced it was delaying by a year the implementation of one of Obamacare’s provisions, the requirement that large employers provide health insurance. You’d think the opposition party, which has spent four years denouncing the health-care reforms, would be delighted by the reprieve. But on Wednesday, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing to condemn the administration — for incomplete enforcement of the law they hate.

President Obama was called a dictator and a socialist for passing Obamacare. Now he’s a dictator and a socialist for postponing it? “The irony of objecting to the delay of a program you’ve been trying to stop is no doubt lost on this room,” observed Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee.

This unqualified opposition is counterproductive for House Republicans. On health care, as on immigration, their approach amounts to a search-and-destroy mission. They could work with Democrats to remove problematic pieces in the health-care law, and they could compromise with Democrats on legislation that would secure the borders. But instead they are devoted to shutting down both.

More here

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This is MUST WATCH video. In two minutes Sara (@VictorianPrude) exposed Republicans for the cretins they are

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Becca Aaronson: The House voted 96-49 on Wednesday to give final approval to proposed abortion regulations in Texas. House Bill 2, which would ban abortion at 20 weeks and enact some of the strictest regulations in the country on abortion providers and facilities, now heads to the Senate. “If we’re going to ask for more children to come into this world, we should provide for them,” said state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio. She offered an amendment, which lawmakers tabled, that would have extended state benefits to children put into the foster care and adoption system by women who could not access abortion as a result of the legislation. She added, “We know there are going to be lots of cases where the mothers just cannot, even though they may want to, they cannot take care of them.”

During the final vote, a woman screamed from the gallery that she objected to the proceedings. She refused to quiet or leave, and state troopers carried her out of the gallery by her hands and feet.

House Administration Chairman Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, said five women were arrested and taken to jail by state police who were stationed in the House gallery. Several of them sat through the opening prayer and pledges of allegiance to the national and state flags. When the abortion bill came to a final vote in the House, they began shouting, “We will not be silenced,” but the vote proceeded, uninterrupted.

More here

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On this day….

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Sara Kliff: In Connecticut, selling Obamacare involves airplanes flying banners across beaches. Oregon may reel in hipsters with branded coffee cups for their lattes. And in neighboring Washington, the effort could get quite intimate: The state is interested in sponsoring portable toilets at concerts. The advertisements, developed with political consultants and communications firms, illustrate the ability of the health-care law’s supporters to pinpoint the precise group they want to sign up for Obamacare — young and healthy Americans who won’t weigh down the system with high medical bills.

Oregon will run a $2.9 million campaign leading up to the October launch of the state’s marketplace, called Cover Oregon. Ads went live Tuesday on television and radio featuring local musicians extolling the benefits of enrolling “every logger and lawyer and stay-at-home dad” in health insurance coverage. The state is finalizing plans for other kinds of outreach, such as putting ads in bus shelters or producing branded coffee cups

More here

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visit the La General Hospital in Accra, Ghana, July 11, 2009

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Julie Rovner: A trade group for Catholic hospitals says a new Obama administration policy on birth control is just fine. That’s in sharp contrast to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which continues to battle against the policy, which exempts churches, synagogues and mosques, but requires other institutions run by religious organizations to cover birth control under employees’ health insurance. Sister Carol Keehan, head of the Catholic Health Association, said the administration’s final birth control rule wasn’t what her organization would have preferred for the hospitals and other health facilities it oversees.

SISTER CAROL KEEHAN: But it was a solution that we could make work, because it allows our members not to have to buy, contract for, refer or arrange for contraceptive services.

ROVNER: Under the rule, churches and other houses of worship are exempt. Women who work for Catholic or other religious hospitals, universities and social service agencies will still get the no-cost birth control, but the religious entity won’t have to be involved in providing it. The insurance company or insurance administrator will instead.

More here

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Ultimate-GOP-640x360

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Alec MacGillis: Immigration reform was supposed to be different than health care reform. A few wonks aside, Republicans have never had any real interest in expanding health insurance coverage to those who lack it. But there are plenty of influential figures in the Republican coalition who are motivated to reform immigration laws—whether political tacticians like Karl Rove who can read demographic charts or business owners who want more reliable streams of immigrant labor. But it’s now looking increasingly as if the never-ending Republican war on health care reform could be helping block immigration reform just when it finally had a real chance.

What does this have to do with immigration reform? Well, because of the absolute refusal by congressional Republicans—and many GOP governors and state legislators around the country—to accept the Affordable Care Act as law of the land and reckon with any complications that might arise in its implementation, the Obama administration has been forced to carry off necessary tweaks and adjustments on its own, via regulatory fiat.

Such unilateral tweaks by the administration, in turn, have Republicans decrying what they see as extra-constitutional nigh-dictatorial overreach. And it’s taken no time for declamations against the administration’s regulatory freelancing on Obamacare to turn into general paranoia about what the administration might conspire to do with an immigration law.

More here

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President Obama remarks to an African boy on the similarity of their ears as he greets diners at a breakfast during his visit to the Presidential Castle in Accra, July 11, 2009

Cape Coast Castle, Ghana, July 11, 2009

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Have A Dance Like No One’s Watching Day! :D

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