Posts Tagged ‘union



12
Feb
13

SOTU: An Hour Away

12
Feb
13

Fired Up?

Above: ‘State of the Union Countdown’, streaming has started

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President Barack Obama walks down the colonnade at the White House in Washington, February 12

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@PeteSouza: Photo of chance encounter between POTUS and FLOTUS (w flotus CoS Tina Tchen) on WH colonnade today

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12
Feb
13

First Lady Michelle Obama’s State of the Union guest list

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Roxanna Green as she enters the House Chamber prior the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 25, 2011. John and Roxanna Green are the parents of eleven-year-old Dallas and the late Christina Taylor, the nine-year-old girl killed when a gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Washington Post: First Lady Michelle Obama’s guest list for tonight’s State of the Union includes a teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary School, a police officer who responded to the massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and the parents of a girl killed by gunfire in Chicago earlier this month.

The assembled guests make clear that the White House will emphasize gun violence with tonight’s speech. But there are also nods to technological innovation — Apple CEO Tim Cook will sit with Obama, as will the winner of this year’s Intel Science Fair and a member of NASA’s Mars rover team.

The presence of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) is a nod to Medicaid reform. An Affordable Care Act advocate will also be in the box, as will an undocumented student whose deportation was deferred by an Obama executive order last year.

The full list:

Sergeant Sheena Adams (Vista, CA), Team Advisor & Lead Instructor, Female Engagement Team

Alan Aleman (Las Vegas, NV), DREAM Student

Jack Andraka (Crownsville, MD), Winner of the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Susan Bumgarner (Norman, OK), Early Childhood Educator

Deb Carey (New Glarus, WI), Small Business Owner, New Glarus Brewing Company

Sergeant Carlos Evans, USMC (Cameron, NC), Wounded Warrior

Tim Cook (Cupertino, CA), CEO of Apple

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel A. Pendleton Sr. (Chicago, IL)

Menchu de Luna Sanchez (Secaucus, NJ), Registered Nurse, NYU Langone Medical Center

Bobak Ferdowsi (Pasadena, CA), Flight Director, Mars Curiosity Rover

Bradley Henning (Louisville, KY), Machinist, Atlas Machine and Supply

Tracey Hepner (Arlington, VA), Co-Founder, Military Partners and Families Coalition

Peter Hudson (Evergreen, CO), Co-Founder and CEO, iTriage

Governor John Kitzhaber (D-OR)

Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers (Avondale, AZ)

Amanda E. McMillan (Jackson, MS), Pay Discrimination Victim

Lee Maxwell (Wilton, IA), Graduate, Kirkwood Community College Wind Technician Program

Lieutenant Brian Murphy (Oak Creek, WI), The first police officer to arrive at the scene of the tragic Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last August.

Lisa Richards (Arlington, VA), #My2K Participant

Kaitlin Roig (Greenwich, CT), 1st Grade Teacher, Sandy Hook Elementary School

Abby Schanfield (Minneapolis, MN), ACA Beneficiary

Haile Thomas (Tucson, AZ), Let’s Move! Champion

See biographical information here

12
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

10:15: The President and Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing

9:0: The President delivers the State of the Union Address

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CNN: President Obama will announce in the State of the Union speech that a year from now, 34,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will have returned home, reducing the number of U.S. troops in the country by half, sources say.

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Washington Post: When she set out to her local library in North Miami to cast her vote in the presidential election last year, Desiline Victor had no way of knowing the journey would lead all the way to the White House.

On Tuesday night, Victor, a 102-year-old Haitian immigrant, will sit in the ornate House chamber as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama to listen to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Victor voted for the president, but it was not easy. On her first visit to the polls on the morning of Oct. 28, the first day of early voting, she waited in line for three hours. Poll workers eventually advised her to come back later, and she did.

….. The whirlwind trip has taken Victor out of her element. She had to buy a coat, since a heavy winter jacket isn’t usually needed in balmy Miami. And here, she’s “Ms. Victor” instead of “Granny”….

But when she meets the president, perhaps the address may be less formal. Victor already feels a kinship with the commander in chief.

“I call him ‘my son,’ ” she says. “I feel like he is my son.”

Full article here

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OFA

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Steve Benen: …. I don’t much care about Nugent’s ridiculous antics. He’s obviously a fringe extremist who uses vile language; he hasn’t had a hit since the ’70s; and he’s generally better left ignored.

But Nugent has also gone after President Obama with rhetoric that was violent enough to get the attention of the Secret Service. Try to imagine the political world’s reaction if a washed-up entertainer targeted a Republican president with violent rhetoric, and then a Democratic member of Congress invited him as a special guest to attend the State of the Union.

…. Republicans find themselves in the awkward position of having two GOP senators delivering post-SOTU speeches, and while they’re speaking, a musician/right-wing clown will be hosting a press conference on Capitol Hill, which seems likely to become a distracting spectacle …. If the GOP intends to stop being, in Bobby Jindal’s words, the “stupid party,” they have a long way to go.

Full post here

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Chicago Sun Times: When President Barack Obama turns to gun violence during his State of the Union speech Tuesday, he will likely look up at Michelle Obama’s box in the House chamber and acknowledge the grieving Chicago parents of slain teen Hadiya Pendleton.

Pendleton’s folks, Cleopatra and Nathaniel, through tragedy, are the latest symbols of why Obama is pushing Congress to take measures to stop gun-related bloodshed.

…. Mrs. Obama took a very unusual action for a first lady last Saturday, returning home to the South Side for Hadiya’s funeral …. Asking Hadiya’s folks to be her State of the Union guests in her box is extraordinary follow-through – but makes perfect sense, because at her core, Mrs. Obama is very, very proud of being a South Sider ….. Hadiya was killed on Mrs. Obama’s turf and she is doing something about it.

….. Rep. Bobby Rush – whose son, Huey, was shot and killed during a 1999 holdup – was also at Hadiya’s funeral …. “I saw the face of the first lady and I saw the pain in her face.”….

….. Hadiya, as her parents know – and the nation will see on Tuesday night – is not a statistic. She is a teen we should not have lost.

Full post here

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WhiteHouse.gov

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ThinkProgress

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NYT: A sharp and surprisingly persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs is helping to narrow the federal deficit, leaving budget experts trying to figure out whether the trend will last and how much the slower growth could help alleviate the country’s long-term fiscal problems.

In figures released last week, the Congressional Budget Office said it had erased hundreds of billions of dollars in projected spending on Medicare and Medicaid. The budget office now projects that spending on those two programs in 2020 will be about $200 billion, or 15 percent, less than it projected three years ago. New data also show overall health care spending growth continuing at the lowest rate in decades for a fourth consecutive year.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: …. At John Brennan’s CIA confirmation hearing last week, which came right after the leak of the controversial Justice Department memo about the targeting of U.S. citizens, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that the Senate was reviewing proposals for special courts to oversee the program. At least that way, this awesome power to determine that a U.S. citizen had forfeited his right to due process by joining an enemy army wouldn’t repose in one person. Then on Saturday, The New York Times noted that President Obama has been considering exactly this move…..

….. Given all this, the best that citizens can do is decide which candidate and party they’d rather trust with this power. I’m not turning somersaults at the idea of any president having it. But you better believe I’d rather have Obama possess it than George Bush or John McCain or Mitt Romney. Talk of this sort is the highest form of apostasy to your purer civil libertarians, who urge us to think only in terms of the office. But men (and hopefully soon women) hold that office, and it’s not just OK for citizens to assess their character and their levels of paranoia, it’s a duty…..

Full post here

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The man is a genius. No, not Bush, Colbert:

TPM: Stephen Colbert on Monday took at look at information apparently obtained by a hacker who revealed email correspondence and photos from the Bush family.

“You see, President Clinton has his global initiative against poverty, and Jimmy Carter may have his Habitat for Humanity. But now we’ve learned that George W. Bush has been hard at work painting self-portraits in the shower ….. That is a bold, artistic vision that says ‘faces are hard,’” Colbert said of the shower painting. “But, folks, it’s not like the President sits around all day painting shower portraits. He also did one taking a bath. Because after a hard day’s painting in the shower, there’s nothing like a relaxing paint in the tub.”

See video at link

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MooOOoooooOOorning!

10
Feb
13

Chat Away

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Back home, my work is done!

Chat away, back in a bit.

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Updated schedule:

Monday: The President will award Clinton Romesha, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. The event will be held at the White House and the First Lady will also attend

Tuesday: Delivers his State of the Union Address at 9:0 EST

Wednesday: Travels to the Asheville, North Carolina, area. He will return to Washington, DC in the evening (no details available yet)

Thursday: Travels to the Atlanta, Georgia, area. He will return to Washington, DC in the evening (no details available yet)

Friday: Hosts President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy in the Oval Office. Later in the morning, the President will welcome to the White House the recipients of the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal. Added to the schedule: The President will visit Chicago on Friday.

09
Feb
13

The Week Ahead

(Jan. 27, 2010 – Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Saturday and Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled

Monday: The President will award Clinton Romesha, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. The event will be held at the White House and the First Lady will also attend

Tuesday: Delivers his State of the Union Address at 9:0 EST

Wednesday: Travels to the Asheville, North Carolina, area. He will return to Washington, DC in the evening (no details available yet)

Thursday: Travels to the Atlanta, Georgia, area. He will return to Washington, DC in the evening (no details available yet)

Friday: Hosts President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy in the Oval Office. Later in the morning, the President will welcome to the White House the recipients of the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal

09
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

@petesouza: ‘Photo of the day: POTUS w outgoing SecDef Panetta at his farewell tribute’

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WhiteHouse.gov

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Greg Sargent: John Boehner’s office is circulating Charles Krauthammer’s column, which argues that Republicans should call Obama’s sequester “bluff” and make no concessions whatsoever in revenues to avert the sequester. This is still more confirmation that the GOP’s explicit position is that allowing the sequester to happen – which Republicans themselves say will gut the military and tank the economy – is preferable to compromising at all with Dems, and that they will use the threat of disaster to force a solution that averts the sequester only by giving Republicans everything they want.

….. we’re back to exactly where we were during the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling fights. Republicans are explicitly and openly using the prospect of serious harm to millions and millions of Americans to force Democrats to agree to a deal that gives Republicans everything that they want, while requiring them to make no concessions whatsoever….

More here

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Steve Benen: When it comes to the looming, automatic sequestration cuts, there seem to be two broader debates happening simultaneously. The first, more important question deals with what’s going to happen with the policy itself, and the scope of the damage it could do to the economy, the military, and the country.

The second question is a little pettier: who came up with this awful idea in the first place? A Republican National Committee spokesperson, echoing his party’s favorite new talking point, insists this is all President Obama’s fault.

…. Does the GOP have a point on this? Was the policy actually Obama’s idea? No. The argument is not only wrong, it’s dependent on the entire political world having a very short memory …. Since this has become such an important element of the larger fight, let’s take a minute to set the record straight…..

More here

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Business Insider: ….  Charles Krauthammer writes that Republicans should “call Obama’s sequester bluff.” It’s being passed around by Republicans and other conservatives on Twitter and in email blasts. His argument – which exemplifies a typical conservative shift on the sequester recently – is that Republicans now have leverage on the sequester over President Barack Obama…..

…. Krauthammer wasn’t always so bullish on using the sequester as a tool for leverage. Last May, he warned in an appearance on Fox News that letting the cuts go into effect would be a “catastrophe” for the nation’s defense…..

…. The conservative editorial board of The Wall Street Journal advanced a similar argument on Thursday. In an editorial entitled “The Unscary Sequester,” the editorial board disputed Washington’s “collective fit of terror.”

…. Then there’s the editorial the board wrote not even seven months ago. It used the same language as Krauthammer – “catastrophe,” which it wrote was “playing out in slow motion.” The board also said that Obama had the leverage, and that it would be a “dangerous game” to play with the sequester.

More here

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Auto exports:

stlouisfed

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RollCall: President Barack Obama has agreed to do more than just raise money for House Democrats’ effort to win back the majority in 2014: He is also going to help with candidate recruitment.

Obama will headline eight fundraising events in 2013 for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and more fundraisers are planned for 2014. But Obama’s agreement to help DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York make the sell to would-be candidates in targeted districts is also significant.

“It’s transformational,” Israel said in an interview, adding that House Democrats are “firing on all cylinders like I’ve never seen before.”

The president’s efforts to assist House Democrats politically are more than Israel initially even asked for.

More here

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Ari Berman (The Nation): In 2006, Congress voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for another twenty-five years. The legislation passed 390–33 in the House and 98–0 in the Senate. Every top Republican supported the bill …. Civil rights leaders flanked George W. Bush at the signing ceremony.

Seven years later, the bipartisan consensus that supported the VRA for nearly fifty years has collapsed, and conservatives are challenging the law as never before. Last November, three days after a presidential election in which voter suppression played a starring role, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to Section 5 of the VRA, which compels parts or all of sixteen states with a history of racial discrimination in voting to clear election-related changes with the federal government. The case will be heard on February 27.

The lawsuit, originating in Shelby County, Alabama, is backed by leading operatives and funders in the conservative movement, along with Republican attorneys general in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas….

More here

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Washington Post: First lady Michelle Obama will join some of Illinois’ most recognizable politicians and clergy Saturday to mourn a 15-year-old honor student whose death has drawn attention to staggering gun violence in the nation’s third-largest city.

But Hadiya Pendleton’s family says her Saturday funeral service won’t be about politics, but about remembering a girl who loved to dance, once appeared in an anti-gang video and died just days after performing at one of President Barack Obama’s inauguration events.

None of the dignitaries are slated to speak during the service. The teen’s pastor and brother will talk, and the musical group Pendleton was a member of will perform.

More here

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@BarackObama

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NYT: Among the victims of gun violence who will be sitting in the House chamber on Tuesday night when President Obama delivers his State of the Union address will be a teacher who survived the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Natalie Hammond, who reportedly took bullet wounds to the leg, foot and hand but narrowly escaped with her life, will attend the speech as the guest of her congresswoman, Elizabeth Esty, the representative for Newtown, Conn.

Ms. Hammond, the school’s lead teacher, and another school employee were the only two people to survive after being shot by the gunman, Adam Lanza. Ms. Hammond will be one of the many victims of gun violence who will attend the State of the Union address.

More here

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WH: On Friday, February 15, President Obama will welcome the recipients of the 2012 Citizens Medal to the White House for a special ceremony to recognize their efforts to serve their communities, and inspire others to do the same.

See the list of recipients here

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State of the Union addresses:

2009 (not an ‘official’ State of the Union address’ – the first official one was in 2010):

2010:

2011:

2012:

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I hope TODers living in snowy places are keeping safe and warm – this is for you:

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MoooOOoooOOOoorning!

08
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

3:45: President Obama delivers remarks at the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute in honor of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Base Myer-Henderson (C-Span)

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NYT: It happened a few minutes before the beginning of Jim Langevin’s junior cadet shift back in 1980 …. A bullet ricocheted off a locker and went right through the boy’s neck, severing his spinal cord.

At 16, he would never walk again and never fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer.

Now, three decades later and seven terms into his career as one of Rhode Island’s two members of the House of Representatives, Mr. Langevin, 48, is the only quadriplegic ever to serve in Congress….

For the past month, he has been on a quiet campaign to persuade his colleagues to give up their guest passes to next Tuesday’s State of the Union address by President Obama so that victims of gun violence can attend.

That way, he said, when the nation’s highest officeholders look up from the floor of the House to those watching from the gallery, they will not be able to avoid seeing the human toll that guns can exact.

More here

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Upworthy: It’s a fact so jaw-dropping it’s unbelievable — people thought it was a crazy Internet rumor until Politifact verified it. But it’s true: More Americans have died just since 1960 from gun incidents — suicides, accidents, and homicides — than died in every war in U.S. history. The deadliest war the U.S. has ever had is the war we waged against ourselves.

Politifact: Politifact: Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, supporters and opponents of gun control have thrown out statistics to support their point of view.

Here’s one that caught our eye, offered by liberal commentator Mark Shields on the Dec. 21, 2012, edition of the PBS NewsHour.

Shields told host Judy Woodruff, “You know, Judy, the reality is – and it’s a terrible reality – since Robert Kennedy died in the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, more Americans have died from gunfire than died in … all the wars of this country’s history, from the Revolutionary through the Civil War, World War I, World War II, in those 43 years. … I mean, guns are a problem. And I think they still have to be confronted.”……

More here

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CNN: A group of four senators working behind the scenes on a bipartisan bill to expand background checks on gun sales is making significant progress, according to sources in both parties familiar with their work.

The group includes Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, who has an A rating with the National Rifle Association, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, a long time advocate of gun rights, and Chuck Schumer, D-New York, a long time supporter of gun control.

CNN is told the legislation they are working on would effectively require background checks on private gun purchases made with non-licensed gun dealers, according to sources in both parties. That would include closing the so-called gun show loophole.

More here

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NYT: President Obama may have run his last political campaign, but that does not relieve him of his obligations to the Democratic Party.

The president, who has a vested interest in Democrats retaining their Senate majority and trying to narrow Republican control of the House, is already making plans to return to the campaign trail. He has agreed to hold at least 14 separate fund-raising events this year, a Democratic official familiar with the plans told The New York Times, characterizing it as an “aggressive schedule.”

…. Mr. Obama will appear at 10 events outside Washington: five for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and five for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He will also host one event for each committee in Washington as well as appearing at two joint fund-raising galas for House and Senate candidates.

More here

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Reuters: A rise in exports and lower imports of oil helped push the trade deficit to its narrowest point in nearly three years in December, suggesting the economy did much better in the fourth quarter than initially estimated.

The country’s trade gap narrowed to $38.5 billion during the month, the Commerce Department said on Friday. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a deficit of $46 billion.

“Trade data for December paint a reassuring and encouraging picture of the US economy at the end of last year,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

More here

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‘President Obama has outlined his plan for fixing our broken immigration system. Add your name to stand with the President’ – here

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BuzzFeed: One of President Obama’s two nominees Thursday for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Todd M. Hughes, would become the first out gay appeals court judge in the country, if confirmed by Congress.

Hughes currently is the deputy director of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice….. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which runs the Presidential Appointments Project to support out LGBT candidates for appointments, praised the nomination.

More here

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NYT: Cardiss Collins, who reluctantly ran for a Chicago Congressional seat left vacant when her husband died in a plane crash and went on to become Illinois’s first black congresswoman, serving for nearly 25 years as a voice for racial and gender equality and expanded health care for the poor, died on Sunday in Arlington, Va. She was 81.

….. She campaigned little but easily won the primary in April and cruised through the general election in June with 92 percent of the vote. Six years later, and after some early struggles in office — she had never considered a political career before she was thrust into one — she became chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. For much of the 1980s, she was the only black woman in Congress.

More here

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TPM: Outgoing Energy Department Secretary Steven Chu, who announced his resignation last week, took to his Facebook page Thursday to make light of an article from parody news site “The Onion” alleging that he woke up next to a solar panel after a night of partying in D.C. As Chu wrote in a post on his Facebook page:

    “I just want everyone to know that my decision not to serve a second term as Energy Secretary has absolutely nothing to do with the allegations made in this week’s edition of the Onion. While I’m not going to confirm or deny the charges specifically, I will say that clean, renewable solar power is a growing source of U.S. jobs and is becoming more and more affordable, so it’s no surprise that lots of Americans are falling in love with solar.”

More here

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Don’t miss Colbert at the end:

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Michelle Obama’s Playlist on Spotify:

People: My song with my husband: Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”

Michelle Obama: Barack and I danced to “Let’s Stay Together” at this Inauguration, and it was such a special moment for us. We had spent all day together with our family and friends at different Inaugural events, and at the end of the day the dance was really our one-on-one moment with each other. Well, each other and everyone watching on TV!

More here

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MoooOOoooOOooooorning!

28
Jan
13

Miami Heat in the House

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A basketball legend meets LeBron:

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“Mom, I made it”

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Gabrielle Union, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson

More photos here

28
Jan
13

Heads Up: President Obama welcomes The Miami Heat to the WH

Don’t think he’ll wear this cap today …. but you never know

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1:40 ET: President Obama Welcomes NBA Champions Miami Heat to the White House

White House live * CBS * CNN

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Earlier today:




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