Posts Tagged ‘vacations

16
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

On this day: President Barack Obama looks out over the Grand Canyon in Arizona on Aug. 16, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Washington Post: White House Solar Panels Being Installed This Week

The White House began installing solar panels on the First Family’s residence this week, a White House official confirmed Thursday. The Obama administration has already undertaken a number of measures to increase the federal government’s energy efficiency and use of renewable energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change, a plan the president outlined in an executive order he signed in October 2009.

The administration has doubled the number of hybrid cars and truck in the federal fleet, increased the government’s use of renewable energy to 7 percent, cut the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent and committed $2 billion to upgrade federal buildings’ energy efficiency through contracting requirements at no up-front cost to taxpayers.

So far these measures have collectively saved 7 million gallons of gas and been equivalent to permanently removing 1.5 million cars from the road, according to the White House.

More here

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Heidi Mitchell: Stand And Deliver: After Her 12-Hour Filibuster, How Far Will Texas Senator Wendy Davis Run?

Just a week prior, the scene besieging the two-term senator was altogether less serene. On the final day of a special session of the Eighty-third Legislature, an omnibus antiabortion bill known as SB 5, which proposed new restrictions on family-planning clinics, was up for a vote in the Senate—and Davis arrived at the Capitol building in Austin prepared for a long fight.

Wearing pink Mizuno running shoes and a sky-blue Escada day coat concealing a back brace, the 50-year-old runner and cyclist held the floor for a twelve-hour filibuster that packed the rotunda with pro-choice defenders and had the nation biting its collective nails as coverage streamed online and the clock ticked down to midnight. In those hours, Davis’s Facebook likes spiked. The hashtag #StandWithWendy began trending as high as some 125,000 tweets per hour. Barack Obama used it. Lena Dunham tweeted her support. John Oliver made a joke about a new line of shoes, the Fila-busters, the next night on The Daily Show.

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Brian Beutler: The Stupidest Anti-ObamaCare Campaign Ever

We’ve known for a few weeks now that conservative groups are attempting to sabotage Obamacare by planning and staging campaigns to dissuade young people and families from enrolling in state insurance exchanges. Via Greg Sargent, these efforts include a new radio spot from the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, and the good news is that in addition to being heartless and cruel, it’s also incredibly stupid. “Two years ago, my son Caleb began having seizures … if we can’t pick our own doctor, how do I know my family is going to get the care they need?”

Set aside for a moment that the one factual claim about the law in that quote — “we can’t pick our own doctor” — is false, and will be false until the president of Kaiser Permanente hypnotizes all of Washington and persuades Congress to ban PPOs. Set aside too that the single most well known and well liked provision of the Affordable Care Act is the one banning insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions. That’s the reason Caleb will never have to worry about being locked out of coverage for the rest of his life.

More here

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Steve Benen: Get To Know The New GOP Hostage Strategy

A spirited debate has unfolded within the Republican Party over the last several weeks about what the party intends to do to sabotage the federal health care system. A significant contingent within the GOP has demanded a hostage strategy: Republicans should tell Democrats that they’ll shut down the government unless Dems agree to deny health care benefits to millions of Americans. The strategy is, of course, destined to fail. Democrats will never agree to pay such a ransom, and Republicans don’t want to be on the hook for a shutdown that puts their control of Congress in jeopardy.

It seems increasingly obvious that congressional Republicans are less a governing party and more a group of intemperate children who like to play with matches — and it just so happens they’ve stumbled upon some explosives. To be sure, a government shutdown would be an awful development that would hurt the economy and severely undermine public services Americans rely on. But a debt-ceiling crisis is on a whole other level — it’s like comparing cutting your hand with a kitchen knife and needing stitches, and amputating your hand altogether. The former is serious; the latter is tough to recover from.

More here

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We Are All Garth Brooks Today

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marylynne1

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Steve Benen: ‘The King Of Golf And Vacations’

Maybe there’s something about presidential vacations that many folks find irksome on a reflexive level. Americans may think that presidents shouldn’t take off when there’s so much work to be done. But RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is taking these attitudes to a very silly level. First, President Obama is taking an eight-day break because, well, humans in stressful jobs occasionally need to take a breather. But for Republicans to make hay out of this is absurd — Obama has taken 87 days off since his first inauguration, and at the comparable point in George W. Bush’s presidency, Obama’s Republican predecessor had taken 399 days off. Remember this chart?

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At this point, I imagine conservatives are asking, “Why is it Bush’s days off were fair game for criticism but Obama’s aren’t?” The answer is pretty straightforward: it’s because Bush’s time away from the office was extraordinary. No modern president ever took as much time off as he did. Bush’s vacation days, in other words, became noteworthy because they were record-breaking. For every day off Obama has taken, Bush took 4.5 days off over a comparable period of time.

More here

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CNBC: Housing Starts Up 5.9%; Q2 Productivity Beats Forecasts

The Commerce Department said on Friday that housing starts increased 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000 units. June’s starts were revised up to show a 846,000-unit pace instead of the previously reported 836,000 units.Permits to build homes rose 2.7 percent in July to a 943,000-unit pace. Meanwhile, productivity increased at a 0.9 percent annual rate, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had expected productivity to gain at a 0.6 percent rate.

Output rose at a 2.6 percent rate in the second quarter, while the number of hours worked increased at a 1.7 percent rate. Unit labor costs—a gauge of labor-related costs for any given unit of output—rose at 1.4 percent rate in the second quarter, slightly above forecasts of economists polled by Reuters. Builders have been complaining about a shortage of labor and materials. Still, residential construction remains on a firmer footing and should again contribute to economic growth this year.

More here

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On This Day:

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President Barack Obama has breakfast with small business owners at Rausch’s Cafe in Guttenberg, Iowa, during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest, Aug.16, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama browses crafts and antiques at Grasshoppers store in LeClaire, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011, during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama talks with people at Grasshoppers store in LeClaire, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011, during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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15
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago today: “The President hugs the First Lady after she had introduced him at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. The campaign tweeted a similar photo from the campaign photographer on election night and a lot of people thought it was taken on election day.” (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Hill: Obama Group’s New Ad Touts Healthcare Law Insurance Rebates

The political advocacy group spun off from President Obama’s reelection campaign on Thursday unveiled a new ad touting the benefits of ObamaCare, their third national ad as the administration readies to rollout their healthcare reforms.

The new ad from Organizing for Action (OFA), titled “Every Day” features a North Carolina family discussing the insurance rebate they received under the healthcare law. The parents Rebecca and Russell worried about how to pay for their son’s medical care in the face of rising premiums.

“When the Affordable Care Act was passed we ended up getting a $350 rebate from our insurance company and then his premiums were going to go down by $60 a month,” says Rebecca in the ad.

“ObamaCare is helping everyday families every day,” reads onscreen text.

“It’s nice to see somebody looking out for the little guy,” says the father Russell.

“The law works,” Rebecca adds.

More here

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Steve Benen

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The Grio: Eric Holder’s Sentencing Reforms Represent A Sea Change

This week, Attorney General  Holder announced that Federal Prosecutors would have more discretion (i.e. more leeway) in maneuvering around some of this nation’s more draconian sentencing practices impacting substance abusers and others whose lives and families have been decimated by the so-called War on Drugs. Nearly half of the federal inmate population is serving time for drug offenses.  The significance of this policy shift initiated by AG Holder and the DOJ should not be underestimated.

Holder’s announcement this week signals both his leadership and commitment to these issues as well as his capacity to hear and respond to calls for equal justice from the litany of voices aimed at ending the war on drugs and reforming our broken criminal justice system. The Department of Justice memo sent to all U.S. federal prosecutors this week requires them to not include information regarding drug quantities – thereby allowing them to sidestep mandatory minimums – for drug defendants that meet a reasonable set of criteria, including having no affiliations with drug cartels or other criminal organizations, no prior criminal record, and no violent crimes connected to their offenses.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: The Big Savings Obamacare Critics Miss

Obamacare critics keep insisting that Obamacare is a bad deal for most people buying insurance on their own. And a big reason is that they don’t think much of the subsidies.

I know. You’re getting tired of hearing about the subsidies. Bear with me, because today we have some new and important information, thanks to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

To review: Obamacare provides offers tax credits to offset the cost of insurance. If your income is less than four times the poverty line, and if you’re buying through one of the new insurance exchanges, then the tax credit will operate like a discount. The less money you have, the bigger the discount. Nowadays, most Obamacare critics acknowledge that the subsidies exist. But they tend to dismiss them as trivial. “Some low-income people will get subsidies,” Rich Lowry of the National Review wrote on Monday. “But that doesn’t change the essential facts.”

Actually, it does change the essential facts—by quite a lot….

More here

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USA Today: Obama Team Alters College Loan Program

The Obama administration has made changes to a college loan program designed to help more families qualify for college aid.

African-American college presidents and lawmakers had sought changes to the PLUS loan program…..

“The Education Department says families that have recent but small-scale debt may now become eligible for PLUS loans through appeals …. Black lawmakers have been pressuring the administration, saying large numbers of previously eligible applicants have been denied aid under tighter credit rules.

“Parents and graduate students who use PLUS loans have no borrowing limit, but they face some of the highest interest rates in the federal student loan system.”

Full post here

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maya

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Carrie Healey: Obama’s Half-Sister Speaks On Human Trafficking, Peace Gardens

President Obama’s half-sister, peace advocate and educator, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng spoke today at the Center for American Progress on human trafficking.

Dr. Soetoro-Ng proposed the U.S. plant peace gardens, create “reflective spaces,” and practice yogo in an effort to bring peace to victims of trafficking.

“My brother’s administration is committed to addressing this issue,” she said in regards to Obama’s handling of the issue. ”But today I would like us to consider some grassroots, pro-active, preventative, and educational solutions.”

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USA Today: Obama bus stops: Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton

President Obama’s two-day bus tour next week will start with three cities in Upstate New York: Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton.

The major topic will be college education.

Obama will “discuss the importance of ensuring that every American has access to a quality education by reducing costs and improving the value of higher education for middle-class students and their families,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

The tour will be Aug. 22 and 23.

The bus tour – the latest in a series of middle-class speeches Obama has been delivering – will also include yet-to-be-determined stops in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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Charles Pierce: A Fine Bromance

Remember when a whole bunch of suckers from our side of the aisle got all gooey about Rand Paul, because Aqua Buddha and Aqua Buddha alone stood between us and a Hellfire missile fired up our keisters from a drone because we said mean things about the president? Well, in the days since, Aqua Buddha’s shown that he has more than a small sweet-tooth for the days when Freedom meant states could keep black people from eating in restaurants and, of course, voting:

“So really, I don’t think there is objective evidence that we’re precluding African-Americans from voting any longer.”  

….The suckers should be embarrassed to have lined up with this clown.

Full post here

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ThinkProgress: Three Republicans Who Opposed Sandy Relief Now Demand Disaster Aid For Arizona

Arizona Republicans Sen. Jeff Flake, Sen. John McCain, and Rep. Paul Gosar all voted against emergency relief funding after SuperStorm Sandy ravaged much of the New Jersey and New York area earlier this year. Now, following an Arizona wildfire, the same trio is vocally complaining that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is not doing enough to aid their state.

More here

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Time

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As Steve Benen said, “always check your spelling when writing about education”:

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On This Day:

Aug. 15, 2010 – Pete Souza: “Back in the Gulf Coast for a weekend, the President and First Lady toured St. Andrews Bay on a boat in Panama City Beach, Fla. I noticed their hands touching as they held the rail on the boat.”

Aug. 15, 2010: President Obama and daughter Sasha steer the “Bay Point Lady” during a tour of St. Andrews Bay off Panama City Beach, Fla. (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 15, 2011: President Barack Obama greets children from the Valleyland Kids summer program outside a school in Chatfield, Minn., during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 15, 2011: President Obama holds a baby as he arrives for lunch at the Old Market Deli in Cannon Falls, Minn. (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 15, 2011: President Obama greets people outside the Old Market Deli in Cannon Falls, Minn. (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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13
Aug
13

News of the Day

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You might recall the genius that is Scout Tufankjian dropping in to TOD a while back to praise one of my horse poo pics from the 2009 inauguration parade? Well, she clearly was inspired – have a look at her completely and utterly majestic ‘Four More Years: Obama 2012′ here – thank you BWD!

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Cape Cod Times: …. President Obama arrived at Nancy’s Restaurant and shook hands with a couple of dozen people waiting to place their order.

The presidential motorcade arrived at the Lake Avenue restaurant shortly after 1 p.m. and Obama hopped out of an SUV, undeterred by a steady rain. He was upbeat and made a point of chit-chatting with customers and restaurant employees as he made his way to the take-out counter.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” said Serena Creary of Natick. “I knew he was here (on the island), of course, but I never expected to see him.”

More here

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Brilliant news – thank you Dudette for letting us all know about this yesterday:

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Milt Shook: Why Do We Allow So Many Ex-GOP to be “Authorities” on “Real Progressives”

Look, folks; I peg my progressive roots to the age of 14, when I worked for the McGovern Campaign, but my actual roots probably precede that. My father was a union steelworker, and my mom was the daughter of a union worker, as well. I was royally pissed off at the Kent State massacre. I thought Abbie Hoffman was amazing. Spiro Agnew’s and Richard Nixon’s names were said with derision in my house as early as 1968, and I cried, at the age of ten, when Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed. To this day, Bobby Kennedy is still my idol.

I am just as liberal as anyone out there who claims to speak for the progressive cause, and I have been for pretty much my entire life. So, it really pisses me off when someone comes along and insinuates or says that I’m not a “real” progressive, because I don’t think exactly the way they do. Being liberal or progressive is about being tolerant, and about understanding that not everyone sees every issue the same way. There are a lot of moderates out there who are actually progressive, but they don’t know it, in part because some of the loudest elements of the liberal media scream at the top of their lungs, telling us all what we should believe on every issue. Because they don’t believe exactly that, they figure they’re not very progressive. The problem with this is, they may hate the right wing, but they also come to hate us, even though they probably agree with us on most things.

More here

Continue reading ‘News of the Day’

08
Dec
11

catching up

President Obama speaks during a news conference on Republican obstruction of Richard Cordray’s nomination to head the CFPB, Dec 8

Steve Benen: Two months after the Senate Banking Committee approved Richard Cordray as the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Senate leadership brought the nomination to the floor this morning. Republicans refused to allow a vote …. It’s hard to overstate how outrageous today’s filibuster really is.

…. It’s all part of the normalization of extortion politics. Traditionally, if the GOP wanted to alter the powers of the CFPB, it would write legislation, send it to committee, bring it to the floor, send it to the other chamber, etc. But that takes time and effort, and might not work. Instead, we see the latest in a series of GOP extortion strategies: Republicans will force Democrats to accept changes to the agency, or Republicans won’t allow the agency to meet its legal mandate…..

More here

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Washington Post

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The President is pre-taping interviews with WISH (Indianapolis, IN), KSNV (Las Vegas, NV), WREG (Memphis, TN) and WCHS (Portland, ME) today

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Steve Benen: We generally look to the first Friday of every month for new unemployment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but every Thursday morning, the Department of Labor releases a report on initial unemployment claims.

And this morning, the news is very good:

The number of people filing for state unemployment benefits for the first time fell 23,000 to the lowest level since late February, the government said Thursday. The Labor Department said claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 381,000 last week. The level of initial claims in the week ended Nov. 26 was revised up by 2,000 to 404,000.

The consensus expectations were for a slight drop, which makes the sharp drop that much more encouraging…..

More here

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You can never see this enough:

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Steve Benen: Politico has a piece today on Senate Democrats’ outrage over Republican obstructionism, as evidenced by Tuesday’s filibuster of judicial nominee Caitlin Halligan and today’s expected filibuster of CFPB nominee Richard Cordray. As Dems see it, GOP abuses are setting a new standard — which Democrats will take advantage of the next time they’re in the minority.

…. Republicans respond that these current tactics aren’t new, and the Politico article tells readers the GOP argument is sound.

…. This isn’t a subjective question on which the parties are entitled to different opinions. There are objective, often quantifiable, answers to the points Politico and Republicans are raising: are GOP senators “replicating” Democratic tactics? Were Dems abusing Senate rules in the Bush era to the same degree that Republicans are abusing them now?

The answer to both is “no,” and the false equivalence does little to advance the discussion.

More here

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Oh Willard…..

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Steve Benen: Most of the Affordable Care Act won’t take effect for a few years – and if court rulings and the 2012 elections go a certain way, it may not take effect at all – but there’s already evidence that the reform law is working.

It’s making a big difference in providing coverage for young adults; it’s providing treatment options for women like Spike Dolomite Ward; and it’s slowing the growth in Medicare spending.

It’s also, as Jonathan Cohn explained, saving seniors quite a bit of money on prescription medication…..

More here

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Boston Herald

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TPM

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President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrive to speak in the South Court Auditorium on the White House, Dec. 7

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada talk backstage at the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building following their joint press conference, Dec. 7, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Rolling Stone

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TPM: Details of Stephen Colbert’s “South Carolina Serious, Classy Republican Debate” are becoming more clear. Kind of…

“It’s happening, we’re doing it, we’ve set the date in stone, sometime in January,” Colbert said. “It’s going to be on Animal Planet. They haven’t returned my call yet.”

More here (plus video)

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CBS: President Barack Obama will appear on “60 Minutes” in an interview with Steve Kroft to be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Steve Kroft interviewed the president on Tuesday in Kansas after he delivered an economic speech in the small town of Osawatomie. President Obama will talk to Kroft again tomorrow at the White House for Sunday’s report.

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