In my part of the nation, early voting has commenced-while this year in Ohio, it’s purely local. My city is electing a Mayor and Council. This year, I am going to vote early anyway. After all, even President Obama started off as a state legislator.
If there are no elections, this is the perfect time to register if you haven’t already, or re-register if you’ve moved or changed your name. Get ready for next year here
11:30: President Obama meets with faith leaders to discuss the March on Washington and how civil rights and equality are closely tied to voting rights and closing the gap on education, unemployment, and access to health care
2:10: President Obama awards Staff Sergeant Ty M. Carter, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor
3:0 (changed from 12:30): Jay Carney briefs the press
4:15: President Obama meets with 2013 Urban Debate National Tournament Champions
The Week Ahead:
Tuesday: The President will host a reception at the White House in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Wednesday: The President will deliver remarks at the Let Freedom Ring ceremony on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Thursday: Attends meetings at the White House.
Friday: The President will welcome President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania, and President Andris Berzins of Latvia to the White House.
NPR: Pain, Loss And Tears Come With Medal Of Honor
The Army staff sergeant who Monday afternoon will receive the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony has mixed emotions.
“I would never tell any soldier or service member, ‘Hey, go out and get the Medal of Honor’, because of the amount of pain and loss and tears that has to be shed in order to receive it,” Staff Sergeant Ty Michael Carter tells Morning Edition host Renee Montagne.
Carter, 33, is being given the nation’s highest military honor for his actions during a 2009 firefight in Afghanistan….
Carter says he’s honored to be recognized for his bravery. But, he adds: “Even though this award is an awesome honor and a great privilege, in order to get such a prestigious award, you have to be in a situation where your soldiers, your family, your brothers, are suffering and dying around you. And then, you just did everything you could to save lives or prevent further loss.”
Time: U.S. Moves Forces Toward Syria, Inquiry Continues
U.S. intelligence officials sought Saturday to determine whether Syria’s government unleashed a deadly chemical weapons attack on its people. At the same time, the Obama administration prepared for a possible military response by moving naval forces closer to Syria.
Meeting on the issue Saturday with his national security team, President Barack Obama received a detailed review of the range of options he has requested for the U.S. and its international partners to respond if the fact-finding process concludes that Syrian President Bashar Assad engaged in deadly chemical warfare, the White House said.
At the same time, Obama has emphasized that quick intervention in the years-old Syrian civil war was problematic because of the international considerations that should precede a military strike.
Obama discussed the situation in Syria by telephone with British Prime Minister David Cameron, the White House said.
AP: Controversial Texas Voter ID Law Likely Enforced Next Week
Unless a federal judge intervenes, the South Texas city of Edinburg could be the first to enforce a new voter ID law next week, and lawyers will likely use the special election to gather evidence to strengthen lawsuits to block it in the future.
While the U.S. Justice Department and several civil rights groups have filed federal lawsuits to block the requirement that voters produce a state-issued photo ID, no one as of Friday had asked for a restraining order to stop enforcement of the law. That means it will be in effect when early voting in the city’s special election begins Wednesday.
Allowing Texas to enforce the law could be part of a larger legal strategy to defeat it in the long run…..
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
Columbia Journalism Review: In Hollywood and the accounts of many of the nation’s leading journalists, events in Washington revolve around the president, who is thought to have virtually unlimited powers to cajole, charm, threaten, or bribe legislators into enacting his agenda. Within this framework, the success or failure of the president’s legislative agenda is typically attributed to his tactics, not contextual factors like party support in Congress.
In reality, the idea that the President can force an uncooperative Congress to do his bidding has been falsified over and over again—not just during President Obama’s administration on issues like gun control, but during previous presidencies. Even Lyndon Baines Johnson, the prototypical presidential wheeler-dealer, became far less persuasive when the national political climate changed after the 1966 midterm elections (one aide commented that by the end LBJ “couldn’t get Mother’s Day through” Congress). And yet journalists and commentators still try to defend their misguided notions of presidential power, suggesting instead that, for instance, Obama is being held back by a lack of personal charm or a failure to twist enough arms in Congress.
KRDO (Colorado Springs, CO): The first lady and Jill Biden pushed companies to continue hiring veterans and their spouses. According to the Associated Press, 1 million members of the military are expected to join the civilian workforce over the next five years. Michelle Obama said companies have hired or trained 290,000 veterans in less than two years. However, she said, there is still work to be done. Statistics show the unemployment rate among veterans is lower than non-veterans.
Jill Biden said there are initiatives in Washington working to help military spouses as well called Military Spouse Employment Partnership. ”This effort has helped spouses build strong resumes, has sponsored hiring fairs and created strong resume programs. Since its launch, more than 160 Fortune 500 employers have signed on to the partnership,” said Biden. “More than 43,000 military spouses have been hired.”
Pikes Peak Workforce Center is hosting a job fair geared toward veterans May 15-17 at Pikes Peak Community College. Amthor said 100 local and national companies have already signed on. Here is a link for more information on the job fair: http://mvee.org/
Kevin Drum: President Obama said today that he believes there are some Republicans in Congress who’d like to compromise with him to enact “common sense” solutions to America’s problems. I’m sympathetic, because I agree. I don’t think that Republicans have declined to make a budget deal because Obama didn’t schmooze them enough, or because they didn’t understand what he was offering, or because Democrats haven’t framed their compromise proposals quite right. Republicans have declined to make a deal because they don’t like any of the deals Obama is willing to make. Full stop. Unfortunately, I think Ed falls into the same trap when he suggests that Obama’s dinners with senators have gone quite far enough, thankyouverymuch.
All of which gets us to the guts of the problem: most likely, nothing is going to work. But if you’re the president, you can’t say that. You can’t even act like it. You have to go out day after day after day insisting that progress is possible and deals can be made. This gets you lots of flak from fellow lefties who think it displays terminal naiveté, but what choice do you have? Obama pretty obviously understands everything that his lefty critics understand—he’s not an idiot, and this is hardly rocket science, after all—but he also understands one other thing: he can’t admit it. I imagine it’s frustrating as hell. But like it or not, presidents have to keep their chin up in public and keep trying to make things happen, even if they know perfectly well that success is unlikely. Welcome to hell.