Posts Tagged ‘voter

03
Sep
13

News of the Day

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Michael Kelley: Actually, The U.S. Has A Strategy In Syria – And It’s Starting To Work

One of the primary criticisms of U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan for a limited attack on Syria is that there is no long-term strategy in place for what happens after bombs fall on Damascus. But that’s not true. There is a U.S. Syria strategy, and it is showing signs of increasing success. Former U.S. Army vice chief of staff General Jack Keane said he spoke with Republican senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who were briefed by the president on Monday. “What [Obama] has told the two senators is that he also intends to assist the opposition forces, so he is going to degrade Assad’s military capacity and he is going to assist and upgrade the opposition forces with training assistance,” Gen. Keane told BBC Radio.

Last week Pentagon officials told The Wall Street Journal that the planned attack would “deter and degrade” President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces. The key would be hitting various Damascus headquarters as well as some of the regime’s six operable airports. These airports are the “regime’s nervous system,” defected Air Force Colonel Hassan Hamada told Der Spiegel. The less obvious, and more long-term, part of the plan involves providing vetted parts of the opposition with advanced weaponry, training them with Western advisors, and curbing the funding for jihadist groups.

More here

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Igor Bobic: Kerry: ‘Beyond A Reasonable Doubt’ Assad Conducted Gas Attack

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the United States believed “beyond a resonable doubt” the Assad regime conducted a devastating chemical weapons attack against the Syrian people last month.

“It did happen and the Assad regime did it,” Kerry said at a Senate hearing on whether to approve President Barack Obama’s request to intervene militarily in the country.

“Our intelligence community has scrubbed and descrubbed the evidence,” Kerry said, citing in part hair and blood samples collected by first responders.

More here

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Andrea Peterson: The U.S. Isn’t Bombing Syria Yet. But It Is Providing Tech Support To The Rebels

The United States hasn’t decided whether to launch airstrikes against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. But the Obama administration long ago decided to provide the rebels with another form of assistance: hardware and software to help the rebels communicate more effectively and evade government censorship.

In fact, while the White House authorized the CIA to help arm some moderate rebels battling the Assad regime, it hasn’t done so yet. So the most significant aid given to the rebels by the United States so far may actually be the influx of communications equipment, censorship and monitoring circumvention software, and technical training sent their way by the State Department.

More here

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TPM: Kerry: ‘Obama Is Not Asking America To Go To War’

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that President Barack Obama wasn’t seeking all out war against Syria, but rather the more specific goal of taking out the Assad regime’s capaibility to employ chemical weapons.

“President Obama is not asking America to go to war,” Kerry told a Senate hearing on whether to strike Syria with missiles in response to a reported chemical weapons attack last month.

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Brian Beutler: How Katy Perry Can Thwart GOP Obstruction

Republicans in Congress aren’t about to give the White House any money to get the word out about Obamacare. But it’s forced Obamacare implementers to think creatively about how to get the word out. Farah, and Funny or Die, are among a small network of what you could call Obamacare’s celebrity volunteer army. Just as the White House understands that reaching the young and uninsured via more traditional marketing campaigns means partnering with less-mainstream media outlets, they’ve also identified a number of celebrities with huge social media followings who want to make sure the uninsured have the date Oct. 1 seared into their minds.

Katy Perry has about 42 million followers. Obama has about 36 million. Perry is one of a number of celebrities the White House has enlisted. Last week, reporters spotted Magic Johnson entering the White House. When he left, he made it pretty clear he’s on board. Obama and White House officials also took advantage of a large, captive, mostly African-American audience during the March on Washington anniversary last week, including interviews with popular DJs, meetings, and news interviews in markets with large African-American populations. “Starting on Oct. 1, because of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — anybody who doesn’t have health insurance in this country is going to be able to get it at an affordable rate,” Obama explained to Tom Joyner, host of an eponymous, nationally syndicated morning drive show

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Chris Geidner: Husband Of Gay Service Member Booed At GOP Debate Now Has His Military ID Spouse Card

Major Stephen Snyder-Hill found himself at the center of the national debate over the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” when he was booed by audience members at a a September 2011 Republican presidential debate when he asked about the change that allows him now to serve his country and talk openly about his husband, Joshua. Two years later, in a sign of the changed landscape for same-sex couples, Stephen and Joshua Snyder-Hill went to the Defense Supply Center, Columbus, or DSCC, in Ohio on Tuesday — where Joshua became “official,” as Stephen put it, and received his spousal military ID card on the first day the cards were available to same-sex spouses.

“I’ve been in the military for 24 years. I was pre-‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ during and after. It’s just been a really long fight, I think, for [same-sex couples’] military families to be able to get the same protection that other soldiers’ families get,” Stephen Snyder-Hill told BuzzFeed Tuesday afternoon. “I mean, we’ve had times when we’ve had family days, things that just beat down your morale because you just feel like you’re not the same or you’re not equal or you’re not protected as well. And I think that now, we’re pretty much equal.”

The U.S. military began recognizing married same-sex couples Tuesday, and one of the key changes allows service members’ same-sex spouses to obtain a spousal military ID card. The card provides access to bases and services provided by the military to military families, and, before Tuesday, it was available only to opposite-sex spouses.

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Morgan Whitaker: Conservative Speaker Claims Obama Not Criticized Because He’s Black

Is President Obama criticized too much or too little? The answer you get may depend on who you ask. And if you’re asking at least one conservative writer, the answer is too little and the reason why might surprise you. Conservative writer and occasional conspiracy theorist David Horowitz joined high-profile Republicans like Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Marco Rubio at the Koch Brother-sponsored “Defending the American Dream Summit,” in Florida last Friday. While his fellow speakers were busy blasting the president, Horowitz claimed that Obama doesn’t get attacked enough as The Washington Post first reported.

“The reason we don’t attack him is obvious, but no one will say it out loud. I will: It’s because the color of his skin is black–actually he’s half black,” Horowitz told the crowd. “It is because Obama is a minority that nobody will hold him to a standard or confront him with what he has done.” In reality, the president receives criticism on a nearly daily basis, from everything from his policies to his demeanor.

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Steve Benen: ‘We Agree With The Same Red Line, Actually’

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) issued a statement this afternoon that left his position on Syria unclear, though he complained that President Obama “has some work to do to recover from his grave missteps in Syria.” Curiously, the Wisconsin Republican didn’t say what “grave missteps” he disapproves of. When GOP lawmakers generally make this complaint, they’re referring to Obama last year declaring Syria’s use of chemical weapons a “red line” that the Assad government must not cross. But Ryan really isn’t in a position to make this complaint. As CNBC’s Eamon Javers noted today, this was the exchange from last year’s vice presidential candidates’ debate:

RADDATZ: What happens if Assad does not fall? Congressman Ryan, what happens to the region? What happens if he hangs on? What happens if he does?

RYAN: Then Iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. He’s a sponsor of terrorism. He’ll probably continue slaughtering his people. We and the world community will lose our credibility on this….

RADDATZ: So what would Romney-Ryan do about that credibility?

RYAN: Well, we agree with the same red line, actually, they do on chemical weapons, but not putting American troops in, other than to secure those chemical weapons. They’re right about that.

More here

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22
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

Random old pic, because, well, it’s Education Day – Occidental College, 1981

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Today (all times Eastern):

9:0 AM: President Obama departs the White House

10:20: Arrives in Buffalo, N.Y.

11:05: Delivers remarks at the University of Buffalo

5:55: Delivers remarks at Henninger High School, Syracuse

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USA Today: President Obama is back on the road Thursday, starting a two-day bus trip to promote plans to cut college costs.

First up is a flight to upstate New York, where Obama will speak at the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York. The president and his bus then travel to Henninger High School in Syracuse.

“At these two schools, the President will discuss his plan to make college more affordable, tackle rising costs, and improve value for students and their families,” says the White House schedule.

…. After discussing college costs in Buffalo and Syracuse, Obama spends the night in Auburn, N.Y. The president wraps up his bus tour on Friday with stops in Binghamton, N.Y., and Scranton, Penn.

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Matthew Yglesias: Obama’s Radical Agenda on Higher Education

The White House is tackling the status quo that’s sent college costs out of control.

For decades now, America’s approach to higher-education policy has been a delightful synthesis of left-wing and right-wing ideas. In stark contrast to the K–12 universe, college is a playground for individual choice and market competition …. In a speech Thursday morning in Buffalo, N.Y., on ways to enhance college affordability, President Obama will likely lay out policy measures that, while relatively modest on their own terms, propose to radically subvert that bargain on a conceptual level.

The president has decided, essentially, that the old bargain has failed …. he wants to find ways for the federal government to put its muscle behind an idea that’s both modest and radical: that public money should pay for outcomes, not just more stuff. Attempting to nudge the health care system in that direction was a key element of the Affordable Care Act. Nudging K–12 education in that direction has been the centerpiece of the Obama education agenda. Bringing it to the realm of higher education in a serious way would be extremely difficult but also an extraordinary achievement if we can be sent down that path.

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NYT: Obama’s Plan Aims to Lower Cost of College

President Obama plans to announce a set of ambitious proposals on Thursday aimed at making colleges more accountable and affordable by rating them and ultimately linking those ratings to financial aid.

A draft of the proposal, obtained by The New York Times and likely to cause some consternation among colleges, shows a plan to rate colleges before the 2015 school year based on measures like tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend. The ratings would compare colleges against their peer institutions. If the plan can win Congressional approval, the idea is to base federal financial aid to students attending the colleges partly on those rankings.

“All the things we’re measuring are important for students choosing a college,” a senior administration official said. “It’s important to us that colleges offer good value for their tuition dollars, and that higher education offer families a degree of security so students aren’t left with debt they can’t pay back.”

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USA Today: Small-business jobs rise as economy improves

Small-business hiring and confidence about the future are rising, a signal of the economy’s growing strength and diminishing concerns about employee insurance coverage required by the new health care law.

Job creation at small companies has almost doubled in the last six months, reaching 82,000 jobs at firms with 49 or fewer employees in July, according to payroll processor ADP. Borrowing by small businesses and sales of new franchises have also climbed, indicating business owners are willing to take on new expenses and risk.

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The Atlantic: Immigration Reformers Are Winning August

Opponents of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants had a plan to apply grassroots pressure on congressional Republicans in their home districts. Why did it fizzle?

Activists opposed to immigration reform were all set to spend this month putting pressure on lawmakers to kill the legislation. But it hasn’t exactly been a show of force.

Last week, the Tea Party Patriots and NumbersUSA, two groups opposed to “amnesty” legislation, heavily publicized a rally in Richmond, Virginia, featuring Steve King … but only a few dozen people showed up – far short of the hundreds organizers had planned for.

…. as August winds down, the Richmond event seems indicative of the overall trend. Hundreds of immigrant advocates have appeared at rallies and town halls across the country. But the other side, the opponents, have been mostly absent.

More here

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Steve Benen: The nation’s full faith and credit is not a ‘leverage point’

About a week ago, National Review’s Robert Costa reported that congressional Republicans are considering an incredibly dangerous new plan: they’re prepared to hold the nation’s debt limit hostage again, creating a crisis comparable to the one we saw in the summer of 2011, unless Democrats agree to take health care benefits away from millions of Americans.

Earlier this week, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a prominent member of the House Democratic leadership, said he now sees this scenario as likely. And overnight, Reuters reported (see here) that another GOP debt-ceiling crisis appears to be on the way…..

… In other words, GOP leaders are effectively prepared to swap one hostage for another …. this is nothing short of madness. As Ezra Klein recently put it, “Trading a government shutdown for a debt-ceiling breach is like trading the flu for septic shock”….

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TPM: Republican Governors: Shhh, Don’t Call Our Obamacare Money Obamacare!

A variety of Republican governors have sought federal funds under Obamacare, many of them to expand Medicaid eligibility for more residents, a centerpiece of the law that the Supreme Court made optional for states last year.

But shhh! Don’t call it Obamacare, they say, for they despise that law.

In the latest example, vociferous Obamacare critic and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is seeking roughly $100 million in federal funds under a program set up under Obamacare, called Community First Choice … “The bottom line is it has nothing to do with Obamacare,” said Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle.

Only it has everything to do with Obamacare …

Perry is in good company among Republican governors, many of whom want billions of federal funds under the law’s Medicaid expansion, but don’t want to call it Obamacare …. One example is Arizona’s Jan Brewer …. another is Florida’s Rick Scott….

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NBC: Even Republican young adults want health insurance, poll finds

Obamacare may have become a partisan issue, but more Republicans than Democrats have signed up for one of its most popular provisions, according to a survey published Wednesday.

The survey also pokes holes in the idea that most 20-somethings act like “Young Invincibles” who believe they don’t need health insurance.

A team at the Commonwealth Fund, which strongly supports healthcare reform, looked at one of the main target groups of the 2010 Affordable Care Act – young adults who have been going without health insurance. One of the most popular provisions of the law lets people age 26 and younger stay on their parents’ health insurance.

…. They found that by last March, 63 percent of young adults identifying as Republicans had enrolled in a parent’s health plan in the last 12 months, compared to 45 percent of those who considered themselves Democrats….

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Texas Tribune: Voter ID Debate Heats Up as Dallas County Joins Fight

A fight against the state’s contentious voter ID laws escalated this week when Dallas County became the first Texas county to claim that the requirements would disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters.

In a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, the Dallas County Commissioners Court voted to join U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, in a lawsuit urging a federal district court to issue an injunction against the voter ID law. The law requires voters to present one of seven forms of state or federal identification or a so-called election identification certificate, which can be obtained from the state’s Department of Public Safety.

On Wednesday in an appearance on MSNBC, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins applauded the commissioners’ decision. Jenkins said 220,000 of 1.1 million total registered voters in Dallas County indicated they did not have the required forms of ID to vote.

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On this day:

Pete Souza: “On vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, the President was golfing at the Vineyard Golf Club. I switched my digital camera to the black-and-white setting to capture the ominous clouds.” Aug. 22, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama greets attendees during a Joining Forces event at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 22, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

29
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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President Barack Obama reacts to a picture presented to him of a younger Robert Gibbs, who played soccer at North Carolina State, following a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern)

10:15AM: Pres. Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

11:00AM: Pres. Obama meets with senior advisors

12:00PM: Pres. Obama and Hillary Clinton have lunch

2:05PM: Pres. Obama welcomes the San Francisco Giants to the White House to honor the team and their 2012 World Series Championship

2:45PM: Pres. Obama meets with Civil Rights leader and local elected officials

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Tom Kludt: Obama, Hillary Clinton To Have Lunch At The White House Today

President Barack Obama will welcome a fixture from his first term cabinet back to the White House on Monday when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins him for lunch. According to Obama’s schedule, the two will meet at noon ET.

More here

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Nicole Winfield: Pope Francis Says He Will Not Judge Gay Priests

Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.

More here

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Donna Cassata: Sen. Gillibrand Fights To Remove Commanders From Military Sex Assault Cases

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who helped force the military to allow gays in its ranks, is determined to upend laws governing how the armed services handle an epidemic of sexual assaults.

She is slowly and steadily building support for a proposal to strip commanders of their authority to prosecute cases of sexual assault, instead handing responsibility to seasoned military lawyers. She now has 44 backers, including Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who signed on last week, as well as conservative Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Gillibrand’s measure would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial. That judgment would rest instead with seasoned trial lawyers who have prosecutorial experience and hold the rank of colonel or above.

More here

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Catherine Thompson: Slim Majority Of Americans Support Legalizing Gay Marriage In All 50 States

A slim majority of Americans would vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

While 52 percent of Americans would vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage across the country, 43 percent said they would vote against such a federal law, the poll found.

A number of groups posted more than 60 percent support for national legalization of same-sex marriage in the Gallup poll, including self-identifying liberals, those who said they subscribed to “no religion” or “rarely/never attend church,” Democrats, 18- to 34-year-olds, moderates, Easterners, and Catholics.

More here

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President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting in a Kroger’s Supermarket in Bristol, Va. on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Nicole Flatow: Governor Admits He ‘Does Not Know Enough’ About The Voter Suppression Bill He’s About To Sign

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said Friday he would sign a bill passed by the North Carolina legislature that would become the most suppressive voting law in the nation. But when asked to speak about a provision in the bill that would prohibit 17-year-olds from registering in advance of their 18th birthday, McCroryadmitted he “did not know enough” and had not read that portion of the bill.

The bill, passed just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act and paved the way for new suppressive state laws, imposes a laundry list of new restrictions on access to the ballot, including eliminating same-day registration, cutting early voting, easing campaign contribution limits, and expanding the mechanisms for alleging voter fraud. In remarks saying he would sign the bill, McCrory focused on his support for the bill’s voter ID requirement — a particularly suppressive and discriminatory policy that McCrory has long supported. But when asked by an Associated Press reporter about another provision in the bill to limit new voter registration opportunities, McCrory said, “I don’t know enough. I’m sorry. I haven’t read that portion of the bill.”

More here

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President Barack Obama listens to a question at a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009.

(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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Sandhya Somashekhar: Exclusive: Kathleen Sebelius On ObamaCare’s ‘Very Tight’ Deadlines

Sec. Kathleen Sebelius: Well, we are testing all of the data systems like crazy to try and make sure that information can flow easily through the system. I’m sure there will be operational challenges in the opening of the markets, but I think we’re trying to build in redundancies and be able to respond very rapidly. And really we see Oct. 1 as the beginning of the campaign that really lasts for six months.

KS: It is very tight…Ideally what you would do if you were building a data hub that needs this kind of information, you’d put a piece together and test that. You test it, if you will, sequentially. We have to build and test simultaneously…it’s a big operational issue but all systems are a go for the first of October.

More here

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President Barack Obama listens to a question during a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Caitlin McDevitt: Kevin Spacey On Obama, Congress

“House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey thinks President Barack Obama deserves more credit for what he’s accomplished.

“President Obama will go down as having passed some of the most historic bills in the history of this country,” Spacey told Hot Press magazine in a recent interview. “That despite constant knee-jerk opposition from the Republicans. A lot of people don’t realize how much he’s done in the most difficult of circumstances.”

As for Congress, Spacey is less impressed.

“It’s maybe interesting for an American audience that’s sat through the most non-productive Congress in the history of the United States, in terms of bills passed, to watch a fictional show [“House of Cards”] where some bills actually get passed,” he said.

More here

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A picture of President Barack Obama rests on the ground during a town hall meeting held at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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 Reuters: Amazon Unveils New Hiring Spree Ahead Of Obama Visit

Amazon.com Inc unveiled a new hiring spree on Monday ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama to one of the Internet retailer’s giant distribution warehouses this week.

Amazon said it is looking to fill more than 5,000 new full-time jobs at 17 of its fulfillment centers across the United States. That’s roughly a 25 percent increase in full-time fulfillment center staff, which currently number more than 20,000 in the country.

Amazon has been building lots of new fulfillment centers closer to customers in recent years as the company tries to speed up delivery of online orders and reduce shipping costs.

Amazon needs a lot of workers to pick, pack and ship orders alongside high tech robots that whiz around its warehouses. The company’s demand for employees is so strong that it has created special programs to woo candidates.

More here

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First Lady Michelle Obama hugs LeBron James following the USA vs. France men’s basketball game at Olympic Park during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, July 29, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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President Barack Obama eats a peach following a town hall meeting at Kroger’s Supermarket in Bristol, Va. on July 29, 2009. Seconds later, the President handed a dollar bill to the CEO of Kroger’s, who attended the event. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Have An Obamariffic Day! :D

28
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel during the National Anthem at the start of an event to mark the 60th anniversary of the suspension of the 1950-1953 Korean War at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. July 27

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Today:

The President has no public events scheduled

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Darlene Superville: Obama Says Korean War Veterans ‘Deserve Better’

President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Americans to take time from their “hurried lives” to listen to the heroic stories of Korean War veterans who returned to a country weary of war and deserved a better homecoming.

“Unlike the Second World War, Korea did not galvanize our country. These veterans did not return to parades,” Obama said in a speech at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, making the 60th anniversary of the war’s end.

“Unlike Vietnam, Korea did not tear at our country. These veterans did not return to protests. For many Americans tired of war, there was it seemed a desire to forget, to move on,” Obama said.

They “deserve better,” the president said, adding that on this anniversary, “perhaps the highest tribute we can offer our veterans of Korea is to do what should have been done the day you came home.”

More here

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ThinkProgress: Growing Number Of States Are Reporting Lower Than Expected Health Care Premiums

Health premiums in Maryland’s exchanges will be “among the lowest of the 12 states that have available proposed or approved rates for comparison,” the state’s exchange — Maryland Health Connection — announced Friday. The news comes just as New York,Oregon, Montana, California, and Louisiana are also reporting lower than expected premiums.

In Maryland, a 25-year-old will be able to purchase a plan that is more comprehensive than policies currently available on the individual market for $114 per month, while a middle aged adult will have to pay approximately $260 per month for insurance. A 21-year-old non-smoker can start as low as $93 a month. Officials say they used their authority to deny rate increases to reduce the proposed premiums by “more than 50 percent.” Thirty other states have have similar authority.

More here

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GOP, is this a description of you?

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ThinkProgress: Steve King: In Private, Republicans Actually Agree With My ‘Cantaloupe-Sized Calves’

A growing number of Republicans are publicly distancing themselves from Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) claim that many undocumented youths are drug mules with cantaloupe-sized calves, but the conservative congressman claims that GOP lawmakers are backing him in private.

During an appearance on Fox News on Saturday, King said that Republicans are in fact standing by him, but are afraid to publicly support him for fear of sparking outrage and losing their legislative leverage…..

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Hunter Walker: John  Kerry: ‘This Is A Pivotal Moment For Egypt’

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement Saturday after at least 65 people were killed and over 1,000 were injured in Egypt during clashes between security forces, armed men, and protesters demonstrating against the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi.

Kerry said he spoke with Egypt’s Interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei and Interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy Saturday morning to express “our deep concern about the bloodshed.” He also described the situation as a “pivotal moment for Egypt” and called for an “independent and impartial inquiry into the events of the last day.”

Read the statement here

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This is the unvarnished NYT interview with President Obama. Read it. This is him in his own words.

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Click on the craigconnects link. It’s very informative

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Asawin Suebsaeng: Obama Says Ho Chi Minh Was Inspired By Founding Fathers, Conservatives Freak Out

 After a meeting with Vietnam’s president Truong Tan Sang on Thursday, President Barack Obama said the following to reporters (emphasis mine): At the conclusion of the meeting, President Sang shared with me a copy of a letter sent by Ho Chi Minh to Harry Truman. And we discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson. Ho Chi Minh talks about his interest in cooperation with the United States. And President Sang indicated that even if it’s 67 years later, it’s good that we’re still making progress. (Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese communist and nationalist revolutionary leader who died in 1969. He fought alongside Allied forces during World War II, but fought American forces during the Vietnam War.)

Several conservative media outlets blasted the president on similar terms. “Obama may have just been trying to flatter his guest who was obviously eager to show that Ho was not the monster history shows him to be,” Chris Stirewalt, digital politics editor for Fox News wrote. “But his connection between the American founders and Ho shows either a massive lack of historical knowledge on the part of the president or a remarkable degree of moral flexibility.”

Yes, it is true that the United States once waged a disastrous, pointless, and horrific waragainst Ho Chi Minh and the people of Vietnam. But Obama’s comment wasn’t a gaffe or insult to American war vets. What Obama said is literally a historical fact. In September 1945, Ho Chi Minh delivered the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi to a crowd of nearly a million Vietnamese. Not only was the “The Star-Spangled Banner” played by a Vietnamese band during his address, but he opens his speech by quoting Thomas Jefferson.

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The fantastic Sarah Slamen (@VictorianPrude). 

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A year ago today:

First lady Michelle Obama watches the women’s singles tennis match between Serena Williams of the U.S. and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympics Games, July 28

.. with Venus Williams and former gymnast Dominique Dawes

Serena Williams gives a thumbs up gesture toward her sister Venus and first lady Michelle Obama after she defeated Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic

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Have A Great Day! :D

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27
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (All Times Eastern):

10:20 AM: President Obama delivers remarks marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice

6:30 PM: VP Biden and Dr Jill Biden visit with U.S. service members, military families, and Defense Department employees at an event at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii

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The Week Ahead:

Monday: The President will welcome the San Francisco Giants to the White House to honor the team and their 2012 World Series Championship

Tuesday: The President will travel to the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to give the first in a series of policy speeches on his better bargain for the middle class. The speech is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Wednesday: The President will welcome NCAA Champion UConn Huskies to honor the team and their 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. Also on Wednesday, he will travel to Capitol Hill for a meeting with Democrats in both chambers

Thursday: The President will host Yemeni President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi at the White House

Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

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The latest state to publish insurance rates under Obamacare is Maryland. The results seem consistent with the pattern we’ve seen so far. When state officials want the law to work, it works pretty well. And Maryland officials want the law to work.

The governor is a prominent Democrat and among Obamacare’s most vocal boosters. The state political establishment supports him. The officials in agencies working on Obamacare — the state Department of Health, the Insurance Administration, and the newly created Health Benefits Exchange — feel the same way. None of this is surprising: Maryland is a strongly blue state. Obama is popular there and, one imagines, so is his health plan.

More here

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ABC: How White Are the Reporters Covering Obama? Very, Stats Show

The face of the nation is changing fast, but the White House press corps remains the same.

A new report in The Washington Post details how the news media, and especially the White House press, is disproportionately whiter and less diverse than the country as a whole.

“When the first black president of the United States walked into the White House press room to talk about Trayvon Martin and the complexities of race in America last Friday, the people poised to convey his remarks to the world were overwhelmingly of one race — white….

At a time when one of the most contentious subjects in Washington is immigration reform — an issue of great import to many Hispanics — the people questioning the president on a regular basis are unlikely to be Hispanic themselves,” the Post’s Paul Fahri writes…..

12.4 percent: The proportion of U.S. newspaper journalists who are racial minorities…..

37 percent: The U.S.’s minority population

7: Number of full-time White House correspondents who are African-American or Asian-American, out of 53. That’s 13.2 percent. Figures for other groups weren’t available.

3: Number of African-Americans who have served on the White House Correspondents Association board in its 99-year history.

More here

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David Firestone (NYT): North Carolina: First in Voter Suppression

Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina didn’t like our recent editorial that criticized the state for abandoning its traditions of racial equality, strong public schools, and economic fairness. He wrote a letter to the editor saying he was leading the state to a “powerful comeback.”

That’s demonstrably untrue when it comes to the economy and the schools. But as yesterday’s events in the state capital showed, one thing is making a comeback: an old habit of suppressing the votes of minorities, young people and the poor, all in the hopes of preserving Republican power.

Freed of federal election supervision by the Supreme Court, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill that combines every idea for suppressing voter turnout that Republicans have advanced in other states. Rick Hasen, an election-law expert at the University of California, Irvine, called it “the most sweeping anti-voter law in at least decades.”

…. None of this has anything to do with fraud. Out of 7 million ballots cast in the state in 2012, there were 121 allegations of voter fraud, a rate of .00174 percent….

More here

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NBC News: The United States intends to transfer two additional detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Algeria as part of its effort to close the military prison in Cuba, the White House said Friday in a statement.

“We are taking this step in consultation with the Congress, and in a responsible manner that protects our national security,” the statement from White House spokesman Jay Carney read. “We continue to call on Congress to join us in supporting these efforts by lifting the current restrictions that significantly limit our ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo, even those who have been approved for transfer.”

More here

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The wonderful Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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Yes Republicans, this is one of your own

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Sy Mukherjee: Starting next Thursday, Wisconsin’s Green Bay region will no longer have an abortion provider. That’s because Ob/Gyn Associates, the sole abortion clinic in the area, was recently sold to a health system which announced on Friday that it will stop offering abortion services on August 1st. And their decision, combined with an anti-abortion bill quietly signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker (R) earlier in July, will force Green Bay women who want or need an abortion to travel over 250 miles round trip to find the closest facility.

Practically speaking, the law would force two of the state’s five clinics — a private clinic in Milwaukee and a Planned Parenthood facility in Appleton — to close down entirely.

More here

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Whoa….are pigs flying?

Josh Israel: Since Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcementThursday that the Department of Justice would “ask a federal court in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act,” the reaction from Texas Republicans has been furious. But Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who sponsored the 2006 Voting Rights Act re-authorization, backed the move as legally proper.

But Sensenbrenner told The Hill on Thursday that these critics were misrepresenting the facts. “The [Justice] department’s actions are consistent with the Voting Rights Act,” he said, noting that Voting Rights Act still allows challenges to changes that would suppress minority voters.

More here

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President Obama give the thumbs up as he returns to the White House from Camp David, July 26

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VP Biden, his wife Jill Biden, their daughter Ashley and son-in-law Dr Howard Krein, walk through the Singapore Botanic Gardens, July 26

VP Biden shakes hands with a diner during an impromptu visit to Adam Road Hawker Food Centre in Singapore, July 26

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On this day:

July 27, 2012: President Barack Obama hugs a member of the American Legion Boys Nation in the East Wing during their tour of the White House (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

July 27, 2012: U.S. Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova picks up the First Lady during a greet with Team USA Olympic athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

July 27, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama greets former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders, right, and her children, Skye and Spider, following a “Let’s Move! London” event at Winfield House in London, England (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

July 27, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Joshua Wilkins-Waldron during a “Let’s Move! London” event at Winfield House in London (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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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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