Posts Tagged ‘weekly

21
Dec
13

Rise and Shine

The Obamas arrive in Hawaii

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The Week Ahead:

Sun, sea, sand and sleep, hopefully.

The First Family is scheduled to return on Jan. 5 to Washington, D.C., according to the White House. There are no public events scheduled for their stay in Hawaii.

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Steve Benen: ACA enrollment ‘surging’ in December

The Obama administration has long hoped that Affordable Care Act enrollment would follow a predictable trajectory: the totals would start slow, then pick up steam as the website improves and deadlines draw closer.At this point, the model is proving to be pretty accurate:

States running their own Obamacare insurance exchanges are reporting a significant surge in sign-ups just four days before the first major enrollment deadline. The increase has ranged from 30 percent to 40 percent in the past few weeks….

New York is enrolling about 4,500 people a day. In California, it’s 15,000 a day. In Kentucky, which has become something of a national model for implementation, enrollment totals are up 40% since Thanksgiving.

….. It would appear far-right calls for Americans to stay uninsured on purpose, just to satisfy conservative ideological goals, aren’t going over especially well.

Full post here

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LA Times: Another day, another leak from Issa, another credulous news report

The sun has risen in the East, so there must be a news report somewhere quoting a partial transcript leaked by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) purporting to show the shortcomings of Obamacare.

Bingo! We have not one but two “investigative” news reports, from CBS and ABC, based on the same partial transcript. And both, consequently, have the same level of credibility: none. CBS News even offers a dividend — a thoroughly dishonest and discreditable interview with Issa himself…..

More here

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@WhiteHouse: Reflecting in the Oval

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ThinkProgress: Nearly Four Million Low-Income Americans Now Have Health Coverage Under Obamacare

About 1.7 million poor Americans looking for health coverage were deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in November, according to new government data released on Friday. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also revised previous estimates that about 1.5 million people qualified for Medicaid or CHIP in October up to 2.1 million. All told, that means that just under four million low-income Americans now have access to public health insurance.

More here

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President Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Press Briefing Room of the White House, Dec. 20, 2013 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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Steve Benen: Economic growth picks up steam

When the initial estimates for economic growth in the third quarter – covering July, August, and September – were released in early November, the figures exceeded expectations. Now that the totals have been revised twice, the GDP numbers turned out to be much better than than originally thought:

The U.S. economy expanded at a 4.1% annual clip in the third quarter, the strongest performance in two years … The Commerce Department previously reported that gross domestic product had risen at a 3.6% annual rate. Consumer spending rose 2% instead of 1.4% as previously reported….

To put this number in a slightly larger context, note that 4.1% quarterly growth is the second strongest growth we’ve seen since the start of the Great Recession nearly six years ago. What’s more, this is only the third time in the last nine years that the GDP has topped 4%.

Full post here

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The People’s View: How Has Barack Obama Disappointed YOU in 2013? – Outrage From A Parallel Reality

On Wednesday, NPR’s Liz Halloran told us how Barack Obama has disappointed liberals in 2013, how this was the year of disappointing the liberal base. Immediately, her comment section filled with Lefties panting and falling over themselves to declare how correct she is. And really, when hasn’t he, if you ask whoever this ever illusive “liberal base” is. So disappointing. How disappointing has Obama been to his liberal base? Oh, let me count the ways.

…. I implore you, liberals. Stick to your gut feelings. Stick to truthiness. Even if a preponderance of the evidence points to 2013 being a remarkably liberal year for President Obama and his administration, stick your head in the sand and yell about the NSA and drones. You don’t need evidence, facts, or data. All you need is a conservative columnist yanking your chain so you can lose your sh*t.

Full post here

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Steve Benen: Giving new meaning to ‘Do-Nothing’ Congress

If all goes according to plan, the Senate should wrap up its work for 2013 today and join the House on a holiday break. For his part, President Obama will sign the budget agreement into law before the end of the year, too.

And when he does, that will bring the grand total of bills signed into law in the 113th Congress to … 58…

…. The historic metrics are rather striking: 2013 was the least productive for any Congress since clerks on the Hill started keeping track, and this Congress is on track to pass fewer laws than any modern Congress.

Full post here

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You know, BuzzFeed is beginning to make GOPolitico look fair and balanced – this is hilarious:

ThinkProgress: BuzzFeed Declares Paul Ryan A ‘Champion Of The Poor,’ Offers No Supporting Evidence

If your only recent impressions of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) came from BuzzFeed, you’d be inclined to think that the former vice presidential candidate has made a major shift in policy to start focusing on poverty in the United States. You would be wrong.

On Friday, BuzzFeed ran a glowing profile of Ryan, entitled “Paul Ryan Finds God,” that portrayed him as a man who was inspired by religion and the ascendancy of a new pope to become a caretaker for the nation’s poor. But the piece, similar to another article that ran in the Washington Post last month, offered up no substance to show that Ryan’s policies have changed or that his religious outlook is any different than it was during the 2012 campaign. Rather, it relied on quotes from Paul Ryan’s own supporters — former campaign staffers and members of President George W. Bush’s cabinet — to demonstrate that Ryan has shifted his focus.

More here

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was released from the hospital Friday afternoon, his office announced:

“Senator Reid has been released from the hospital and is back at home with his wife, Landra. As previously stated, he went to the hospital as a precaution,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement. “The doctors diagnosed him as exhausted, not anything more serious, and have cleared him to go back to work. He spent today resting, talking to family, friends and colleagues, reading the news and discussing Senate business. He appreciates the kind words and thoughts sent by so many, thanks the doctors at George Washington University Hospital for the excellent care he received, and wishes everyone a Happy Holidays.”

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ThinkProgress: Ten Women’s Health Heroes Who Inspired Us In 2013

This past year included an overwhelming number of attacks on reproductive health and freedom, including some of the harshest abortion bans this country has seen since Roe v. Wade. However — despite the persistent attempts to silence, shame, and police women and their bodies — there is one positive benefit resulting from the ongoing War on Women. It gave rise to several champions who didn’t back down from fighting for the issues that matter. Here are ten people who inspired us in 2013….

See here

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On This Day:

Snow covers the East Garden at the White House, Dec. 21, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama jokes with Vice President Biden in the Oval Office, Dec. 21, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama rests his foot on the Resolute Desk during a call with British Prime Minister David Cameron in the Oval Office, Dec. 21, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama embraces Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., following a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the Oval Office, Dec. 21, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

The President and Bo ride in the presidential motorcade en route to PetSmart in Alexandria, Va. Dec. 21, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama poses with children outside a Best Buy after doing some Christmas shopping in Alexandria, Va., Dec. 21, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama walks toward the Oval Office with Bo, the Obama family dog, after returning from a Christmas shopping trip, Dec. 21, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!

12
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

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Live coverage from Congress on C-Span

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Steve Benen: Republican support in ‘jaw-dropping’ free fall

Professional pollsters for major news organizations are notoriously cautious people who avoid hyperbole. So when Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff conducted the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll and described the results as “jaw-dropping,” it’s worth appreciating why.

Let’s put it this way: if this poll were a campfire story, it’d leave Republicans shaking uncontrollably in their sleeping bags. The GOP wasn’t in especially good shape before, but the shutdown crisis and the threats to crash the economy on purpose have been an unmitigated disaster for the party, causing the sort of collapse in public support pollsters simply don’t see very often.

What’s the good news for Republicans in the poll? There is no good news.

More here

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Dana Milbank: Cruzification of the GOP

…. Skeptics warned from the start that it was a suicide mission for Republicans to shut down the federal government in a long-shot attempt to defund Obamacare. Now that such dire predictions have come to pass, the lawmakers who engineered the shutdown are getting the conflagration — and the martyrdom — they sought.

….. Cruz has seen his reputation take a 16-point negative turn in the national Gallup poll since June. Cruz’s partner in the rebellion, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, has seen a 20-point negative swing in his home state over the same time period.

…. Even the infamous Koch brothers, financiers of the tea party, are distancing themselves from the shutdown contretemps….

The Boston Globe recently reported that David Koch gave MIT $20 million for a child-care facility, because “I got a tear in my eye” hearing about researchers’ need for child care. Maybe the lachrymose Koch will weep for his country when he realizes the economic destruction caused by the groups he bankrolled.

Full post here

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Ed Henry walking out of yesterday’s briefing because Jay Carney didn’t call the shill for a question – and because, you know, it’s all about him:

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The People’s View: As GOP cries uncle, Obama refuses to bail them out

As the Republican plan to deprive Americans of health care by holding the government’s operations hostage and threatening default has fallen apart in the face of withering public backlash and the strength of a president who has refused to pay ransom for Congress doing its job, some Republicans are still holding out hope that the same president who they hoped to destroy will bail them out from their own quagmire and save their face. Well, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

… In the mean time, Jay Carney has re-iterated that the president will not pay a ransom simply to reopen government and pay America’s bills.

What does all this mean? The best I can tell, the president is exactly in the same position he has always been in: Republicans need to end the shutdown, stop threatening default, and then the normal process of budget negotiations can resume. Once it does resume after the GOP ends the crisis they inflicted on America, the framework, as far as the president is concerned, needs to include both long term budget savings and increased taxes from those who can afford it.

More here

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Our very own Alycee:

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Oh, these people:

ThinkProgress: Congressman: Workers Furloughed In Shutdown Should Not Get Backpay

While the House unanimously passed a bill last week to pay the 800,000 workers who have been deemed non-essential in the shutdown their lost wages once the government opens again, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) thinks they shouldn’t get paid.

At a teletown hall on Thursday, a constituent called in to say, “The people that had to work should be paid. But the people that are home watching Netflix and whatever, I’m not sure that we should be sending them checks.”

More here

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UPI: US postal worker fired for throwing away Obamacare mail

The United States Postal Service has fired a Fresno, Calif., mailman who admitted he threw away letters about “Obamacare.”

Residents of a Central Fresno apartment complex took photos of a nearby dumpster filled with mail about “Obamacare.” Witnesses saw the postal carrier discarding the mail.

“He just kept glancing over his shoulder over and over again. It was like he knew what he was doing was wrong,” said witness Jerry Dills. “It was just amazing, I looked down in there and there was a bunch of people’s addresses and right away… I knew this was absolutely wrong.”

More here

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UPI: First lady Michelle Obama welcomes Pakistani teen shot by Taliban

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan last year, was greeted at the White House Friday by first lady Michelle Obama.

“President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama today welcomed Malala Yousafzai to the Oval Office to thank her for her inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan,” the White House said in a statement. “The United States joins with the Pakistani people and so many around the world to celebrate Malala’s courage and her determination to promote the right of all girls to attend school and realize their dreams. As the first lady has said, ‘Investing in girls’ education is the very best thing we can do, not just for our daughters and granddaughters, but for their families, their communities, and their countries.'”

“Across the globe there are girls who will one day lead nations, if only we afford them the chance to choose their own destinies,” President Obama said in his proclamation to mark the International Day of the Girl. “And on every continent, there are girls who will go on to change the world in ways we can only imagine, if only we allow them the freedom to dream.”

More here

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Media Matters: Once Again, Sunday Morning Talk Shows Are White, Male, And Conservative

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

More here

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@NoShock: The Washington Post engages a troll for the win!!

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Another Great Twitter Exchange of our Time:

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On This Day:

President Obama greets the student finalists of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge as they enter the Oval Office, Oct. 12, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

05
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

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The Week Ahead

Who knows?

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AP: Text of Obama’s exclusive interview

Q: There is a lot that I want to ask you about the government shutdown and foreign policy, but I wanted to start with health care. The signature element of your health care law went online this week, and the interest seems to have really exceeded expectations, but there were some serious glitches with the online systems. And our reporting shows that the number of people who actually managed to sign up for insurance in the states using the federal system was in the single digits. How many people have actually signed up for insurance this week?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t have the numbers yet. What we know is that, as you indicated, the interest way exceeded expectations and that’s the good news. It shows that people really need and want affordable health care. And the product is a really good one. It turns out that choice and competition work. So what’s happened is you’ve got private insurers who have bid to get into this system to offer affordable health care at significantly lower prices than anybody could buy in the individual market, because basically they’re now part of a big group.

And it is true that what’s happened is the website got overwhelmed by the volume. And folks are working around the clock and have been systematically reducing the wait times, but we are confident that over the course of the six months – because it’s important to remember people have six months to sign up – that we are going to probably exceed what anybody expected in terms of the amount of interest that people have.

More here

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NYMag: George Clooney Explains the Shutdown

…. we asked the liberal-leaning actor for his thoughts about the ongoing government shutdown. He had many — on John Boehner’s grand strategy, on the “idiots” who think we don’t need government, and on Ted Cruz’s reading of Green Eggs and Ham.

“People keep talking about how this has to be a great negotiation, but there isn’t any negotiating a law. We negotiate on all these other topics, but this was put into law, and [Obama] was reelected on it. It was reaffirmed, it was passed through the Supreme Court — it’s a law. You don’t like it? Win an election. That’s how it works…..”

…. “Shutting down the government is not how you make government work. And anybody who thinks we don’t need it is an idiot.”

More here

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I think we linked this already, but it’s so good it can’t be linked enough:

Kurt Eichenwald: The Truth About Obamacare and How It Solves the Suffering of the Insured

Last week, I wrote a lengthy piece to refute the Republican lies about Obamacare. This week, I am going to write about some of the truths.

… Normally, I would start this discussion by providing chapter-and-verse details about the 47 million men, women, and children who now have the opportunity to obtain health insurance, to live longer and healthier lives, to avoid needless bankruptcies. But, in what to me is one of the saddest developments in our nation’s history, that reality is irrelevant to ardent Obamacare opponents.

Words like “takers” and “slackers” are thrown at the uninsured, as if they have brought their pre-existing conditions, jobs without benefits, or low-paying positions on themselves…..

…. I don’t expect to persuade the people who really believe all the malarkey about death panels and socialism. They have been lied to for so long that I think it will take years before they will be able to understand how badly they have been used. But, hopefully, there are those who want to know why Obamacare exists and what the point of it is. And when you know the truth, you will understand that — for all of its imperfections — Obamacare is an essential step toward healing the deeply sick American health-care system.

Full article here

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ThinkProgress: How A Rand Paul Republican From Alabama Learned To Love Obamacare

Joshua Pittman is a 31-year-old self-employed videographer from Montgomery, Alabama. A libertarian Republican who voted for Ron Paul in 2012 and believes that Sen. Rand Paul is the future of the GOP …. But on Tuesday morning, Pittman logged on to HealthCare.gov and after some initial glitches and delays, successfully enrolled in a Bronze-level Obamacare health insurance plan….

Though he initially supported repealing the law, Pittman became curious about Obamacare in the days and weeks before it launched …. Asked what he liked, Pittman highlighted its prohibition against denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, noting that he wouldn’t be able to find coverage without it….

… Pittman doesn’t believe that Obamacare is perfect, but says Republicans in Congress should stop trying to repeal the law and give it a chance to work. “As a Republican, I think [the GOP's repeal effort] is childish and I think this is the wrong way to lead… it’s babyish and I think as a party it just reflects negatively upon us,” he explains.

Full post here

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The Perpetual Campaign: My Obamacare Experience… And Why The Shutdown Was Never About Obamacare

…. I currently pay $348 per month for health insurance, with a $1500 deductible. For a plan with the same level of coverage, I will now pay $297 per month, with a $1000 deductible. This will save me $1100 on health care in 2014. That’s $1100 that I will spend on something other than health care, money that will stimulate the economy. That money did not come from other taxpayers. The savings came as a result of setting up an exchange that would allow everyone to access group buying power.

…. the reason insurers can no longer discriminate against me for my pre-existing condition is because of the individual mandate. If there were no mandate forcing healthy people into the risk pool, then everyone would simply wait until they were sick to get insurance, and the entire insurance system would collapse.

… the Teahadists will scream about losing our freedoms, but as best as I can tell, the only freedoms I’m losing here are the freedom to be in pain and the freedom to overpay for health insurance.

Sorry, Senator Cruz, but contrary to what you wailed no fewer than 100 times during the course of your 21-hour fake filibuster/ideological hissy fit… Obamacare is working, chief.

Full post here

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EgbertoWillies: Even In Texas The Republican Caricature Of Obamacare Is Meeting Reality

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been one of the biggest obstructionists to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in Texas along with the entire Republican Party nationally. Inasmuch as Texas is the state with the highest rate of uninsured citizens he refused Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. For those with pre-existing condition in Texas who were either in the high priced high risk Texas insurance pool or were uninsured because of the cost of these high risk pools, Obamacare comes to the rescue even here in Texas.

Must-read: here

And more (thank yoooou GlobalCitizenLinda for the link!):

EgbertoWillies: GOP Biggest Fear Occurring – Republicans Loving Obamacare

Anyone wondering why the Right Wing Tea Party Republicans are in a frenzy, one need only see what is happening now that the reality of the Affordable Care Act is emerging. The lies they told are coming back to bite them.

They are attempting to discourage young American citizens from going to the exchanges by telling them Obamacare will either be too expensive or an intrusion from the government. Good things are happening however. Inasmuch as the Right Wing is being outright destructive with the nation’s economy in the attempt to derail Obamacare, empirical and factual data is proven to be a hindrance to their obstructionist tactics.

The State Health Bureaucracy in Texas is actually promoting Obamacare. That is a feat in its own right. On October 1st, the Obamacare health exchange servers were overwhelmed because of the inordinately large number of people accessing it.

More here

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Paul Krugman: Reform Turns Real

…. It’s long been clear that the great fear of the Republican Party was not that health reform would fail, but that it would succeed. And developments since Tuesday, when the exchanges on which individuals will buy health insurance opened for business, strongly suggest that their worst fears will indeed be realized: This thing is going to work.

…. the glitches of October won’t matter in the long run. But why are they actually encouraging? Because they appear, for the most part, to be the result of the sheer volume of traffic, which has been much heavier than expected. And this means that one big worry of Obamacare supporters — that not enough people knew about the program, so that many eligible Americans would fail to sign up — is receding fast.

….. Obamacare is off to a good start, with even the bad news being really good news for the program’s future. We’re not quite there yet, but more and more, it looks as if health reform is here to stay.

Full article here

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Timothy Egan: Wrong Side of History

Sarah Palin finally got her death panels — a direct blow from the Republican House. In shutting down the government, leaving 800,000 people without a paycheck and draining the economy of $300 million a day, the Party of Madness also took away last-chance cancer trials for children at the National Institutes of Health.

And now that the pain that was dismissed as a trifle on Monday, a “slimdown” according to the chuckleheads at Fox News, is revealed as tragic by mid-week, the very radicals who caused the havoc are trying to say it’s not their fault.

It’s too late. They flunked hostage-taking. About 30 or so Republicans in the House, bunkered in gerrymandered districts while breathing the oxygen of delusion, are now part of a cast of miscreants who have stood firmly on the wrong side of history. The headline, today and 50 years from now, will be the same: Republicans closed the government to keep millions of their fellow Americans from getting affordable health care.

More here

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Baltimore Sun: Congress: Do your job

Our view: There is no room to ‘negotiate’ when extremists take the federal government hostage — and threaten to do the same to the economy

With the shutdown dragging along and no discernible progress coming out of Wednesday’s meeting between President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders, Republicans bemoaned the Democrats’ unwillingness to negotiate. They’ll negotiate with the president of Iran, was the common GOP talking point, but they won’t talk to us.

Actually, the more appropriate comparison might have been that President Obama didn’t negotiate with foreign terrorists out to hurt the country, and he isn’t rewarding similar tactics back home. California Rep. George Miller, a Democrat, may have gone too far when he recently referred to the tea party attack on Obamacare as a “jihad” on the House floor, but not by too much.

More here

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Greg Sargent: Dems move to force Republicans to reopen the government

House Democratic leaders believe they have hit on a new way to potentially force House Republican leaders into allowing a vote on a “clean CR” funding the government without any defunding of Obamacare attached.

At last count, as many as two dozen House Republicans appear prepared to vote for a clean CR. With Democrats included, that means a majority of the House of Representatives would vote right now to reopen the government. But the House GOP leadership won’t allow such a vote.

Dems have hit on a way to use a “discharge petition,” which forces a House vote if a majority of Representatives signs it, to try to force the issue. Previously, it was thought this could not work, because a discharge petition takes 30 legislative days to ripen, so if this were tried with the clean CR that passed the Senate, this couldn’t bear fruit until some time in November.

But now House Democrats say they have found a previously filed bill to use as a discharge petition — one that would fund the government at sequester levels.

More here

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On This Day:

Oct. 5, 2012: President Obama has his picture taken with a patron at the West Side Market in Cleveland, Ohio (Pete Souza)

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Oct. 5, 2010: President Obama waits in the Green Room before being introduced at the White House Summit on Community Colleges (Pete Souza)

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Oct. 5, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama greets USO honorees and their families in the Vermeil Room of the White House (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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MoooOOOooorning – Happy Saturday!

31
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

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The Week Ahead:

Today, tomorrow and Monday: The President has no public events scheduled.

Tuesday: The President will attend meetings at the White House. In the evening, he will depart Washington, DC en route Stockholm, Sweden.

Wednesday: The President will arrive in Stockholm. While there, he will hold a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Reinfeldt. He will then participate in an event honoring Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue in Stockholm and tour an expo featuring clean energy innovations at the Royal Institute of Technology. In the evening, he will take part in a dinner with Nordic Leaders.

Thursday: The President will hold a bilateral meeting with the King and Queen of Sweden. He will then depart Stockholm en route Saint Petersburg, Russia where he will attend the G-20 Summit.

Friday: Attends the G-20 Summit. Returns to Washington, DC on Friday evening.

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Vice President Biden listens as President Obama speaks to members of the media about Syria during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30

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Washington Post: The one map that shows why Syria is so complicated:

…. The map, from Columbia University’s really exceptional Gulf/2000 Project, shows the different ethnic and linguistic groups of the Levant, the part of the Middle East that’s dominated by Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Each color represents a different group. As you can see, there are a lot of groups swirled together. There are enclaves, and there is overlap.

Ethnic and linguistic breakdowns are just one part of Syria’s complexity, of course. But they are a really important part. The country’s largest group is shown in yellow, signifying ethnic Arabs who follow Sunni Islam, the largest sect of Islam. Shades of brown indicate ethnic Kurds, long oppressed in Syria, who have taken up arms against the regime. There are also Druze, a religious sect, Arab Christians, ethnic Armenians and others.

More here

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Graphic showing foreign forces and bases in the Middle East and selected military equipment

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Washington Post: 9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask

The United States and allies are preparing for a possibly imminent series of limited military strikes against Syria, the first direct U.S. intervention in the two-year civil war, in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.

If you found the above sentence kind of confusing, or aren’t exactly sure why Syria is fighting a civil war, or even where Syria is located, then this is the article for you. What’s happening in Syria is really important, but it can also be confusing and difficult to follow even for those of us glued to it.

Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions.

More here

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A Word from CarolDuhart:

This week more than ever has reminded me of how lucky and blessed we are to have chosen Obama. His deliberation in the face of a howling chorus is a far contrast to any other President in my lifetime. And in far contrast to the other alternatives. Those emoprogs and those having Iraq flashbacks and comparing him to Bush need to remember that unlike Bush, Obama makes his own decisions based on logic, truth, and in his own time. He doesn’t lie, he doesn’t chestbeat, he doesn’t rush in without planning. He doesn’t need to cement a place in history: just being the first African-American President has secured that. Obama is the man that Shrub could never be, the President he couldn’t even try to be. That very maturity drives both right and left crazy, for we haven’t had a President like him, really, ever. Think about it: a President who isn’t driven by his insecurities like Nixon or Carter, who doesn’t buy into ideological crap like Reagan or Daddy Bush, or sometimes the captive of his appetites like Clinton, or lazy like Bush. There are no hooks on him to make him do something he doesn’t want to do.

Sometimes I think many on the left have issues with power and the responsibility it brings. Having been the subjects of the abuse of power has allowed a certain “righteousness” without responsibility. It’s easy to think all uses of American military or financial power are corrupt without nuance. As long as daddy “conservatives” ran the place, there was no need to think about the deep decisions regarding America’s place in the world. Instead one could choose to “drop out” or talk “third party” or be haplessly pacifist in the face of an armed world. And one could have a progressive fiefdom of adoring followers without the need to reach out to others or be civilly engaged.

Syria is a tough cookie, no matter how you slice it. Assad is just like his father, a brutal bastard who has shown he would kill everyone he can to keep a power that was never granted to him either by election or a legitimate monarchy. And while many of the rebels just want Assad gone and a chance to take their lives in their own hands, some of the assistants just want another theocracy like Iran, which is simply tyranny by another name. But chemical weapons are the cruelest of all weapons. Even after the dead are buried, the soil is heavily contaminated, killing people long after the war is over. So Obama has a hard decision to make, but he’s up to the task and I trust him based on experience to make the right one or at least the best one he can make. If he goes for it, he has a plan to get things done. If he pulls away from the brink, he’ll have something to show for it.

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Spandan C (The People’s View): The US Intelligence Assessment on Syria and the Next Steps in the National Debate

…. This president and his administration has done everything possible up to this point to avoid getting involved in Syria militarily, against the drum beats of the war mongers. Even now, he has shown considerable restraint. But it is important to remember that Barack Obama was not elected on the promise of complete and total pacifism; he was elected on the promise of careful consideration, judgment and letting the facts speak for themselves.

Whatever the president does, I am sure his critics will be many and the criticisms will be far and wide. As has been noted, he has no good options here. But as we debate this going forward, I want us to understand the complexity of the issue, drop the righteousness (either side – no one should take the idea of dropping bombs lightly just as no one should make light of the massacre from the chemical weapons), and do something the pundits won’t do – let’s keep it on the facts, not the conjectures and the rhetoric.

Full post here

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SmartyPants: In the meantime…progress

As we’ve all been consumed with what President Obama will do in Syria, this administration is making some serious progress in other areas. For example:

President Obama took executive action to close gun purchase loopholes.

The IRS will recognize all gay marriages.

HHS announced that Medicare benefits will be extended to same-sex couples.

In yet another step to end the “war on drugs,” Attorney General Eric Holder gave a green light to state measures legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

But yeah, to some folks, Obama is just like Bush. LOL

See post here – with links to all that beautiful progress

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Washington Post: Ginsburg will be first justice to officiate at same-sex wedding

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first Supreme Court member to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday when she officiates at the Washington wedding of Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser.

The gala wedding of Kaiser and economist John Roberts at the performing arts center brings together the nation’s highest court and the capital’s high society and will mark a new milepost in the recognition of same-sex unions.

…. During a recent interview, Ginsburg seemed excited about being the first member of the court to conduct such a ceremony and said it was only a logical next step.

“I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship,” Ginsburg said.

More here

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Excellent:

Dallas News: Wendy Davis raises $470,000 from outside Texas following her nationally viewed filibuster

In the six weeks following her headline-grabbing filibuster, Wendy Davis raised $1.2 million — nearly 40 percent of it from outside Texas. Davis drew national attention following the filibuster against an abortion-restriction bill that helped shut down the Texas Senate and prompted Gov. Rick Perry to call lawmakers back into another special session. In the wake of Davis’ new-found fame, Davis has been urged by some Democrats to run for governor next year. She says she will announce her political plans — whether to run for reelection as a senator from Fort Worth or as a Democrat for governor — in a few weeks.

More here

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Hey, our very brilliant Liberal Librarian has a new admirer, the very brilliant Kurt Eichenwald of Vanity Fair:

Congratulaaaaaaaaations LL!! But if you end up being hired by Vanity Fair, don’t forget us!

In case you missed it: LL’s post on Syria yesterday here

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Not such a good time, though, for another of our friends on Twitter - Jovie, I should not (literally) cry laughing at your misfortune, but it’s reeeeeeally hard:

This morning: “New account it’s my fifth in 2 weeks.

LOL!

Guinness book world of records.”

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MooooOOOOooooOOOOoooorning.

22
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

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Monday: The President will host a meeting at the White House with business leaders to discuss the importance of common-sense immigration reform, including the Congressional Budget Office analysis that concludes that immigration reform would promote economic growth and reduce the deficit.

Tuesday: President Obama will speak at Georgetown University on the growing threat of climate change

Wednesday morning: The President and the First Family will depart for their trip to Africa. The trip will continue through the weekend, and the President and the First Lady will return July 2nd.

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USA Today: Members of Congress will be in recess in August, but President Obama wants to make sure they hear from his supporters.

A pro-Obama organization said Friday that Obama will address an “Action August” summit designed “to plan for and discuss the action we will be taking during the August congressional recess in order to ensure that the voice of the people is heard and that Members of Congress are held accountable by those they represent.”

Organizing for Action said Obama will speak July 22 at “a working dinner with grass-roots leaders, volunteers, OFA founding members, campaign alumni and OFA staff to thank them for everything they are doing, but also to reaffirm that there is still so much left to do.”

Among the issues that OFA and Obama are pushing: an immigration bill, gun-control legislation and a new budget deal with higher taxes on the wealthy.

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Washington Post: Vice President Joe Biden is not letting the gun-control issue rest. At a speech in Las Vegas Friday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting, Biden said that “at least five senators” who initially opposed background checks have sought him out for an opportunity to change their votes.

“We’re in an effort to see how we can provide another opportunity for the people who voted no” on universal background checks, which failed in the Senate in April. “That’s the hardest thing for a politician and we need to provide them a rationale. We will get to this eventually.”

More here

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Bob Cesca: The NSA absolutely can not intentionally target U.S. citizens without an individual warrant. Even if you’re the most vocal Edward Snowden supporter in the universe, you have no choice but to acknowledge the truth and accuracy of this statement.

How can I say such a thing? On Thursday, Glenn Greenwald wrote it deep within his latest “bombshell” article for the Guardian: “To intentionally target either of those groups requires an individual warrant.” The “groups” Greenwald referred to here are U.S. persons or residents.

And there you go.

This is easily the biggest news to come out of Thursday’s dispatch …. not only does it totally decimate CNet’s journalistic blunder from last weekend …. it it also represents a striking clarification in Greenwald’s reporting, not to mention Snowden’s claims of being able to target any American including the president at his own discretion and without a warrant. The “requires an individual warrant” line isn’t the centerpiece of the article by any stretch. It’s tossed into the mix almost as a throwaway ….

More here

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Charles Johnson: Glenn Greenwald’s Latest Self-Debunking Non-Bombshell – Libertarian hyperventilation continues

Here we go again. Glenn Greenwald’s latest overheated, over-long, deliberately confusing piece claims to reveal: The Top Secret Rules That Allow NSA to Use US Data Without a Warrant.

….. keep digging through the turgid prose. Keep digging. Because eventually you get to this:

  FAA warrants are issued by the Fisa court for up to 12 months at a time, and authorise the collection of bulk information – some of which can include communications of US citizens, or people inside the US. To intentionally target either of those groups requires an individual warrant.

Wait a minute — did Glenn Greenwald just debunk his own exaggerated claims? Why yes, he did…..

More here

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TPM: Yahoo! News issued a correction Friday evening after a reporter mistakenly referred to Kenya as President Barack Obama’s birthplace.

A piece on Obama’s upcoming trip to Africa by Rachel Rose Hartman included a lede that echoed sentiments heard among the “birther” movement.

“President Barack Obama makes the first extended trip to Africa of his presidency next week — but he won’t be stopping in the country of his birth,” Hartman originally wrote.

More here

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NYT: Paula Deen, the self-proclaimed queen of Southern cooking and a sugary mainstay of the Food Network, was dropped by the network on Friday, after a bewildering day in which she failed to show up for an interview on the “Today” show and then in two online videos begged her family and audience to forgive her for using racist language.

More here

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ThinkProgress: …. what was striking both about some of the accusations she faced, and her sworn testimony in the deposition, was that Deen seemed more afraid of getting caught out being racist or being accused of having caused offense than of the idea that she might have caused someone else pain…..

Deen’s desperate to be forgiven, which in this context means not facing a boycott or loss of business …. there’s no reason anyone should gratify her until she demonstrates that she’s making real efforts to become a different person and to establish a different environment in her businesses. Paula Deen isn’t entitled to our goodwill just because she wants it…..

More here

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