Archive for April 2nd, 2013

02
Apr
13

Chat Away

President Obama with Rachel Robinson (Pete Souza)

02
Apr
13

42

Text of remarks here

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In July, Rachel Robinson will be ……. 91. Incredible.

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks alongside actors Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman as she welcomes high school and college students from across the country for a workshop with the cast and crew of the film 42

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02
Apr
13

Politics and the big tent

I’m not a member of any organized party—I am a Democrat.

—Will Rogers

The wonderful thing about being a modern-day Democrat—as opposed to a modern-day Republican—is that it’s a coalition which accommodates both Bernie Sanders and Joe Manchin. Unfortunately, among many of us, that’s also a problem.

I’m not talking about those who are of the Purity Left, for whom clones of Ralph Nader are the only acceptable representatives of the progressive movement. I’m not talking about firebaggers, who see any sort of compromise as a death knell to the party. (Just don’t tell them that their revered leader did business with Redstate and Drudge.) I’m talking of rank and file Democrats, of Democrats who are pragmatic, who are cut to the core when Blue Dog Democrats go against what they consider to be a defining Democratic position such as stricter gun control, or action on climate change.

I will admit that I am often frustrated by the likes of Manchin and Kay Hagan. The recalcitrance they exhibit on supporting what most of us consider core Democratic positions can be more than confounding. I sometimes lapse into the position of wanting them shunned from the Party, as they’re poor representatives of it.

Continue reading ‘Politics and the big tent’

02
Apr
13

Rise and Shine

April 1, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

9:55: President Obama Speaks on the BRAIN Initiative

12:0: Open for Questions: Brain Initiative (WH live)

12:05: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the “42” Film Workshop (WH live)

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:10: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore

5:35: President Obama hosts cast and crew members of the movie ’42’, a biographical film about Jackie Robinson, for a screening at the White House

8:45: Vice President Biden Speaks at the 2013 Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards

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NYT: President Obama on Tuesday will announce a broad new research initiative, starting with $100 million in 2014, to invent and refine new technologies to understand the human brain….

A senior administration scientist compared the new initiative to the Human Genome Project, in that it is directed at a problem that has seemed insoluble up to now: the recording and mapping of brain circuits in action in an effort to “show how millions of brain cells interact.”

More here

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Washington Post: Gun-control measures that seemed destined to become law after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., are in jeopardy amid a fierce lobbying campaign by firearms advocates.

Despite months of negotiations, key senators have been unable to find a workable plan for near-universal background checks on gun purchases — an idea that polls show nine in 10 Americans support.

Another provision that garnered bipartisan support — making gun trafficking a federal crime — could be gutted if Republican lawmakers accept new language being circulated by the National Rifle Association.

More here

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Jonathan Capehart: Dana Milbank, like so many of my other fellow pundits, is placing blame on President Obama for the “congressional inertia” that has stymied advancement of proposals to stem gun violence. What more Obama could do than he’s already done is beyond me. One look at the House of Representatives and you know that anything he wants to do or is in favor of doing is dead on arrival over there.

…. Imagine how much could get done if Obama’s consistent calls for help from the American people on gun violence were backed up by a consistent flood of calls to congressional district and Capitol Hill offices. The president has done as much as he can possibly do. With the Senate set to consider anti-gun-violence bills next week, where’s his backup?

Full post here

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Greg Sargent: Every Senator who is refusing to support expanded background checks — Republican or Democrat — needs to be asked a simple question: Do you support the current background system, or do you see it as an infringement on the rights of the law-abiding?

Every one of them will answer with a Yes, because they are taking refuge behind the idea that the current law needs to be strengthened in various ways but not expanded. Once they are on record confirming they don’t view the current system as a threat to Constitutional rights, the arguments against expanding it dissolve into incoherence.

More here

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Steve Benen: There are 55 members of the Senate Democratic caucus …. 47 of them have now publicly declared their support for marriage equality. The latest is Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey.

….with each similar announcement, the pressure rises on the remaining eight Senate Democrats who have not yet endorsed marriage equality: Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Bill Nelson of Florida, Tom Carper of Delaware, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

More here

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Bloomberg: Chrysler Group LLC, joining U.S. automakers in fielding their most competitive cars in decades, said its March U.S. sales rose 5 percent as the Dodge Dart compact helped extend a streak of monthly gains.

Sales for Chrysler climbed to 171,606 cars and light trucks from 163,381 a year earlier …. The automaker set sales records with its Dodge Dart, Avenger, Challenger and Chrysler 200 cars as well as its Ram pickups.

Chrysler’s U.S. vehicle sales have increased 36 consecutive months, the longest stretch in the company’s records that date back to 1985…

More here

Marketwatch: …. Ford’s newest vehicles – Fusion and Escape – set all-time monthly sales records in March, driving Ford’s best U.S. sales results since May 2007.

“Customers are buying our all-new Fusion and Escape in record numbers, and we are working harder than ever to keep pace with demand for these fuel-efficient vehicles,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Full-size pickup demand continues gaining momentum, outperforming the industry for the third consecutive month.”

More here

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Charles Pierce: The Selling Of Rand Paul

The selling of Senator Aqua Buddha continues apace. Time now has joined the parade, explaining that junior is peddling a superior brand of more easily digestible horsepucky than his old man peddled, and that makes all the difference….

…. Seriously, the filibuster failed, and was “electrifying” only to those people who dropped a fan in the bathtub while listening to it….

There is no question that Aqua Buddha is a superior tap-dancer to his father, but ….. you nod along for five minutes and, at the 5:00:01 mark, you hear something that’s so nakedly opportunistic  — Benghazi, BENGHAZI, BENGHAZI! — that you wonder if you’ve accidentally wandered into Sunday dinner at the Romneys…..

Full post here

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Jonathan Chait: Will Obama’s Majority Survive?

Since November, the prospective death of the Republican coalition has hovered over American politics, and the autopsy has gained renewed attention in light of the debates over gay marriage and immigration, both of which split the GOP from rising chunks of the electorate. I’m an advocate of the theory, first put forward a decade ago by Ruy Teixeira and John Judis, that the electorate is forming a natural Democratic majority. The Republican Party appears to be caught in a double bind, in which the electorate is growingly progressively less white, and even younger white voters hold less conservative views than older ones. What’s more, evidence suggests that voters maintain the partisan allegiances they form at a young age. The picture looks grim for the GOP.

More here

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March 3, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

NYT: Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, is likely to be the next United States ambassador to Japan, according to people familiar with the appointment process.

The vetting of Ms. Kennedy by the White House is almost complete, and an appointment could be announced in the coming weeks, along with the names of several other choices for important diplomatic posts…

More here

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