Archive for April 5th, 2013

05
Apr
13

Chat away

President Obama, standing under a portrait of George Washington, speaks at an Easter Prayer Breakfast in the East Room of the White House, April 5

05
Apr
13

This and That

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Greg Sargent: Liberals who oppose Chained CPI need to start thinking right now about how to answer this question: Which is worse, a Grand Bargain, or continued sequestration? It’s unclear to me that there is any other likely outcome. Either Republicans will decide to weather sequestration or they will agree to some kind of a deal to replace it. So liberals need a good policy answer to that question…..

Michael Tomasky: I Think Obama Is Bluffing

Steve Benen: The President, for good or ill, is once again returning to the negotiating table with pre-emptive concessions, offering cuts to Medicare and Social Security. In exchange, Obama expects Republicans to scrap the sequestration cuts and accept about $600 billion in new revenue through closed loopholes, limits on deductions, and ending tax breaks for industries like Big Oil.

Business Insider: Barack Obama’s Budget Will Contain A Massive ‘Screw You’ To Mitt Romney

Steve Benen: Sequestration takes a toll on cancer patients, Medicare… Sequestration cuts are affecting Medicare – though not as much as some other programs — and cancer clinics really are turning away thousands of patients as a result of the Republican spending cuts….

Greg Sargent: The economy added only 88,000 non-farm jobs in March. Could that be the beginning of sequestration? Or, alternatively, it could be wrong and could end up getting revised upwards. Indeed, January was revised upward to 148,000 jobs, and February up to 268,000. Of course, we may soon find out whether the sequester will undermine whatever recovery is underway

Steve Benen: Jobs totals stumble to 10-month low

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Washington Post: Maryland’s already-strong gun laws will become among the strictest in the nation with a measure passed by the General Assembly Thursday, sending the bill to the Democratic governor who proposed the legislation in the aftermath of December’s massacre at a Newtown….

Business Insider: Actually, Obama Really Does Have The Support Of Gun Owners

Ronald Brownstein: Why the Culture Wars Now Favor Democrats – Gay marriage, gun control, immigration – the wedge issues now divide Republicans…

Steve Benen: And then there were four …. This morning, freshman Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) of North Dakota issued a statement endorsing marriage equality …. almost immediately after, freshman Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) of Indiana published a statement saying he, too, supports equal marriage rights for all….

Charles Pierce: Former freakishly elected senator Scott Brown has been listening to those consultants again, and is spoiling to get his leather-shorted ass kicked by another woman in another New England state….

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President Obama bows his head in prayer during the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House, April 5

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Next week, there’s a major push by the White House on gun violence reform – on Monday, President Obama will speak on the issue in Hartford, CT; on Tuesday, VP Biden will host law enforcement officials at the White House; on Wednesday the First Lady will speak in Chicago on gun violence, and on Thursday VP Biden will appear on Morning Joe for a roundtable discussion on the issue. More details soon.

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Good-looking-gate:

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What am I missing from today?

05
Apr
13

tod toon time

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(ok, technically not a toon, but let’s not be dogmatic about it)

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Chattoon away

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05
Apr
13

Rise and Shine…It’s Friday!

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Voters Trust Obama More On Budget; Blame GOP For Gridlock

The Hill: A full half of Americans trust President Obama more than congressional Republicans to deal with the federal budget.

The survey by USA Today and Marist found that 50 percent of voters trust President Obama to make the right decisions on the budget, compared to 41 percent who say congressional Republicans are more trustworthy. Eight percent say they don’t believe either will make the right choices on budget priorities.

Among independents, 46 percent say they trust the president more, while 37 percent say they believe congressional Republicans have the advantage. Meanwhile, 48 percent of voters say Republicans are responsible for partisan gridlock holding up a deal on the federal budget.

Read more here

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The Beltway Media’s Fainting Spell Over President Obama’s 2014 Pursuits.

Alec MacGillis: Flash forward to this week, as Obama embarks on a trip to California to raise money for House Democrats, the first of 14 fundraisers he’s holding this year for the Democratic Party, up from only five that he held in 2009. Is this a sign that he learned a lesson from the 2010 disaster and the lashing he received afterward, and is determined to do better in his second midterm election? No—that would be too consistent a reaction for the Beltway. Obama’s fundraising—doing what he was slammed for not doing enough of four years ago—is now proof of his hypocritical betrayal of his principles.

But underlying the tut-tutting about Obama’s fundraising is a broader, longstanding confusion in the Washington establishment over what is to be expected of Obama. We scorn him for seeking to hold himself above the fray and then lash him with high dudgeon as soon he deigns to descend into the muck. Never mind that he is following in the footsteps of his two-term predecessors—as the Post noted, “Ronald Reagan participated in 20 fundraisers for Republicans in 1985, and George W. Bush did 14 in 2005…. Bill Clinton, committed to helping the Democratic Party eliminate debt after the 1996 campaign, appeared at a whopping 77 fundraisers in 1997.” One need look no further than the National Rifle Association’s success at blocking legislation favored by a majority of Americans to realize that the bully pulpit alone is inadequate to the task, and that it would help to spend some money on behalf of the legislation. After a bruising first term in office, Obama is painfully aware of these realities. But when he tries to address them, the Beltway blanches, to the bewilderment of those who’ve seen the realities that Obama is up against.

Read more here

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Ta-Nehisi Coates: The present darling of the right wing, Dr. Benjamin Carson, is a distinguished neurosurgeon who went from the depths of Detroit poverty to the heights of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. But his current status among conservatives isn’t so much rooted in Carson’s redemptive rise from rags to respectability, as it is in the belief that he is, in the long winter of Obama, the one they’ve been waiting for.

Last week, Carson came under attack for comparing advocates of same-sex marriage with advocates of bestiality and the North American Man/Boy Love Association. He then cast himself as a victim of political correctness, besieged by white liberals — “the most racist people there are” — who could not countenance his heterodoxy and wanted to keep him on the “plantation.”

Read more here

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Majority Now Support Marijuana Legalization

ABC News: For years, supporters of marijuana legalization have pointed to polls trending their way, claiming the issue was about to tip as favorable to a majority of Americans. Now, their prediction has finally come true.

For the first time, a major U.S. poll shows a majority of nationwide support for legalizing marijuana: 52 percent now back legalized pot, compared with 45 percent who oppose it, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. Pew has been asking about marijuana since 1969, when only 12 percent thought it should be legal, and 84 percent said it shouldn’t be.

The legalization charge is being led by young people: Support ranked highest among 18-29-year-old respondents, 64 percent of whom think pot should be legal. Politically, liberal Democrats overwhelmingly think marijuana should be legal, at 73 percent.

But the idea of legalization has grown by making inroads among Republicans. Since 2010, the demographic that has shifted more support than any other–including groups broken down by age, political leaning, race, gender, and education–is liberal and moderate Republicans. Among them, support has jumped 17 percentage points in the last three years, from 36 percent in 2010 to 53 percent today.

Read more here

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Washington Post: President Barack Obama’s budget next week will steer clear of major cuts to Medicaid. White House officials aren’t commenting, but Obama’s budget would set up a clear contrast with the Republican-led House. The GOP budget would turn Medicaid over to the states and sharply reduce future spending from currently projected levels. It would also repeal the expansion of Medicaid, along with the rest of Obama’s health care law.

Under Obama’s overhaul, Medicaid would be expanded to bring in low-income adults, mainly people with no children at home but also some parents. In states that accept the expansion, those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — about $15,400 for an individual — would be entitled to receive Medicaid. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the expansion’s cost for the first three years, starting in 2014. Washington’s share would gradually phase down to 90 percent.

Read more here

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The Man Who Could Put Climate Change On The Agenda

Coral Davenport: Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, is best known for two things: his national security chops—he had key roles on the White House National Security Council—and the high regard in which he’s held by President Obama. McDonough has been part of Obama’s inner circle for nearly a decade, and the president has called his new chief of staff one of his “closest and most trusted advisers.”

Here’s what a lot of people don’t know about McDonough: He has a background on climate change, and he takes the issue very seriously. Here’s why that’s important: If Obama wants to follow through on his 2013 Inaugural Address pledge to make climate change a cornerstone of his legacy, he’ll need to make a series of tough, highly controversial executive decisions. Ultimately, of course, the U.S. agenda on climate change will be set by the president himself. But Obama’s selection of a key adviser with such a deep record on the issue suggests he intends to take it seriously.

Read more here

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Why Obama Wants A Grand Bargain

Greg Sargent: The news of the morning is that President Obama will propose a budget next week that includes specific cuts in Social Security and Medicare along with new revenues — an effort to bring Republicans back to the table for a “Grand Bargain” to replace the sequester. The entitlement cuts include Chained CPI for Social Security and a combination of means testing and provider-side cuts on Medicare, in addition to other spending cuts, which will anger liberal Democrats. The budget seeks $580 billion in new revenues via closing loopholes enjoyed by the wealthy and oil and gas companies. There will reportedly be some new spending offset by money raised elsewhere — which is designed to prove that you can reduce the deficit and spend to prime the economy and help the middle class at the same time.

At a certain level, this shouldn’t surprise anybody. On entitlements, Obama is merely reiterating what he’s previously offered John Boehner, and it has long been clear that this offer is still on the table. Obama and his advisers don’t necessarily view Chained CPI as good policy. But they think a Grand Bargain is ultimately a better outcome than continued sequestration, and the only way to the former is to peel off individual Republicans who are open to new revenues. They believe a Grand Bargain is good for Democrats in general, because it essentially would lock in a medium-term agreement over core disputes — about the safety net and about the size of government, and who should pay for it — that have produced a debilitating stalemate in Washington.

Liberals who oppose Chained CPI need to start thinking right now about how to answer this question: Which is worse, a Grand Bargain, or continued sequestration?

Read more here

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President Obama’s Daily Schedule; All Times Eastern

9:15AM: President Obama Hosts An Easter Prayer Breakfast. VP Biden Also Attends.

10:30AM: President Obama and Vice President Biden Receive The Presidential Daily Briefing.

12:45PM: Press Secretary Jay Carney Briefs The Press.

12:45PM: Vice President Biden Delivers Remarks At The 2013 Annual Conference Of The Export-Import Bank.

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