Archive for June 21st, 2013

21
Jun
13

Night Owls: Welcome To N.E.R.D.

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This is your introduction to the fantastic, AMAZING, freaking ridiculous N.E.R.D. aka ‘Nobody Ever Really Dies.’ Why are they amazing? Because they range from rock, to hip hop, to funk, to alternative.

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21
Jun
13

Africa, 2013

August 2006: Senator Barack Obama peers out of what was Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa (Photo: Pete Souza)

Washington Post: President and Michelle Obama will leave Washington on Wednesday for a week-long trip to three African nations, focusing on economic development, democracy building and private sector investment.

Among the highlights for the president will be bilateral meetings with the leaders of Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, visits to Senegal’s supreme court and a power plant in Tanzania, tours of a slave museum in Gorree Island and the site of the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for two decades on Robben Island.

Obama also will tour a community center with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town.

The centerpiece of the trip will be the president’s speech at the University of Cape Town, where he will deliver a message that the United States intends to significantly boost its presence on the continent….

…. Michelle Obama, too, will have a full schedule. She will speak to girls at a Senegal middle school and with students at a South African high school, and she will participate in a first ladies summit hosted by the George W. Bush Institute. Former first lady Laura Bush also will participate, along with first ladies of African nations, officials said.

More here

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2006:

August, 2006: Sen. Barack Obama, Michelle, daughters Sasha, Malia and other children help plant a tree with 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, Nairobi, Kenya

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Photos from then Senator Obama’s visit to Africa in 2006 – all taken by Pete Souza, then working for the Chicago Tribune:

…. touring Robben Island with Ahmed Kathrada, a former prison mate of Nelson Mandela

….. visiting a health clinic in a township near Cape Town, Sen. Obama talks to Sisisipo Mngeni, 3, whose mother Nomathamsanqa Mngeni (top right) is HIV positive

….. viewing a 1976 photograph of the fatally wounded Hector Pieterson at the museum in Soweto, named for the 13-year old victim of apartheid violence. Antoinette Pieterson, Hector’s sister, accompanies Obama

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21
Jun
13

PBO nominates J. Comey to head F.B.I.

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President Obama nominated Robert Muller’s successor to the F.B.I. this afternoon

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21
Jun
13

Chat Away

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First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a promotion ceremony for White House Fellow Archie Bates in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, May 3, 2013. Bates was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Standing with them, from left, is Jason Washington, a White House Fellow; son Archie Bates IV; Brigadier General Barrye Price; wife Jaquetta Bates; and son Isaiah Bates. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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21
Jun
13

Picture Perfect

President Obama talks with Thelma Maxine Pippen McNair, mother of Denise McNair, after signing H.R. 360 in the Oval Office, May 24, 2013. The legislation provides for the presentation of a congressional gold medal to commemorate the lives of the four young African American victims of the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in September 1963 (Pete Souza)

President Obama participates in a literacy lesson with students while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom at Moravia Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., May 17, 2013 (Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama hands a diploma to a graduating senior during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet High School for Health Sciences and Engineering at Historic Pearl High commencement ceremony, at the Howard C. Gentry Complex in Nashville, Tenn., May 18, 2013 (Chuck Kennedy)

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21
Jun
13

Republicans aren’t really good at this

Cross posted at The People’s View.

The GOP farm bill went down in flames as 62 of the GOP Teabag faction voted against the leadership, joining nearly all Democrats to deal Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor yet another defeat from within. Of course, the Teabaggers didn’t vote against the bill because they were aghast at the steep cuts to vital food stamp funding. No, they wanted to just do away with food stamps all together, and much like the purity left threw a fit that the bill wasn’t “good” enough.

A few quotes from around the Intertubes.

From Steve Benen:

To be sure, even if the House had passed its bill, it wasn’t going far given the scope of the opposition from Senate Democrats and an unambiguous veto threat from the Obama White House.

But the real takeaway here is that the House Republican leadership, once again, failed miserably: “The House defeated the farm bill resoundingly … dealing another blow to Speaker John A. Boehner as he continues to struggle to move legislation opposed by conservative interest groups.”…

As for what happens now, it’s not entirely clear, but the next move will probably be a temporary extension of the status quo, while GOP leaders redouble their efforts to learn how to count to 218.

Continue reading ‘Republicans aren’t really good at this’

21
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

2:05: The President makes a personnel announcement

12:45: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

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USA Today: President Obama will announce Friday that he’s picked James Comey, a former Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to be his next FBI director……

…. Comey, who previously served as deputy attorney general and supervised operations for the Justice Department, was a key player in one of the most dramatic moments of the Bush administration. In 2004, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andrew Card tried to persuade Attorney General John Ashcroft – who was ill with acute pancreatitis – to reauthorize a warrantless eavesdropping program while in his hospital bed.

Comey learned of Gonzales and Card’s plan and rushed to Ashcroft’s hospital room, along with Mueller. Both threatened to resign if the White House renewed the program. As a result, it was not reauthorized.

More here

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USA Today: …. The President holds his first meeting today with the newly constituted Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, in part to discuss criticism of National Security Agency programs that gather phone and Internet records.

Obama will discuss his recent direction to the Director of National Intelligence to de-classify certain information “to better contextualize these programs, correct misrepresentations, and provide an opportunity for the dialogue he welcomes about the right balance between national security and privacy,” the White House said.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was actually created in 2004 as part of the executive branch, and made an independent agency in 2007, but it has never met amid disputes over its duties.

More here

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AP: The Republican chairman of a House committee considering new abortion regulations in Texas has told more than 300 women that they would not be allowed to testify against the bill because it had become too repetitive.

The predominantly-female audience roared in disapproval when Corsicana Rep. Byron Cook made the announcement. State troopers flooded the room as he and other Republicans left.

The new bills would limit how, when and where women could get abortions in Texas and shut down 38 out or 42 clinics in the state.

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UT/NerdyWonka: I am so proud of the hundreds of Texas men and women who showed up to make their voices heard.

I am proud of us standing up and keeping the debate going for over 14 hours so that the anti-women bills would not just have a smooth sailing through committee.

I am proud of Texans for making sure the world knew that these destructive bills had died in a regular session and the GOP is trying to sneak them past in shoddy special sessions.

I am so proud of everyone who made sure the draconian bill #HB60 trended worldwide on Twitter and made people from other states and countries tune into the fight and realize what damage and destruction really is.

I am proud of the Democratic State Reps who made sure voices were heard even when the GOP Chair Byron Cook tried to shutdown debate.

People forget that California used to be red until the GOP tried to ram down Prop 187 and then California became blue and has stayed blue since then. That is is Texas right now.

What I saw yesterday and into the morning shows that the groundwork for Texas turning purple and eventually blue has been laid. People in states who vote Blue in presidential elections and those who don’t but are controlled by GOP state legislatures and Governors need to be vigilant because these laws have and will spread to your states too. See Ohio for example. These laws have also come to the U.S. House of Rep so be on the lookout. States are a blueprint for what can and will become national anti-women bills and laws.

The war on women is real but the Texas Legislature found out that you don’t mess with Texas women.

We might be controlled by majority republicans but our voices will not be silenced. 2014 is no joke.

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Reuters: It takes an army: Tens of thousands of workers roll out Obamacare

From the chief actuary at the California health insurance exchange that President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law established to the legions of call center staffers who will help people trying to buy insurance through such state exchanges, the number of people working to implement “Obamacare” has reached the tens of thousands, a Reuters analysis has found.

No one said that overhauling healthcare, which accounts for 17 percent of all national spending, was going to happen with a skeleton crew.

State offices that will run insurance exchanges are hiring tens of thousands, either on staff or through outsourcing firms. Federal agencies that are key to implementing the law, such as the Internal Revenue Service, plan to hire thousands more, and private non-profit groups backed by the White House are dispatching thousands of newly hired staffers and volunteers into the field.

More here

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Greg Sargent: In another embarrassment for House Speaker John Boehner, the farm bill went down to a surprise defeat in the House, 195-234. Most Democrats voted against it, because of its deep cuts to food stamps, but what really sealed its fate is that in spite of those cuts, 62 Republicans voted against it, too, apparently because it didn’t cut spending enough.

….. “This underscores that Boehner cannot pass bills on his own,” Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein told me in a quick interview today. “He can’t do anything with only Republicans. The real power center in the House is not Boehner. It’s not Cantor. It’s not Ryan. It’s not McCarthy. It’s the extreme right. This shows the real dilemma ahead for a Speaker who is very weak and very conscious of his weakness within the party.”

….. Ornstein’s final verdict on today’s display from House Republicans: “They’re pathetic.”

Full post here

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Steve Benen: …. From a progressive perspective, it’s hard to shed tears over the bill’s demise – this was an awful, needlessly punitive piece of legislation. Its GOP proponents, without so much as a hint of shame, were a little too eager to redistribute wealth in the wrong direction – punishing poor families and rewarding wealthy agricultural interests – and their efforts to slash funds for food stamps bordered on cruel.

To be sure, even if the House had passed its bill, it wasn’t going far given the scope of the opposition from Senate Democrats and an unambiguous veto threat from the Obama White House.

But the real takeaway here is that the House Republican leadership, once again, failed miserably….

More here

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