Archive for July 2nd, 2014


A Tweet Or Two



Continue reading ‘A Tweet Or Two’


We Owe It To Those Who Endured Then, And Acted Then, To Endure Now And Act Now

by Japa (@deaconmill)

Folks, I am just going to ask that you bear with me while you read the following:

50 years ago, the Civil Rights Act became law. As LBJ said at the time, doing so lost the South for a generation.

(Actually, he underestimated a bit there).

Also, the Civil Rights Act led to the GOP Southern Strategy which brought us Ronald Reagan, the President most responsible for much that is wrong in America today.

Also the Civil Rights Act led, eventually, to the rise of the power of the Christian Right Wing.

The Civil Rights Act led, eventually, to the current Supreme Court and the major attempts by the GOP to undermine voting rights.

And I can point out many things wrong in our society which sprung from the reaction to the Civil Rights Act.

So, was it worth it with all these negatives?

Hell, yes.

For one thing, without it, PBO would not be President today.

But there is so much more that would not exist without this having happened 50 years ago. The Civil Rights Act is the antecedent from which flowed many other things, laws to protect workers, women, children, the disabled, the LGTB community and many more.

But here is another thing. If LBJ had not muscled through the CRA, who knows when anything like it may have been passed. Like the ACA, there is a time to grab for something and if the opportunity isn’t taken, another opportunity might not come around for a long time.

We still have a long way to go, and as I have said several times, as a white male, I can only guess at what all the various minorities face.

But I will say this. A lot of people who really weren’t all that aware of how much racism there was in the country, or who only thought it existed in the South, had their eyes opened simply by the reaction to the CRA. And I think a lot more are getting their eyes opened by the reaction to PBO.

Forward movement is never painless. And if we aren’t willing to endure the pain and the struggles, like jumping through hoops to vote, then we won’t move forward.

It is one thing to complain about how the obstacles shouldn’t be there, it is another to do things despite the obstacles. And it was the willingness to do things despite the obstacles that ultimately resulted in this day 50 years ago.

As has become a theme the last couple days, we owe it to those who endured then, and acted then, to endure now and act now, or, as Pierce put, we will deserve the country and the government that we get.


ObamaCare: ‘More Got Insurance In First Half Of 2014 Than Lost It In 8 Years Of Bush’



LOL GOP: More Americans Gained Insurance In The First Half Of 2014 Than Lost It Under 8 Years Of Bush

Of George W. Bush’s myriad of failures that continue to wreck havoc at home and abroad, 7.9 million Americans losing their health insurance rarely gets mentioned. “When [former president Bill] Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million,” Ron Brownstein wrote in 2009. “By the time [former president George W.] Bush left office that number had grown to just over 46.3 million, an increase of nearly 8 million or 20.6 percent.” And as Bush left office, the percentage of those without insurance continued to grow as millions continued to lose their jobs in the recession President Obama inherited. But in 2011 the percentage of uninsured began to shrink slightly as the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

That shrinkage leveled out over the next two years but 2014 will likely offer the biggest reduction in the uninsured population at least in decades. The Incidental Economist‘s Aaron Carroll — who hosts a great YouTube series called Healthcare Triage — looked at a new survey from Gallup and found that it suggests “about 10-11 million Americans are newly insured this year. Almost 9 million of them received private insurance through the exchanges.” This means far more Americans have gained health insurance in the first six months of this year than lost it under George W. Bush. It also means that every prediction Republicans have made about this law has been wrong.

More here




Chat Away


50th Anniversary of The Civil Rights Act





Few achievements have defined our national identity as distinctly or as powerfully as the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It transformed our understanding of justice, equality, and democracy and advanced our long journey toward a more perfect Union. It helped bring an end to the Jim Crow era, banning discrimination in public places; prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; and providing a long-awaited enforcement mechanism for the integration of schools. A half-century later, we celebrate this landmark achievement and renew our commitment to building a freer, fairer, greater society.

Through the lens of history, the progress of the past five decades may seem inevitable. We may wish to remember our triumphs while erasing the pain and doubt that came before. Yet to do so would be a disservice to the giants who led us to the mountaintop, to unsung heroes who left footprints on our National Mall, to every American who bled and died on the battlefield of justice. In the face of bigotry, fear, and unyielding opposition from entrenched interests, their courage stirred our Nation’s conscience. And their struggle helped convince a Texas Democrat who had previously voted against civil rights legislation to become its new champion. With skillful charm and ceaseless grit, President Lyndon B. Johnson shepherded the Civil Rights Act through the Congress — and on July 2, 1964, he signed it into law.

While laws alone cannot right every wrong, they possess an unmatched power to anchor lasting change. The Civil Rights Act threw open the door for legislation that strengthened voting rights and established fair housing standards for all Americans. Fifty years later, we know our country works best when we accept our obligations to one another, embrace the belief that our destiny is shared, and draw strength from the bonds that hold together the most diverse Nation on Earth.

As we reflect on the Civil Rights Act and the burst of progress that followed, we also acknowledge that our journey is not complete. Today, let us resolve to restore the promise of opportunity, defend our fellow Americans’ sacred right to vote, seek equality in our schools and workplaces, and fight injustice wherever it exists. Let us remember that victory never comes easily, but with iron wills and common purpose, those who love their country can change it.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 2, 2014, as the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate this accomplishment and advance civil rights in our time.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.




Hobby Lobby/SCOTUS – Why?

Where to start?

Employers don’t pay for any actual health “care” unless they direct-fund their own insurance pool. Most employers aren’t in the insurance business. Most employers, even large ones like Disney, GM, and Edison, use large health insurance companies like Anthem, Aetna, and Blue Shield. The nice thing about being a large employer (51+ employees), the more (healthy) employees you have, the better your negotiating power is to write your own coverage. Small groups (50 or less), get to choose from pre-made small group plans.

Employers don’t pay for meds; birth control, or otherwise. The insurance company does. Employers don’t get an itemized Rx bill of all their employees medications to pay every month. The insurance company pays for that, and your medical care is protected private information that your employer has no business ever seeing. The SOCTUS decision doesn’t change that.

The ACA guarantees that women have FREE access to birth control. So, even if Hobby Lobby self-funds their insurance, the SCOTUS decision doesn’t affect that. Either the government (all of us tax payers) or the insurance companies will pick up that tab, because it’s cheaper than maternity care and the birth of a live human.

This decision doesn’t allow Hobby Lobby to force their female employees to pay full price for birth control. It also doesn’t allow Hobby Lobby to block their female employees from getting access to birth control.

Continue reading ‘Hobby Lobby/SCOTUS – Why?’


Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama greets members of the Byrd family at the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., July 2, 2010. The President and Vice President Joe Biden attended the memorial service for Sen. Robert Byrd, who died June 28, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)


Today (all times Eastern)

12:0: The President meets with economists for lunch, Old Family Dining Room

12:30: Josh Earnest briefs the press

4:05: The President meets with Secretary of Treasury Lew


Charles Pierce: You Have No Excuse for Not Voting. Not Anymore.

We get the government we deserve, and we are on track for one that is heedless of concern for women’s health, and poised to eliminate unions.

… Over the weekend, I watched the PBS documentary on Freedom Summer, the effort 50 years ago to register African Americans to vote in the state of Mississippi, the effort that cost so many people so dearly, especially the families of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Mickey Schwerner, who were beaten and shot to death, and buried in a dam, because the state of Mississippi had local police forces shot through with the Ku Klux Klan.

Now, five decades later, with a Republican House far gone into nihilistic vandalism, and with the Senate hanging in the balance, and a Supreme Court one septuagenarian’s heartbeat away from a return to the golden days of the last Gilded Age, and a Democratic president in the White House on whom those responsible for the previous three phenomena have painted a bullseye, we keep hearing about how hard it is going to be for the Democratic party to turn out its voters this fall to take advantage of the opportunities for which Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner gave their lives, and did so in my lifetime, not in a distant antebellum episode in some backwater.

So there really isn’t any excuse any more.

More here




The Very Brilliant:



VoteRiders is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that all citizens are able to exercise their right to vote. Through resources and media exposure, VoteRiders supports on-the-ground organizations that assist citizens to secure their voter ID and inspires local volunteers and communities to sustain such programs and galvanize others to emulate these efforts.

How We Started

Knowing that millions of potential voters may be disenfranchised by the increasing number of stringent voter ID laws, Kathleen Unger decided to take action. With her extensive professional and volunteer experience in the non-profit sector, Ms. Unger decided to start her own non-profit dedicated to helping citizens to obtain their voter ID so they can exercise their fundamental right to vote. It was important to Ms. Unger that VoteRiders not duplicate what other organizations are doing to protect the right to vote. Thus, VoteRiders was founded in April 2012.

More here


Follow VoteRiders on Twitter here


Steve Benen: Obama no longer cares whether the GOP is outraged

It’s become clear in recent weeks that President Obama and congressional Republicans are reading from very different scripts. The notion that the two institutional forces are butting heads is plainly wrong – they are two trains on separate tracks moving in completely different directions.

…. Clearly, the president’s willingness to keep governing without them has only enraged congressional Republicans – who were already livid. But it’s now obvious that the president simply does not care. Not even a little. The more GOP lawmaker scream, “No more executive actions!” the more Obama thinks to himself, “I wonder what other executive actions I can take.”

….. this is a president who no longer cares whether his unhinged critics are unhappy.

Full post here



Trevor LaFauci (The People’s View): They Vote

The person who wishes to impose his or her religious views upon their company votes.

The person who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old votes.

The CEO whose salary is over 300 times that of his or her employees votes.

The person who thinks guns are a God-given right votes.

The person who doesn’t believe in equal pay votes.

The person who thinks Sandy Hook was a false flag votes.

The person who thinks there are legitimate forms of rape votes.

The person who thinks all immigrants are drug-carrying mules or gang members votes.

The person who thinks the rich are “job creators” votes.

The person who thinks gays are an abomination votes.

More here



ThinkProgress: Meet The People, And The Families They Care For, Whose Lives Just Got Harder Thanks To The Supreme Court

When Dorothy Glenn and Flora Johnson, two home care workers who belong to the SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas, first started out in their line of work, both made just $1 an hour. By the end of this year, thanks to the collective bargaining agreement reached by their union, they’ll be making $13 an hour. They also now have health care and paid training opportunities thanks to agreements obtained by the union. Such benefits could now become harder to secure.

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the case Harris v. Quinn that was not as wide-sweeping as some labor advocates had worried — making it so that any public employees could opt out of paying union dues even if a union is negotiating on their behalf — but still ruled that home care workers in Illinois, who are paid by the state through Medicaid, no longer have to pay union fees. That loss of money could make it harder for the union to continue its organizing work.

More here



ThinkProgress: What Every Governor Really Believes About Climate Change, In One Handy Map

With all the recent talk at the federal level about the EPA’s proposed carbon regulations for new and existing power plants, it’s easy to forget about the executives that have front row seats to cutting American carbon pollution. And though climate deniers run rampant through the halls of Congress, a new analysis from the CAP Action War Room reveals that half of America’s Republican governors agree with the anti-science caucus of Congress.

Fifteen out of twenty-nine sitting Republican governors deny climate science despite the overwhelming level of scientific consensus, the enormous cost to taxpayers, and the critical place governors occupy in implementing new limits on carbon pollution. None of the country’s Democratic governors have made public statements denying climate change.

More here – and see the scary map


Orlando Sentinel: In Orlando, Michelle Obama calls counselors key to school success

School counselors have one of “the most underappreciated jobs” in the country but are key to in the White House’s goal to have more students pursue education after high school, first lady Michelle Obama said Tuesday in Orlando.

“You’re the one planting the seeds about college” and creating a climate where “higher education is the expectation, not the exception,” Obama told hundreds of counselors at an annual convention.

But counselors, she said, too often struggle with an “outrageous” caseload — one counselor to 451 students is the average in Florida — and school policies that view them as an extra that can be cut during lean budget years or asked to do other duties, such as serve as proctors during testing.

“School counseling should not be an extra or a luxury,” Obama said to loud applause. “School counseling is a necessity.”

Counselors at the American School Counselor Association’s convention at a Walt Disney World resort cheered the first lady’s remarks, saying she had validated their profession and frustrations.

More here

Text of the First Lady’s remarks here


Forbes: Leadership Lessons From Admiral Michelle Howard, The Highest Ranking Woman In Naval History

This morning, in a ceremony at the Women In Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Howard became the first woman in the U.S. Navy’s 236-year history to be promoted to four-star admiral and Vice Chief of Naval Operations, the second highest position in the Navy.

While today’s precedings make history, Howard is no stranger to firsts. In 1999 she became the first African American woman to command a Naval ship, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore. Howard was also the first African American woman in any branch of the military to reach three stars. In the past she’s been deployed to Indonesia for tsunami relief efforts, participated in Maritime security operations in the North Arabian Gulf, and served as commander of a Counter-Piracy Taskforce where–three days into the job–she spearheaded the rescue of Captain Phillips from Somali pirates.

More here



On This Day

President Obama tests out the new Federal Government IT Dashboard outside of the Oval Office on July 2, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama gestures as he speaks on innovation and jobs in the Rose Garden of the White House as business leaders listen July 2, 2009


President Obama heads a soccer ball at Ubungo Power Plant in Dar es Salaam July 2, 2013. The ball called a “soccket ball” has internal electronics that allows it to generate and store electricity that can power small devices


@petesouza: Presidents Obama and Bush greet survivors of 1998 bombing at US Embassy Tanzania

First Lady Michelle Obama and Laura Bush at the African First Ladies Summit: “Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa”

@petesouza: Large crowds again line the motorcade route in Tanzania


@PeteSouza Dancers greet Pres Obama and Pres Kikwete during departure ceremony at airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

President Obama kisses First Lady Michelle Obama as they prepare to board Air Force One



Leaving Tanzania


MoooOOOooorning! My electricity just came back after two hours: grrrrrr. Probably missing lots of news, but we’ll catch up later.

Happy Wednesday!


Early Bird Chat

Pete Souza: “The President feels the hair of a youngster as he greets staff and their family members at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.” July 2, 2013


MoooOOOooorning – Happy Wednesday!







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