President Obama walks to a meeting with House Democrats on Capitol Hill, July 31
President Obama is escorted by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Assistant Democratic Party Leader Rep. James Clyburn and Vice Chairman of the Democratic Caucus Rep. Joseph Crowley at the US Capitol after concluding talks with House Democrats
USA Today: … President Obama will appear on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday as part of a western swing next week, officials said.
…. In its announcement, the Tonight Show said Obama plans “to discuss his second term concentrating on his jobs initiatives and the economy.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president’s trip will also include a housing speech in the Phoenix, Ariz., area, and a talk with troops at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Amazon: President Barack Obama: The Kindle Singles Interview
In this Kindle Singles Interview, President Barack Obama decried the “change in culture” that has changed our view of the American Dream. “There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous,” the President said. “Kids weren’t monitoring everyday what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success.” He addressed the jobs issue from a personal perspective, reflecting on how his own life might have been different had he not experienced success in politics. “I could picture myself being a good teacher,” the President mused.
In the interview, which took place on July 30, 2013, at an Amazon facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Obama discussed the increasing need for government programs that can actually make a difference. Sticking close to his standard message, he spoke frankly about the increasing polarization of American politics since the Great Recession and Republican Party intransigence over his agenda. On a personal note, he reflected that he and First Lady Michelle Obama are constantly reminding their daughters of the “slightly unreal environment that they’re in,” as children of privilege in a world constrained by unemployment and recession.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington are getting ready for a four-week break, followed by a September in which House Republicans have only scheduled nine days of work for the entire month, and they’re leaving quite a to-do list behind. Four of the 12 appropriations bills that have to pass before the end of the fiscal year are being ignored; the farm bill is stuck; immigration reform is demanding attention; and a debt-ceiling crisis looms.
There is, in other words, real work that needs to get done, and in theory, members of Congress would be scrambling right now to get as much finished as possible.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred … let me sow love
Where there is injury … pardon
Where there is doubt … faith
Where there is despair … hope
Where there is darkness … light
Where there is sadness … joy
grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled … as to console
To be understood … as to understand,
To be loved … as to love
For it is in giving … that we receive,
It is in pardoning … that we are pardoned,
It is in dying … that we are born to eternal life
Buddhist Prayer for Peace
May all beings everywhere plagued
with sufferings of body and mind
quickly be freed from their illnesses.
May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.
May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending
May those who find themselves in trackless,
the children, the age, the unprotected–
be guarded by beneficial celestials,
and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood
Muslim Prayer for Peace
In the name of Allah,
the beneficent, the merciful.
Praise be to the Lord of the
Universe who has created us and
made us into tribes and nations
That we may know each other, not that
we may despise each other.
If the enemy incline towards peace, do
thou also incline towards peace, and
trust God, for the Lord is the one that
heareth and knoweth all things.
And the servants of God,
Most gracious are those who walk on
the Earth in humility, and when we
address them, we say “PEACE.”
Jewish Prayer for Peace
May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease
when a great peace will embrace the whole world
Then nation shall not threaten nation
and humankind will not again know war.
For all who live on earth shall realize
we have not come into being to hate or destroy
We have come into being
to praise, to labour and to love.
Compassionate God, bless all the leaders of all nations
with the power of compassion.
Fulfill the promise conveyed in Scripture:
“I will bring peace to the land,
and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you.
I will rid the land of vicious beasts
and it shall not be ravaged by war.”
Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream.
Let peace fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.
And let us say: Amen
Jim Messina (Op-ed at CNN) You can’t change Washington from the inside. President Obama was criticized for stating that simple truth during the campaign, but without Americans organizing in support of the issues they believe in, lobbyists and special interests will drive the agenda in Washington.
At this crossroads for our economy, we can’t afford business as usual. That’s why we’ve formed Organizing for Action, to ensure that the voices of the majority of Americans who voted for policies that will strengthen the middle class will be heard.
As we worked for change during the president’s first term, we saw special interests spend unprecedented amounts in an attempt to persuade Congress to vote against policies the American people voted for.
Jamelle Bouie: Over at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza chides President Obama for “crying wolf” on sequestration…. There’s no doubt the White House indulged in hyperbole during the debate over sequestration. But Cillizza is exaggerating the degree to which Obama’s rhetoric was overheated or overhyped…..
…. Sequester furloughs have already begun for some federal workers, and communities that rely on military bases and federal spending will see real hardship. Over time, if sequestration is allowed to run its course, more and more Americans will feel the consequences of sudden austerity.
Private forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers estimates “sequestration would cost roughly 700,000 jobs …. Did Obama cry wolf on the sequester? No. And besides, it’s only been five days. We’ll see the effects of sequestration as time passes, and they won’t be good.
NYT Editorial: Unable to stop the sequester’s job-killing spending cuts, President Obama now says he wants to move past the endless wars of budget attrition. Though he still wants a long-term deficit deal, he said last week, it is time to turn to immigration, gun control, universal preschool, a higher minimum wage and voting reform.
But Republicans are not going to allow that pivot. Most are unalterably opposed to all of those initiatives, and want to keep their focus on cutting domestic programs and fighting off tax increases…. Paul Ryan will soon unveil his caucus’s 2014 budget, which will start to make good on the party’s ruinous plan to balance the budget in 10 years…..
Republicans are hoping to wear down their opposition with these eternal battles. But their proposals are too dangerous to allow that to happen.
Steve Benen: Maybe you agree with Sen. Rand Paul’s civil liberties arguments; maybe you don’t. Perhaps you see him as an ideal messenger for his message; perhaps you notice that he’s a strange conspiracy theorist who talks a little too often about Hitler and believes civil liberties end when a woman wants control of her own reproductive freedoms.
….. as Paul’s allies grew throughout the day, it was hard not to wonder whether at least some of his new-found friends endorsed him on the substance or whether “Stand with Rand” had become a temporary fad on the right, driven by Republicans who were simply happy to see President Obama’s national security agenda facing criticism, even if they happen to agree with President Obama’s national security agenda.
…. There’s room for a real debate about the balance between civil liberties and national security, and if Paul helps spark that conversation, I’d be delighted. But I’ll be eager to know just how much yesterday’s spectacle changed minds and how much of it was about putting on a show.
Will Femia (Maddow Blog): While Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s remarks during oral arguments in the Voting Rights Act case left some of us scratching our heads about where he came up with the “perpetuation of racial entitlement” argument, Chad Flanders, an assistant professor of law at Saint Louis University School of Law, has an idea, tracing the phrase to a 1979 paper by then-professor Scalia…..
ThinkProgress: Meet 34 Corporations That Help Inflate The NRA’s Membership
….. A recent NRA promotion invited people to join at a discounted $25 rate. In addition to receiving an official membership card, a subscription to an association magazine, and free gun insurance, new members received a $25 gift card for Bass Pro Shops, making the membership essentially free.
In addition to those incentives, members of the NRA and its business alliance receive a bevy of other discounts courtesy of the Association’s corporate affiliates. National and local companies provide discounts on everything from car rentals to identity theft protection. The companies get listed on the NRA’s site as corporate partners and can promote themselves as “NRA endorsed.” And, in some cases, the NRA gets a percentage of the profits.
ThinkProgress: As the 10th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq approaches, the body charged with overseeing Iraq’s reconstruction has issued its final report, capping a tale of spending far too much money for very little results.
Appointed in Oct. 2004, over a year into War in Iraq, the Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) was charged with being a watchdog over the use of funds provided for rebuilding the Iraqi state after the downfall of Saddam Hussein. Those reconstruction and stabilization efforts wound up costing nearly $60 billion — or about $15 million per day — with up to $10 billion of that amount wasted, according to SIGIR Stuart Bowen.
The examples provided of fraud and abuse of the system are staggering both in number and nature….