Posts Tagged ‘rand

13
Feb
14

Rise and Shine

Feb. 13, 2012 – Pete Souza: “From early spring to late fall, the light in the Oval Office is fairly consistent with the sun high above the horizon during the day. But during the winter months, the sun is lower and splashes through the back window in the early morning and late afternoon. Here, in the midst of the morning light, the President talks on the phone with British Prime Minister David Cameron.”

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Presidential Daily Schedule:

The President has no public events scheduled – due to bad weather, the White House has postponed the President’s announcement about a new project designed to help young African-American and Hispanic men find jobs and get a good start in life. “We will reschedule the event,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

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@petesouza: Overhead angle of Presidents Obama and Hollande before last night’s state dinner

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(The last five minutes of the interview)

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ThinkProgress: Uninsurance Rate Falls To Five-Year Low As 3.3 Million Enroll In Obamacare

The Obama administration on Wednesday released its monthly update on health insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. Nearly 3.3 million Americans enrolled in private health plans through Obamacare’s state and federal marketplaces from October through February 1, with 1.1 million signing up in January alone. The data comes on the same day that a Gallup survey found that the U.S. uninsurance rate has hit a five-year low.

“We’re seeing a healthy growth in enrollment,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a conference call with reporters. According to Sebelius, an additional 6.6 million Americans have been deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) during the first four months of the open enrollment period.

More here

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National Journal: Obamacare Enrollment Is Back on Track

With two months left to go, Obamacare enrollment is on track to hand the White House a significant win over the law’s critics.

About 3.3 million people had signed up for private insurance plans through the end of January, according to new data the Health and Human Services Department released Wednesday. January itself was a little better than expected, and the growth put the administration within reach of a strong total when open enrollment ends in March.

There are significant gaps in the data that could affect assessment of the law’s ultimate success, but barring any wild surprises, things are looking good for the White House.

Here’s what you need to know from the latest data….

More here

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Obama-Prayer

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SmartyPants: President Obama’s Faith: “Maintaining Your Moral Compass”

As someone who is dedicated to trying to understand President Obama, it is always interesting to come across a speech or an interview with him from the past that I haven’t seen before. And so I was delighted to find this interview from March 2004 that he did with Cathleen Falsani about his religious faith. If you are interested, I suggest that you go read the whole thing. But I’m going to excerpt a few things he said that stood out to me. First of all, he recounts a history that we have all become familiar with by now. 
I am a Christian. 
So, I have a deep faith. So, I draw from the Christian faith.
 On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. 
I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. 
My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim.

And I’d say, probably, intellectually I’ve drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith… So, I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there’s an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived.

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I’m a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it’s best comes with a big dose of doubt. I’m suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding. And so, the biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I’m having internally. I’m measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me at least is audible, is active, it tells me where I think I’m on track and where I think I’m off track. When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.

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WBIR: Healthcare.gov Enrollments In Tennessee Higher Than National Average

Tennessee’s enrollment rate in the federal health exchange was higher than the national enrollment growth rate in January, according to new federal statistics released Wednesday.

In Tennessee, the federal government reported that 59,705 people had enrolled in Marketplace plans as of February 1. As of the last report, which covered through December 28, there were about 36,250 enrollees in Tennessee. That’s a growth rate of about 65 percent.

However, enrollment in the federal exchange grew by 50 percent nationally in January. As of February 1, there are 3.3 million enrollees nationally.

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Miami Herald: After Website Woes Decrease, Obamacare Enrollment Surges In Florida, Nation

Nearly 300,000 Floridians have signed up for Affordable Care Act plans, an 88 percent increase in a month, reflecting an enrollment surge that coincides with the end of Obamacare’s major website woes.

Florida’s number of enrollees, the second-highest in the nation behind California, accounts for almost 9 percent of the nation’s 3.3 million total enrollees, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

More here

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Adam Serwer: North Carolina Voting Law Hits Black Voters: Study

North Carolina’s recent voting law changes will disproportionately affect black voters in the state, according to a study published Wednesday by Dartmouth University.

“The study provides powerful ammunition for the pending legal challenges,” says Brenda Wright, a voting rights expert with the liberal think tank Demos. “It shows that virtually every key feature of North Carolina’s election legislation will disproportionately cut back on registration and voting by African Americans in North Carolina as compared to whites.”

North Carolina was once covered by the Voting Rights Act’s requirement that states and other jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting submit their voting law changes to the Justice Department for approval. After the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional last year the formula for determining which jurisdictions were covered by that requirement, North Carolina’s Republican-dominated legislature passed a package of voting law restrictions. Among the changes were shortening the time for early voting, instituting a photo ID requirement, eliminating same-day voter registration and limiting pre-registration for teenagers to those who will be of voting age on Election Day. According to the study, all of those changes “will have a disparate effect on black voters in North Carolina.”

More here

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Sara Kliff: Obamacare Beat A January Enrollment Projection

The Obama administration has beaten a monthly health insurance enrollment target for the first time, according to data released Wednesday showing that more than 1.14 million people signed up for health plans in January in the new insurance marketplace.

The latest enrollment data from the Obama administration show that 3.3 million people have signed up for private health insurance through federal and state insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act. This figure represents all enrollment from Oct. 1 through Feb. 1. It includes both people who have and have not paid their first month’s premium. Of those people, 1,146,100 selected their health insurance plans in January, meaning there was a 53 percent increase enrollment last month alone.

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Reuters: In First NYC Budget, de Blasio Pushes Pre-K, Retiree Healthcare

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio included a tax on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten in his first budget and proposed restoring $1 billion to a retiree healthcare fund that his predecessor’s plan would have drained. The proposal marks the first time in 20 years that a Democrat has drafted a spending plan for the biggest city in the United States. The Democrat-led City Council must approve a budget by the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

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NYT: Obama’s Weekend in Sunnylands, With Lots of TV

President Obama has added an item to his agenda for Presidents’ Day weekend:

The leader of the free world is looking forward to binge-watching DVDs of his latest favorite television show: HBO’s edgy new “True Detective” series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

Mr. Obama made a point of approaching HBO’s chief executive, Richard Plepler, at the state dinner for France on Tuesday night.

“Where is my True Detective and Game of Thrones?” Mr. Obama asked Mr. Plepler as he told him that the coming weekend would be a good time to have the DVDs.

More here

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TPM: Rand Paul Accused Of Plagiarizing His Big Obama Lawsuit

Did Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) plagiarize the lawsuit he filed Wednesday against President Barack Obama and the National Security Agency? The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reported that Paul originally drafted the class action suit he filed under former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s (R) name with the help of Bruce Fein, who recently served as an attorney for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s father.

Fein’s ex-wife and spokeswoman, Mattie Fein, told Milbank that Cuccinelli stole “the work product, intellectual property and legal genius of Bruce Fein” without payment. She added that Paul, who “already has one plagiarism issue, now has a lawyer who just takes another lawyer’s work product.”

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Crooks and Liars: Stephen Colbert Declares Himself First Lady of France Following Invite to State Dinner

The Colbert Report may never be the same now that sitting next to the First Lady at the White House state dinner has gone to Stephen’s head.

Video at link

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Jenna Levy: U.S. Uninsured Rate Drops So Far In First Quarter Of 2014

The percentage of uninsured Americans fell to 16.0% so far in the first quarter of 2014 from 17.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013. These data are based on more than 19,000 interviews with Americans from Jan. 2-Feb. 10, 2014, as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. While more than a month remains in the first quarter, these preliminary data show the uninsured rate appears to be on track to drop to the lowest quarterly level measured since 2008.

if the uninsured rate continues to fall over the next several months, it may suggest that the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for most Americans to have health insurance, which took effect on Jan. 1, is responsible for the decline. The percentage of uninsured 26- to 34-year-olds, which has been dropping since the third quarter of 2013, is now 25.7%. Americans in this age group have had the highest uninsured rate since 2011. The uninsured rate among 26- to 34-year-olds has been declining faster than it has among any other age group.

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On This Day:

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive to present the National Medal of Arts and Humanities Medal in the East Room at the White House, February 13, 2012

President Obama honors National Medal of Arts recipient Al Pacino in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, February 13, 2012

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President Obama runs to the stage before speaking to workers and guests at the Linamar Corporation plant in Arden, N.C., on Feb. 13, 2013, as he travels after delivering his State of the Union address

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05
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

Des Moines, Nov 5, 2012 – the final rally of the campaign

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Today (all times Eastern):

11:30: President Obama and VP Biden meet with business leaders to talk about the impact overhauling immigration laws will have on U.S. economy

2:10: President Obama departs the White House en route Bethesda, Md. where he will visit wounded troops at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He will also visit Fisher House, a program that supports military families

4:0: Michelle Obama makes remarks at White House Diwali celebration

6:30: VP Biden and Jill Biden host reception for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Video of President Obama addressing OFA yesterday – see here

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NYT: For Uninsured, Clearing a Way to Enrollment

Kelli Cauley’s fingers raced over her keyboard as she asked the anxious woman at her side a series of questions. What was her income? How many people lived in her household? Did she smoke? (“That’s the only health question it asks,” Ms. Cauley said of the application they were completing.)

The woman, a thin 61-year-old who refused to give her name, citing privacy concerns, had come to the public library here to sign up for health insurance through Kentucky’s new online exchange. She had a painful lump on the back of her hand and other health problems that worried her deeply, she said, but had been unable to afford insurance as a home health care worker who earns $9 an hour.

Within a minute, the system checked her information and flashed its conclusion on Ms. Cauley’s laptop: eligible for Medicaid.

The woman began to weep with relief. Without insurance, she said as she left, “it’s cheaper to die.”

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Jonathan Cohn: ‘I Would Jump At It’ The media labeled her an Obamacare victim. Here’s what she really thinks.

If you’ve followed the stories of insurance cancellations related to Obamacare, you may have heard about Dianne Barrette. She’s the 57-year-old Florida realtor who was paying $54 a month for a Blue Cross insurance plan. The plan won’t be available after December. And while FloridaBlue offered her a new plan, the company told her the premium would be $591 a month. Barrette, who makes $30,000 a year and could not pay for such a plan, was flabbergasted. Jan Crawford of CBS News made her the key source for a story about plan cancellations. An appearance on Fox News followed, as did multiple cameos in press releases from Obamacare critics. For at least a few days, she was the poster child for the Obamacare cancellation story.

But Barrette’s situation defies quick and easy description. It’s true that she can’t keep her current policy—and that most policies available to her for next year have higher premiums. But those plans also offer real coverage, and her current plan does not. Some people might resent government effectively prohibiting her current plan. Barrette doesn’t appear to be one of them. Based on conversations we’ve had over the past few days, she wants more comprehensive insurance and, within reason, she’s willing to pay more for it.

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Bob Cesca: Another Obamacare ‘Horror Story’ Debunked; And, No, the President Didn’t Lie About the Law

As the week began, another “Obamacare” horror story hit the press, instigating a fleet of outrage-pornographers and concern trolls across the political spectrum to resume its self-flagellation and screeching about the disastrous Affordable Care Act — selectively forgetting about actual healthcare horror stories that existed before the law was implemented. It was a story focusing on yet another vague, anecdotal tale about a hapless ACA victim whose insurance policy was canceled, thus vindicating the accusation that the president lied about “keeping your existing insurance policy if you like it.”

Before we dive into the lie accusation, let’s take a closer look at an op/ed for the Wall Street Journal written by a stage-4 gallbladder cancer survivor, Edie Littlefield Sundby.

More here

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Sally Kohn: 6 other Obamacare promises – and these are very much coming true

Republicans recently pounced on the fact that, yes, some Americans will lose their current crummy insurance plans that don’t meet the new standards set by the Affordable Care Act.

These Republicans are accusing President Obama of having misled the American public – or worse, having lied.

I think that’s a ridiculous claim. If you like your crummy plan, you can’t keep your crummy plan under Obamacare, but odds are you will find a better plan that is also more affordable, with subsidies available to more than half of Americans.

Aside from parsing this promise that you could keep your plan, it is wrong to say that this alone was how Obamacare was sold to the public.

…. here, for the record, are a few of the Affordable Care kept promises:

More here

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Washington Post: Congratulations, America! Your deficit fell 37 percent in 2013

The federal government’s 2013 fiscal year ended Sept. 30, though most of us were so busy focusing on the government shutdown that accompanied the new fiscal year that there wasn’t much time to reflect on the year that had passed.

Now the Treasury and Office of Management and Budget is out with the final budget results. Surprise! The deficit fell quite a bit in 2013. The federal government took in $680 billion less revenue than it spent, or about 4.1 percent of gross domestic product. In 2012, those numbers were $1.087 trillion and 6.8 percent of GDP. That means the deficit fell a whopping 37 percent in one year.

This is the first sub-$1 trillion and sub-5 percent of GDP deficit since the 2008 fiscal year, which ended the very month that Lehman Brothers fell and a deep crisis set in.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Three Progressive Measures On Tuesday’s Ballot That You Should Know About

Congress may not be up for grabs, but Election Day 2013 still comes with high stakes for progressive economic policy ideas. On Tuesday, voters in Colorado, New Jersey, and a small Washington town are getting an up-or-down vote on some proposals that would improve lives both today and decades from now. Here’s a rundown of the three ballot initiatives:

Colorado’s Amendment 66 would raise income taxes and commit $1 billion in new revenue to public schools….

New Jersey’s Question 2 would raise the minimum wage and keep it rising….

SeaTac, Washington’s Proposition 1 would mean a $15 minimum wage for one of the country’s busiest airports….

More here

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Steve Benen: Rand Paul caught once again

After Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was caught presenting others’ work as his own by The Rachel Maddow Show, BuzzFeed, and Politico, the senator’s office seemed to realize Paul had a problem on his hands. It reached the point late Friday that the senator’s aides started making it more difficult to access Paul’s speeches, perhaps fearful more evidence would come to light.

Unfortunately for the senator, it’s too late to hide op-eds Paul has already written and published…

More here

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A Year Ago Today – The Final Day of the Campaign

Madison:

Photo by Scout Tufankjian

Orlando:

Columbus:

Photo by Scout Tufankjian

Photo by Scout Tufankjian

Greatest Intro Eveeeeeeeeeer:

…. with Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen at Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

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Reunited in Des Moines:

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MoooOOOooorning!

19
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

Completely random old pic (Portsmouth, N.H., Sept. 7, 2012)

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Today (all times Eastern)

11:0: President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

11:45: Meets with senior advisors

12:45: Josh Earnest briefs the press

2:15: President Obama meets with independent financial regulators

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A sign along Harding Hill in West Tisbury, Massachusetts, August 18

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USA Today: Coming off a week’s vacation, President Obama deals Monday with new rules on the financial system.

Obama holds a closed-door meeting with financial regulators to discuss the impact of new laws, the White House says, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill and the Consumer Protection Act.

The guest list includes the Comptroller of the Currency, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

Also: The chairs of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Times Tribune: Biden to join Obama in Scranton

In a rare occurrence, Vice President Joe Biden will join President Barack Obama in Scranton for the last stop on the president’s two-day bus tour promoting affordable higher education.

…. The president is scheduled to appear Friday at Lackawanna College, a school spokeswoman and the White House confirmed Friday. The school will be the last stop on a tour that takes Mr. Obama on Thursday to the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y., and the State University of New York and Henninger High School in Syracuse. Hours before the Scranton stop, the president will take part in a town hall at Binghamton University.

“At each stop, the president will discuss the importance of ensuring that every American has the opportunity to achieve a quality education by reducing cost and improving the value of higher education for middle-class students and their families,” a White House official said…

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ThinkProgress: How Testicular Cancer Convinced A Former Republican Staffer To Leave His Party

Before he could realize the value of affordable health care, one Republican campaign staffer had to experience what it’s like to be without it.

Clint Murphy, who’s been involved with Republican campaigns since the 1990s, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000 when he was 25 years old. Four years and four rounds of chemo treatment later — all of which was covered by insurance — Murphy was in remission. Insurance wasn’t a problem in his subsequent political jobs — he worked on John McCain’s election campaign in 2008 — but when he quit politics in 2010 and entered real estate, he realized just how difficult obtaining insurance with a pre-existing condition could be.

…. That’s why Murphy had this to say to his Republican friends who oppose Obamacare on Facebook last week: “When you say you’re against it, you’re saying that you don’t want people like me to have health insurance.”

More here

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Steve Benen: Far-right ‘ready to erupt’ over health care?

President Obama’s weekly addresses tend to be pretty tame, at least as far as political rhetoric goes, but over the weekend his latest weekly message included some fairly pointed language about Republican efforts to sabotage the federal health care system.

Some congressional Republicans, Obama said, are “working hard to confuse people, and making empty promises that they’ll either shut down the health care law, or, if they don’t get their way, they’ll shut down the government…. A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they’ll somehow be sticking it to me. But they’d just be sticking it to you.”

And while the White House pushes against the GOP shutdown threats, far-right activists continue to push in the opposite direction.

More here

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Paul Krugman: One Reform, Indivisible

Recent political reporting suggests that Republican leaders are in a state of high anxiety, trapped between an angry base that still views Obamacare as the moral equivalent of slavery and the reality that health reform is the law of the land and is going to happen.

But those leaders don’t deserve any sympathy. For one thing, that irrational base is a Frankenstein monster of their own creation. Beyond that, everything I’ve seen indicates that members of the Republican elite still don’t get the basics of health reform — and that this lack of understanding is in the process of turning into a major political liability.

On the unstoppability of Obamacare: We have this system in which Congress passes laws, the president signs them, and then they go into effect. The Affordable Care Act went through this process, and there is no legitimate way for Republicans to stop it.

More here

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Reuters: Illinois expands background checks to all gun purchases

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a gun-control measure into law on Sunday that expands background checks to cover all firearms purchases in the state, closing what he said was a loophole that exempted gun sales between private parties.

The new law also requires all gun owners to report any lost or stolen firearms to local police within 72 hours.

“Guns are a plague on too many of our communities,” Quinn, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Making sure guns do not fall into the wrong hands is critical to keeping the people of Illinois safe. This commonsense law will help our law enforcement crack down on crime and make our streets safer.”

The expanded background checks go into effect on January 1, 2014.

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Michael Tomasky: Julian Assange Loves Rand Paul and His ‘Very Principled Positions’

Julian Assange, who back when he roamed the earth freely used to do things like show up on the steps of St. Paul’s to protest the wrongs of capitalism, has now apparently placed his faith in the man who is arguably the capitalists’ single biggest lickspittle in Washington, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). In and of itself, this is only mildly interesting. But Assange’s admirers on the left are so seduced by his oppositionalist posture and his desire to stick it to the man (as long as the man is the government of the United States) that they seem willing to follow him off any cliff, maybe even the cliff of voting for Paul in 2016. It’s a jejune politics, and ultimately a politics of leisure. No one whose day-to-day life is materially affected by the question of who is in office has time for such silly games, and therefore, no one who purports to be in solidarity with those people should either.

… these seemingly left-wing anti-establishment types should never be trusted. These are just playtime politics, luxuries for the leisure class. If you want a real left-winger, I say stick with Marx. At least he understood that politics is chiefly about economic relations. Anyone who doesn’t understand that is sending you down blind alleys, knows little about politics to begin with, and should be shunned by anyone who claims to be anywhere on the broad left side of the spectrum.

Full post here

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Ari Berman: Time to March on Washington — Again

They carried signs that demanded “Voting Rights,” “Jobs for All” and “Decent Housing.” They protested the vigilante killing of an unarmed black teenager in the South and his killer’s acquittal. They denounced racial profiling in the country’s largest city.

This isn’t 1963 but 2013, when so many of the issues that gave rise to the March on Washington fifty years ago remain unfulfilled or under siege today. That’s why, on August 24, a broad coalition of civil rights organizations, unions, progressive groups and Democratic Party leaders will rally at the Lincoln Memorial and proceed to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the march and dramatize the contemporary fight. (President Obama will participate in a separate event commemorating the official anniversary on August 28.)

The Supreme Court’s decision gutting the Voting Rights Act in late June and the acquittal of George Zimmerman less than three weeks later make this year’s march “exponentially more urgent” with respect to pressuring Congress and arousing the conscience of the nation, says Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, a co-sponsor of the march.

More here

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MoooOOOooorning!

15
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago today: “The President hugs the First Lady after she had introduced him at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. The campaign tweeted a similar photo from the campaign photographer on election night and a lot of people thought it was taken on election day.” (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Hill: Obama Group’s New Ad Touts Healthcare Law Insurance Rebates

The political advocacy group spun off from President Obama’s reelection campaign on Thursday unveiled a new ad touting the benefits of ObamaCare, their third national ad as the administration readies to rollout their healthcare reforms.

The new ad from Organizing for Action (OFA), titled “Every Day” features a North Carolina family discussing the insurance rebate they received under the healthcare law. The parents Rebecca and Russell worried about how to pay for their son’s medical care in the face of rising premiums.

“When the Affordable Care Act was passed we ended up getting a $350 rebate from our insurance company and then his premiums were going to go down by $60 a month,” says Rebecca in the ad.

“ObamaCare is helping everyday families every day,” reads onscreen text.

“It’s nice to see somebody looking out for the little guy,” says the father Russell.

“The law works,” Rebecca adds.

More here

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Steve Benen

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The Grio: Eric Holder’s Sentencing Reforms Represent A Sea Change

This week, Attorney General  Holder announced that Federal Prosecutors would have more discretion (i.e. more leeway) in maneuvering around some of this nation’s more draconian sentencing practices impacting substance abusers and others whose lives and families have been decimated by the so-called War on Drugs. Nearly half of the federal inmate population is serving time for drug offenses.  The significance of this policy shift initiated by AG Holder and the DOJ should not be underestimated.

Holder’s announcement this week signals both his leadership and commitment to these issues as well as his capacity to hear and respond to calls for equal justice from the litany of voices aimed at ending the war on drugs and reforming our broken criminal justice system. The Department of Justice memo sent to all U.S. federal prosecutors this week requires them to not include information regarding drug quantities – thereby allowing them to sidestep mandatory minimums – for drug defendants that meet a reasonable set of criteria, including having no affiliations with drug cartels or other criminal organizations, no prior criminal record, and no violent crimes connected to their offenses.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: The Big Savings Obamacare Critics Miss

Obamacare critics keep insisting that Obamacare is a bad deal for most people buying insurance on their own. And a big reason is that they don’t think much of the subsidies.

I know. You’re getting tired of hearing about the subsidies. Bear with me, because today we have some new and important information, thanks to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

To review: Obamacare provides offers tax credits to offset the cost of insurance. If your income is less than four times the poverty line, and if you’re buying through one of the new insurance exchanges, then the tax credit will operate like a discount. The less money you have, the bigger the discount. Nowadays, most Obamacare critics acknowledge that the subsidies exist. But they tend to dismiss them as trivial. “Some low-income people will get subsidies,” Rich Lowry of the National Review wrote on Monday. “But that doesn’t change the essential facts.”

Actually, it does change the essential facts—by quite a lot….

More here

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USA Today: Obama Team Alters College Loan Program

The Obama administration has made changes to a college loan program designed to help more families qualify for college aid.

African-American college presidents and lawmakers had sought changes to the PLUS loan program…..

“The Education Department says families that have recent but small-scale debt may now become eligible for PLUS loans through appeals …. Black lawmakers have been pressuring the administration, saying large numbers of previously eligible applicants have been denied aid under tighter credit rules.

“Parents and graduate students who use PLUS loans have no borrowing limit, but they face some of the highest interest rates in the federal student loan system.”

Full post here

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Carrie Healey: Obama’s Half-Sister Speaks On Human Trafficking, Peace Gardens

President Obama’s half-sister, peace advocate and educator, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng spoke today at the Center for American Progress on human trafficking.

Dr. Soetoro-Ng proposed the U.S. plant peace gardens, create “reflective spaces,” and practice yogo in an effort to bring peace to victims of trafficking.

“My brother’s administration is committed to addressing this issue,” she said in regards to Obama’s handling of the issue. ”But today I would like us to consider some grassroots, pro-active, preventative, and educational solutions.”

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USA Today: Obama bus stops: Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton

President Obama’s two-day bus tour next week will start with three cities in Upstate New York: Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton.

The major topic will be college education.

Obama will “discuss the importance of ensuring that every American has access to a quality education by reducing costs and improving the value of higher education for middle-class students and their families,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

The tour will be Aug. 22 and 23.

The bus tour – the latest in a series of middle-class speeches Obama has been delivering – will also include yet-to-be-determined stops in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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Charles Pierce: A Fine Bromance

Remember when a whole bunch of suckers from our side of the aisle got all gooey about Rand Paul, because Aqua Buddha and Aqua Buddha alone stood between us and a Hellfire missile fired up our keisters from a drone because we said mean things about the president? Well, in the days since, Aqua Buddha’s shown that he has more than a small sweet-tooth for the days when Freedom meant states could keep black people from eating in restaurants and, of course, voting:

“So really, I don’t think there is objective evidence that we’re precluding African-Americans from voting any longer.”  

….The suckers should be embarrassed to have lined up with this clown.

Full post here

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ThinkProgress: Three Republicans Who Opposed Sandy Relief Now Demand Disaster Aid For Arizona

Arizona Republicans Sen. Jeff Flake, Sen. John McCain, and Rep. Paul Gosar all voted against emergency relief funding after SuperStorm Sandy ravaged much of the New Jersey and New York area earlier this year. Now, following an Arizona wildfire, the same trio is vocally complaining that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is not doing enough to aid their state.

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Time

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As Steve Benen said, “always check your spelling when writing about education”:

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On This Day:

Aug. 15, 2010 – Pete Souza: “Back in the Gulf Coast for a weekend, the President and First Lady toured St. Andrews Bay on a boat in Panama City Beach, Fla. I noticed their hands touching as they held the rail on the boat.”

Aug. 15, 2010: President Obama and daughter Sasha steer the “Bay Point Lady” during a tour of St. Andrews Bay off Panama City Beach, Fla. (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 15, 2011: President Barack Obama greets children from the Valleyland Kids summer program outside a school in Chatfield, Minn., during a three-day bus tour in the Midwest (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 15, 2011: President Obama holds a baby as he arrives for lunch at the Old Market Deli in Cannon Falls, Minn. (Photo by Pete Souza)

Aug. 15, 2011: President Obama greets people outside the Old Market Deli in Cannon Falls, Minn. (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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09
Aug
13

News Of The Day

OBAMA-PRESS-CONFERENCE

President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the East Room at the White House.

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Ben Armbruster: Obama Announces Plans To Reform Surveillance Programs

President Obama announced on Friday that he plans to institute new reforms to include greater oversight of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, just over two months after former NSA consultant Edward Snowden leaked secret documents detailing their scope and reach. First, Obama said he would work with Congress to reform the authorities authorizing NSA surveillance so that they include more safeguards and oversight to further protect from abuse.

Obama said he would also push to give greater assurances to the American people that the secret court authorizing surveillance that privacy is being protected, including having government arguments “challenged by an adversary.” Third, Obama said he wants to declassify more information about the programs, including the legal rationals behind them, and create a website to learn more about U.S. surveillance activities. Finally, Obama said he would assemble a team of outside independent experts to review communications and surveillance technologies and issue a report on findings and recommendations by the end of the year.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Politico Revives Junk Science Suggesting Hispanics Are Dumber Than Whites

Earlier this year, Jason Richwine lost his job writing about immigration policy for the conservative Heritage Foundation after it came to light that he suggested Hispanics and blacks were genetically less intelligent than whites and Asians in his graduate dissertation. I conducted a lengthy review of Richwine’s research, finding that it was grounded in poor conceptual analysis and wildly outdated research.

Friday morning, Politico published an op-ed by Richwine misrepresenting his research, the controversy surrounding it, and the facts about race and intelligence in some really basic ways….

More here

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Sahil Kapur: Obama Torches GOP For ‘Ideological Fixation’ With Repealing ObamaCare

“Now, I think the really interesting question is why it is that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail,” he said. “Their number one priority, the one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment is making sure that 30 million people don’t have health care. And presumably repealing all those benefits I just mentioned. Kids staying on their parents’ plan, seniors getting discounts on their prescription drugs, a return to limits on lifetime limits, continuing to get blocked from health care insurance.”

“That’s hard to understand as an agenda that’s going to strengthen our middle class. At least they used to say, well, we’re going to replace it with something better. There’s not even a pretense now that they’re going to replace it with something better. The notion is simply that those 30 million people or the 150 million who are benefitting from the other aspects of affordable care, will be better off without it. That’s their assertion. Not backed by fact, not backed by any evidence. It’s just become an ideological fixation.”

More here

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Reuters: U.S. To Reopen 18 Of 19 Embassies Closed Amid Security Concerns

Eighteen of the 19 U.S. embassies closed this month due to worries about potential terrorist attacks will reopen on Sunday, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

“Our embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, will remain closed because of ongoing concerns about a threat stream indicating the potential for terrorist attacks emanating from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The United States will also keep its consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, shuttered, Psaki said, adding it closed on Thursday due to a “separate credible threat.”

More here

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Pete Souza: The pool press covers Pres Obama signing the student loan bill

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10
Apr
13

Catching Up

“Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her. But I got to grow up and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School and have a career and family and the most blessed life I could ever imagine. And Hadiya? Oh, we know that story.”
First Lady Michelle Obama, April 10

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Text of remarks here

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Daily Beast: A Personal Plea for Gun Control

Spending time with the Newtown families, Joshua DuBois realized that the gun control debate isn’t about ideas or policies or politics. It’s about human beings.

See here

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ThinkProgress

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Click to see the rest of the post

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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@whitehouse

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MoooOOOOoooorning!

07
Mar
13

Rise and Shine

OFA

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Today:

12:0 Jay Carney briefs the press

12:30: Michelle Obama delivers remarks to winners of the Let’s Move! Communities

1:55: President Obama signs the Violence Against Women Act; the President and VP Biden deliver remarks

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Sign up!

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.

History is repeating itself…..

More here

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TPM: President Obama has invited House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to lunch Thursday at the White House. Rep. Chris Van Hollen has also been invited…

TPM: President Obama dined with 12 Republican senators at Jefferson Hotel in Washington on Wednesday night. In attendance, per the White House:

Senators Lindsey Graham, Bob Corker, Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, Dan Coats, Tom Coburn, Richard Burr, Mike Johanns, Pat Toomey, Ron Johnson, John Hoeven and Saxby Chambliss.

More here

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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.

Full post here

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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.

Full editorial here

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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.

Full post here

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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…..

More here

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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.

Among the companies are….

See here

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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….

More here

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MooOOOooOOOoooorning!

15
Aug
12

Rise and Shine

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Times Republican: As President Barack Obama walked across the Miller Middle School gym floor arriving at the podium and saying “Hello Marshalltown,” an historic moment was made Tuesday.

Obama is the first sitting president to visit Marshalltown since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940.

A crowd of an estimated 555 people were on hand, including recent Marshalltown High School graduate TJ Miller, 18, who was the third one to shake the president’s hand when he entered the gym. Miller seemed surprised that it has been 72 years since a sitting president visited town.

“That’s kind of amazing,” Miller said. “That kind of proves that he’s a personable guy and that he cares.”

…. After his speech, Obama walked around the crowd, shaking hands with dozens of people and even had something special for 100-year-old Mabel Coulter, of Marshalltown. “I said to him this lady is 100 years old and he said anybody 100 years old deserves a kiss and he kissed her,” said Betty Wehrman, Coulter’s daughter.

…. Miller Principal Jacy Large got to talk to the president before his speech, along with other area educational leaders.

“For me, it was breathtaking,” Large said. “He was very down to earth.”

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President Obama kisses the forehead of 3-week-old Ethan Muhire during a campaign stop in Marshalltown, Iowa

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Today:

12:00: VP Biden delivers remarks at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va

1:25: President Obama & Michelle Obama deliver remarks at Alliant Energy Amphitheater, Dubuque, Iowa

6:35: President Obama & Michelle Obama deliver remarks at Village of East Davenport in Davenport, Iowa

7:50: Depart Moline, Ill. en route Joint Base Andrews

10:05: Arrive at the White House

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Cagle

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Paul Krugman: So, let me clarify what I believe is really going on in the choice of Paul Ryan as VP nominee. It is not about satisfying the conservative base, which was motivated anyway by Obama-hatred; it is not about refocusing on the issues, because R&R are both determined to avoid providing any of the crucial specifics about their plans. It is about exploiting the gullibility and vanity of the news media, in much the same way that George W. Bush did in 2000.

Like Bush in 2000, Ryan has a completely undeserved reputation in the media as a bluff, honest guy, in Ryan’s case supplemented by a reputation as a serious policy wonk. None of this has any basis in reality….

…. But a large part of the commentariat decided early on that they were going to cast Ryan in the role of Serious Honest Conservative, and have been very unwilling to reconsider that casting call in the light of evidence.

So that’s the constituency Romney is targeting: not a large segment of the electorate, but a few hundred at most editors, reporters, programmers, and pundits. His hope is that Ryan’s unjustified reputation for honest wonkery will transfer to the ticket as a whole.

So, a memo to the news media: you have now become players in this campaign, not just reporters. Mitt Romney isn’t seeking a debate on the issues; on the contrary, he’s betting that your gullibility and vanity will let him avoid a debate on the issues, including the issue of his own fitness for the presidency. I guess we’ll see if it works.

Full post here

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Cagle

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NYT Editorial: If you live in Butler or Warren counties in the Republican-leaning suburbs of Cincinnati, you can vote for president beginning in October by going to a polling place in the evening or on weekends. Republican officials in those counties want to make it convenient for their residents to vote early and avoid long lines on Election Day.

But, if you live in Cincinnati, you’re out of luck. Republicans on the county election board are planning to end early voting in the city promptly at 5 p.m., and ban it completely on weekends, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. The convenience, in other words, will not be extended to the city’s working people.

The sleazy politics behind the disparity is obvious. Hamilton County, which contains Cincinnati, is largely Democratic and voted solidly for Barack Obama in 2008. So did the other urban areas of Cleveland, Columbus and Akron, where Republicans, with the assistance of the Ohio secretary of state, Jon Husted, have already eliminated the extended hours for early voting.

…. In Ohio, as in other states, the Republican Party is establishing a reputation for putting short-term political gain ahead of the most fundamental democratic rights.

Full editorial here

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Cagle

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Jonathan Capehart: …. Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul claims that “President Obama’s campaign keeps sinking lower.” What was the offense? Vice President Biden said the word “chains.”

…. This is the campaign that seemed perfectly fine with Sununu saying he wished the president “would learn to be an American.” …. This is the campaign that continues to be a-okay with supporter Donald Trump’s racist birtherism …. This is the campaign that has been mute in the face of Rep. Allen West hyperbolic assertion that Obama would “rather you be his slave.”

…. Newt Gingrich is fond of calling Obama a “food stamp president.”A wicked phrase that has more racial baggage than a klansman’s El Camino … This is the campaign of the candidate who uttered the equally racially fraught “if they want more stuff from government … more free stuff” when talking to supporters in Montana about what he told the NAACP about his desire to repeal Obamacare.

This is the campaign that is running a completely dishonest ad about the Obama administration’s welfare policy…. …. this is the campaign of the candidate who could only muster, “It’s not the language I would have used” after Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut,” a “prostitute” and much worse…

So, rather than rail against what they claim is Obama’s “desperate campaign based on division and demonization,” the Romney campaign and Romney himself ought to spend more time cleaning up the garbage littering their glass house.

Full post here

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Morning everyone 😉

15
Aug
11

‘a good week for the tea party’




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