Posts Tagged ‘shutdown

27
Sep
14

President Obama And George Clooney: Men Of Character

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Donna

Good Morning TOD

Chips/NW in honor of Mr. Clooney’s wedding today (sigh) I think a thread honoring this beautiful, handsome, charming, intelligent, big time President Obama supporter would be appropriate….

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As you wish, Donna. 🙂

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NY Mag

George Clooney has never been shy about sharing his thoughts on politics and current events. So yesterday, when we ran into him at a Peggy Siegal lunch for his new space flick Gravity, we asked the liberal-leaning actor for his thoughts about the ongoing government shutdown. He had many — on John Boehner’s grand strategy, on the “idiots” who think we don’t need government, and on Ted Cruz’s reading of Green Eggs and Ham. “People keep talking about how this has to be a great negotiation, but there isn’t any negotiating a law.

We negotiate on all these other topics, but this was put into law, and [Obama] was reelected on it. It was reaffirmed, it was passed through the Supreme Court — it’s a law. You don’t like it? Win an election. That’s how it works. That’s how the country works. But you don’t get to shut down the government because of it. That’s not how it works.” “Shutting down the government is not how you make government work. And anybody who thinks we don’t need it is an idiot.”

More here

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May 11, 2012 – Pete Souza: “After some early morning basketball in Los Angeles, the President talks with the players who included actors Don Cheadle, Tobey Maguire, and George Clooney, along with two of Clooney’s long-time friends. Stacy Keibler is also at right.”

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Vanity Fair

What happens in Vegas . . . doesn’t stay in Vegas when you are George Clooney and get in an argument with a hotel tycoon over President Obama. “There were 9 people at that table. . .So you can ask them. . .Steve likes to go on rants. . .HE called the president an asshole. . . that is a fact. . .I said the President was my longtime friend and then he said ‘your friend is an asshole.’ . . .At that point I told Steve that HE was an asshole and I wasn’t going to sit at his table while he was being such a jackass. And I walked out. There were obviously quite a few more adjectives and adverbs used by both of us. Those are all the facts. It had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with character.”

More here

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Vanity Fair

Steve Wynn and I have met three times, two times for dinner. That is the extent of our knowledge of one another, so I will refrain from trying to categorize him based on the little time we’ve spent together, but I will not let his version of the truth go unchallenged. He now says he didn’t call the president an ‘a——.’ That is false. He bellowed ‘I voted for the a——,’ and then called him the same thing several more times as the dinner came to an abrupt end. Again there were eight people at the table, eight witnesses. I did in turn, call him the same body part, and walked out. Again he can make up whatever story he wants, but these are the facts. He said I drank 16 shots of tequila. I didn’t drink one shot of tequila, not one. We were drinking but it was early and we still had two events to attend.

He said I live in a bubble. More of a bubble than Las Vegas? Honestly? He says I’m ‘molly coddled,’ that I’m surrounded by people who coddle me. I would suggest that Mr. Wynn look to his left and right and find anyone in his sphere that says anything but ‘yes’ to him. Emphatically. I did not attend a private boys’ school, I worked in tobacco fields and in stock rooms, and construction sites. I’ve been broke more of my life than I have been successful, and I understand the meaning of being an employee and how difficult it is to make ends meet. Steve is one of the richest men in the world and he should be congratulated for it, but he needs to take off his red sparkly dinner jacket and roll up his sleeves every once in a while and understand what most of the country is actually dealing with … or at least start with the fact that you can’t make up stories when eight people who are not on your payroll are sitting around you as witnesses.

More here

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Washington Post

Walking through Clooney’s house, Obama glimpsed at the “HOPE” poster from the 2008 campaign by Shepard Fairey and told donors: “People don’t realize that the photograph of me is actually me sitting next to George” at an event when Clooney was advocating on behalf of Darfur. “We struck up a friendship,” Obama said, and then joked, to much laughter: “This is the first time that George Clooney has actually been photo-shopped out of a picture. Never happened before, will never happen again.” Obama said Fairey did a poster for Clooney with both men on the same picture. “Why he said at the bottom ‘Dope and Hope,’ I don’t know.” More laughter. “We raised a lot of money because everybody loves George.

They like me, they love him. And rightfully so. Not only is he an unbelievable actor, but he is one of those rare individuals who is at ease with everybody. He seems to occupy a constant state of grace, and uses his extraordinary talents on behalf of something truly important.” Clooney listened intently to the president throughout, his hands folded as if in prayer and his chin resting on them. And I want to thank Clooney for letting us use his basketball court. This man has been talking smack about his basketball game ever since I’ve known him.”

More here

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At the National Press Club for ‘SAVE DARFUR: Rally to Stop Genocide’, 2006

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Interesting interview. He talks about President Obama at 35:42.

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President Barack Obama jokes with cast members of the movie “The Monuments Men” in the Diplomatic Reception Room, prior to a movie screening in the Family Theater of the White House, Feb. 18, 2014. Standing from left are: Matt Damon and his wife Luciana Damon, Grant Heslov, and George Clooney (Photo by Pete Souza)

20
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

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On This Day: Veterans applaud President Barack Obama as he departs the recognition ceremony honoring Troop A, First Squadron, 11th Armored Combat Regiment of the U.S. Army, recipients of the Presidential Unit Citation, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Oct. 20, 2009, (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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TPM: AP Sources: 476,000 Obamacare Applications Filed

Administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges, the most detailed measure yet of the rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation. Of the 476,000 applications that have been started, just over half have been from the 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead in running the markets.

The rest of the applications have come from the 14 states running their own markets, along with Washington, D.C. The White House says it plans to release the first enrollment totals from both the federal and state-run markets in mid-November. An internal memo obtained by The Associated Press showed that the administration projected nearly a half-million people would enroll for the insurance markets during the first month.

More here (the piece is full of Julie Pace of AP’s doom and gloom crap; but the bottom line is Americans like ObamaCare)

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Trip Gabriel: A Governor’s Last Campaign – To Prove Health Law Works

Some 34,000 had begun applications, and more than 11,000 had signed up for plans, making Kentucky one of the most successful state-run insurance marketplaces under the new federal health care law. “You are all doing a fantastic job,” Mr. Beshear told two dozen bleary-eyed workers. “My message to Kentuckians is simply this,” Mr. Beshear said in his office in the State Capitol. “You don’t have to like the president; you don’t have to like me. Because this isn’t about him, and it’s not about me. It’s about you, your family and your children. So do yourself a favor. Find what you can get for yourself. You’re going to like what you find.” Kentucky is the only Southern state to operate its own insurance exchange as well as expand Medicaid coverage for the poor.

“To me this was a moral decision,” he said. “We’ve got 640,000 Kentuckians who don’t have access to any kind of affordable health care. The last ranking I saw, we’re 44th out of 50 in health status. You take any chronic disease or condition — heart disease, cancer, smoking, obesity, you name it — and we’re either the worst or close to the worst.” He also said the law made economic sense, citing a state-commissioned study that found that an expansion of Medicaid over eight years would “create a $15.6 billion economic impact” and almost 17,000 new jobs. “Most of these critics are going to end up with egg on their face,” the governor predicted. “People are finding that I can get health insurance for the first time in my life that I can afford. They’re going to look back at these folks after all the dust settles and say, ‘You misled us.’ ”

More here

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Max Fisher: Good News From Syria (Really): Chemical Weapons Being Dismantled On Schedule

The U.S.- and Russia-brokered deal to have Syria surrender its chemical weapons is proceeding on schedule, United Nations inspectors tell the Wall Street Journal, despite widespread predictions that Syria’s civil war would make the effort impossible. The U.N. team had set an ambitious goal of disabling all chemical weapons production equipment by Nov. 1 and said it’s on track to finish it in time.

More here

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

19
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

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Jonathan Cohn: How Obama, Reid, And Pelosi Stopped Republican Extortion. Three Reasons The Democrats Won

It’s over. The Senate voted yes. The House voted yes. President Obama signed the bill and, on Thursday, the federal government is open for business again. But in a narrower political sense, this was one of those (relatively) rare Washington battles in which one side clearly prevailed. It was the Democrats. When this episode started, they said they were determined not to make major concessions simply because Republicans were threatening shutdown and default.

Sure enough, here we are—with a new continuing resolution, a higher debt limit, and no major changes in law. Democrats achieved the policy outcome they had sought, while establishing a precedent for the future: No more negotiating while under such threats. So what did Democrats do right? How did they hold it together? Among the many factors, three come quickly to mind.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: The Truth About The ObamaCare Rollout

Administration officials have said they never expected so many initial visitors and that the high demand is a good sign. Both claims are true. In fairness, federal officials operated under tremendous political and logistical constraints, the kind few outsiders can grasp. Private developers don’t have the same stringent standards for privacy and security, for instance. And given the enormous challenges of trying to integrate so many systems—some new, some old—nobody seriously expected the launch of Obamacare’s federal websites to take place without glitches

People trying to get insurance have been remarkably patient, which tells you something important about how dysfunctional and frustrating the old insurance market was. Obamacare’s architects assumed that most states would opt to run their own marketplaces with federal officials running only a few. The assumption proved wrong: Pretty much any state with a Republican governor or Republican legislative control said no, adding to the administrative burden on HHS. But 14 states plus the District of Columbia are managing their own markets.Mostly it’s places you would expect—progressive outposts like California, Washington, and New York—where Obama and his policies are most popular. But Kentucky, where a Democratic governor and group of dedicated officials have worked diligently to deliver the law’s benefits, is also on the list.

More here

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Greg Sargent: How The GOP Can Save Itself From The Tea Party

Now that the government shutdown crisis is over, leaving the GOP brand in tatters, the news is filled with chatter about Republicans “reassessing” for the battles that come. As Karen Tumulty’s piece asks: “What will it take to save the Republicans from the self-destructive impulses of the tea party movement?” If Republicans do want to enter into the normal give and take of governing — a big “if,” to be sure – it will require a willingness to rely on an alliance of non-Tea Party Republicans and Democrats to get things done.

Republicans didn’t lose the shutdown fight because Obama is trying to destroy their party. They lost it because the Tea Party fantasy outcome was never going to happen. It was rooted in a deeply unhinged view of how governing should work that Dems were never, ever, ever going to accept. It took GOP leaders too long to accept this and act accordingly.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn:

In fact, one of the most insightful analyses of Obamacare’s federal site came from John Green, co-producer of Vlogbrothers—who tried applying for insurance via an Obamacare exchange (one the federal government is running for Indiana) and then compared the experience to applying for insurance the old way, via an insurance company website. Even with the delays and server errors, he found, Obamacare was quicker and easier—mostly because, under the old system, he had to reconstruct several years of his medical history down to every exam and test.

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This is the video

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Steve Benen: GOP Already Balking At New Immigration Push

President Obama spoke briefly yesterday, announcing the re-opening of the federal government, and sharing some thoughts on how to help the country get moving in the right direction again. Specifically, the president stressed the importance of immigration reform – four times. The push came on the heels from similar remarks from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who said, “I look forward to the next venture, which is making sure we do immigration reform.” As it turns out, congressional Republicans don’t quite see it that way.

A prominent House Republican intends to help destroy the legislation because, he claims, Obama is “trying to destroy the Republican Party.” Presumably, then, that’s an outcome Republicans prefer to inflict on themselves? Stepping back, here’s my question for congressional Republicans: what is it, exactly, you intend to run on in 2014? I don’t mean that in some kind of obnoxious, snarky, way; I genuinely want to know.

More here

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Framed through the windows of the spare limousine, President Barack Obama walks from the Oval Office to the motorcade with Trip Director Marvin Nicholson and personal aide Reggie Love, Oct. 19, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Think Progress: New Jersey Supreme Court: Same-Sex Couples Can Begin Marrying Monday

The New Jersey Supreme Court issued an arguably unprecedented decision Friday: though they still plan to hear out a case challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, they are going to allow same-sex couples to begin marrying in the state in the meantime. The lower court’s decision will take effect at 12:01 AM Monday morning. In an order denying the Christie administration a stay of the lower court’s marriage equality ruling, the Court posited that the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act so “changed the landscape” that the harm to same-sex couples being denied federal benefits was too blatant to ignore

this outcome is not a final guarantee that the right to marry is a permanent fixture for same-sex couples in New Jersey, but it is incredibly encouraging. Though the Court reserved its right to nullify any marriages that take place until they rule, they have explicitly stated their expectation that the state will lose and marriage equality will prevail.

More here

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On This Day:

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President Barack Obama waves from the Colonnade to visitors as they tour the White House grounds during the 2012 White House Fall Garden Tour, Oct. 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, with veteran James Sperry and his daughter, Hannah, pause for the national anthem prior to Game 1 of the World Series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 19, 2011. The First Lady and Dr. Biden attended the game as part of their Joining Forces initiative. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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President Barack Obama listens to the University of Texas Pan American Mariachi Aztlan band in the Grand Foyer before signing the Executive Order for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama talks with third and fourth grade students during a surprise visit to Viers Mill Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md., Oct. 19, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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18
Oct
13

Chat Away

17
Oct
13

The Government Is Open For Business

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President Barack Obama makes remarks regarding the reopening of the U.S. Federal government

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President Barack Obama speaks on the reopening of the U.S. Federal government

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Continue reading ‘The Government Is Open For Business’

17
Oct
13

The wisdom of Winston Wolfe

Whenever I get a swelled head, whenever I think I’m king of the world, I dial up this little clip.

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This is where we are right now.

Yes, we’ve won a battle. A great battle. A great victory. But the war continues.

If you think the Kochs and their ilk are going to go home with their tails between their legs, you haven’t been paying attention.

President Obama’s victory over the debt ceiling and government shutdown may be a turning point. The GOP’s nihilistic ideology may be tarnished beyond repair. But they are not out of the fight.

For the Kochs and their billionaire fellow travelers, this is a death struggle. They have a dystopian Randian view of the world; they are the makers, and should be allowed unfettered freedom of action to follow their Nietzchean will to power. (Never mind that Nietzche would have looked with horror upon them.) In their minds, anything good in the US is due solely to their efforts, and the lack of gratitude from the majority of those they grudgingly call “fellow citizens” chafes at them. They have massive power, and the only point of their existence is to amass more power. At some point, one more billion is immaterial; what they want is the knowledge that they can shape the culture of a superpower to their inclinations.

Continue reading ‘The wisdom of Winston Wolfe’

17
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama arrives to speak about the government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, October 16

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Today (All Times Eastern):

10:35: President Obama delivers a statement

11:30: Holds a bilateral meeting with Italian Prime Minister Letta; Biden also attends

12:45: Holds a working lunch with Italian Prime Minister Letta; VP Biden also attends

1:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

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“No”:

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Holly Yan: Obama Signs Bill To End Partial Shutdown, Prevent Debt Ceiling Crisis

After all the bickering and grandstanding, the billions lost and trust squandered, it was much ado about nothing. The partial government shutdown’s finally over. The debt ceiling debacle has been averted. Obamacare remains virtually unscathed. The hardline House Republicans, whose opposition to the President’s signature healthcare law set this all in motion, got pretty much zip — except maybe their reputations marred.

The Senate brokered a bill to end the 16-day-long shutdown and raise the debt limit. The GOP-led House passed it. And early Thursday morning, President Barack Obama signed it into law. But it wasn’t Republicans who made it happen; a majority of that party’s caucus actually voted against the measure. The bill passed 285-144, with overwhelming Democratic support and the approval of about 80 House Republicans.

More here

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E.J. Dionne: A Lesson For Moderates In The Shutdown Denouement

Those who genuinely want a more moderate approach to politics must also reflect on what just happened. Obama and an astonishingly unified Democratic Party insisted that there could be no negotiation over raising the debt ceiling. It was time, they said, to stand up against government by intimidation. This made many who chase the political center, no matter how far to the right conservatives might drag it, uneasy. Their critiques took many forms: that Obama should “lead” more, that he should be more “involved,” that refusing to negotiate sounded so ill-tempered.

The irony the centrists must confront is that there is now a larger opening for moderate governance precisely because foes of the far right’s extra-constitutional abuses of the congressional process stood firm. In doing so, they brought a large majority of the American people with them.

More here

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Zachary Roth: Breaking Black: The Right-Wing Plot To Split A School Board

Alleging mismanagement and cronyism stemming from the stadium project, a group of white conservatives has used a series of audacious political and legal maneuvers to try to seize control of the board from its black majority. The attempted power grab is just one flash-point in a bitter and racially-charged feud over control of the school board. The local courts, and many white residents of Beaumont, have made it easy for the conservatives. And they have been helped by developments more than 1,000 miles away in Washington.

In June, the Supreme Court badly weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act which had been signed into law to make places like Beaumont—places that often fly under the national radar—more equal.  Whatever the outcome, the no-holds-barred struggle to control a provincial southeast Texas school board is shaping up as a test of something deeper: whether communities once plagued by the ugly rule of Jim Crow have truly changed, or if the Voting Rights Act was the check needed even today.

More here

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NYT: Hands Empty But Spirit Unbowed, House Republicans Take Stock

Speaker John A. Boehner strolled into a late-afternoon meeting with House Republicans and gave them one key directive: go home after it was all over on Wednesday night and get some sleep. Their fight was done.

In the two and half years since they took control of the House, Republicans have gone from early legislative victories that cut government spending to a string of defeats that have grown worse over time. The latest ended with a bill that was expected to pass early Thursday and that would leave the country almost exactly where it had been before, only billions of dollars poorer and as a puzzlement to the world.

More here

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Jonathan Chait: Stop Fretting: The Debt-Ceiling Crisis Is Over!

The mistaken impression of chaos and collapse was left by the collapse of the House Republican plan. But the House Republicans are the hostage-takers. It’sgood that their plan collapsed. Their plan was to insist on winning at least some concession from President Obama, testing his resolve not to be extorted, and, at least, pushing the crisis until the last moment. The Senate bill is a deal to lift the debt ceiling and reopen the government, without a ransom payment.

Most of the analysis has focused on the mind-boggling stupidity of Republicans in Congress, who blundered into a debacle that failed in exactly the way they were warned it would. But it also represents a huge Democratic success — or, at least, the closest thing to success that can be attained under the circumstances. Of the Republican Party’s mistakes, the most rational was its assumption that Democrats would ultimately bend. Democrats seemed to share a genuine moral revulsion at the tactics and audacity of a party that had lost a presidential election by 5 million votes, lost another chance to win a favorable Senate map, and lost the national House vote demanding the winning party give them its way without compromise.

More here

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Jennifer Bendery: GOP Didn’t Gain Anything By Forcing Shutdown

So did Republicans gain anything by forcing the showdown? “No,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said flatly. “I think the answer is no.” “That we know not to go down this road to a shutdown again?” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) proposed with a weak smile. “That may be something, at least.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who previously referred to tea party lawmakers as “wacko birds,” said the only good thing may be that Republicans are now forced to confront their intra-party differences. “I didn’t think this strategy was smart from the beginning,” Ayotte said. “The fact that the exchanges opened while the government was shut down demonstrates on its face that it wasn’t going to succeed.”

More here

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Washington Post: Recent *Rate* Of Growth In U.S. Debt Is Not Exceptional

What is so interesting about the figure is that it shows that the Obama years – despite a large rise in the nominal quantity of debt – are far from extraordinary in terms of the rate of debt growth over the preceding four years. In fact, if we extend the data series back to 1810, we find that prior to 2009, debt grew in the preceding four years at a faster rate than the rate at which it has increased since Obama took office in all of the following years: 1815-1817; 1839-1844; 1848-1851; 1859-1867; 1917-1921; 1942-1947; 1934-1937; 1978; 1983-1988.

More here

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On This Day:

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First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a taping with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan for “Live! with Kelly and Michael” at the Live with Kelly Studios in New York, N.Y., Oct. 17, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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President Barack Obama visits Mast General Store in Boone, N.C., during a stop on the American Jobs Act bus tour, Oct. 17, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama waves to a crowd gathered along a road in Boone, N.C., during the American Jobs Act bus tour, Oct. 17, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, Oct. 17, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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16
Oct
13

Leaders

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15
Oct
13

The Hollow Men


We are the hollow men

We Are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Our dried voices, when

We whisper together

Are quiet and meaningless

As wind in dry grass

Or rats’ feet over broken glass

In our dry cellar

-T.S. Eliot

This crisis was manufactured, yes, but for a purpose.

The country as it is trending is a country which frightens an unfortunately significant number of Americans. Not significant enough to win elections, as one does in a democratic republic, but significant enough so that it adheres to itself the power of destruction.

If the Tea Party caucus in the House was its own party, and not part of the GOP, it would be a toothless, useless animal. It doesn’t have the votes to pass the renaming of a post office, much less matters of national import. But, it is part of the GOP caucus, and its power doesn’t lie in numbers. Its power lies in what any mafioso would recognize: that of extortionate threats. And any Republican who might want to make an accommodation with the Democrats has to look over his shoulder, wondering what Freedom Works will do when the next primary comes up. If they were men and women of honor, they would damn the next election and do what’s right to save the country. But we have to come to the point where we stop deluding ourselves: there is no moderate GOP caucus. If one existed, it would have revolted by now, siding with House Democrats and ending this farce. It hasn’t. And it won’t.

Continue reading ‘The Hollow Men’

15
Oct
13

GOP Shutdown Update

Continue reading ‘GOP Shutdown Update’




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