Archive for May 15th, 2013

15
May
13

Night Owl Chat – A Few Precepts

Love may not always win

but hate is always sure to lose.

A peace of equals

lasts longer than a war of destruction.

Life, for all its problems

is more wondrous than a cult of death.

I’m with those who sing their souls

rather than scream their fears.

I’m with those who offer the open hand

rather than the clenched fist.

I’m with those who  do as they wish to be done

rather than those who do before they get done.

The secret of the good life is not difficult:

love, kindness, openness.

Their opposites are merely the signposts

to lonely and dusty death.

When someone says to you: “I’m for life”,

Ask them: “What life?”

Life after birth?

Life in fullness rather than penury?

Life with meaning?

Life with possibilities abounding?

Any other kind of life is not life.

Any other kind of life is death.

Life, peace, love:

All else is fool’s gold.

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This is your night owl open thread.

15
May
13

Chat Away

15
May
13

This and That

“Did you see that Jon Karl, um, exclusive?”

President Obama and Attorney General Holder attend the 32nd annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the West Front Lawn at the U.S. Capitol, May 15

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You gotta love the media: In the 18th paragraph……

Steve Benen: USA Today had an item today on the IRS controversy, which seemed to reinforce much of what we already know: conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status faced unfair and unreasonable scrutiny. But deep in the article, in the 18th paragraph, USA Today added seven unexpected words: “Some liberal groups did get additional scrutiny.”

More here

Mind you, plenty of places didn’t mention this at all today

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Can’t stand Wiegel, but liked this….

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NPR: The Justice Department’s subpoena of Associated Press phone records as part of an investigation into what Attorney General Eric Holder has called “a very grave leak” to the news agency has set off a political firestorm on Capitol Hill, but there’s a lot to the AP story published a year ago that started it all.

….. as NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston reports, there’s much more to the story:

“As we understood it then and still understand it, that suicide bomber that AP refers to in its story was actually a double agent working with western intelligence agencies,” Dina says.

Although the double-agent did hand the new underwear bomb technology to U.S. officials, “they had hoped the agent could do more [and] … one consequence of the story is that this agent’s identity was blown,” she says.

More here

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Click to see the rest of the post

15
May
13

6:0 EST: President Obama Makes a Statement

15
May
13

Keep Chattin’

President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano look on during the 32nd annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the West Front Lawn at the U.S. Capitol May 15

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Back in a bit with a This and That

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Epic:

15
May
13

Chat Away

15
May
13

A Word from Donna

by Donna

I’ve been listening to Urban Talk radio of late during my drive in to work and on lunch break (Joe Madison in the morning and Rev Al at lunch).

Joe Madison has been blasting the Republicans and the media this week. It has been a thing of beauty to listen to. The callers to his show know the game as well and if these Republicans think that they are going to try and take this President down based on these bogus so-called “scandals” they are in for a rude awakening. The Republicans will feel their wrath like never before so let them keep overreaching…..

I’d like to say a word or two about a topic that he did touch on this morning (just as I arrived at work and couldn’t hear the end) was the WH’s response to these so-called scandals. I’m also seeing a lot of this in my twitter timeline. There seems to be this notion that the WH isn’t getting out in front of these issues as fast as some would like.

Click to see the rest of the post

15
May
13

Rise and Shine

May 14 (Photo: Pete Souza)

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Today:

11:0: The President delivers remarks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service (White House live)

12:30: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney (White House live)

1:0 Attorney General Eric Holder appears before the House Judiciary Committee (C-Span 3)

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Steve Benen: Yesterday’s news from the Congressional Budget Office on the shrinking deficit came as something of a shock to those who pay attention to such things. We knew the budget deficit was getting smaller, but we didn’t realize just how quickly the perceived problem was vanishing — we’re now looking at over $400 billion in deficit reduction in just one year, and about $800 billion in deficit reduction since President Obama took office.

There are several important angles to this, but perhaps the most politically salient one is the way in which the shrinking deficit leaves Republican talking points in tatters. GOP arguments about President Obama’s fiscal recklessness now look absurd….

More here

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Washington Post: The budget deals of the past two years and a recovering economy are rapidly mopping up the tide of red ink that swept over Washington after the 2007 recession.

After four years of budget deficits in excess of $1 trillion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecast Tuesday that this year’s deficit will plummet to $642 billion….

That’s $200 billion lower than the CBO forecast in February. Analysts attributed the sunnier outlook to higher-than-expected tax revenue and about $95 billion in higher payments from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are profiting from a recovering housing market.

The forecast puts the nation on track for its smallest deficit since 2008, before the recession hit in full force.

More here

But….

NYT: …. many economists are cautioning that the deficit is coming down too fast, too soon. “It’s good news for the budget deficit and bad news for the jobs deficit,” said Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-of-center research group in Washington. “I’m more worried about the latter.”

More here

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Steve Benen: …. As Josh Marshall explained, “…. Karl’s follow on piece is entitled ‘More Details on Benghazi Talking Points Emerge’ but the substance is, ‘How the Story Changes When I Realize the Notes I Was Using Weren’t Reliable.’ The answer here is that Karl pretty clearly got burned by his source. But he at least seriously singed himself by making it really, really look like he was looking at the emails themselves when he wasn’t.”

Right. ABC’s Karl originally told his audience that he’d “obtained” White House materials, when in fact he’d seen summaries, apparently provided by a Republican staffer on Capitol Hill, which we now know were misleading. Karl received unreliable information, and seems to have been incomplete in how he characterized his direct knowledge of the information…..

Full post here

Steve Benen must be the politest man on planet earth: “Karl received unreliable information, and seems to have been incomplete in how he characterized his direct knowledge of the information”. In other words, he lied!

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USA Today: The Benghazi hearings are drawing intense interest in Washington.

In the rest of the country, not so much.

A new poll by the Pew Research Center says only 44% of Americans are paying attention to congressional hearings on administration actions surrounding the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya.

That number is “virtually unchanged from late January when Hillary Clinton testified,” Pew reported. “Last October, 61% said they were following the early stages of the investigation at least fairly closely.”

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NYT: The 37th time won’t be the charm. But House Republicans are charging forward anyway this week on a vote to repeal President Obama’s signature health care overhaul, which will put the number of times they have tried to eliminate, defund or curtail the law past the three-dozen mark.

…. Three dozen is a lot for a bill that currently has no prayer of becoming law. But the figure 37 actually understates the amount of time Republicans have devoted to litigating and trying to dismantle the president’s biggest legislative accomplishment.

The repeal vote, which is likely to occur Thursday, will be at least the 43rd day since Republicans took over the House that they have devoted time to voting on the issue.

To put that in perspective, they have held votes on only 281 days since taking power in January 2011…

That means that since 2011, Republicans have spent no less than 15 percent of their time on the House floor on repeal in some way.

More here

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Yahoo: House Democrats will begin making robocalls to voters in 10 congressional districts Wednesday that target Republican lawmakers who support a new effort to repeal the 2010 federal health care law.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is paying for the calls, which according to a script obtained by Yahoo News, will warn voters that Republicans support putting “insurance companies back in charge of your health care.”

“The Republican Congress is scheduled to vote tomorrow to put insurance companies back in charge of your health care and repeal vital consumer protections and benefits that you’ve earned,” the voice on the call will say. “And your Congressman might be part of the problem. Tell [your congressman] to stand up for middle class families here in California—and don’t help the Republican Congress give insurance companies more control over your life.”

More here

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Funny, we’re not hearing much about this…..

Bloomberg: The Internal Revenue Service, under pressure after admitting it targeted anti-tax Tea Party groups for scrutiny in recent years, also had its eye on at least three Democratic-leaning organizations seeking nonprofit status.

One of those groups, Emerge America, saw its tax-exempt status denied, forcing it to disclose its donors and pay some taxes. None of the Republican groups have said their applications were rejected.

Progress Texas, another of the organizations, faced the same lines of questioning as the Tea Party groups from the same IRS office that issued letters to the Republican-friendly applicants. A third group, Clean Elections Texas, which supports public funding of campaigns, also received IRS inquiries.

More here

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