Posts Tagged ‘ap

21
May
13

If government is evil, then so are we

If one lives in an oppressive system, like Iran or North Korea, then, yes, one can quite easily make the claim that government can be evil.

Modern history is littered with examples of evil governments, from Stalin’s USSR to Pol Pot’s Cambodia.

But what all these governments have in common is a lack of agency among its subjects. The people who lived and continue to live under those regimes have no political control over their lives. Decisions are mandated from some remote source, and all opposition is quashed. With my cantankerous nature, I certainly wouldn’t want to live in the Iran of Ahmedinajad, or the Belarus of Lukashenko.

This is not the case in the United States of America.

Continue reading ‘If government is evil, then so are we’

17
May
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

11:0: The President departs the White House

11:25: Arrives Baltimore, Maryland

11:35: Visits an Elementary School

1:05: Tours Ellicott Dredges (which manufactures innovative dredges and dredge equipment being sold for infrastructure projects across the country and around the world)

1:20: Delivers remarks

2:15: Visits a community center

3:0: Departs Baltimore

3:25: Arrives the White House

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Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): It’s Official: Those Bogus Email Leaks Came From Republicans

It’s not as if we didn’t know this already, but Major Garrett made it official: last week’s leaks that misquoted the Benghazi emails came directly from Republicans….

So here’s what happened. Republicans in Congress saw copies of these emails two months ago and did nothing with them. It was obvious that they showed little more than routine interagency haggling. Then someone got the bright idea of leaking two isolated tidbits and mischaracterizing them in an effort to make the State Department look bad…..

But it was typical GOP overreach. To their surprise, the White House took Republicans up on their demand to make the entire email chain public, thus making it clear to the press that they had been burned. And now reporters are letting us all know who was behind it.

More here

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Steve Benen: Whether or not an issue is a “scandal” tends to be a subjective question — one voter’s world-changing controversy may be another voter’s meaningless distraction. Indeed, the Beltway has spent a week telling the nation that the White House is engulfed in three ongoing scandals, though many of us suspect this analysis is deeply flawed.

But if we’re going to talk about real political scandals, can we at least have a conversation about Republicans lying to reporters about Benghazi?

More here

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Jeffrey Goldberg (Bloomberg): So it turns out that Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and, before a group of leading Senate Republicans decided that she was evil incarnate, a top contender to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, had nothing to do with formulating the White House’s response to the fatal attacks last year at the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

…. Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, among others, argued for weeks that Rice was a crucial cog in a huge conspiracy to hide the facts of Benghazi from the American people….

…. I don’t expect that Graham will apologize to Rice for accusing her of engaging in an enormous conspiracy, when all she seems to have done is take the consensus of several government agencies and present it publicly. But you would hope Graham would think twice before threatening again to stop her advancement in government.

Full post here

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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

28
Nov
11

bits n pieces

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President Obama hosts a summit meeting with European Union leaders, Nov. 28, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

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Ah, you gotta love AP. They have an article posted today by Lolita Baldor about National Guard and Reserve troops facing unemployment now that the Iraq war is over and troops are gradually being withdrawn from Afghanistan.

Needless to say, it’s desperately sad that these men and women are facing unemployment, an issue the President has repeatedly addressed over the past three years and has introduced legislation and various measures to try and boost their chances of finding work.

See how Baldor frames it, though, when talking about one such member of the National Guard, Demetries Luckett:

“… just a month after he arrived for training, the Army decided Uncle Sam didn’t need him after all. Now Luckett’s unemployed and back home in Harper Woods, Mich. – a victim of the Obama administration‘s ongoing effort to pull at least 33,000 U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by next fall.”

A victim? Jeez, like not sending soldiers in to harm’s way and ending wars is a bad thing? 🙄

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President Obama signs the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 at the U.S. Department of Interior, Dec. 22

MSNBC: Since the lifting two months ago of a longstanding U.S. ban on gays serving openly in the military, U.S. Marines across the globe have adapted smoothly and embraced the change, says their top officer, Gen. James F. Amos, who previously had argued against repealing the ban during wartime.

“I’m very pleased with how it has gone,” Amos said during a week-long trip that included four days in Afghanistan, where he held more than a dozen town hall-style meetings with Marines of virtually every rank. He was asked about a wide range of issues …. Not once was he asked in Afghanistan about the repeal of the gay ban.

…. The apparent absence of angst about gays serving openly in the Marines seemed to confirm Amos’ view that the change has been taken in stride, without hurting the war effort.

….. A Defense Department spokeswoman, Cynthia O. Smith, said implementation of the repeal of the gay ban is proceeding smoothly across the military. “We attribute this success to our comprehensive pre-repeal training program, combined with the continued close monitoring and enforcement of standards by our military leaders at all levels,” Smith said.

More here

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The White House has released this statement on Barney Frank’s retirement from President Obama:

“This country has never had a Congressman like Barney Frank, and the House of Representatives will not be the same without him. For over 30 years, Barney has been a fierce advocate for the people of Massachusetts and Americans everywhere who needed a voice. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of families and businesses and helped make housing more affordable. He has stood up for the rights of LGBT Americans and fought to end discrimination against them. And it is only thanks to his leadership that we were able to pass the most sweeping financial reform in history designed to protect consumers and prevent the kind of excessive risk-taking that led to the financial crisis from ever happening again. Barney’s passion and his quick wit will be missed in the halls of Congress, and Michelle and I join the people of the Bay State in thanking him for his years of service.”

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The guy in the yellow shirt? Em, nice name!

Gabon’s striker Christ Obama vies with China’s Lui Binbin during a friendly football match between Gabon and the Chinese Junior team during the inauguration of the Sino-Gabonese friendship stadium in Libreville on November 27

11
May
11

morning!

In case anyone missed it, I added the video of the President’s speech in Austin here last night

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President Obama will take questions at a CBS News town hall Wednesday afternoon, but we won’t get to hear any of his answers until Thursday morning. The forum, which will be taped at the Newseum, is embargoed until it’s shown on the “Early Show” at 8 a.m. Thursday.

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Time: President Barack Obama’s approval rating has hit its highest point in two years — 60 percent — and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

In worrisome signs for Republicans, the president’s standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy, and independent Americans — a key voting bloc in the November 2012 presidential election — caused the overall uptick in support by sliding back to Obama after fleeing for much of the past two years.

Comfortable majorities of the public now call Obama a strong leader who will keep America safe. Nearly three-fourths — 73 percent — also now say they are confident that Obama can effectively handle terrorist threats. And he improved his standing on Afghanistan, Iraq and the United States’ relationships with other countries.

Despite a sluggish recovery from the Great Recession, 52 percent of Americans now approve of Obama’s stewardship of the economy, giving him his best rating on that issue since the early days of his presidency; 52 percent also now like how he’s handling the nation’s stubbornly high 9 percent unemployment.

Full article here

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PPP

15
Apr
11

i’m your man

President Barack Obama during his interview with The Associated Press, April 15, in Chicago

AP: “I think the economy’s going to continue to improve, and I think that I can make an effective case … that not only have I been able to yank this economy out of that hole” but also that he has been able to start making wise fundamental changes. He pointed to overhauling the health care system, investing in clean energy and making college more affordable.

“I’m the person who is best prepared for us to finish the job so that we’re on track to succeed in the 21st century,” Obama said.

President Obama waves from the stairs of Air Force One upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base, April 15

12
Apr
11

he gave away everything! oh, wait….

AP: Details of last week’s hard-won agreement to avoid a government shutdown and cut federal spending by $38 billion were released Tuesday morning. They reveal that the budget cuts, while historic, were significantly eased by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.

Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs – Pell grants for poor college students, health research and “Race to the Top” aid for public schools, among others – from Republican knives.

..As a result of the legerdemain, Obama was able to reverse many of the cuts passed by House Republicans in February when the chamber approved a bill slashing this year’s budget by more than $60 billion. In doing so, the White House protected favorites like the Head Start early learning program, while maintaining the maximum Pell grant of $5,550 and funding for Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative that provides grants to better-performing schools.

Instead, the cuts that actually will make it into law are far tamer, including cuts to earmarks, unspent census money, leftover federal construction funding, and $2.5 billion from the most recent renewal of highway programs that can’t be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation. Another $3.5 billion comes from unused spending authority from a program providing health care to children of lower-income families.

…conservatives are upset that most conservative policy “riders” added by Republicans were dropped from the legislation in the course of the talks.

The White House rejected GOP attempts to block the EPA’s ability to issue global warming rules and other reversals of environmental regulations. Obama also forced Republicans to drop an effort to cut off Planned Parenthood from federal funding, as well as GOP moves to stop implementation of Obama’s overhauls of health care and Wall Street regulation.

The administration also thwarted a GOP attempt to block new rules governing the Internet, as well as a National Rifle Association-backed attempt to neuter a little-noticed initiative aimed at catching people running guns to Mexican drug lords by having regulators gather information on batch purchases of rifles and shotguns.

More here

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Steve Benen: Today is the first day we’ve been able to get a good look at exactly what spending cuts are included in the new budget deal. We’ve been working with the larger, top-line numbers since late last week, but without a sense of what the specific cuts are going to be.

….does this mean the actual budget cuts won’t be quite as brutal as we thought when the deal was struck on Friday night? Actually, yes, that’s pretty much what it means. The AP’s report echoes this point.

..It turns out, a lot of the cuts related to money that wasn’t going to be spent (leftover Census money, for example), eliminating programs that were set to expire, and not repeating expenditures intended to be one-time infusions anyway.

Maybe it’s time to revisit the assumption that the Obama White House got rolled.

More here

31
Mar
11

‘obama is the gop’s worst nightmare’ (updated)

Brynja Hammer smiles at President Barack Obama during a visit to the Oval Office on her eighth birthday, August 21, 2009. Byrnja’s father Mike is spokesman for the National Security Council. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Politicususa: Republicans’ … only hope for defeating President Obama short of an act of God is to drive up his negatives, but a new AP/GfK poll shows that not only are Obama’s approval ratings remaining steady at 53%, but an incredible 84% said that the president is a very likable person.

The numbers in the AP/GfK poll show an electorate that is still not happy with the direction that country is going …. but something very interesting happens when you look at Obama’s approval numbers. They aren’t going down. Obama’s job approval rating is still at 53% which is where it has been since January….

….The one point that emerged from this poll is that America really, really likes Barack Obama. When asked to evaluate how well Obama understands the big issues facing America, 68% believed that he understood them at least somewhat well. 60% believed that Obama understands the problems of ordinary Americans. 61% believed that he will keep America safe, and 59% thought that he understands their problems. 57% called Obama a strong leader, and most tellingly a whopping 84% said Obama is a likable person.

It is tough for a lot of people to get 84% of their friends and family to call them likable, much less the entire country. Needless to say, these are not the numbers of a future one term president.

….Until the jobs all come back and there is a chicken in every pot, Obama will still hover around 50%, but even that small majority would be more than enough easily defeat any of the slugs that the GOP may be forced to run against him in 2012.

…For the Republicans, 2012 has turned into a Nightmare on K Street. One, two, Obama’s coming for you.

Full article here

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Ah, I was relieved to see this on Media Matters today because when I read AP’s own report on their own poll last night I thought my eyesight must have been failing me. As Media Matters put it: “.. how badly does the press not want to focus on Obama’s solid approval ratings? So badly that even the AP buried the lede in reporting on its own poll.”

It’s true! In their very own report on their very own poll, AP simply mentioned in the third paragraph of five that “in the AP-GfK poll over the past month, Obama’s approval rating has held steady around 50 percent”.

Around 50 percent? You have to actually go to the AP-Gkf website and open up a PDF to discover that the figure is 53!

Back to Media Matters: “The AP can’t even be bothered to spell out Obama’s approval rating in the latest AP poll. (It’s 53 percent. But the AP goes with “around 50 percent.”) And no, that’s not even the lede. Instead, Americans souring on the economy is the lede. But I guarantee you if the AP poll had the president’s approval rating dropping to 42 percent, the way the Quinnipiac poll did, the AP would have hyped that in the headline and the AP poll would be making headlines today.”

You couldn’t make this stuff up!

“Shh! New AP Poll Has Obama Approval Rating At 53% – “There’s no need to distract the press regarding the latest findings from the AP-GfK poll. Y’know, the one that has Obama’s approval rating at a robust 53 percent.

Don’t distract the Beltway press corps, let alone the right-wing blogosphere, because they’re still obsessing over yesterday’s Quinnipiac poll that had Obama down to a 42 percent approval rating. Those results, as we noted, were instantly dubbed to be very important.

It’s true the Quinnipiac poll didn’t really resemble many other reputable survey results issued this month. And it’s true virtually every other poll measuring Obama’s approval rating in March found him hovering around the 50 percent mark. But that didn’t matter. The Quinnipiac findings were news and the AP’s are not. Why? Because good news for Obama isn’t really news.

So shh, please don’t wake the press and disturb them with news of the latest AP finding. Please don’t interrupt their fascination with the 42 percent approval finding when a new poll has Obama more than ten points higher than that.”

30
Mar
11

oh, nearly forgot….

A new poll out tonight – you probably won’t see it mentioned in the media. 53%? 11 points higher than Quinnipiac! (But close to recent polls by CBS, CNN, Fox (!), ABC, Bloomberg and Reuters). Despite gas prices and worries over Libya?!

AP poll

Note the ‘strongly disapprove’ figure (29%) – the same as it’s always been for President Obama, even on his first day in office. Funny, it’s close to the ‘strongly approve’ figure the Tea Party usually gets. Just saying’.

😉

25
Feb
11

fair and balanced?

Steve Benen (Washington Monthly): We talked a few weeks ago about the very different ways in which the media responds to court rulings on the Affordable Care Act. Those upholding the constitutionality of the health care law get very little attention, while conservative rulings against the law are literally treated as front-page news.

Now that there’s a new federal court ruling – Judge Gladys Kessler ruled in support of the law on Tuesday, becoming the fifth to rule on the merits – let’s take a moment to reevaluate this.

Three federal district courts have said the Affordable Care Act meets constitutional muster; two have reached the opposite conclusion. Here’s how four major media outlets have covered the rulings, in the order in which the decisions came down: See here for statistics

…the discrepancy is overwhelming. In every instance, conservative rulings get more coverage, longer articles, and better placement ….  the Washington Post couldn’t bother to run a single article – not one – about the Kessler ruling…

…it seems very likely the public has been left with the impression that the health care law is legally dubious and struggling badly in the courts because that’s what news organizations have told them to believe.

Read full article here




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