Posts Tagged ‘sequester



01
Mar
13

‘The Republicans have a fully functioning marionette in the Speaker’s chair’

Charles Pierce: So Sequestration Day is here …. And it seems that the House Republicans are dancing in the streets of Pottersville…..

…. The country’s going to hell, but the Republicans now have a fully functioning marionette in the Speaker’s chair. They want him to be a vandal. He’s a vandal. They want him to be butch. He’ll be butch. If they told him to sprawl across a sofa in the Rotunda dressed as Scarlett O’Hara, well, who the hell knows? Maybe he’s got the legs for it. At least he can sleep with both eyes closed for a while.

Full post here

Back in a while

01
Mar
13

Heads Up: President Obama statement on sequester

@WhiteHouse

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01
Mar
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

10:05: President Obama hosts the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress at the White House; VP Biden also attends.

11:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

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AP: The White House says automatic spending reductions set to kick in will be put off until as close to midnight Friday as possible.

The law, passed by Congress on Jan. 2 simply says that “on March 1, 2013, the president shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013.” That’s budget talk for an $85 billion reduction in defense and domestic spending between now and Oct. 1.

Obama can issue that order at any point in the day.

And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, Friday – or as close to midnight as possible: 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds.

Because, Carney says, Obama remains “ever hopeful.”

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See here – thanks Desertflower

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And this is what the GOP is trying to destroy, the economic recovery:

Bloomberg: Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at a faster pace than forecast in February, reaching the highest level since June 2011 as factories boosted production to meet greater demand.

…. The figures exceeded the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey in which the median projection was 52.5. A reading greater than 50 signals expansion.

…. Orders expanded the most in almost two years, the report showed, as manufacturers such as Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) emerged from an industry setback in the second half of 2012….

More here

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Zing:

Paul Krugman: So, after reading the Bob Woodward saga of the alleged “threat” from Gene Sperling, the White House supereconwonk, I went through my own correspondence with Gene, and couldn’t find anything threatening – although I guess you could read his injunction, at one point, to “take care” in an ominous tone of voice.

Hey, don’t I rate some proper intimidation?

But then, Woodward’s story is looking supremely silly too. Can Robert Redford unportray him, or star in a sequel titled “All the president’s crybabies”?

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@noamscheiber

It’s mighty interesting reading Scheiber’s review now –

Noam Scheiber (October 2012): …. I didn’t find Woodward’s book unusually tedious. In fact, I learned a lot from it. What I found it to be was remarkably slanted.

…. it is relentlessly biased against the president. Woodward argues that the White House and Congress failed to reach a major deficit-reduction deal last summer because Obama didn’t provide the necessary leadership, even though this thesis is untethered from Woodward’s own reporting, to say nothing of reality.

But, in another sense, the book is perfectly in sync with Woodward’s oeuvre. There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency: he hadn’t put in his time before running, didn’t grasp the majesty of the office, evinced no respect for the way things were done. He not only won without courting the city’s elders, he had the bad manners to keep his distance even after winning. This is the view Woodward distills.

Woodward telegraphs his contempt from the get-go…..

Full review here

I reckon this line says it all: “There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency…..”

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ThinkProgress: Bob Woodward appeared on Fox News’ Hannity on Thursday to complain about Gene Sperling’s email…. During his interview with Sean Hannity, Woodward claimed that he had been “roughed up” by Sperling and agreed with the host’s characterization of the Washington journalists as liberals who are disinterested in challenging the president with Bill Ayers, an education advocate who was part of the group the Weather Underground:

HANNITY: The fact that the president …. wasn’t asked about his association with Bill Ayers was troublesome to me, I think we’ve got a media that’s not as critical as perhaps it once was in, for example, the days of Watergate.

WOODWARD: Well, I agree with that. We need to be very aggressive and it’s one of the judges that said democracies die in darkness and I really think that’s true.

More here

Oh boy.

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Do not miss Charles Pierce

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New Republic

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Todd Purdum (Vanity Fair – Feb 21): With drastic government spending cuts due to kick in, the top job at the Pentagon still vacant, and Congress conveniently out of town for its Presidents’ Day recess, the White House press corps has paused this week to bemoan not the state of the republic but of itself.

…. as a class, they are the world’s biggest whiners. I know because I was once one of them, and a first-class whiner myself. I don’t think their argument holds water. The modern presidency is so sprawling and complex that the reporters best equipped to cover it are the experts in various fields, from defense to transportation, to agriculture, to health care….

What the White House reporters are good at is “gotcha,” at catching a president’s inconsistencies, slipups, and animadversions—at stirring the pot and producing a sharp headline, however fleeting. When The New York Times can ask Obama (with a theoretically straight face) whether he is a “socialist,” then anything can happen. Is it any wonder that he has not given the paper an interview since 2010? What president would? ….

Full article here

Thanks Lovely Plains

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MoooOOOooorning!

28
Feb
13

This, That and the Other

@VP meets with parents of teen dating violence victims in his office today

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Statement from the President:

Today, Republicans in the Senate faced a choice about how to grow our economy and reduce our deficit.  And instead of closing a single tax loophole that benefits the well-off and well-connected, they chose to cut vital services for children, seniors, our men and women in uniform and their families.  They voted to let the entire burden of deficit reduction fall squarely on the middle class.

I believe we should do better.  We should work together to reduce our deficit in a balanced way – by making smart spending cuts and closing special interest tax loopholes.  That’s exactly the kind of plan Democrats in the Senate have proposed.  But even though a majority of Senators support this approach, Republicans have refused to allow it an up-or-down vote – threatening our economy with a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will cost us jobs and slow our recovery.

Tomorrow I will bring together leaders from both parties to discuss a path forward.  As a nation, we can’t keep lurching from one manufactured crisis to another.  Middle-class families can’t keep paying the price for dysfunction in Washington.  We can build on the over $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we’ve already achieved, but doing so will require Republicans to compromise.  That’s how our democracy works, and that’s what the American people deserve.

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E.J. Dionne: This has to stop.

Ever since they took control of the House of Representatives in 2011, Republicans have made journeys to the fiscal brink as commonplace as summertime visits to the beach or the ballpark. The country has been put through a series of destructive showdowns over budget issues we once resolved through the normal give-and-take of negotiations.

The old formula held that when government was divided between the parties, the contending sides should try to “meet in the middle.” But the current Republican leadership doesn’t know the meaning of the word “middle,” so intimidated by the tea party has it become.

More here

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Washington Post Editorial: “This is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress,” Justice Antonin Scalia pronounced during a Supreme Court argument Wednesday.

The subject was the Voting Rights Act, one of the most successful pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history, and in particular its Section 5….

“It was clear to 98 senators, including every senator from a covered state, who decided that there was a continuing need for this piece of legislation,” Justice Elena Kagan said, in what might seem a self-evident point.

But not to Justice Scalia. “Or decided that perhaps they’d better not vote against …. They are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful: the Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?”

This is a stunning line of argumentation…

More here

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ThinkProgress: After nearly a year of partisan infighting on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives and the Senate finally agreed to send a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to President Obama’s desk.

…. by a vote of 286 to 138, the House passed the bipartisan Senate-approved version of the bill … all 138 votes against the bill were Republicans.

A watered down Republican version of the bill, which was offered as a substitute amendment, failed to garner enough votes to slow the process. It was struck down by a vote of 257 to 166. Sixty Republicans voted against their own party’s replacement measure. Twenty-seven members of Congress, all Republicans, voted against both versions….

More here

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President Obama and VP Joe Biden talk with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in the Outer Oval Office, following his swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office, Feb. 28 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Greg Sargent: As expected, the Obama administration has submitted a friend of the court brief in the case challenging Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court. Just as gay rights advocates had hoped, Obama’s Solicitor General has made a sweeping case against Proposition 8 as unconstitutional, which is a bold move and makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will strike down the law with a similarly sweeping argument. This in turn could set a precedent for challenging the constitutionality of other state laws banning gay marriage — potentially leading to full equality across the country.

In short, in this brief, the United States government has put the force of a fully fleshed out legal argument behind Obama’s historic words during his Inaugural Address: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

More here

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TPM: Chrysler is investing millions in the Kokomo, Indiana, area as it shifts most of its vehicles to new transmissions that save fuel and better suit the driving habits of Americans.

The automaker will invest nearly $400 million at four plants in the Kokomo, Indiana, area, adding 1,250 jobs to what it says it the largest transmission factory complex in the world. The plants will make fuel-efficient eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions.

More here

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Still catching up with stuff on poor threatened Bob Woodward, these are just a few snippets that you probably all read, oh, hours ago. That he’s appearing on Hannity says it all, really –

Steve Benen: …. This would be an ideal time for Woodward to start walking back some of his increasingly bizarre claims, but instead, he’s agreed to appear on television tonight – with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

No, seriously.

When it comes to his chosen profession, Bob Woodward has had the kind of career most media professionals can only dream of … Which is why it saddens me to see him become so reckless for no reason. I just can’t figure out what’s gotten into Woodward, or why he’s acting so erratically. But at this point, it seems Woodward is doing lasting, possibly irreparable harm to his once-sterling reputation, and that is a genuine shame….

Full post here

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Michael Tomasky: … it’s obvious to anyone who knows [Sperling] that he meant Woodward would regret having a big factual error hanging around his neck for the sake of his historical reputation… A big factual error Woodward made over the weekend that is misleading in very important ways. He said that Obama and his people were lying when they claim that revenues have been understood to be part of any sequester deal. He is wrong. Dead flat-out wrong.

He doesn’t correct this, and the Politico story, which started this whole thing, doesn’t correct it…

…. And all this is happening, of course, in a larger context in which you have one side, the side that lost the last election by the way, taking a “negotiating” position that is supported by 19 percent of the people and refusing to budge from it one inch. Which is somehow Obama’s fault because he just needs to show “leadership.” The economy is at serious risk here, and this is what our agenda-setters are feeding us? These people are children, and this is really as bad as Washington gets.

Full post here

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Charles Pierce: [Politico] were summoned to an undisclosed location where Bob Woodward is hiding because someone in the Obama administration pointed out that he might one day regret having been publicly stupid on the subject of the sequester, and Bob knows what that means. So, huddled in his bunker, fiddling with the knobs on the crystal set and eating cold Spaghetti-O’s out of the can, Bob summoned two of the only reporters he knows who share the same level of self-delusion that he does.

…. Jesus H. Christ on a two-picture deal, Bob, you got your ass kicked by Ezra Klein, let alone the White House. This is the guy who bravely walked into darkened parking garages in the dead of night to bring down a criminal president? He now believes himself “threatened” by Gene Fcking Sperling, because Sperling said Woodward was “going to regret” being wrong? ….

Full magnificent post here

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Media Matters: Conservative media figures are abandoning Washington Post writer Bob Woodward’s over-hyped claim that he was threatened by a White House official.

More here

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Some time later….

Woodward in the Washington Post:

“I never characterized it as a ‘threat’. I think that was Politico’s word.”

🙄

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Bloomberg Businessweek? WTF? (ThinkProgress)

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Washington Post: First lady Michelle Obama on Thursday announced an effort to engage 50,000 schools in an effort to bring physical activity back to the classroom, and she’s getting a big assist from Nike.

The shoe-maker will spend $50 million on the “Let’s Move Active Schools” effort over the next five years. Several other organizations are combining to donate $20 million, including the GENYOUth Foundation, ChildObesity180, Kaiser Permanente and the General Mills Foundation.

…. “With each passing year, schools feel like it’s just getting harder to find the time, the money, and the will to help our kids be active,” Michelle Obama said. “But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should stop trying – it means we should try harder. It means that all of us – not just educators, but businesses and non-profits and ordinary citizens – we all need to dig deeper and start getting even more creative.”

More here

See video here

letsmoveschools.org

First Lady Michelle Obama at her “Bringing Physical Activity Back to Schools” event at McCormick Place in Chicago on February 28

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27
Feb
13

Catching Up

President Barack Obama with a three-year-old relative of Rosa Parks after unveiling a statue in her honor

Reminded me of:

Flickr

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This evening:

7:30: President Obama delivers remarks at the Business Council dinner and answer questions, Park Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC (Pooled Press for Remarks)

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TPM

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Just catching up with reaction to what Scalia said today. Absolutely stunning. More in the morning, just a few snippets:

ThinkProgress: There were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge, where audio of the oral argument is pumped in for members of the Supreme Court bar, when Justice Antonin Scalia offered his assessment of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He called it a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

….It should be noted that even one of Scalia’s fellow justices felt the need to call out his remark. Justice Sotomayor asked the attorney challenging the Voting Right Act whether he thought voting rights are a racial entitlement as soon as he took the podium for rebuttal.

Full post here

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Charles Pierce: …. Sotomayor, for whom this seems very, very personal, made an argument from history that discrimination is an infinitely mutable thing and that, as soon as you find a remedy for one form of it, human ingenuity will devise three new ones…..

……it was hard not to go back to Florida, and to all the people I met who were waiting in line for six and seven hours to vote because the state had deliberately enacted policies to make it more difficult. Those policies were discriminatory. The people enacting them knew exactly what they were doing. They knew who those policies were aimed at as surely as did the county registrars administering the literacy tests did back in 1965…..

Full post here

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Greg Sargent: Judging by all the early reporting on the first round of Supreme Court arguments about a key section of the Voting Rights Act, that provision may be in real peril. Conservative justices expressed sharp skepticism of the law, with much attention being paid to Antonin Scalia’s description of it as a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

…. all may not be lost. That’s because proponents of the Voting Rights Act are focused mainly on holding on to Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Full post here

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Steve Benen: I’m beginning to think an infectious disease is spreading in the nation’s capital. Symptoms include memory loss (forgetting everything Republicans have done in recent years), blurred vision (an inability to see obvious GOP ploys), and an uncontrollable urge to blame “both sides” for everything, even when it doesn’t make any sense.

The disease has already affected pundits like Bob Woodward, Ron Fournier, David Brooks, nearly everyone on the network Sunday shows, and today reaches the editorial board of the Washington Post. Indeed, the Post’s editors seem to have come down with an especially acute case today, as evidenced this bang-your-head-against-your-desk editorial on the sequester, which cavalierly ignores the paper’s own reporting, and demands that President Obama “lead” by somehow getting congressional Republicans to be more responsible.

Full post here

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President Barack Obama talks with Congressional leaders prior to the Rosa Parks statue unveiling ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2013. Pictured, from left, are: Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.; Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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First lady Michelle Obama at a “Let’s Move!” event in Clinton, Miss.

… with Rachael Ray

More in the morning

27
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times EST):

10:0: Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the proposed “assault weapons ban of 2013” (C-Span)

11:0: The President delivers remarks at the unveiling of a statue of Rosa Parks, United States Capitol

White House live * C-Span * CBS * CNN

11:0: VP Biden Addresses Attorneys General on Gun Control

3:0: First Lady Michelle Obama will join Rachael Ray in Clinton, Mississippi as part of the Let’s Move national tour

7:30: President Obama delivers remarks at the Business Council dinner and answer questions, Park Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC (Pooled Press for Remarks)

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Reuters: The Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider whether to strike down a key provision of a federal law designed to protect minority voters.

During the one-hour oral argument, the nine justices will hear the claim made by officials from Shelby County, Alabama, that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is no longer needed.

The key issue is whether Congress has the authority under the 15th Amendment, which gave African Americans the right to vote, to require some states, mainly in the South, to show that any proposed election-law change would not discriminate against minority voters.

More here

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Steve Benen: Defense Secretary-designate Chuck Hagel will take the oath of office later today, which will likely be a satisfying resolution to a difficult confirmation process. But before he’s sworn in, Senate Republicans issued one last challenge to their former colleague…..

… This has to be one of the more amusing things I’ve heard from Senate Republicans in quite a while. In effect, the line from the GOP minority is, “We smeared Chuck Hagel, we questioned his patriotism, we questioned his loyalties, and we accused him without proof of having ties to America’s enemies. Now that he’s confirmed, we expect Hagel to start mending the relationship we destroyed on purpose as part of our partisan scorched-earth campaign.”

Even by Republican standards, this is pretty nutty.

More here

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ThinkProgress

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Click to see the rest of the post

26
Feb
13

Heads Up: President Obama delivers remarks on the sequester

The sequester explained

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1:05 EST: President Obama delivers remarks on the sequester in Newport News, Va.

White House live * C-Span * CBS * CNN

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President Obama arriving at Joint Base Langley-Eustis today …. spare a thought for Secret Service, it can’t be easy keeping up with the fella.

26
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

10:50: President Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews

11:50: Arrives in Newport News, Va.

1:05: Delivers remarks on the sequester

2:05: Departs Newport News

3:05: Arrives at the White House

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See more here – thanks UT

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Michael Tomasky: How the credulousness of mainstream media figures like Bob Woodward and Ron Fournier enables Republican extremism …. On Saturday, I wrote about what I called the conservative Republican “rage machine” and its poisonous impact on our politics. I argued that a number of prominent conservative thinkers and pundits …. were and are partly responsible for this problem as long as they sit there pretending it doesn’t exist.

But there’s another responsible group here, too: Just as today’s Republican extremists benefit from the silence of conservative pundits, they also gain from the credulousness of mainstream figures who keep pretending that today’s GOP is a responsible party …. So that when the GOP takes a radical position on the sequester and Barack Obama a reasonable one, both are accorded equal seriousness, even when facts have to be ignored to do so.

Bob Woodward is Exhibit A here…..

Full post here

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Bob Cesca: …. the sequestration issue has been one of those rare items that frustrate me to the point of being incapable of spending time on it. When I read about sequestration, my brain seizes. The stupidity of it all simply confounds me to the point of being speechless. For me, this is a shocking and rare predicament.

It’s not even the chronic brinksmanship — the reoccurring doomsday countdowns and the Republican-manifested economic sabotage that’s behind it all. It’s not the Keynesian in me who opposes the very notion of deficit reduction during a sluggish recovery. Granted, these are both points of irritation, but the characteristic of the sequester that ought to force us all into complete apoplexy and subsequent outrage-induced catatonia is the epidemic of ignorance regarding the status of the federal budget deficit.

More here

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Charles Pierce: The administration made a sharp play, releasing a list of how the upcoming Sequester Plague is going to affect each individual state. (You will note the predominance of red states with Republican governors in the Top 20. Here’s Kansas, the most enthusiastic lab rat in the Republican experiment, and it will lose $5.5 million in school funding and have around 8000 defense-related employees furloughed….) There’s some not unexpected bleating coming from John Boehner’s office, as they duck phone calls from the district and hide behind either the curtains, or behind Bob Woodward’s reputation, whatever’s handiest.

…..You wanted the White House to play tough. This is Ronnie Lott stuff right here.

Full post here

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Jonathan Bernstein: House Republicans held a quick session with the press to mainly make one point: They have no responsibility for sequestration….

…. This standoff isn’t going to be resolved by rhetoric. But it’s worth noting the extent to which Republican spin simply ignores that there was an election in November.

….. whether Boehner and the Republicans like it or not, Barack Obama was in fact re-elected on a platform of “balanced” deficit reduction — that is, new revenue and new spending cuts. Republicans have of course every right to oppose that, but it’s a little strange hearing them talk as if that campaign and election never happened.

More here

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Steve Benen: Did you happen to catch yesterday’s Capitol Hill press conference with the entirety of the House Republican leadership? House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and House Republican Conference Cathy McMorris Rodgers wanted to talk about this week’s sequestration cuts, but in the process, they offered a case study in how to insult Americans’ intelligence.

More here

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Dana Milbank: …. With just four days left to stop automatic spending cuts House Republicans had but one item on their agenda Monday: renaming a NASA facility in California.

You’d have to be on another planet to think that renaming NASA operations is Congress’s most pressing order of business this week. But for Republicans …. the naming proposal was taken up at a time when House Republicans are pursuing a considered strategy of deliberate idleness.

After months of fretting over the harmful effects of sequestration, as the automatic cuts are called, House Republicans have belatedly embraced the realization that if they do nothing at all, they will be rewarded on Friday with a 2.5 percent cut in all federal spending without coughing up a single dollar in tax increases. They have learned to stop worrying and love the sequester.

More here

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MoooOOooorning!

25
Feb
13

Monday: A Video and Image or Two

President Obama takes questions during a meeting with the National Governors Association

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President Barack Obama talks with Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt., center, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, and Gov. Mike Spence, R-Ind., after a meeting with the NGA in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

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Grrrr, got no newsie bits posted today, will try to make up for it in the morning – I have a seriously monster huuuuuge amount of catching up to do. 😕

25
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

10:45: The President and Vice President deliver remarks to the National Governors Association; The First Lady and Dr Biden also deliver remarks

12:45: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

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First Lady Michelle Obama announces the Best Picture Oscar to Argo live from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, Feb. 24 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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NBC: A vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Defense Department, Supreme Court arguments about the future of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act and the expected onset of automatic spending cuts known as the “sequester” mean the nation’s capital is bracing for a politically consequential week ahead.

After a weeklong recess, Congress returns to Washington with a full agenda of business that needs handling. Topping that list is an item which lawmakers are arguably unlikely to resolve over the course of the week: the sequester, about $85 billion in automatic spending cuts set to begin taking effect on Friday, the first day of March.

….. The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on final confirmation for former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to become the next defense secretary….

Also this week, the Supreme Court will hear potentially consequential oral arguments challenging a section of the historic Voting Right Acts. The justices will hear a challenge to a section of the law requiring nine states with a history of racial discrimination to seek Justice Department approval for any change in their voting procedures before those changes can take effect….

More here

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Washington Post: The White House has released state-by-state reports on some of the programs and services that would be impacted under the sequestration cuts that are scheduled to go into effect on March 1. Here is their breakdown by state and program – see here

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MooOOOOooOOOOoorning! Slow getting started today, will catch up with more news later.




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