Posts Tagged ‘toons



21
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

9:0 PM EDT: President Obama delivers remarks at the CBC Foundation Annual Phoenix Awards; First Lady Michelle Obama attends.

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Sunday:

5:0 PM EDT: President Obama Speaks at the Memorial for Victims of the Navy Yard Shooting

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The Week Ahead:

Monday: The President and First Lady will travel to New York City for the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. They will remain overnight in New York City.

Tuesday: The President will deliver remarks to the U.N. General Assembly. The First Lady will attend. Later in the day, the President will attend the Clinton Global Initiative, where he and President Clinton will engage in a conversation about the benefits and future of health care reform in America and access to quality health care around the globe. In the evening, the President will attend an event for the DNC before returning with the First Lady to the White House.

Wednesday and Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.

Friday: The President will welcome Prime Minister Singh of India to the White House for a bilateral meeting.

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President Obama waves to the crowd after speaking to workers during a visit to the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant on September 20, in Liberty, Missouri

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USA Today Editorial: ObamaCare foes taking hostages: Our view

Republicans’ obsession with overturning ObamaCare is getting sillier and more dangerous at the same time. Now that they’ve failed to kill the law every way the rules allow — in Congress, the Supreme Court and in a presidential election — the opponents are taking hostages and, in effect, threatening to shoot them if they don’t get their way.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, the hostages are the federal government and the U.S. economy.

… If there’s a comic aspect to all this, it’s how much the extremism is being driven by schoolyard taunting between House and Senate Republicans about who hates ObamaCare the most.

But the potential impacts of their strategy, if that’s what you can call something destined to fail, are distinctly un-funny.

More here

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Spandan (The People’s View): CBO Report is Damning for Ideologues – Right and Left

The Congressional Budget Office released its 2013 long term budget outlook on Tuesday. The document is the most significant vindication of President Obama’s economic policies to date, both enacted and proposed, and it is the most damning thing to the president’s economic critics, both Left and Right. The CBO reports that thanks to the president’s strong leadership in investing in America’s future and raising taxes on the wealthy, by 2015, the deficit will have been cut by 80%  relative to the size of the economy from when President Obama took office.

More here

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Paul Krugman: The Crazy Party

Early this year, Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, made headlines by telling his fellow Republicans that they needed to stop being the “stupid party.” Unfortunately, Mr. Jindal failed to offer any constructive suggestions about how they might do that. And, in the months that followed, he himself proceeded to say and do a number of things that were, shall we say, not especially smart.

Nonetheless, Republicans did follow his advice. In recent months, the G.O.P. seems to have transitioned from being the stupid party to being the crazy party.

I know, I’m being shrill. But as it grows increasingly hard to see how, in the face of Republican hysteria over health reform, we can avoid a government shutdown — and maybe the even more frightening prospect of a debt default — the time for euphemism is past.

It helps, I think, to understand just how unprecedented today’s political climate really is.

More here

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ThinkProgress: What You Need To Know About The Funding Extension That Just Passed The House

The House of Representatives has passed a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded through Dec. 15 and withhold funding for the Affordable Care Act. The 230-189 vote comes just 10 days before a possible shutdown and includes instructions authorizing the Treasury “to pay some bills and not others in the event that no deal is reached in October on increasing the debt limit.” Rep. Scott Rigel (VA) was the only Republican to vote against the measure, while just two Democrats — Reps. Jim Matheson (UT) and Mike McIntyre (NC) voted for it.

As the resolution now moves to the Senate, here is what you have to know about the fight ahead…

More here

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Steve Benen: Warren Buffett and Obamacare: A case study

Rep. Jim Jordan, a far-right Ohio Republican, told reporters this week that the anti-healthcare forces have the wind at their backs. “All the momentum is in our direction,” he said. “Warren Buffett said yesterday, ‘Scrap the bill.'”

…. did the Sage of Omaha actually say “Scrap the bill” this week? Wouldn’t that have been a pretty big story?

…. the quote was taken out of context from something Buffett said in 2010. In fact, he actually supports Obamacare with a fair amount of enthusiasm. He said what Americans “have now is untenable” three years ago in reference to the health care system before the Affordable Care Act.

But wait, it gets funnier…..

More here

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Washington Post: Shutting down the government won’t stop Obamacare. It might even help it.

There’s a cold logic behind the willingness of some conservatives to risk everything to stop Obamacare. But it’s not that Obamacare will fail. After all, if the law will just be a debacle, Republicans should let it take effect, ride the catastrophe to overwhelming victory in the 2014 midterms, and then use their massive congressional majorities to repeal it.

Rather, as EJ Dionne writes, the real fear is that the law will succeed. Once Obamacare begins delivering health insurance to millions of Americans it will become effectively impossible to repeal. That’s what’s happened in every other country that’s introduced a national health-care system. That’s why the right needs to stop Obamacare before it begins.

The irony of their strategy, though, is that shutting down the federal government won’t stop Obamacare. It might even help it….

More here

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ThinkProgress: The Complete Guide To The GOP’s Three-Year Campaign To Shut Down The Government

As the nation races toward another budgetary crisis next month, Republican leaders are using the prospect of a government shutdown and the need to raise the nation’s debt ceiling as leverage points to undermine the Affordable Care Act — just days before uninsured Americans are expected to sign up for health care coverage — and extract additional cuts to government programs.

Past Congresses have used the debt ceiling as a “vehicle for other legislative matters” or nongermane amendments, but as the timeline below demonstrates, the Republicans that came to power after the 2010 midterm elections demanded something entirely different: they threatened to push the nation into default and shut down the government unless Congress approves deep structural budget cuts during a period of economic recession.

More here

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Washington Post: House Republicans voted to cut food stamps by $39 billion. Here’s how.

The House just voted 217 to 210 to approve a GOP bill to cut food-stamp spending by $39 billion over the next ten years. That’s roughly a 5 percent cut compared with current law.

The House legislation isn’t expected to get past the Senate, but it’s worth a closer look. The bill would spend $725 billion on food stamps over the next ten years, compared with about $760 billion in the Senate farm bill.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a long analysis looking at how, specifically, the House GOP would rein in food-stamp spending through a variety of restrictions on eligibility. About half the savings come from new curbs on aid to unemployed, childless adults between the ages of 18 and 50. Here’s the full rundown of cuts….

More here

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In case you missed it:

The Sterling Road: My Name Is Jason, I’m A 35-Yr-Old White Male Combat Veteran…And I’m On Food Stamps

My name is Jason. I turned 35 less than a week ago. My first job was maintenance work at a public pool when I was 17. I worked 40-hours a week while I was in college. I’ve never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years in the military, one of which consisted of a combat tour of Afghanistan.

Oh, and I’m now on food stamps. Since June, as a matter of fact.

Why am I on food stamps?

The same reason everyone on food stamps is on food stamps: because I would very much enjoy not starving.

I mean, if that’s okay with you:

… Mr. or Mrs. Republican congressman…..

More here

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Jeffrey Goldberg: From Iran to Syria, Obama’s Toughness Is Paying Off

There is one main reason why Iran is making conciliatory noises about its relationship with the U.S. and about the future of its nuclear program, and there is one main reason why Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, is signaling his intention to give up his stockpiles of chemical weapons.

The reason: President Barack Obama’s toughness.

Yes, I know. Toughness isn’t a quality lately ascribed to the president. But hear me out.

More here

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Media Matters: Syria And The Beltway Media Crackup

On the night of September 10, hours before President Obama addressed the nation about developments surrounding the crisis in Syria, NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams huddled with Meet The Press host David Gregory to analyze the day’s top story.

Events were moving quickly. After weeks of Obama threatening to use military strikes against Syria in the wake of President Bashar Al-Assad being accused of gassing his own people with chemical weapons as part of a “massive attack,” a sudden diplomatic opening had appeared. Rather than bombing Syria, the United States might be able to work with Russia and get Syria to voluntarily hand over its chemical weapons.

Good news? Not necessarily according to Williams and Gregory….

….. The Syria coverage represents a clear case of the press adopting style over substance, as well as channeling Republican spin. Of treating foreign policy as if it were a domestic political campaign and insisting that a story unfolding half-a-world away was really all about Obama and how it affected (and/or damaged) his political fortunes….

More here

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Michael Tomasky: The Great GOP Mental-Health Hypocrisy

Since the D.C. shooting, Republicans care about mental health! Yet they opposed—and want to defund—the law that does more to advance the cause than any in history.

So now we’re being treated to the charming spectacle of Republicans, or a few of them anyway, purporting to care about mental-health treatment in the wake of the Washington Navy Yard shooting. How touching. This doesn’t mean, of course, that they care about mental health. They’re just coming up with something to say in the wake of the tragedy that sounds to the willfully credulous like action and that won’t offend the National Rifle Association.

Meanwhile, they have devastated mental-health funding since you-know-who became president. And more important than that, they voted against, and are now preparing to vote en bloc to defund or delay, the law that will do more to address mental health and give society at least a chance that future Aaron Alexises will get treatment that could prevent them going on shooting sprees since … well, pretty much since ever.

More here

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On This Day:

Sept. 21, 2011: “The First Lady reacts to something the President whispered to her at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in between events related to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City” (Pete Souza)

Sept. 21, 2010: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk along the Colonnade of the White House (Pete Souza)

Sept. 21, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden during a tour of the Studio Museum in Harlem, in New York (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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MoooOOOooorning! And huuuuuuuuge thanks again to UT for all of yesterday’s posts – and to the Toon Master, Amk.

And thanks to the mighty blog tyrants, it’s been an amazing week at TOD, around 100,000 hits since last weekend – lots of them for Zizi’s post on PBO’s foreign policy, LL on Chuck Todd and Co, and UT’s newsie round-ups. Thank you, legends!

We’ll try and put all the visits to good use in the days ahead by doing lots of features on Obamacare.

Meanwhile, Happy Saturday!

20
Sep
13

TOD Toon Time

Long time, no post. So …

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Continue reading ‘TOD Toon Time’

18
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

(Almost) A Year Ago: President Obama greets the Children’s Miracle Network Champions in the East Room of the White House, Sept. 19, 2012 (Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern)

10:45: President Obama delivers remarks to members of the Business Roundtable and answers questions

Live at NBC – Audio only at WH Live

11:15: Jay Carney briefs the press

11:30: VP Biden meets with U.S. participants in the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue in the Roosevelt Room

3:30: The President and VP meet with Secretary of the Treasury Lew

4:15: The President and VP meet with Secretary of State Kerry

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USA Today: Obama’s day: Business Roundtable

President Obama spends Wednesday trying to recruit new backers in his budget battles with congressional Republicans: Corporate executives.

Obama meets with members of the Business Roundtable as the White House and Congress face the prospects of a government shutdown and another standoff over the debt ceiling.

The White House says Obama will ask the business leaders to talk to congressional Republicans “to grow the economy, create jobs, and not reverse the progress we’ve made by shutting down the government or threatening to force the United States to default on the bills it has already racked up and owes.”

More here

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Steve Benen: Boehner moves closer to government shutdown

Some problems are so complex and difficult, they’re nearly impossible to solve. Avoiding a government shutdown isn’t one of them.

After his far-right members vetoed his preferred solution, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) could have very easily reached out to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), put some modest enticements on the table, and picked up plenty of votes to approve a stop-gap spending measure. The whole thing could have been wrapped up in an afternoon, and the media would have cheered Boehner for constructive, bipartisan governing.

But that’s not what the laughably weak Speaker is inclined to do….

More here

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@WhiteHouse

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Spandan (The People’s View): Health Reform in Action: 6 in 10 Uninsured Eligible Obamacare Premiums Under $100

Exactly zero of the right wing red-hot-siren warnings about shooting health insurance costs (“rate shock”) has panned out, but plenty of rate shock has been received on the other end of the scale – with tons of people shocked to find checks from their insurance companies in their mailboxes, rates reduced for their children with pre-existing conditions, and outrageously inexpensive rates in the state exchanges about to open in less than two weeks.

And here comes another:  of the people who are eligible for either Medicaid or premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, six out of 10 Americans currently uninsured will be able to get coverage for $100 or less per month.

More here

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@Jordan44: For GOP, is yielding to this fringe viewpoint of undermining #Obamacare really worth recklessly hurting the economy?

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Steve Benen: ‘This is about political cash, not political principle’

Brian Walsh, a former spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, recently offered his take on why far-right groups like Heritage Action and the Senate Conservatives Fund keep Republican activists so riled up about the Affordable Care Act: “[T]his is about political cash, not political principle…. You see, money begets TV ads which begets even more money for these groups’ personal coffers.”

According to Walsh, who knows the internal workings of GOP politics quite well, conservative activist organizations are effectively waging a political war because political wars make for a convenient fundraising tool.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Latest Obamacare Lie Claims Doctors Will Be Forced To Ask Patients About Their Sexual History

In a New York Post op-ed, the inventor of the death panels lie, Betsy McCaughey, now claims that the Affordable Care Act is turning “doctors into government agents” by having them ask patients about their sex history. “Obamacare will question your sex life,” the headline says, and the issue has gained traction among conservatives. For example, Media Matters notes how Fox and Friends has amplified McCaughey’s argument, claiming that “doctors will be forced to ask patients about their sex life, even if it has nothing to do with the medical treatment that they are seeking at the time.”

But the questions McCaughey finds so outrageous are already routine physician practice…

More here

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Smartypants: FISA Court rules metadata collection constitutional

Today the Obama administration declassified another FISA Court ruling. This is a big one. In it, the court ruled that the NSA collection of metadata is constitutional…..

…. Given that a headline like the one I’ve used here doesn’t attract the kind of linkbait you get from saying “The government is illegally spying on you!” it will be interesting to see how many media outlets report on this story.

Full post here

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OFA

Greg Sargent: GOP climate skeptics to hold hearing on climate science

Did you know House Republicans are planning a hearing on climate science for [today]? It’s true — and it should provide a useful glimpse into whether Republicans are prepared to start caring publicly about the issue, and if so, how they’ll go about doing that given the climate science denialists in their ranks.

…. Gina McCarthy, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, will be testifying. She is already something of a lightning rod, so this is legitimately a big deal: House Republicans will probably be signaling how they will respond when the EPA rolls out its new rules governing carbon emissions on new power plans, a central item on Obama’s agenda that is going to provoke a huge fight…

More here

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Live on C-Span at 10:15 AM EDT

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Steve Benen: Congress targets Obama’s climate agenda

It’s been about three months since President Obama unveiled a fairly ambitious agenda to combat the climate crisis, and in the immediate aftermath, Republicans had very little to say about it. Indeed, Politico reported in June that GOP leaders came up with a game plan: ignore the speech, ignore global warming, and generally ignore science altogether.

That approach will change today….

More here

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ThinkProgress: Following Navy Yard Shooting, Top Donor Threatens To Withhold Donations From Democrats Who Opposed Background Checks

A philanthropist who has donated millions to gun safety causes and groups is urging donors to withhold their support from Democrats who oppose gun safety regulations, following Monday’s shooting at Washington’s Navy Yard.

“Each time large-scale gun violence strikes our country—at a workplace, a movie theater, a political rally, or most devastating of all, at a school—a public debate about gun laws ensues,” Eli Broad, who has also funded some of the Center for American Progress’ gun work, wrote in a dairy for the Daily Kos on Tuesday. “Then, Congress promises action. But every time, our elected officials fail to deliver.”

More here

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TPM: Starbucks: Please Keep Guns Out Of Our Stores

In an open letter Tuesday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asked customers to “no longer bring firearms” into the chain’s stores or outdoor seating areas.

Schultz wrote that it had been the company’s policy to follow local laws. In states with so-called “open carry” laws, customers were permitted to bring firearms into stores.

But that policy inadvertently thrust Starbucks into the debate over “open carry” and recent events have prompted the company to shift course. Pro-gun advocates staged a “Starbucks Appreciation Day” last month to commend the company for its position on “open carry.” Schultz wrote that those advocates “disingenuously” portrayed the company as a “champion of ‘open carry.'”

More here

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Dealbook: Inspired by Professor, Investor Makes Big Gift for Black Studies

Just over 10 years ago, the private equity mogul Glenn Hutchins was on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. With his 25th Harvard College reunion near, he was thinking about how to put some of his wealth to good use.

One afternoon, clad in a T-shirt and board shorts, he stopped at an old whaling chapel, where Henry Louis Gates Jr., the prominent professor of African and African-American studies at Harvard, was leading a symposium.

That encounter gave Mr. Hutchins his cause.

Since then, Mr. Hutchins has strengthened his connection to Mr. Gates and the Harvard program. Their bond will become stronger on Wednesday, when Mr. Hutchins is expected to announce a gift of more than $15 million to create the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research, solidifying Harvard’s program as one of the top in its field.

More here

Thank you CarolDuhart!

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Ah, memories – a year ago today:

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Washington Post: Wendy Davis prepares to launch Texas gubernatorial bid next month

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) is almost ready to announce her gubernatorial bid – but first she will expand her social network just a little bit more.

In an e-mail sent to her supporters Wednesday morning, Davis – who garnered national attention this summer for fighting a sweeping antiabortion bill in her state – wrote she will be “answering the question” of what’s next for her career on Oct. 3. But before making her formal announcement, she posed a question of her own: “Do you have any friends or family who would like to be among the first to know?

More here

wendydavisforsenate.com

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MoooOOOooorning, Happy Wednesday!

17
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times Eastern):

2:45: The President participates in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony, a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington

3:30: The President and Vice President meet with Secretary of Defense Hagel

* The President conducts an interview with Jose Diaz-Balart of Telemundo to discuss his plan for a Better Bargain for the Middle Class and the need for immigration reform

Excerpts of the interview will be broadcast on “Noticiero Telemundo” today at 6:30pm/5:30 central. The interview will also air in its entirety on “Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart” on Sunday, September 22 at 12pm/11am central, and will be available on Telemundo.com and on the Facebook page of “Noticiero Telemundo.”

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ThinkProgress: How Gun Laws Factor Into The Navy Yard Shooting

…. details are leaking out about Alexis and they point to a disturbing history of gun violence …. Under federal law, it’s very likely that he was still able to legally posses a firearm. Permanent bans on gun ownership are only handed out to very specific groups of people including felons, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill …. in nearly half of states, officials are still able to give a handgun permit to someone with a history like Alexis’s.

If reports from the scene are right, however, Alexis’s gun possession Monday was illegal no matter his gun history. News outlets indicate that Alexis had as many as three weapons, including a semi-automatic AR15. The AR15 is banned in DC.

…. One of the gun regulations President Obama proposed earlier this year would outlaw the sale of AR15s and other military-grade weapons.

Full post here

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Bob Cesca: Another Gun Massacre and Another Powerful Reason for Stronger Gun Control Laws

At approximately 8 a.m. eastern time on Monday, a man named Aaron Alexis, a former reservist with the U.S. Navy, entered the Naval Sea Systems Command office building at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 10 others. The gunman used a shotgun, a handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle to rain bullets into a crowd of people before eventually being shot and killed by police.

At 2:15 p.m., six hours after the massacre, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) tweeted the following sentiment to his followers: “Remember to keep praying for those affected by both the Navy Yard shootings and the Colorado floods.”

A noble gesture — that is if you ignore the irony that the congressman is a vocal climate crisis denier, as well as one of the NRA’s most valuable allies inside the House of Representatives with a creepy obsession with AR-15 assault rifles, say nothing of being one of the only internet trolls serving as a member of Congress.

More here

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Charles Pierce: Ignorance Is Bliss

This seems like a particularly good day to be ignoring the work of academics, doesn’t it?

Conclusions. We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.

…. The results of the study may seem little more than an exercise in confirming the obvious, but that’s an exercise the country needs. It needs to have the obvious – guns kill people, health-insurance helps keep them alive, large banks are all thieves, economic oligarchy is incompatible with political democracy, Fk The Deficit….

Full post here

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Steve Benen: When will enough be enough?’

After two Democratic state senators were defeated in Colorado recall elections last week, there was some speculation that proponents of gun-safety would begin to retreat, backing away from efforts to reduce gun violence.

After a dozen people were gunned down yesterday at the Navy Yard in D.C., there was ample evidence to the contrary.

President Obama briefly addressed the issue at the start of his speech on the economy, arguing that policymakers must “do everything that we can to try to prevent” these mass shootings. Like-minded lawmakers followed suit.

More here

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Mediaite: In Todd We Trust? Tweet, Don’t Verify New Trend in Reporter Race to First

If the Boston bombings taught us anything about the state of media in 2013, it’s that some reporters—like quarterbacks—have trouble dealing with pressure.

…. two days after the bombings and with suspects still on the loose, four major media entities (AP, Boston Globe, CNN and Fox News) all got the name of one potential suspect wrong….

… it’s no surprise that following the shooting at a Washington Naval Yard CBS and NBC took their turn in reporting the name of the wrong suspect in an effort to beat the clock…

More here

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ThinkProgress: Under Obamacare, Millions Of Americans Will Pay Less Than $100 Per Month For Health Insurance

About 6.4 million Americans will be able to purchase insurance for less than $100 each month on Obamacare’s new state-level marketplaces, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s because those people will be eligible for federal subsidies that will reduce the price of purchasing a plan under the health reform law.

The Obama administration calculated the expected premiums for people buying “silver” plans, which are the second-cheapest option on the new insurance marketplaces. Even though not every marketplace has announced its premium rates yet, researchers were still able to estimate those payments based on the health law’s rule for determining subsidies.

More here

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CNBC: Priced to sell: Sweet Obamacare deals for young

Health insurance for most young adults on New York and California’s Obamacare health exchanges will cost dramatically less than what twentysomethings have said they’d be willing to spend on insurance, a new analysis finds.

The attractive prices could significantly boost enrollment in those states’ exchanges and help keep premiums low for people of all ages, said Christina LaMontagne, vice president of price-comparison site NerdWallet, which did the analysis.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: …. the biggest news on Monday wasn’t about Obamacare’s poll numbers. It was about Obamacare’s reach. And there the news was much clearly better. In Michigan, Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that will expand the state’s Medicaid program, as Obamacare envisions. The signing was the culmination of a long, difficult effort by Synder and a bipartisan, statewide-coalition to overcome Tea Party resistance….

…. Greg Sargent got Pew to give him a breakdown of exactly which voters oppose the law so much they want officials to make it fail: Sure enough, it’s Tea Party Republicans. As Greg notes, this voting bloc is highly influential within Republican Party politics, particularly as primary voters: That goes a long way to explaining why congressional Republicans are threatening to shut down the government or allow default if Obama won’t agree to delay or defund the law.

But support for such extreme positions doesn’t extend much outside this group. Meanwhile, it turns out that many people opposed to (or at least ambivalent about) the law simply don’t know much about it….

Full post here

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 AP: US to help Syrian forces fight chemical weapons

President Barack Obama on Monday cleared the way for the U.S. to send chemical weapons-related assistance to the Syrian opposition, as well as international organizations working inside the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

…. The White House said the non-lethal assistance could fall into three categories:

– Chemical weapons-related “personal protective” equipment to international organizations working in Syria, including the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

– Medical assistance to strengthen local Syrian health care providers’ ability to prepare for and respond to the use of chemical weapons

– Defensive chemical weapons training and protective equipment to vetted members of the Syrian opposition to protect against the use of deadly gases..

More here

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USA Today: Netanyahu to meet Obama on Iran

With Syria’s chemical weapons now the subject of negotiations, attention is shifting back to questions about Iran’s nuclear program.

Officials in Israel say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with President Obama in Washington on Sept. 30, with Iran at the top of the agenda.

More here

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Spandan (The People’s View): Obama on GOP’s Economic Hostage Taking: Don’t Even Think About It

The president spoke [yesterday] on the economy and the upcoming budget battles in Congress. Marking the fifth anniversary of the economic crash of 2008, President Obama spoke of the hard work he and his administration has done to pull the economy back from the brink of another Great Depression – from a rescue of the financial sector to the revival of the American auto industry, restoring confidence in the banking system and creating nearly 7.5 million jobs in the last three-and-a-half years. But he commanded the stage with a serious, “you’re pissing me off” look on his face and one clear,  unequivocal message: The President does not negotiate with economic terrorists.

More here

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Jonathan Weisman: Amid Revolt Over Fiscal ‘Gimmicks,’ Options Dwindle for G.O.P.

First came the “supercommittee,” tasked in 2011 with finding a bipartisan deficit reduction plan but doomed to fail. Then came the “McConnell plan,” a way for Congress to raise the government’s debt limit without actually voting to do so. And in January there was “no budget, no pay,” a measure coupled with the last debt ceiling increase to deny paychecks to lawmakers if they did not pass a budget…..

For three years, Congressional leaders have relied on tactical maneuvers, sleights of hand and sheer gimmickry to move the nation from one fiscal crisis to the next — with little strategy to deal with the actual problems at hand….

President Obama joined the fray Monday, castigating Republicans for the latest budget crisis but “hoping that a light bulb goes off.”

Full article here

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Jonathan Chait: Obama, Republicans, and the Crisis of Legitimacy

…. Since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, a coterie of Republicans has challenged this informal approach. Their belief is that the absence of cooperation should lead not to stalemate but to the president bending to their will. That assumption implies a delegitimization of the presidency that Obama has come to understand, belatedly, that he can’t accept.

The Republican Establishment is trying to coax the crisis-mongers out of their fervor. Today The Wall Street Journal editorial page assails Republicans who insist on shutting down the government unless President Obama agrees to destroy his own health-care reform, a fantastical demand. “Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots,” the Journal warns.

…. Establishment Republicans are trying to talk their base out of extreme measures without addressing their deeper belief that House Republicans are entitled to extract concessions from the president, via threat, without compromising at all.

Full post here

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Daily Beast: Banks Really Are Different Five Years After the Financial Crisis

Still think our dysfunctional financial system hasn’t changed a bit since the day of the cataclysm five years ago? On debt, consolidation, and consumers, Daniel Gross explains why you’re wrong.

See here

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Steve Benen: Crusade against Texas clinics based on bogus claims

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his Republican allies in the state legislature launched an aggressive legislative campaign against reproductive rights over the summer, including measures intended to close the vast majority of clinics where reproductive services are provided.

Proponents of the policies said the measures were necessary in order to protect public safety. Becca Aaronson reports in the Texas Tribune this week that the arguments are plainly contradicted by the facts…..

More here

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On This Day:

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama console Paul and Janet Monti, parents of Army Sgt. 1st. Class Jared C. Monti in the Blue Room following a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Sept. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

A young boy listens to President Barack Obama as he delivers remarks at a rally on health insurance reform at the Comcast Center, University of Maryland in College Park, Md., on Sept. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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(A Late) MooooOOOOoooorning!

13
Sep
13

The Week in Toons…

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Continue reading ‘The Week in Toons…’

10
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

Three Years Ago Today: President Obama waits in the Blue Room before his news conference in the East Room of the White House (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

12:30: The President meets with the Senate Democratic Caucus, United States Capitol

1:45: Meets with the Senate Republican Conference

9:01:30 Delivers a statement on Syria from the East Room

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Steve Benen: Syria signals stronger support for solution

Yesterday, after Russia endorsed Secretary of State John Kerry’s suggested course on Syria’s chemical weapons, Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, quickly expressed support for the idea. The Syrian official did not, however, fully and formally embrace the proposal on behalf of the Assad government.

Today, Syria went further:

Syria confirmed it would accept a Russian-brokered proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control Tuesday, just hours after France announced it would seek a U.N. Security Council resolution seeking a similar plan…..

….. while I hope this resolution to the crisis comes together quickly, let’s not get too excited just yet.

…. let’s keep the champagne on ice. I’m sure everyone is hoping for the best, and there’s reason for cautious optimism, but the crisis is ongoing, high-level meetings will continue in Washington and elsewhere today, and President Obama is still scheduled to deliver a national address this evening from the White House.

Full post here

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Oooooh, this is brilliant:

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Bob Cesca: A Deal to Prevent a War in Syria Reveals Obama as JFK, Not GWB

For the last couple of weeks, President Obama has been running a two-tiered strategy: on one hand, scaring the holy bejeezus out of Assad and Putin, while simultaneously offering enough time for Assad regime to save face as it contemplate how to wiggle out of this mess.

It was only on Monday when it occurred to me that the most appropriate historical precedent wasn’t Iraq (of course) or Libya, but the quarantine line around Cuba in October, 1962. I’ll come back to this presently.

Of course the truth about how the Obama administration’s national security team has handled the Syrian chemical weapons crisis was almost entirely obscured in the press when it was reported that Russian president Vladimir Putin, via his foreign minister Sergey Larov, had, at least on paper, convinced Bashar al-Assad to permit the dismantling and seizing of his military’s chemical weapons arsenal. In keeping with nearly every accomplishment of this president, whether center-right or center-left, liberal or conservative, the news was treated as somehow a loss for the administration….

This scenario entirely overlooked two things: 1) the Friday G20 meeting between Putin and the president, and 2) Secretary Kerry’s remarks on Sunday, which offered Syria a way out…..

More here

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The People’s View

If you haven’t read ‘President Obama Drops the Mic: Crumbling Under US Pressure, Russia Tells Syria to Disarm’ yet, do it now!

I’m beginning to think Spandan has a crystal ball – he’s got this right every step of the way.

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Steve Benen: The origins of a diplomatic solution

The prospect of Syria giving up its chemical weapons seemingly came out of the blue yesterday …. But did the idea really come about accidentally? Did Kerry stumble into a solution with an off-hand remark?

…….. here was an exchange with PBS’s Gwen Ifill that struck me as especially interesting:

IFILL: John Kerry talked today about a limited, targeted, unbelievably small effort. And now we’re hearing news that Russia has a plan, a solution, perhaps, which would allow Syria to take all of its weapons and put it under international control. Is that something that you’ve had any conversations at all with President Putin about when you were in St. Petersburg last week?

OBAMA: I did have those conversations. And this is a continuation of conversations I’ve had with President Putin for quite some time. As I said to you the last time we spoke, this chemical weapons ban matters to us, to the United States.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: Getting Behind the Russia Plan

My biggest question about what is evidently being called (slightly unfairly to John Kerry) the “Russia Plan” is this: What’s Russia’s motivation for suddenly being peacemaker here? Putin hates Obama, hates America, and has thrown about two tons of sand in the gears of the U.S.-Rossiya relationship since he got back into power. So why would he want to pull Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire?

I’m not sure, but I think it’s basically for the same reason that the guy on the other side of those double-yellow lines on the road doesn’t suddenly swerve in front of you. He may be an asshole. He may beat his wife. If you met him in a bar, he might be all likkered up and decide he wants to kick your pasty, yuppie ass just for the hell of it.

But he doesn’t want to die, or wreck his own vehicle. I think this must be kind of like that….

More here

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Morning everyone.

In much more important news, this blob is my new puppy (photo not take by Pete Souza):

He arrives in my life on October 19 – UT, would you mind doing R&S that day? 😕

06
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago today: The Obama and Biden families joined together onstage following the President’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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Coming up today (all times US Eastern):

9:50: President Obama holds a press conference

White House Live

11:15: Holds a Civil Society Roundtable

12:15: Departs Saint Petersburg

9:15 PM: Arrives Joint Base Andrews

9:30: Arrives at the White House

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Also today:

10:0 AM EDT: Vice President Biden Speaks at Farewell Ceremony for Secretary Napolitano

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The expression on PBO’s face on this Belgian front page is, well, priceless

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USA Today: President Obama wraps up a global summit Friday before heading back to Washington, D.C., to continue dealing with the challenge of Syria.

At the G-20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia, Obama will attend working sessions before hosting a news conference….

Earlier on Friday, Obama met with President Xi Jiping of China and President Francois Hollande of France.

While in St Petersburg, Obama hosts a Civil Society Roundtable that includes gays and lesbians … he returns to the White House late Friday night.

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Michael Tomasky: When Liberals Enable Tyrants

Can a liberal oppose tyranny and support military intervention at the same time? Hell yes. Six reasons why Congress must authorize an attack on Syria now.

….. What values and goals do American liberals wish to promote around the world? I’m pretty certain most would say free democratic societies; full political rights for ethnic minorities; equal rights for women and, with any luck, gay people; a free press; an independent judiciary; and so forth. And, where those cannot be achieved, at least a base-level opposition to tyranny, reaction, religious fundamentalism, and so on.

….. But, I have to say, most rank-and-file liberals don’t seem to me to be very passionate about them. What most liberals are passionate about is one thing: opposition to U.S. militarism….

I’ve described here two impulses: the desire to do good in the world, or at least to prevent the bad; and opposition to American force. Often these desires can exist in harmony. But what if they conflict? Why is opposition to any projection of force always the deciding factor? At times it can lead people into some very illiberal little corners.

…. it isn’t always immoral. This is one of those cases where, if the scale of the action is appropriate and if it works, a military incursion can actually serve liberal ends. No, that’s not for sure. But it is for sure that doing nothing helps the reactionaries.

Full post here

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See the new White House website section on the situation in Syria – here

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Keep track of how members of Congress and senators have said they are voting on Syria at TPM

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Steve Benen: The prevailing winds on Capitol Hill

There’s no shortage of congressional head counts when it comes to authorizing the use of force in Syria, but I’d caution against taking them too seriously. The briefings for lawmakers are still underway, and while many have firm opinions, there is not yet an actual, agreed upon resolution for lawmakers to read and consider.

That said, at least for now, the prevailing winds on Capitol Hill are blowing in an unmistakable direction:

Several Republican leadership aides say that there are roughly one to two dozen “yes” votes in favor of military action at this time. The stunningly low number is expected to grow a bit. But senior aides say they expect, at most, between 50 and 60 Republicans to vote with Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who support the president’s plan …. That would amount to less than one-third of the House Republican Conference.

That would mean the vast majority of the 200 House Democrats will need to vote with Obama for the resolution to pass. But Democrats privately say that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer can only round up between 115 and 130 “yes” votes.

More here

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G20 Summit members attend a working dinner for G20 Summit members in St Petersburg, September 5

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Mediaite: Rep Alan Grayson Cackles That Syrian Atrocities ‘Simply Not Our Problem’

The debate over military action in Syria has produced a landfill’s worth of stupidity, from every side of the debate, and every corner of the political media …. but on Thursday night’s All In with Chris Hayes, “Congressman with Guts™” Alan Grayson (D-FL) made a bold incursion, from stupid into contemptible.

…. Chris Hayes asked Grayson if there was anything in the interview with Secretary Kerry “that you find compelling or convincing?”

“Not at all,” Grayson replied, with a thin smirk. “Listen, most people understand this is simply not our problem. This is not our problem to solve.”

…. Whatever you think about Grayson’s logic, what the frack is he laughing about? What, exactly, is so funny about this? There doesn’t seem to be much that people agree about with regard to Syria, but can’t we at least find common ground in the notion that this is not a laughing matter?

Full post here

And in case you missed it – see ‘Alan Grayson Conspires with Far Right Lunatics to Lie and Fundraise off of Syria’ at The People’s View

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Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk during a working dinner for G20 Summit members in St Petersburg, September 5

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ThinkProgress: Top House Republican Rewrites History, Claims Reagan Stood Up To Chemical Weapons Use

A top Republican lawmaker on Thursday invoked Ronald Reagan to say that Obama was weak for not acting more directly in response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, ignoring the fact that Reagan’s White House looked the other way when chemical weapons were used in the 1980s.

….. Former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL): It is against the norms of international standards and to let something like this go unanswered, I think will weaken our resolve. I — I know that President Reagan would have never let this happen. He would stand up to this. And President Obama — the only reason he is consulting with Congress, he wants to blame somebody for his lack of resolve. We have to think like President Reagan would do and he would say chemical use is unacceptable.

What Ros-Lehtinen seems oddly unaware of, however, is that Ronald Reagan did exactly the opposite…

Full post here

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Steve Benen: U.S. economy created 169k jobs in August, jobless rate dips

The jobs reports are starting to get a little predictable, by virtue of the fact that over the last several months, they’re effectively the same.

The new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 169,000 jobs in August, which is roughly in line with expectations. After years of public-sector layoffs serving as a drag on the overall economy, we’re starting to see a slight turnaround – the private sector added 152,000 jobs last month, while the public sector added 17,000 jobs. That may seem like a fairly modest number, but it’s the most in recent memory.

More here

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Amazing exchange between the Iranian foreign minister and @sfpelosi on Twitter, part of it:

Read about it here

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Brilliant:

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TPM: McConnell’s Anti-Obamacare Juggernaut Turns Against Him

Perhaps nobody was more responsible for making Obamacare a partisan bill than Mitch McConnell. During the grueling debate that began in 2009, the Senate minority leader worked harder than anyone else to ensure no Republican voted for health care reform.

…. The law was upheld by the Supreme Court and validated by the re-election of President Barack Obama. The public has grown tired of continual budget crisis brinkmanship. McConnell still fights the fight. Obamacare, he told his constituents a few weeks ago, is the “single worst piece of legislation passed in the last 50 years in the country.” But ever the pragmatist, he knows an all-out assault on the Affordable Care Act to the exclusion of all other political considerations would be a political disaster for his party. And so, in a brutal irony reminiscent of Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein,” the monster McConnell created has turned against him and is threatening to end his political life.

More here

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

PS Is it just me or has everyone noticed the increase in stupid on the Twitter machine? Supposed President Obama supporters who think they are qualified to lecture him on Syria, even though most of them know as much about the situation as they do about nuclear physics? Blocked a bunch of them last night, it felt good.

Update: One of them just tweeted me: “No matter how you phrase it ‘war’ is a four-letter-word!”

I kid you not.

Happy Friday!

31
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

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The Week Ahead:

Today, tomorrow and Monday: The President has no public events scheduled.

Tuesday: The President will attend meetings at the White House. In the evening, he will depart Washington, DC en route Stockholm, Sweden.

Wednesday: The President will arrive in Stockholm. While there, he will hold a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Reinfeldt. He will then participate in an event honoring Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue in Stockholm and tour an expo featuring clean energy innovations at the Royal Institute of Technology. In the evening, he will take part in a dinner with Nordic Leaders.

Thursday: The President will hold a bilateral meeting with the King and Queen of Sweden. He will then depart Stockholm en route Saint Petersburg, Russia where he will attend the G-20 Summit.

Friday: Attends the G-20 Summit. Returns to Washington, DC on Friday evening.

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Vice President Biden listens as President Obama speaks to members of the media about Syria during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30

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Washington Post: The one map that shows why Syria is so complicated:

…. The map, from Columbia University’s really exceptional Gulf/2000 Project, shows the different ethnic and linguistic groups of the Levant, the part of the Middle East that’s dominated by Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Each color represents a different group. As you can see, there are a lot of groups swirled together. There are enclaves, and there is overlap.

Ethnic and linguistic breakdowns are just one part of Syria’s complexity, of course. But they are a really important part. The country’s largest group is shown in yellow, signifying ethnic Arabs who follow Sunni Islam, the largest sect of Islam. Shades of brown indicate ethnic Kurds, long oppressed in Syria, who have taken up arms against the regime. There are also Druze, a religious sect, Arab Christians, ethnic Armenians and others.

More here

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Graphic showing foreign forces and bases in the Middle East and selected military equipment

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Washington Post: 9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask

The United States and allies are preparing for a possibly imminent series of limited military strikes against Syria, the first direct U.S. intervention in the two-year civil war, in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.

If you found the above sentence kind of confusing, or aren’t exactly sure why Syria is fighting a civil war, or even where Syria is located, then this is the article for you. What’s happening in Syria is really important, but it can also be confusing and difficult to follow even for those of us glued to it.

Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions.

More here

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A Word from CarolDuhart:

This week more than ever has reminded me of how lucky and blessed we are to have chosen Obama. His deliberation in the face of a howling chorus is a far contrast to any other President in my lifetime. And in far contrast to the other alternatives. Those emoprogs and those having Iraq flashbacks and comparing him to Bush need to remember that unlike Bush, Obama makes his own decisions based on logic, truth, and in his own time. He doesn’t lie, he doesn’t chestbeat, he doesn’t rush in without planning. He doesn’t need to cement a place in history: just being the first African-American President has secured that. Obama is the man that Shrub could never be, the President he couldn’t even try to be. That very maturity drives both right and left crazy, for we haven’t had a President like him, really, ever. Think about it: a President who isn’t driven by his insecurities like Nixon or Carter, who doesn’t buy into ideological crap like Reagan or Daddy Bush, or sometimes the captive of his appetites like Clinton, or lazy like Bush. There are no hooks on him to make him do something he doesn’t want to do.

Sometimes I think many on the left have issues with power and the responsibility it brings. Having been the subjects of the abuse of power has allowed a certain “righteousness” without responsibility. It’s easy to think all uses of American military or financial power are corrupt without nuance. As long as daddy “conservatives” ran the place, there was no need to think about the deep decisions regarding America’s place in the world. Instead one could choose to “drop out” or talk “third party” or be haplessly pacifist in the face of an armed world. And one could have a progressive fiefdom of adoring followers without the need to reach out to others or be civilly engaged.

Syria is a tough cookie, no matter how you slice it. Assad is just like his father, a brutal bastard who has shown he would kill everyone he can to keep a power that was never granted to him either by election or a legitimate monarchy. And while many of the rebels just want Assad gone and a chance to take their lives in their own hands, some of the assistants just want another theocracy like Iran, which is simply tyranny by another name. But chemical weapons are the cruelest of all weapons. Even after the dead are buried, the soil is heavily contaminated, killing people long after the war is over. So Obama has a hard decision to make, but he’s up to the task and I trust him based on experience to make the right one or at least the best one he can make. If he goes for it, he has a plan to get things done. If he pulls away from the brink, he’ll have something to show for it.

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Spandan C (The People’s View): The US Intelligence Assessment on Syria and the Next Steps in the National Debate

…. This president and his administration has done everything possible up to this point to avoid getting involved in Syria militarily, against the drum beats of the war mongers. Even now, he has shown considerable restraint. But it is important to remember that Barack Obama was not elected on the promise of complete and total pacifism; he was elected on the promise of careful consideration, judgment and letting the facts speak for themselves.

Whatever the president does, I am sure his critics will be many and the criticisms will be far and wide. As has been noted, he has no good options here. But as we debate this going forward, I want us to understand the complexity of the issue, drop the righteousness (either side – no one should take the idea of dropping bombs lightly just as no one should make light of the massacre from the chemical weapons), and do something the pundits won’t do – let’s keep it on the facts, not the conjectures and the rhetoric.

Full post here

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SmartyPants: In the meantime…progress

As we’ve all been consumed with what President Obama will do in Syria, this administration is making some serious progress in other areas. For example:

President Obama took executive action to close gun purchase loopholes.

The IRS will recognize all gay marriages.

HHS announced that Medicare benefits will be extended to same-sex couples.

In yet another step to end the “war on drugs,” Attorney General Eric Holder gave a green light to state measures legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

But yeah, to some folks, Obama is just like Bush. LOL

See post here – with links to all that beautiful progress

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Washington Post: Ginsburg will be first justice to officiate at same-sex wedding

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first Supreme Court member to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday when she officiates at the Washington wedding of Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser.

The gala wedding of Kaiser and economist John Roberts at the performing arts center brings together the nation’s highest court and the capital’s high society and will mark a new milepost in the recognition of same-sex unions.

…. During a recent interview, Ginsburg seemed excited about being the first member of the court to conduct such a ceremony and said it was only a logical next step.

“I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship,” Ginsburg said.

More here

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Excellent:

Dallas News: Wendy Davis raises $470,000 from outside Texas following her nationally viewed filibuster

In the six weeks following her headline-grabbing filibuster, Wendy Davis raised $1.2 million — nearly 40 percent of it from outside Texas. Davis drew national attention following the filibuster against an abortion-restriction bill that helped shut down the Texas Senate and prompted Gov. Rick Perry to call lawmakers back into another special session. In the wake of Davis’ new-found fame, Davis has been urged by some Democrats to run for governor next year. She says she will announce her political plans — whether to run for reelection as a senator from Fort Worth or as a Democrat for governor — in a few weeks.

More here

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Hey, our very brilliant Liberal Librarian has a new admirer, the very brilliant Kurt Eichenwald of Vanity Fair:

Congratulaaaaaaaaations LL!! But if you end up being hired by Vanity Fair, don’t forget us!

In case you missed it: LL’s post on Syria yesterday here

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Not such a good time, though, for another of our friends on Twitter – Jovie, I should not (literally) cry laughing at your misfortune, but it’s reeeeeeally hard:

This morning: “New account it’s my fifth in 2 weeks.

LOL!

Guinness book world of records.”

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MooooOOOOooooOOOOoooorning.

30
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

@petesouza: President Obama in the Oval Office, talking on phone to German Chancellor Merkel

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Today:

2:15 EDT: The President meets with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania, and President Andris Bērziņš of Latvia; the Vice President also attends

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CBS: Obama administration set to release Syria intel report

The administration will release on Friday a declassified version of its intelligence report on last week’s purported Syria chemical weapons attack, a senior administration official told CBS News late Thursday.

The official also said the administration would go public with its legal justification for taking military action against the Syrian regime if and when President Obama orders a strike.

More here

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Steve Benen: The prospect of going alone in Syria

A few days ago, it was largely seen as a fait accompli – British Prime Minister David Cameron would get approval from the British Parliament for the use of force in Syria, and a coalition would move forward apace.

With these expectations in mind, last night’s developments were as stunning as they were dramatic. For the first time in generations, a British prime minister’s appeal for military authorization was rejected by members of Parliament, even after Cameron watered down the scope of his original request.

It’s safe to assume the White House, which appears eager to intervene in Syria and assumed the UK’s support was in hand, was rattled by Parliament’s decision. Indeed, it left President Obama in an unsettling global dynamic….

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: Another Story of Obamacare Rate Shock That Isn’t

Another Obamascare article is making the rounds. This one, from National Journal, is about what people buying their own insurance will pay on the new Obamacare exchanges — and how those prices compare to what people pay when they get coverage from their employers.

“For the vast majority of Americans,” reporter Clara Ritger writes, “premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. … Whether the quality of care in the new market is comparable to private offerings remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: The cost of care in the new market doesn’t stack up.”

…. this analysis doesn’t really tell us what the Obamacare critics think it does. In fact, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t really tell us what Ritger thinks it does….

More here

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Jonathan Bernstein: Here comes more Obamacare misinformation

Wow. National Journal really booted one today on the Affordable Care Act …..it should be tossed in the garbage…

….. National Journal only has initial estimates of what plans in the exchanges will look like; over time, we don’t know how they’ll change. And, yes, there is surely a fair amount of uncertainty about how employers will react over time.

What we do know, however, suggests that this National Journal analysis doesn’t get it right, at all.

More here

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Steve Benen: Eric Holder steps up, digs in, and breaks out

…. Eric Holder appears to have quietly positioned himself not only as a progressive champion, but as one of the more accomplished attorneys general in recent memory.

Think about some of the recent policies Holder has chosen to tackle: voting rights; sentencing reforms; condemnations of “Stand Your Ground” laws, and of course the drug policy announced yesterday. These are critically important law-enforcement policies, some of which have been neglected and ignored by officials in both parties for years, long in need of leadership – which Holder is now providing…..

Full post here

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FACT SHEET: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence

The Obama administration announced two new common-sense executive actions to keep the most dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands and ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities. These executive actions build on the 23 executive actions that the Vice President recommended as part of the comprehensive gun violence reduction plan and the President unveiled on January 16, 2013.

Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals, like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the President and Vice President remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress toward reducing gun violence.

More here

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Treasury: All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26th Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” said Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

More here

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David Frum is hardly in a position to comment, but he’s right on this:

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TPM: Is This The Beginning Of The End Of The War On Drugs?

It’s America’s 40-year war. From Nixon through Nancy — “Just Say No!” — to Clinton not inhaling. From coke to crack to meth.

Throughout the War on Drugs, the drive has been for more law enforcement, stiffer sentences and less tolerance. The limitations of interdiction and incarceration are well-documented. But the push for harsher penalties rarely abated, and the emphasis remained on drugs as a criminal matter for law enforcement. Until Thursday, when the first real retreat of any kind was made official.

The Justice Department’s announcement that it would not block Colorado and Washington from implementing state laws legalizing marijuana marked a sea change.

More here

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Seamus Heaney, the Irish Nobel Prize-winning poet, died today.

This poem, which I used in an abysmally made YouTube video back in 2008, was, I always thought, perfect for the campaign – and still is:

“History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave,
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.”

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Morning everyone.

22
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

Random old pic, because, well, it’s Education Day – Occidental College, 1981

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Today (all times Eastern):

9:0 AM: President Obama departs the White House

10:20: Arrives in Buffalo, N.Y.

11:05: Delivers remarks at the University of Buffalo

5:55: Delivers remarks at Henninger High School, Syracuse

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USA Today: President Obama is back on the road Thursday, starting a two-day bus trip to promote plans to cut college costs.

First up is a flight to upstate New York, where Obama will speak at the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York. The president and his bus then travel to Henninger High School in Syracuse.

“At these two schools, the President will discuss his plan to make college more affordable, tackle rising costs, and improve value for students and their families,” says the White House schedule.

…. After discussing college costs in Buffalo and Syracuse, Obama spends the night in Auburn, N.Y. The president wraps up his bus tour on Friday with stops in Binghamton, N.Y., and Scranton, Penn.

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Matthew Yglesias: Obama’s Radical Agenda on Higher Education

The White House is tackling the status quo that’s sent college costs out of control.

For decades now, America’s approach to higher-education policy has been a delightful synthesis of left-wing and right-wing ideas. In stark contrast to the K–12 universe, college is a playground for individual choice and market competition …. In a speech Thursday morning in Buffalo, N.Y., on ways to enhance college affordability, President Obama will likely lay out policy measures that, while relatively modest on their own terms, propose to radically subvert that bargain on a conceptual level.

The president has decided, essentially, that the old bargain has failed …. he wants to find ways for the federal government to put its muscle behind an idea that’s both modest and radical: that public money should pay for outcomes, not just more stuff. Attempting to nudge the health care system in that direction was a key element of the Affordable Care Act. Nudging K–12 education in that direction has been the centerpiece of the Obama education agenda. Bringing it to the realm of higher education in a serious way would be extremely difficult but also an extraordinary achievement if we can be sent down that path.

More here

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NYT: Obama’s Plan Aims to Lower Cost of College

President Obama plans to announce a set of ambitious proposals on Thursday aimed at making colleges more accountable and affordable by rating them and ultimately linking those ratings to financial aid.

A draft of the proposal, obtained by The New York Times and likely to cause some consternation among colleges, shows a plan to rate colleges before the 2015 school year based on measures like tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend. The ratings would compare colleges against their peer institutions. If the plan can win Congressional approval, the idea is to base federal financial aid to students attending the colleges partly on those rankings.

“All the things we’re measuring are important for students choosing a college,” a senior administration official said. “It’s important to us that colleges offer good value for their tuition dollars, and that higher education offer families a degree of security so students aren’t left with debt they can’t pay back.”

More here

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USA Today: Small-business jobs rise as economy improves

Small-business hiring and confidence about the future are rising, a signal of the economy’s growing strength and diminishing concerns about employee insurance coverage required by the new health care law.

Job creation at small companies has almost doubled in the last six months, reaching 82,000 jobs at firms with 49 or fewer employees in July, according to payroll processor ADP. Borrowing by small businesses and sales of new franchises have also climbed, indicating business owners are willing to take on new expenses and risk.

More here

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The Atlantic: Immigration Reformers Are Winning August

Opponents of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants had a plan to apply grassroots pressure on congressional Republicans in their home districts. Why did it fizzle?

Activists opposed to immigration reform were all set to spend this month putting pressure on lawmakers to kill the legislation. But it hasn’t exactly been a show of force.

Last week, the Tea Party Patriots and NumbersUSA, two groups opposed to “amnesty” legislation, heavily publicized a rally in Richmond, Virginia, featuring Steve King … but only a few dozen people showed up – far short of the hundreds organizers had planned for.

…. as August winds down, the Richmond event seems indicative of the overall trend. Hundreds of immigrant advocates have appeared at rallies and town halls across the country. But the other side, the opponents, have been mostly absent.

More here

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Steve Benen: The nation’s full faith and credit is not a ‘leverage point’

About a week ago, National Review’s Robert Costa reported that congressional Republicans are considering an incredibly dangerous new plan: they’re prepared to hold the nation’s debt limit hostage again, creating a crisis comparable to the one we saw in the summer of 2011, unless Democrats agree to take health care benefits away from millions of Americans.

Earlier this week, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a prominent member of the House Democratic leadership, said he now sees this scenario as likely. And overnight, Reuters reported (see here) that another GOP debt-ceiling crisis appears to be on the way…..

… In other words, GOP leaders are effectively prepared to swap one hostage for another …. this is nothing short of madness. As Ezra Klein recently put it, “Trading a government shutdown for a debt-ceiling breach is like trading the flu for septic shock”….

More here

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TPM: Republican Governors: Shhh, Don’t Call Our Obamacare Money Obamacare!

A variety of Republican governors have sought federal funds under Obamacare, many of them to expand Medicaid eligibility for more residents, a centerpiece of the law that the Supreme Court made optional for states last year.

But shhh! Don’t call it Obamacare, they say, for they despise that law.

In the latest example, vociferous Obamacare critic and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is seeking roughly $100 million in federal funds under a program set up under Obamacare, called Community First Choice … “The bottom line is it has nothing to do with Obamacare,” said Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle.

Only it has everything to do with Obamacare …

Perry is in good company among Republican governors, many of whom want billions of federal funds under the law’s Medicaid expansion, but don’t want to call it Obamacare …. One example is Arizona’s Jan Brewer …. another is Florida’s Rick Scott….

More here

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NBC: Even Republican young adults want health insurance, poll finds

Obamacare may have become a partisan issue, but more Republicans than Democrats have signed up for one of its most popular provisions, according to a survey published Wednesday.

The survey also pokes holes in the idea that most 20-somethings act like “Young Invincibles” who believe they don’t need health insurance.

A team at the Commonwealth Fund, which strongly supports healthcare reform, looked at one of the main target groups of the 2010 Affordable Care Act – young adults who have been going without health insurance. One of the most popular provisions of the law lets people age 26 and younger stay on their parents’ health insurance.

…. They found that by last March, 63 percent of young adults identifying as Republicans had enrolled in a parent’s health plan in the last 12 months, compared to 45 percent of those who considered themselves Democrats….

More here

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Texas Tribune: Voter ID Debate Heats Up as Dallas County Joins Fight

A fight against the state’s contentious voter ID laws escalated this week when Dallas County became the first Texas county to claim that the requirements would disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters.

In a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, the Dallas County Commissioners Court voted to join U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, in a lawsuit urging a federal district court to issue an injunction against the voter ID law. The law requires voters to present one of seven forms of state or federal identification or a so-called election identification certificate, which can be obtained from the state’s Department of Public Safety.

On Wednesday in an appearance on MSNBC, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins applauded the commissioners’ decision. Jenkins said 220,000 of 1.1 million total registered voters in Dallas County indicated they did not have the required forms of ID to vote.

More here

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On this day:

Pete Souza: “On vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, the President was golfing at the Vineyard Golf Club. I switched my digital camera to the black-and-white setting to capture the ominous clouds.” Aug. 22, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama greets attendees during a Joining Forces event at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 22, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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MooooOOOOoooorning!




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