May 13, 2013 at 8:37 am #87927
hat tip-The Obama Diary:
The First Lady spoke at Eastern Kentucky University.
United States First Lady Michelle Obama came not with answers but with questions for the Eastern Kentucky University degree candidates she addressed at spring commencement today.
The first was “Who are you going to be?”
Explaining that it will be their response to adversity, their resilience and determination that defines them, the First Lady told the graduates, “If you’re willing to dig deep, if you’re willing to pick yourself up when you fall, if you’re willing to work and work until your weaknesses become your strengths, you’ll develop a set of skills that you can mold and apply to any situation you encounter, any job you might have, any crisis you may confront.”
As you begin a new week, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate.
Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.May 13, 2013 at 9:13 am #87937
Gates laments ‘cartoonish impression of military capabilities’
By Steve Benen
Mon May 13, 2013 8:30 AM EDT
A variety of White House critics remain wedded to the idea that the military should have launched some kind of post-attack mission in Benghazi last September, and it remains key to the larger Republican conspiracy theory. Indeed, even Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) continued to push the argument yesterday.
It must have been disappointing, then, to see former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates defend the way in which the Obama administration and the military handled the response.
“Frankly, had I been in the job at the time, I think my decisions would have been just as theirs were,” said Gates, now the chancellor of the College of William and Mary. “We don’t have a ready force standing by in the Middle East, and so getting somebody there in a timely way would have been very difficult, if not impossible.” he explained. [...]
Another suggestion posed by some critics of the administration, to, as Gates said, “send some small number of special forces or other troops in without knowing what the environment is, without knowing what the threat is, without having any intelligence in terms of what is actually going on on the ground, would have been very dangerous.”
“It’s sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces,” he said. “The one thing that our forces are noted for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm’s way, and there just wasn’t time to do that.”
Gates went on to defend Hillary Clinton and reject far-right allegations of the State Department orchestrating a cover-up.
And in the larger context, it seems interesting that Republicans pushing the Benghazi story keep running into other veterans of Republican administrations pushing in the opposite direction.May 13, 2013 at 10:32 am #87946
Will McAvoy @WillMcAvoyACN5m
Marco Rubio had called for the resignation of the IRS commissioner, perhaps not realizing that office is currently vacant.
Will McAvoy @WillMcAvoyACN4m
Steven T. Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, was appointed in November of 2012, long after the targeting of political groups ended.
Will McAvoy @WillMcAvoyACN4m
The IRS commissioner during the so-called Tea Party targeting was
Douglas Shulman, a George W. Bush appointee.May 13, 2013 at 10:34 am #87947
Rove’s super PAC promised IRS it would spend ‘limited’ money on election
Political insiders and campaign-finance watchdogs have long questioned how Crossroads, the brainchild of GOP strategist Karl Rove, had characterized its intentions to the IRS.
Now, for the first time, ProPublica has obtained the group’s application for recognition of tax-exempt status, filed in September 2010. The IRS has not yet recognized Crossroads GPS as exempt, causing some tax experts to speculate that the agency is giving the application extra scrutiny. If Crossroads GPS is ultimately not recognized, it could be forced to reveal the identities of its donors.
The tax code allows groups like Crossroads to spend money on political campaigns u2014 and to keep their donors private u2014 as long as their primary purpose is enhancing social welfare.May 13, 2013 at 10:35 am #87948
In entire Supreme Court term, justices see 1 black lawyer
May 12, 2013
MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — In roughly 75 hours of arguments at the Supreme Court since October, only one African-American lawyer appeared before the justices, and for just over 11 minutes.
The numbers were marginally better for Hispanic lawyers. Four of them argued for a total of 1 hour, 45 minutes.
Women were better represented, accounting for just over 17 percent of the arguments before the justices.
In an era when three women, a Hispanic and an African-American sit on the court and white men constitute a bare majority of the nine justices, the court is more diverse than the lawyers who argue before it.
The arguments that took place from October to April were presented overwhelmingly by white men. Women and minority lawyers whose clients’ cases were heard by the court were far more likely to represent governments or be part of public-interest law firms than in private practice, where paychecks are much larger.
The numbers generally reflect the largely white and male upper reaches of the biggest and richest private law firms, where there have been small gains by women and minorities in the past 20 years. A recent survey by the Association for Legal Career Professionals found that more than 93 percent of partners in law firms are white and nearly 80 percent are men.
The statistics from the court term, though, also reveal a lack of African-American and Hispanic lawyers in the elite Justice Department unit that represents the federal government at the Supreme Court.
The top supervisory positions in the Office of the Solicitor General all are held by men, though there are six women in the office who argued high court cases this term.
The office serves as a pipeline to the big firms that dominate the argument calendar at the court. Lawyers in the office make several arguments a term and acquire the experience and ease of standing before the justices that make them attractive to private firms.May 13, 2013 at 10:57 am #87953
click on the link and take a look at the pic of the Imam
In life and words, Muslim leader bridges cultures
By Lisa Wangsness
| Globe Staff
May 12, 2013
On a rainy afternoon in early April at Boston’s largest mosque, the sheikh in the seersucker suit was in his office, offering comfort and advice.
To a young student wondering if he should get engaged: “Aw, man, just go for it!”
To a middle-aged man agonizing over how to care for his dying father: “You should preserve life as best you can.”
To a sobbing young woman who told him about problems at home: “I have someone who can help you, a Muslim counselor. . . . Let’s talk about fixing it.”
Days later, bombs exploded on Boylston Street. And the unlikely face of the Muslim community in its time of crisis became this 6-foot-5-inch, blond-haired, blue-eyed former hip-hop DJ whose grandfather was a fundamentalist Christian preacher.
William Suhaib Webb, imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, has been a target of conservative Muslims on the Internet, who call him a sellout, and of other critics who say he is an extremist.
He has tried, for better or for worse, to respond to all of it — in his sermons, on CNN, on Twitter. At the same time, he has endeavored to improve the mosque’s relationships with Jewish and Christian leaders in Boston.
“I’m just exhausted,” the 40-year-old Webb said, sipping a flask of coffee in his book-lined office overlooking the busy intersection of Tremont Street and Malcolm X Boulevard. “I don’t have days anymore. I just have . . . smears.”
Webb, who memorized the Koran while living with his parents in Oklahoma and became an advanced Islamic legal scholar after years of study in Cairo, has in recent years become among the most famous imams in America.
He has 34,000 Twitter followers and a “virtual mosque” website that gets some 13,000 page views a day. In his sermons and in social media, Webb — many followers call him “sheikh,” an honorific for a respected teacher — toggles effortlessly between English and Arabic, dropping words like “baller” and references to “The Walking Dead,” a television show about zombies, into exegeses of Sufi poetry.
When he came to the cultural center 18 months ago, he faced significant challenges. He had to connect with immigrants from all over the world, as well as their US-born children and converts from other faiths. He also had to be a bridge to the city’s other faith communities, someone who could help the city move beyond concerns, particularly among some Jewish leaders, that the mosque’s leadership had extremist ties.
Webb, for his part, had his own big plan — to establish one of the first Muslim seminaries in the country. He wanted to nurture a new generation of American imams and Muslim women scholars — orthodox, but culturally conversant and civically involved — and to educate more casual students about their faith.
The Marathon bombings cast Webb and his mission into a crucible. In the media, Islam was on trial again, and Webb was, too.May 13, 2013 at 10:57 am #87954
I’m with Alexander on this
(Mellowing? No. Maxine hit the jackpot!)
The Mellowing of Maxine Waters
New York Times
May 11, 2012
The New Maxine was born in part from Ms. Waters’s ascension, in January,on the House Financial Services Committee. .The influential Financial Services Committee oversees community banks and Wall Street alike. And Ms. Waters has softened somewhat, not just toward local bankers in her district who might expect her ear, but also toward the Wall Street C.E.O.’s she formerly reviled.
In recent months, she dined with John Stumpf, the C.E.O. of Wells Fargo and met Wall Street chief executives like Michael L. Corbat of
Citigroup and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase. It’s what she called “an open-door policy.”
Most notably, given her penchant for railing against Wall Street abuses, she recently pushed regulators to delay certain rule changes on high-stakes derivatives trading. The regulators ultimately agreed.May 13, 2013 at 11:01 am #87955
Minority businesses explore oil, gas opportunities
…B&G is just one of the many companies in Ohio looking to make money
from the surge in oil and natural gas exploration underway in the eastern part of the state.
Chambers of commerce, labor unions and other groups across the Utica Shale region have been investigating the possibilities. That includes more than 40 members of the Stark County Minority Business Association, of which Barton, who is black, is a member.
“This is kind of new,” Association President Leonard Stevens said of the oil and gas business. “We’re not quite sure, and we want to talk about how we can get a piece of the pie and do business with them.”May 13, 2013 at 11:03 am #87956
Sebelius forced to get creative
By Steve Benen
Mon May 13, 2013 10:45 AM EDT’
The Obama administration, not surprisingly, would like additional resources from Congress to help in implementing the Affordable Care Act. Congressional Republicans, not surprisingly, are refusing to accommodate the requests because they hope to sabotage the entirety of the health care law and see the rejection of implementation funds as key to their efforts.
As a consequence, as Sarah Kliff reported on Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been forced to get creative, going to private-sector health executives and non-profit organizations, asking for financial support. Specifically, HHS hopes to raise funds from stakeholders for groups that are already working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law.
It’s a sensible goal — without greater public awareness, not only will Americans lack access to benefits they’re entitled to, but the law itself depends on greater participation to help keep costs down. It appears Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) doesn’t quite see it that way.
<I>Alexander compared the fundraising to the Iran-Contra scandal. “Secretary Sebelius’s fundraising for and coordinating with private entities helping to implement the new health care law may be illegal, should cease immediately and should be fully investigated by Congress,” Alexander said in a statement. [...]
“If the Department of Health and Human Services closely coordinates with Enroll America and with other such entities, then the legal analogy with Iran-Contra is strong,” Alexander said.</I>
In the Iran-Contra scandal, the Reagan administration illegally sold weapons to a sworn enemy of the United States, in order to acquire funds to finance an illegal war in Nicaragua. Much of Reagan’s national security team, including his Secretary of Defense, was indicted, and it was a minor miracle Reagan himself wasn’t impeached.
In the contemporary case, the HHS secretary hopes to find outside resources to implement the health care law — a law that was approved by Congress and cleared by the Supreme Court. Circumventing and implementing federal law are not the same thing.May 13, 2013 at 11:17 am #87966
Jeff Gauvin @JeffersonObama
Yes We Klan #GOP2016Slogans
6:27 PM – 12 May 2013May 13, 2013 at 11:34 am #87968
Comment on Greg Sargent this morning:
7:48 AM MST
`If groups operating under section 501(c)(4) are supposed
to be, by definition, non-political social welfare groups, then
political activity by them is illegal. So how can conservatives complain
that they are being targeted for political reasons? Aren’t they
implicitly agreeing that these groups are in fact political
organizations hiding under the rubric of social welfare organizations?.May 13, 2013 at 11:59 am #87976
The Morning Plum: Time for caution in scandal coverage
By Greg Sargent, Published: May 13, 2013 at 9:22 amE-mail reporter
submit to reddit
The Sunday shows left no doubt that we’re now headed for another season of Beltway scandal feasting. Republican officials hammered the Obama administration over its handling of Benghazi and the burgeoning IRS scandal, and with multiple hearings on both fronts set for the near future, we’re looking at a rerun of the 1990s.
The IRS story is serious business, and I fully support a complete investigation to get to the bottom of it. However, on Benghazi, it’s clear that basic facts are being submerged and that journalistic shorthand risks conveying a too-simplistic picture to the public. Case in point: Ron Fournier’s piece today, which is sure to get some attention. Fournier argues that Benghazi and the IRS are creating a “perfect storm” that is “threatening Obama’s credibility.” Fournier describes the Benghazi story this way:
On Benghazi, the president’s U.N. ambassador said five days after the Libya attack that the incident grew out of a street protest rather than a terrorist attack. Caught fudging the facts in the middle of a presidential campaign, a race in which Obama’s anti-terrorism record was a major selling point, the White House blamed Ambassador Susan Rice’s statement on “talking points” concocted by the CIA in virtual isolation.
Obama’s team stuck with that story until the truth was exposed amid a GOP congressional investigation. Emails leaked to news organizations last week show that both the White House and State Department were directly involved in scrubbing the CIA talking points of any mention of past threats and al-Qaida involvement. That is the exact opposite of what the Obama White House had claimed. Inexplicably, White House spokesman Jay Carney refused late Friday to acknowledge the contradiction.
For all I know, Fournier is right that the White House may suffer a severe credibility blow amid these stories. But his characterization of Benghazi goes too far, and doesn’t make a clear enough distinction between what is known and what isn’t. By claiming that the White House and State Department “were directly involved in scrubbing the CIA talking points of any mention of past threats and al-Qaida involvement,” Fournier is implicitly giving weight to one side of the argument (the GOP’s), failing to adequately represent the administration’s position, and submerging important facts about this whole drama.May 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm #87994
Issa goes after Petraeus in a serious way
By Steve Benen
Mon May 13, 2013 11:25 AM EDT
Shortly after the 2012 elections, David Petraeus announced his resignation as director of the CIA, which led to a series of new conservative conspiracy theories, including the assertion that he stepped down to avoid congressional testimony on Benghazi — a claim that was quickly debunked.
And as it turned out, Petraeus disappointed Republicans for reasons that had nothing to do with his personal misconduct. When he testified in congressional hearings, Petraeus told GOP lawmakers what they didn’t want to hear: the Benghazi talking points weren’t dictated by politics, the White House didn’t have a political agenda, and no one politicized the process.
Six months later, the new Republican line is that Petraeus is no longer trustworthy. Consider this exchange on “Meet the Press” yesterday between David Gregory and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Right. So in November, the Republican line was, “We need to hear to hear from David Petraeus, whom we trust to tell us the truth.” In May, the Republican line is, “Er, never mind, David Petraeus isn’t that trustworthy after all.”
Indeed, let’s be clear about what Issa told a national television audience yesterday: the former director of the CIA gave sworn testimony, which is no longer credible because Issa believes he was covering for the Obama administration.
To bolster the serious allegation, Issa pointed to … nothing in particular.May 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm #87995
The Assault on Black Radio: It is a Question of Leadership
We are witnessing the very serious decline of Black radio in general and Black owned radio in particular. This is happening at a time when Blacks can ill afford to be without voice in the marketplace of ideas.
With the hateful indifference to Blacks that dominates so much of what is considered mainstream media, Blacks must have access to social, political, esthetic and cultural expressions that are born of the Black experience in the world.
It is important to take into account the factors that have made Black radio so vulnerable. Two Major contributing factors to the demise of Black owned radio are the 1990 Bill Clinton telecommunications ACT, and the bias inherent in the radio ratings system, a system whose incorrect information has consistently deprived Black radio of a fair share of
advertising revenue, leading to the financial demise of a number of Black owned radio stations throughout the nation.
It is Congress however, that has oversight over the FCC, and it is Congress that must restructure the Commission, and since it is the Black community that has so much at stake, on Dec. 6, 2012 in our capacity as representatives of a putative class of African American citizens, Bob Law, Betty Dobson, Michael North and New York City Councilman Charles Barron appealed to the Congressional Black Caucus to place the FCC on the congressional agenda for 2013. We went directly to the then chair of the caucus, Emanuel Cleaver, with an open letter to the CBC office in Washington D.C. and as instructed by his Chief of staff, an email of the same letter to his district office in Kansas City.
Our efforts to engage the CBC were freely dismissed. We also emailed the letter to the New York congressional delegation, Charles Rangel, Yvette Clark, and Gregory Meeks, all of whom ignored us. The letter was hand delivered to Congresswoman Barbra Jackson Lee, of Houston Texas. To date the CBC has ignored this request coming from respected members of the Black community.
On the occasion of Martin Luther King’s birthday, Marcia L. Fudge, the new chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, announced that in the spirit of Dr. King, the CBC must commit itself to the fight for the rights of all people. This interpretation of Martin King comes at a very strange time.May 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm #87997
A rosier economic outlook now colors political picture for Obama
By Peter Schroeder and Erik Wasson – 05/13/13 05:00 AM ET
Recent glimmers of hope that the economy is gaining strength are both helping and hindering the prospects for President Obama’s second-term agenda.
A strong April jobs report headed off fears of another “spring swoon.” Renewed optimism may help efforts to enact immigration reform, but it could also make it harder for Republicans and Democrats to strike a broad fiscal deal.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/economy/299229-a-rosier-economy-now-colors-political-picture-#ixzz2TCK8jKup
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