September 3, 2013 at 8:27 am #96006
President Obama’s Labor Day Message
As you go through your day, don’t forget JJP at TWiB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.September 3, 2013 at 8:27 am #96007
Good Morning, EveryoneSeptember 3, 2013 at 8:43 am #96008
Box Office: ‘The Butler’ Enjoys Labor Day Upset With $20 Mil; ‘One Direction’ No. 2 With $18 Mil
8:52 AM PDT 9/2/2013 by Pamela McClintock
The civil rights drama is the first film of 2013 to top the North American box office chart for three consecutive weekends as Hollywood rings out a record summer and Labor Day Weekend; “Getaway,” “Closed Circuit” are D.O.A.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler engineered a surprise victory over Morgan Spurlock’s 3D concert documentary One Direction: This Is Us at the Labor Day box office, becoming the first movie of 2013 to top the North American chart three weekends in a row.
Overall, Hollywood enjoyed a record Labor Day, with revenue reaching an estimated $156 million, beating the record set in 2007 with $148 million. The film industry also enjoyed a record summer ($4.7 billion) thanks to a wide array of films prospering and despite a handful of high-profile flame-outs.
The Butler, distributed by The Weinstein Co., is one example of a smaller title that has shown remarkable staying power. The historical drama grossed $20 million for the four-day holiday, pushing its domestic total to a $79.3 million. The film’s outstanding run is a testament, at least in part, to Oprah Winfrey’s standing.
Winfrey stars opposite Forest Whitaker, who plays a White House Butler working through eight presidential administrations. The film — a likely awards contender — is certain to gross north of $100 million.
The audience continues to broaden out and get younger,” says TWC distribution chief Erik Lomis.September 3, 2013 at 8:44 am #96009
President Obama is working on bigger change than the purists can even contemplate
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this passage that Al Giordano wrote years ago.
There are times when “The Law” is dressed up in liberal language in a way that masquerades the bloodlust behind witch hunts and impulses to scapegoat individuals for crimes or taboos that, in a democracy, we’re all responsible for having enabled.
The same tendencies that have always placed me squarely against McCarthyism and Red Scares put me on the opposite side of some liberal and progressive colleagues today when they demand the prosecution of Bush, or of Cheney, or of some of their underlings…
In the end, preventing torture is a political struggle and also a power struggle, so much more than a matter of “The Law.” It’s about changing society and its presumptions, and changing institutions, like the military and police agencies, where the culture is so prone to that kind of abuse…
The real task at hand is to evolve American society – and with it, military and law enforcement culture – to change in ways that “The Law” will never be able to touch. That’s what I observe that the President is, step by step, doing. And the legal fundamentalists who fail to consider that larger context are going to continue to be upset, again and again, until they open their eyes to the bigger chess game going on between the new President and the institutions of defense and law enforcement, the only steps that can ever accomplish a permanent ban on torture and more.
While he was specifically addressing the emo cries for the Obama administration to prosecute Bush/Cheney for torture, it continues to be the main cause of the rift between the Obamabots and the purists on the left side of the political spectrum.
As I wrote about earlier, I see many of the purists thinking they can use the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house. What we get with that approach is a continued bloodlust for witch hunts and scapegoats. Whether its McCarthyism looking for communists around every corner or lefties trying to scare us about the plutocrats and autocrats, it all reeks of the same paranoia.
The first time most of us ever heard of Barack Obama, he came with a totally different message.September 3, 2013 at 8:45 am #96010
Some of us don’t know that we’re free
WATCH: The Sheryl Underwood Clip That Has Twitter Seething
by Tommy Christopher | 2:40 pm, September 2nd, 2013
Sheryl Underwood, stand-up comedy star, actress, and co-host of CBS’ totally-not-a-ripoff-of-The View gabfest The Talk, has spent the better part of the Labor Day weekend fending off blistering criticism on Twitter over remarks she made on the show about natural black hair. Discussing supermodel Heidi Klum‘s revelation that she saves all of her sons’ shorn hair, Underwood asked “Why would you save afro hair?” and in questioning the utility of the saved hair, observed that “You can’t weave afro hair,” and that “You never see us at the hair place going ‘Look, here, what I need here is, I need those curly, nappy beads…That just seems nasty.”September 3, 2013 at 8:46 am #96011
Obama Put His Feet on Oval Office Desk, and People are Outraged
by Josh Feldman | 10:45 pm, September 2nd,
If you were hoping for one more overblown controversy to end your summer, your wish has been granted. President Obama put his foot on his desk in a White House photo, and although it admittedly does look a little cheesy, people are outraged over the leader of the free world placing his foot atop the Resolute Desk because it’s undignified and beneath the office of the president… although technically it’s in the office of the… the point is, people are not happy.
Here’s the image that has everyone freaking out so much:September 3, 2013 at 8:48 am #96012
The argument the non-interventionsts must make
President Obama has made his argument for military intervention in Syria in response to their use of chemical weapons. And he has once again said that he welcomes the debate.
It is now time for those who oppose this military intervention to make their case. I’ll tell you what won’t work: suggesting this is just like what Bush/Cheney did when they lied us into an invasion of Iraq. Rather than looking for an excuse to invade another country, we all know that President Obama has fought off advice to engage in Syria – even when it came from his closest national security advisors. This large-scale use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime is what finally changed his mind. But even more importantly, President Obama is not talking about invading Syria – he’s talking about an action that would be limited in scope and duration – with no boots on the ground. An argument against the President’s proposal has to take that into account.
If those arguing against intervention want to make a case that they are non-violent pacifists who would speak out against ANY military intervention under any circumstances – including this one – I think that could be a strong case. But that argument must also deal with the consequences. It requires that we either ignore the criminal slaughter of civilians or develop alternative forms of resistance. No one gets a “pass” on these difficult questions.
Since President Obama has abandoned the “regime change” argument that drove so many of our military misadventures in the past and is instead making the argument based on the United Nation’s Chemical Weapons Convention, liberals who believe that military intervention is sometimes appropriate have a harder case to make against this one.September 3, 2013 at 8:51 am #96013
Rand Paul’s unique understanding of Syria
By Steve Benen
Mon Sep 2, 2013 9:00 AM EDT
It wasn’t surprising to see Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on “Meet the Press” yesterday criticizing the idea of military intervention in Syria. It was, however, interesting to hear his rationale for what U.S. foreign policy should look like in this case.
“I think the failure of the Obama administration has been we haven’t engaged the Russians enough or the Chinese enough on this, and I think they were engaged. I think there’s a possibility Assad could already be gone. The Russians have every reason to want to keep their influence in Syria, and I think the only way they do is if there’s a change in government where Assad has gone but some of the same people remain stable.
“That would also be good for the Christians. I think the Islamic rebels winning is a bad idea for the Christians and all of a sudden we’ll have another Islamic state where Christians are persecuted.
“So I think really the best outcome for all the major powers would be a peaceful transition government, and Russia could influence that if they told Assad no more weapons.”
Paul seemed oddly preoccupied with Christians in Syria — a group he mentioned five times during the brief interview — to the point at which it seemed the senator may be confusing Syria with Egypt, where Coptic Christians have seen their churches burned.
But it was his rhetoric about Russia that was especially out of place.September 3, 2013 at 8:53 am #96014
McCain says congressional inaction could prove ‘catastrophic’
By Steve Benen
Tue Sep 3, 2013 8:00 AM EDT
When it comes to rallying political support for military intervention in Syria, President Obama could use more friends. And in theory, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) could certainly fit the bill — the Republican has been pushing the White House to use force in Syria, and as of last week, that’s precisely what the White House is prepared to do.
But it’s not that simple. While many skeptics of military strikes in Syria fear Obama intends to do too much, McCain and his allies have blasted the president from the other direction, insisting Obama isn’t doing enough. Indeed, almost immediately after the president announced his intention to seek congressional authorization for the use of force, McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued a statement saying they “cannot in good conscience support isolated military strikes in Syria” if the mission is too “limited.” McCain and Graham want a full-fledged war, not targeted strikes.
Yesterday, the senators seemed ready to change their mind.
The White House’s aggressive push for Congressional approval of an attack on Syria appeared to have won the tentative support of one of President Obama’s most hawkish critics, Senator John McCain, who said Monday that he would back a limited strike if the president did more to arm the Syrian rebels and the attack was punishing enough to weaken the Syrian military.
In an hourlong meeting at the White House, said Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, Mr. Obama gave general support to doing more for the Syrian rebels, although no specifics were agreed upon.
“A vote against that resolution by Congress,” McCain said, “I think would be catastrophic.” He added a congressional vote against authorizing force would “undermine the credibility of the United States.”
There are a couple of important problems with this.
First, McCain’s approach seems poorly thought out.September 3, 2013 at 8:57 am #96015
Russia eyes U.S. lobbying campaign
By Steve Benen
Tue Sep 3, 2013 8:44 AM EDT.
As Congress readies a vote on authorizing the use of force in Syria, lawmakers in both parties and both chambers will be lobbied by all sorts of folks — members of the Obama administration, members of the public, defense contractors, etc.
But don’t be surprised if Russia dispatches some lobbyists of its own.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to send Russian lawmakers to lobby Congress against a strike against Syria. According to a report by the Interfax news agency,
Putin has signaled his support for a proposal made by two Russian lawmakers to send a delegation to Washington.
The initiative, championed by Russian legislators Valentina Matvienko and Sergei Naryshkin, still requires formal approval by the country’s Foreign Ministry — although an informal group of Russian lawmakers may decide to travel on their own.
The meetings between Russians and U.S. lawmakers would be fascinating, wouldn’t they? “Don’t believe your State Department and your CIA; instead put your faith in the Putin government!”
I don’t doubt that there will be plenty of members of Congress who balk at authorizing force in Syria, but I’ll be eager to see just how many of these lawmakers say they were persuaded by a Russian lobbying campaign.September 3, 2013 at 8:57 am #96016
Why the left is split on Syria
By Alex Seitz-Wald, Published: September 2 at 11:55 am
The White House is preparing to mobilize the full power of the bully pulpit to push members of Congress to approve attacks on Syria, even as the administration refuses to say whether or not they would proceed with strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s forces if the vote doesn’t go their way. “The strategy will be to flood the zone … everything is on the menu,” an unnamed official told Politico.
The vote will be unlike any other of the Obama era in that there is no clear partisan position and deep divisions on both sides. Much has been made of the split on the right between hawkish neocons and isolationish libertarians, but the left has its own divisions here as well.
While liberals are almost universally supportive of President Obama’s decision Saturday to seek the approval of Congress, BuzzFeed’s Evan McMorris-Santoro reports that they’re divided on what Congress should actually do. Democracy for America, the grassroots organizing group that grew out of the Howard Dean presidential campaign, sent a remarkable e-mail to its members explaining why the group is refraining from taking a position:September 3, 2013 at 8:58 am #96017
Neocons outraged that Obama wants democratic approval for war
By Alex Seitz-Wald, Published: September 2 at 1:30 pm
After spending much of the past four years decrying President Obama’s alleged overreach in circumventing Congress, neoconservatives are furious with the president for … deciding to consult Congress before attacking Syria.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is “euphoric” about Obama’s decision to seek an authorization vote, Sen. John McCain, one of Congress’ most outspoken hawks, told CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday. ”[Obama] didn’t say, ‘It’s a red line — and by the way I’m going to have to seek the approval of Congress.’ He said it was a red line, and that the United States of America would act. And that’s a big difference, and that’s one of the reasons why this is so problematic,” McCain said.
Former senator Joe Lieberman echoed the sentiment on Fox News Sunday: “Our enemies are cheering now … and our allies are worried.” Lieberman added that it’d be “catastrophic” if the democratically elected members of Congress do what polls suggest most Americans want and vote down a strike.
Not to be outdone by the upper chamber, Rep. Peter King, the hawkish former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who led controversial hearings looking into Muslim radicalization, said Obama was “abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief and undermining the authority of future presidents.”
Going to Congress is “how not to run a foreign policy,” neoconservative éminence grise and former Bush adviser Elliot Abrams wrote in Politico today. “This erratic conduct leaves U.S. foreign policy in a shambles,” he added.September 3, 2013 at 9:00 am #96018
The Most Worker Friendly President Since FDR
Monday, September 02, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 12:38 PM
In his Labor Day message, the president once again renewed his call to raise the minimum wage, saying that no one who works full time in America should have to live in poverty.
Labor day isn’t just for bar-b-ques and a long weekend. Labor Day is the day we dedicate to people who are working hard for themselves, for their families, and for their communities. Things like the minimum wage, the 40-hour workweek, the right to a safe work environment, and even the weekend were all hard won victories by organized labor, while laws to protect workers from discrimination came when organized labor fought side by side with civil rights groups.
The labor movements proudest achievement in American history, without a doubt, is FDR’s New Deal, which continued progress with LBJ’s Great Society. But in the intervening years since then, corporate interests colluded with the country’s political leadership (when they didn’t collude, the corporate interests outright bought the political leadership) to try to walk that progress back.
Whether through “free trade” deals that globalized the rights of corporations but not the rights of workers, or through union busting, or through nefarious political strategies to make one group of American afraid that another group would take their crumbs – I mean, jobs – or through the Supreme Court’s absurd pronouncements that women couldn’t sue for pay discrimination, the basic fairness for American workers – and with it the great American middle class – seemed in danger.
The working folk of America needed a champion – we needed a fierce advocate, if you will. And we elected one in 2008. If by some miracle of happenstance, President Obama didn’t have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition, even from “liberals” in the media, it would be patently obvious to everyone that the man presently occupying the Oval Office is the most worker-friendly president since Franklin Roosevelt. Barack Obama is a president who has more than kept his word to always make the best decision for people who work for a living.
The first bill this president signed into law was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a law that reversed an injustice perpetrated by the Supreme Court that said that women couldn’t sue their employers for pay discrimination if they found out about the discrimination too late. It’s a bill the previous president had threatened to veto.September 3, 2013 at 9:03 am #96019
September 02, 2013 11:35 AM
Making the Case and Accepting the Verdict
By Ed Kilgore
Having misstepped by threatening imminent military action against the Assad government in Syria without making a compelling public case or building the requisite domestic or international support, the president took the difficult but welcome step back over the weekend that I had hoped for without, well, a lot of hope that it would actually happen. He and John Kerry are now harvesting the inevitable mockery of Republicans whose only point of unity in foreign policy is contempt for the 44th president, and of Democrats who have long feared that both these men represent a “liberal hawk” tradition in their party that must be decisively repudiated as shameful opportunism or worse.
I don’t share PA weekend blogger Sam Knight’s conviction that the Obama administration is replaying the Bush administration’s campaign for the Iraq War, or Sam’s certainty the case for a limited military strike on Assad’s forces is as flawed as the case for an invasion of and occupation of Iraq. But it should be clear the administration’s welcome if tardy decision to pursue congressional authorization and broader international sanctions for an attack on Syria should be accompanied by a willingness to stand down if neither is forthcoming.
We’ll hear a lot in the days just ahead about Obama’s credibility—or even his presidency—being on the line, with political and diplomatic catastrophe ensuing if he fails to secure sufficient backing for military action. That is the kind of imperial thinking—once the Emperor has “planted the flag,” no “retreat” short of total victory is acceptable—that prolonged both the Vietnam and Iraq wars long beyond any concept of proportion or usefulness. If Obama makes his case and succeeds in securing a congressional authorization for the use of force and sufficient international backing to make this an act of collective security, the wisdom or folly of his policy will be judged by results on the ground. But if his efforts at persuasion here and abroad fail, and he accepts an adverse outcome, he should earn praise, not contempt, for making military action contingent on compliance with domestic law and the kind of international support needed to maintain international norms against scofflaws like Assad.September 3, 2013 at 9:38 am #96023
Rapper Lupe Fiasco Accused of Hiding Money …For a Drug Kingpin
Lupe Fiasco is in cahoots with a convicted drug kingpin
— hiding millions of dollars from the drug lord’s estranged wife to
screw her in the divorce … this according to a new lawsuit.
Fiasco is a big-time rapper … who’s being sued by the estranged wife of convicted drug kingpin Charles Patton, who’s currently serving a 44-year prison sentence for running a heroin enterprise.
to the suit, Patton’s estranged wife believes Fiasco conspired with the
drug kingpin to move more than NINE MILLION DOLLARS into various bank
accounts in an effort to block her from making a play on the cash in
their ongoing divorce.
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