June 18, 2013 at 8:51 am #90934
President Barack Obama Sits Down with Charlie Rose 06/17/2013 (FULL INTERVIEW)
Watch President Obama and Russian President Putin Speak at the G8 Conference
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 dayJune 18, 2013 at 8:52 am #90935
Good Morning, EveryoneJune 18, 2013 at 8:53 am #90936
Mansion spending records indicate improper billing by Virginia governor and his family
By Laura Vozzella, Published: June 16
RICHMOND — Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen, have used taxpayer money for a range of small personal items they should have paid for themselves under state policy, according to spending records.
The McDonnells have billed the state for body wash, sunscreen, dog vitamins and a digestive system “detox cleanse,” the records show. They also have used state employees to run personal errands for their adult children. In the middle of a workday, for example, a staffer retrieved Rachel McDonnell’s newly hemmed pants at a tailoring shop nine miles from the governor’s mansion. Another time, a state worker was dispatched to a dry cleaner 20 miles away to pick up a storage box for Cailin McDonnell’s wedding dress.
About six months into the governor’s term, the official who oversees mansion spending told the McDonnells that they should not have charged taxpayers for a number of expenses, including deodorant, shoe repairs and dry-cleaning their children’s clothing. The official asked the McDonnells to pay the state back more than $300, which they did, and also gave them a refresher on what the state will and won’t provide for occupants of the governor’s mansion.
But since that time, state records show that the McDonnells have continued to let taxpayers pick up the tab for numerous personal items, including vitamins, nasal spray and sleep-inducing elixirs.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, The Washington Post sought records of personal expenses covered by the state over the couple’s 31 / 2 years in the mansion. The full cost of those items is unknown because the state released only 16 sales receipts, most of them from 2011. State records show that there were many more personal shopping trips — nine others in January 2011 alone, including two to Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up “college stuff” for the McDonnells’ children.June 18, 2013 at 8:54 am #90937
GOP plan to appeal to millennials: “Make abortion funny”
Young Christian-right leaders think the answer to their problems with young voters lies in more snark
By Alex Seitz-Wald
“How do you make abortion funny?” That was a key question mulled at a major conservative gathering Friday on how to make social conservatism appealing to young people, after an election where Republicans got trounced in the battle for millennial voters (who are are moving even further and further away from the Christian-right on marriage and other issues).
Abortion has to be made funny, the thinking goes, because funny sells on social media, and that’s where one goes to court young people. “You can engage with sarcasm, it’s hard with the abortion issue, but you have to,” said Students for Life president Kristan Hawkins at a breakout panel at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference in Washington today on how to win millennial voters. “Unfortunately we have to, because this is the generation that we’ve been dealt.”
As the Republican Party tries to remake itself after the 2012 election to better appeal to young people and minorities, there’s been a movement to jettison issues social conservatives hold dear, especially support for “traditional marriage.” But the activists at Ralph Reed’s confab said absolutely not. “You’ve got to be pro-life, you’ve got be pro-marriage, or else you’re not going to get our money,” Hawkins said firmly.
How, then, do you win over young voters when as many as 70 percent support marriage equality? The answers offered feel a bit like jamming a square peg in a round hole.June 18, 2013 at 8:55 am #90938
A Marco Rubio Aide Sparked A Firestorm On Immigration By Saying Some American Workers ‘Can’t Cut It’
Brett LoGiurato Jun. 17, 2013, 2:41 PM
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) office sparked a bit of a firestorm on Sunday when a quote attributed to one of his aides claimed that immigration reform is necessary because some American workers “just can’t cut it.”
The aide made the comment to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza in an article published early Monday morning, explaining why Rubio sided with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the issue of a guest-worker program for the construction industry.
“There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it,” the Rubio aide told Lizza. “There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly.”
The statement rankled feathers on both sides of the aisle. Conservative Erick Erickson wrote that “we have to take seriously” the notion that Rubio believes some Americans will have to “suffer the fate of natural selection.”
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait worried that the quote could torpedo immigration reform altogether, imagining that Republican support for the bill could erode based on the quote.June 18, 2013 at 8:57 am #90939
Brilliant comment by Camille
It’s actually quite funny and very telling how there’s not been even a peep or the slightest hint of an outcry over Samantha Cameron – David Cameron’s wife choosing to pass on the long-established tradition of the wife of the head of State of the host country hosting the other wives/spouses at a separate diplomatic program of events–
Even when Berlusconi was Italian P.M and was separated from his then estranged wife, he made alternative arrangements to have a female minister step into the hosting role–
It has always been thought of as another extension of the informal diplomacy that everyone crows about but don’t seem to really care about unless of course it somehow implicates the Obamas and makes them look bad—
SamCam didn’t just feel like it – didn’t feel like bothering her little head about coming up with ways to entertain and sustain the spousal diplomacy at this now annual rotational affair —and so David issued a decree that other heads of state not bring their wives—
I can’t even imagine what the British papers and our American “journalists” would have had to say, or how this would be spun to harness and whip up all the anti-Obama hate, had this been Mrs Obama who decided for the very first time in ages, to pass on what has now become a tradition at these G8, G20 summits–
But white privilege kicks in and all is forgiven – if there’s even any suggestion of wrong-doing, which there hasn’t been and probably won’t be–
SamCam’s got the colour of protection — and gets to choose to change the rules of the game at will and all without any repercussion —no fall-out, no outcry, no editorials and discussions about this official and real snub and actual shirking of responsibilities —and still all’s well with the world!June 18, 2013 at 9:00 am #90940
Congressional Republicans face a health care conundrum
By Steve Benen
Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:11 PM EDT
Whenever a major reform initiative becomes law, minor tweaks and technical fixes are simply unavoidable. Within a couple of years of Social Security passing, Congress had opened the law back up, identified changes that needed to be made, and made adjustments accordingly. The same is true of Medicare. Washington has worked this way for generations.
And it would be true of the Affordable Care Act, too, if Congress was still able to function. Democrats and Republicans have identified some areas of the law that need tweaking in order to help various constituencies and make the law more effective, but therein lies the rub: GOP lawmakers have decided that “Obamacare” cannot be touched in any way. Indeed, the more policymakers identify the need for adjustments, the more Republicans resist.
It’s not because GOP officials love the law the way it is; it’s because GOP officials desperately hope to sabotage the law and ensure its failure. If Democrats identify worthwhile tweaks, and those changes aren’t made, Republicans are delighted — it means a less-effective law. If some groups are unnecessarily punished, under the GOP’s approach, that’s just too bad.
But what if Republicans actually like some of the groups facing undue punishment, and can prevent the trouble by approving technical fixes? As it turns out, Ann Kim and Ed Kilgore have uncovered just such a conundrum.June 18, 2013 at 9:01 am #90941
African-American men in New Orleans are an untapped workforce, new report says
The Lindy Boggs National Center For Community Literacy has published a report calling for more focus on employing African American men in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Beleaguered by high unemployment and an economy drifting away from blue-collar jobs that had kept many African-American men employed in past decades, New Orleans needs to do a better job of educating and advancing the careers of black men, according to a report that Loyola University released Wednesday.
The report, published by the Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy, describes black men, who account for 26 percent of the city’s population that is able to work, as an untapped resource as the city’s growing construction and manufacturing businesses place more and more value on education beyond a high school diploma.
“If New Orleans is to substantially reverse decades of economic decline, high crime rates, and a shrinking city tax base, then greater educational attainment and economic progress for African-American men will be critical,” the report’s conclusion states.June 18, 2013 at 9:04 am #90942
June 17, 2013 12:37 PM
A Test of Republican Loyalties
By Anne Kim and Ed Kilgore
How much do congressional Republicans hate Obamacare? How determined are they to see it fail?
We may soon find out. For the first time, a constituency group to whom the GOP normally pays close attention—religious institutions—is asking for a legislative “fix” of the Affordable Care Act to make it work as intended. If the recent past is any indication, conservatives will resist any such effort on grounds that Obamacare must be repealed root and branch, not repaired or reformed.
Months of outreach to Republican Senate offices by religious leaders have yielded no official GOP support to an appeal from a broad coalition of religious denominations to ensure that church-sponsored health plans can participate in the ACA’s health insurance exchanges. Worse yet, from a partisan Republican point of view, two Democratic senators, Mark Pryor and Chris Coons, were the first responders to this call, introducing legislation late last week. Pryor is widely viewed as the GOP’s number one senatorial target in 2014.
Without the requested “fix,” as many as one million clergy members and church employees now enrolled in church-sponsored health plans could soon face the choice of leaving these plans (designed to meet their unique needs, such as the frequent reassignment of clergy across state lines) or losing access to the tax subsidies provided by the ACA to help lower-to-middle income Americans purchase insurance.
Since the issue isn’t cost but simply whether the subsidies will flow to existing church-based plans or alternative insurers, supporters of the “fix” regard it as non-controversial. “We had hoped for it to be bipartisan,” said Barbara A. Boigegrain, Chief Executive Officer of the pensions and benefits board for the United Methodist Church, in an interview with the Washington Monthly.
Religious groups have sought this fix since at least 2011, and several sources say that at least half a dozen Republican Senate offices have been approached for their support, including Sens. Marco Rubio, Lamar Alexander and Dan Coats, but so far to no avail. Emails and calls by the Washington Monthly to Sen. Rubio’s and Alexander’s offices were not returned.
Instead, Republicans seem to be signaling their determination to bring down the Great White Whale of Obamacare at almost any cost to potential beneficiaries.June 18, 2013 at 9:06 am #90943
The Associated Press’ Biased Reporting Fueled Anti-Obama Vendetta
By: Crissie Brown
Jun. 17th, 2013
The AP have launched a vendetta to bring down President Obama, and made their agenda crystal clear in this wildly-misleading article:
NEW YORK (AP) – Apple says it received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data for the six months ended in May.
The company, like some other businesses, had asked the U.S government to be able to share how many requests it received related to national security and how it handled them. Those requests were made as part of Prism, the recently revealed highly classified National Security Agency program that seizes records from Internet companies.
Only if you read to the end of the article will you discover this:
It said that the most common form of request came from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or hoping to prevent a suicide.
The company also made clear how much access the government has.
“We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer content must get a court order,” Apple said in a statement on its website.
Of course, leading with that very innocuous information wouldn’t fit the Beltway media’s Orwell fetish, which is especially strong at the AP since news emerged that the Department of Justice subpoenaed AP reporters’ phone records in investigating a leak of classified information. Here’s Michael Calderone quoting former AP reporter Ron Fournier:June 18, 2013 at 9:07 am #90944
Nato hands over the entire security to Afghans. First time since 2001. A big step. Best wishes, Afghanistan. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22942013 …
5:22 AM – 18 Jun 2013June 18, 2013 at 9:10 am #90945
POLLSTER UPDATE: CNN Poll Exaggerates Barack Obama Approval Decline
Posted: 06/17/2013 6:41 pm EDT | Updated: 06/17/2013 10:14 pm EDT
Obama’s approval rating has declined since May but not nearly as much as implied by a new CNN poll. Americans are just as opposed to military aid to the Syrian rebels now as they were before Friday. And pie charts still suck. This is the HuffPost Pollster update for Monday, June 17, 2013.
OBAMA APPROVAL FALLS ON CNN POLL – A new national poll from CNN/ORC shows “President Barack Obama’s approval rating dropped eight percentage points over the past month…The president’s approval rating stands at 45%, down from 53% in mid-May. And 54% say they disapprove of how Obama’s handling his job, up nine points from last month. It’s the first time in CNN polling since November 2011 that a majority of Americans have had a negative view of the president.” [CNN]
Obama’s approval has been declining… – Obama’s job approval ratings have been drifting steadily downward since January, eliminating the gains that occurred during the fall reelection campaign and just before the inauguration. The Pollster chart’s estimate of Obama’s approval rating, based on all public polls, stands at 46.7 percent as of this writing, just slightly higher than the 46.4 percent recorded in early July 2012. [Pollster]June 18, 2013 at 9:12 am #90946
Republicans trying to use health-care law to derail Obama’s immigration reform efforts
By David Nakamura and Sandhya Somashekhar, Published: June 16
After spending years unsuccessfully trying to overturn “Obamacare,” Republicans are now attempting to use President Obama’s landmark health-care law to derail his top second-term initiative — a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration system.
Conservatives in both chambers of Congress are insisting on measures that would expand the denial of public health benefits to the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants beyond limits set in a comprehensive bill pending in the Senate.
In the House, Republicans are considering proposals that would deny publicly subsidized emergency care to illegal immigrants and force them to purchase private health insurance plans, without access to federal subsidies, as a requirement for earning permanent legal residency.
In the Senate, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has endorsed an amendment to a comprehensive immigration bill he helped negotiate that would deny health benefits to immigrants for five years after they become legal residents — two years after they would be eligible to become citizens under the legislation.
Some Republicans, eager to capitalize on public uncertainty about the complexities of the Affordable Care Act, are casting the immigration legislation as a similarly unwieldy law.
The immigration bill “reminds me of a more recent piece of legislation: Obamacare,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said on the Senate floor last week. “It grants broad new powers to the same executive branch that today is mired in scandal for incompetence and abuse of power. Total cost estimates are in the trillions. And rather than fix our current immigration problems, the bill makes many of them worse.”
The insertion of the politics of health-care reform — one of the most polarizing issues in Washington — into the immigration debate threatens to split open the emerging bipartisan coalitions that are crucial to passing a bill.
This month, Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) blamed a standoff over health-care benefits for his decision to drop out of bipartisan talks with seven colleagues who were negotiating a House alternative to the Senate immigration proposal. That has forced House leaders to proceed with a series of smaller-scale proposals next week in lieu of a sweeping agreement.
“When I joined the group, I was told that the aliens would have to pay for their own health care,” Labrador told Fox News. “Now that has changed. And I can’t agree to all of the exceptions.”
Frustrated Democrats argue that Republicans are picking a fight where one does not exist. In both chambers, Democrats say, they have agreed that illegal immigrants would not be eligible for public benefits — including health-care subsidies and Medicaid — as they embark on a path to permanent legal status, which would take at least 10 years under the Senate plan.
“We have said since Day One . . . that undocumented people will not have access to subsidies in the Affordable Care Act,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last month. “Any thought that we want to do something different than that is simply not true. It is a bottom line. No need to even discuss it.”
Under current law, illegal immigrants and legal residents of fewer than five years are mostly barred from receiving benefits under Medicaid, the joint state-federal health insurance program for the poor. That restriction does not apply to poor immigrants who show up at hospital emergency rooms, however.June 18, 2013 at 9:13 am #90947
June 17, 2013 5:30 PM
Bad News for the Amigos
By Ed Kilgore
Speaking of polls: Gallup asked about support for or opposition to the president’s decisions to direct military aid to Syrian rebels. 37% of respondents approved while 54% disapproved.
The partisan breakdowns are more interesting: Democrats favored the stepped-up intervention by a 51/42 margin, while Republican disapprove by a much larger 29/63 margin, with indies also disapproving 33/60. Yes, the specific reference to the president probably skewed the results, and there may be some who “disapprove” the escalation of U.S. involvement because it wasn’t violent enough.
But if these numbers are bad news for the president, they are worse news for the neocons (particularly the Dos Amigos, McCain and Graham) most identified with advocacy of maximum U.S. intervention in Syria, and most avid to intervene elsewhere if given a chance. This may reflect a new phase in the passive-aggressive oscillation of conservative grassroots opinion about foreign policy and national security (with unilateralism being the one principle holding them together), or it may represent the price Republican pols pay when they demonize a president who shares some of their own views. But you can expect that GOP pols looking ahead to 2016—including those like Marco Rubio who have been neo-connish in the past—to pay attention and at least avoid becoming a third Amigo replacing the departed Joe Lieberman.June 18, 2013 at 9:17 am #90948
‘No way in hell’?
By Steve Benen
Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:29 AM EDT.
It’s long been clear that the fate of comprehensive immigration reform is in House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) hands. While Senate passage is not yet assured, it is likely — even anti-immigration senators expect it to pass — and attention has already turned to the bipartisan bill’s prospects in the lower chamber.
There are a few relevant angles to this, but arguably the most salient is whether the House Speaker is prepared to rely on Democratic votes to pass immigration reform, even over the objections of most of his majority caucus. The Washington Examiner’s David Drucker reported yesterday that this is a step Boehner will not take.
House Speaker John Boehner is not going to bring a comprehensive immigration-reform plan to the floor if a majority of Republicans don’t support it, sources familiar with his plans said. “No way in hell,” is how several described the chances of the speaker acting on such a proposal without a majority of his majority behind him.
A few hours later, the Associated Press published a report saying largely the opposite.
Some lawmakers say Boehner might allow a far-reaching immigration bill to pass the House even if most Republicans oppose it, with Democrats providing most of the votes. Boehner has chosen that “minority of the majority” route on some less consequential issues.
So why not just ignore the chatter, rely on House Dems, and pass the bill? Because there’s a chance he’d face a revolt that would end his career.
With conflicting reports as to whether Speaker John Boehner will let the House vote on a reform bill even if the majority of Republicans don’t support it, [Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California] argued that Boehner “should be removed as speaker” if he allows such a bill to reach the floor over his supposed “betrayal” of Republicans and the American people.
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