Biden busts out the whiteboard to give lawmakers a history lesson

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 24-07-2014-05-2008

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Ever wonder what it would be like to have Joe Biden as a history teacher? A new video posted to YouTube by the White House gives viewers a glimpse.

Why Supreme Court is likely to uphold Obamacare subsidies

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 24-07-2014-05-2008

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One of the most respected and lauded Supreme Court experts says the court is likely to split 5-4 in favor of upholding subsidies approved by the Obama administration.

Obama presses to end corporate trick for evading taxes

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 24-07-2014-05-2008

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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks before signing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act at the White House in WashingtonBy Jeff Mason LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday hammered U.S. companies that avoid federal taxes by shifting their tax domiciles overseas in deals known as "inversions" and called on Congress to pass a bill to end the practice. During remarks to a rowdy crowd at the Los Angeles Technical College, Obama promoted what he called "economic patriotism" and made clear he believed the companies that were engaging in such practices were not being patriotic. Nine inversion deals have been reached this year by companies ranging from banana distributor Chiquita Brands International Inc to drugmaker AbbVie Inc, and more are under consideration.

House Democrats to hammer GOP on Boehner lawsuit during August recess

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 24-07-2014-05-2008

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Speaker of the House John Boehner speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC.

Litigator of the House John Boehner

Greg Sargent reports House Democrats plan to use Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama as exhibit number one on how Republicans are out of touch and focusing on all the wrong things:

This week, Republicans are expected to mark up the lawsuit in committee, and in an interview, DCCC chair Steve Israel — who oversees House races for Dems — said Dems are launching a campaign designed to “contrast Republicans focused on suing the president with Democrats who are focused on economic solutions for the middle class.” [...] “We’re going to make August very hot,” Israel told me. “Paid ads, robocalls, rallies, protests — we’re going to use earned and paid media to continue to drive the critical contrast between Republicans focused on suing the president and issuing subpoenas versus Democrats who are focused on specific economic solutions.”

If there’s anything I disagree with Israel on, it’s this:

“They are motivating their base with the lawsuit, but they are also motivating our base,” Israel said.

I don’t think Boehner’s lawsuit motivates the GOP base. Instead, I think it makes them wonder why Republicans aren’t impeaching Obama already. But as for the Democratic base? No question: Boehner couldn’t have done a better job reminding Democrats why they should vote.

U.S. House panel votes to authorize lawsuit against Obama

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 24-07-2014-05-2008

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U.S. President Obama disembarks from Air Force One as he arrives at Los Angeles International AirportBy Annika McGinnis WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday took another step toward authorizing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama, claiming he has overstepped his executive powers in carrying out his landmark healthcare reform law. In a partisan vote of 7-4, the House Rules Committee approved the legislation, likely setting it up for consideration by the full House next week. The Republican initiative already has spawned a bitter debate with Democrats less than four months before mid-term elections that will determine the political control of Congress next year. For example, House Speaker John Boehner wrote in June that Obama's use of executive orders, including raising the minimum wage for federal contractors and stopping deportations of undocumented youths brought to the United States by their parents, risked giving him a "king-like authority." But Boehner has tamped down calls from some fellow Republicans for impeachment proceedings against Obama, which would be a first step toward removing him from office.

U.S. Republican Paul Ryan wants choice in delivering aid to poor

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 24-07-2014-05-2008

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File photo of Paul Ryan at a conference in Las VegasBy David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. Representative Paul Ryan proposed a plan to help poor Americans on Thursday that would allow charities, community groups and even for-profit firms to compete with the government for federal money to fight poverty. The plan from Ryan, a potential Republican presidential contender in 2016, would allow states to replace 11 programs ranging from food stamps to housing vouchers with "opportunity grants" to tailor aid to individual needs. We're talking non-profits, or for-profits, or even community groups unique to your neighborhood." Ryan's plan comes at a time when Democrats have made growing income inequality a major campaign issue before November congressional elections, promoting proposals such as raising the federal minimum wage.

Analysis: Broken Washington, at Your Service

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 24-07-2014-05-2008

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The legislative process has essentially stopped, making Capitol Hill more dysfunctional than it’s been in decades.



Conservatives think they’ve figured out how to talk about banning abortion

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 24-07-2014-05-2008

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Zipped lips emoticon

Among their advice: “Stop talking.”

The New York Times takes us behind closed doors to show how a group of conservatives are training Republicans to talk about their support for banning abortion by offering tips like this:

Keep remarks as short as possible. “Two sentences is really the goal,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, the anti-abortion group that hosts the boot camps. “Then stop talking.”

Genius! Explain in two sentences why abortion should be banned and then shut up. Actually, it’s kind of appropriate, given that they think the law should say pretty much the same thing to women who want to make decisions about their reproductive health.

But if push comes to shove, and you’re a Republican candidate who needs to offer more than two sentences explaining why you’re anti-choice, these conservatives have got you covered, or at least they think they do:

“Don’t let them corner you,” said Marilyn Musgrave, a former Republican congresswoman from Colorado who is a longtime anti-abortion activist. [...] “Put them on their heels,” Ms. Musgrave added. “Ask them: ‘Exactly when in a pregnancy do you think abortion should be banned?’  ”

Again, genius! Except for the fact that you could also turn the question around and ask them the same thing, except slightly rephrased, perhaps like this: “Exactly when is it that you think the government should start deciding whether or not a woman should become a mother?” Their answer, obviously, is that they think the government should decide from the moment a sperm fertilizes an egg—if not sooner.

No amount of spin can change the fact that most people don’t think the government should be making that decision. The fact that this isn’t spin is something that these conservatives simply do not understand:

“That was one of the top five public relations coups of all time: making their movement pro-choice and purging the ugly word abortion from the lexicon for decades,” said Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster who has conducted research on women’s issues for anti-abortion groups and the Republican National Committee.

That’s complete bull. The reason the pro-choice position resonates isn’t that pro-choicers are better at P.R., it’s that people don’t want a bunch of right-wing zealots controlling their lives.

Congress so far Unable to Compromise on VA Bill

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 24-07-2014-05-2008

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Negotiations between the House and Senate on legislation to address the crisis at the Veterans Affairs Administration disintegrated on Thursday.



Midday open thread: Initial jobless claims hit eight-year low, botched execution #4 takes two hours

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 24-07-2014-05-2008

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  • Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is Super-Fun-Pak Comix, feat. Vampire Hunter, Zombie Slayer & more!
    Cartoon by Ruben Bolling -- Super-Fun-Pak Comix, feat. Vampire Hunter, Zombie Slayer & more!
  • Initial claims for unemployment compensation fall to eight-year low: The Labor Department reported Thursday that seasonally adjusted initial applications for unemployment compensation decreased by 19,000 to 284,000 for the week ending July 19, the lowest level since Feb. 18, 2006. For the comparable week in 2013, the number was 343,000. The four-week running average, which flattens volatility in the weekly figures, also decreased, to 302,000, the lowest level since May 19, 2007. For the week ending July 5, the total number of people claiming benefits was 2,611,871, up 165,383 from the previous week. For the comparable week of 2013, 4,842,653 persons claimed benefits. But that huge drop is in great part due to the fact that the federal emergency unemployment compensation program expired in December, immediately cutting off 1.37 million Americans who had been out of work for 27 weeks or longer.
  • Florida newspaper joins others with regular marijuana coverage:

    This June, [Michael] Pollick, a reporter with the Sarasota (Florida) Herald-Tribune, traveled back to California to see something new — a culture, businesses, regulations and people rising around the legalization of medical marijuana. Then, he went to Colorado and did the same thing.

    Stories about what he found are running now in the Herald-Tribune and on its new site, Medical Marijuana. The site launched last Sunday, with plans to roll out a series of stories leading up to November’s ballot initiative that could legalize medical marijuana in Florida. The site includes both original reporting from Pollick and some aggregation. It joins other newspapers devoting space and ink to marijuana, including The Denver Post, seattlepi.com, The Seattle Times and Denver’s Westword.

  • Immigrant advocacy site runs faux obituary ad for Colorado GOP:

    We’ve been warning the GOP for years, but they didn’t listen.  Today, we are highlighting the GOP’s demographic demise in Colorado with a mock obituary, which will run as an online ad in the Aurora Sentinel. [...]

    [T]he Colorado Republican Party is in particular trouble. It’s heading into the 2014 midterm elections in which GOP candidates like Rep. Mike Coffman and Rep. Cory Gardner will need support from Latino voters, but they’re unable to make the case as to why they should have it. Reps. Coffman and Gardner have stood with the extremists in their party in blocking reform and voting to end DACA, failing to lead on an issue their constituents overwhelmingly support. The Latino vote, in a state where Latinos make up 13% of the electorate, may well be the deciding factor in their races.

     The Colorado GOP may think they dodged a bullet earlier this year by managing to avoid nominating arch-anti-immigrant zealot Tom Tancredo to run for governor. But the chosen GOP candidate, Bob Beauprez, has been nearly as bad, championing antiquated laws like Arizona’s SB 1070.

    With a record like this, the Colorado Republican Party—and its national counterpart—is demographically doomed. View their obituary at the Aurora Sentinel today.

  • “Modern Family’s” Eric Stonestreet refused photo with Santorum:

    “Rick Santorum wanted a picture with me. It was at a time when he was publicly saying, ‘Gay marriage, gay marriage [is wrong],’ and I’m like, ‘You know, I can’t do it,’” he said. “It was with him and his kids or something like that, and I said, ‘I’d be happy to take a picture with the kids, but I can’t just be in a picture with [Santorum.]‘”

  • Marketing firm says wind power will generate 7 percent of world’s electricity by 2018: Right now it’s 3 percent. More than doubling is serious business. But, according to Navigant, most of the increase won’t be in the United States but in developing markets:

    “Last year was the first in which the wind industry experienced negative growth since 2004, but there are signs that the 2013 slowdown will turn out to be an anomaly,” Feng Zhao, Navigant’s research director told CleanTechnica. “As wind turbine vendors search for new opportunities in emerging markets, primarily in Latin America and Africa, and develop machines for maximum energy production in low windspeed areas, the industry is expected to add another 250 gigawatts of capacity through 2018.”

  • Joseph Wood’s is the four botched U.S. execution this year:

    Arizona had never tried the two-drug cocktail of midazolam and hydromorphone before it injected an unknown dose into Joseph Wood’s veins Wednesday afternoon. Most executions by lethal injection take between 10 and 20 minutes once the drugs are injected, if performed properly. This experimental cocktail took almost two hours to end Wood’s life, so long that his lawyer had time to file an emergency stay of execution in federal court, claiming that Wood had been “coughing and snorting for over an hour” by then. “I counted about 660 times he gasped,” reported an Arizona Republic reporter who witnessed the execution. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said in a statement that Wood “died in a lawful manner and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer.”

  • On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin rounds up Cuomo, Jeb Bush & Rand Paul news; POTUS approval. Plus how “patient-centered” medicine challenges the old teaching methods. Ian Reifowitz on Gop xenophobia, obstructionism, and guns & the politics of fear.