Thursday, January 31, 2013

West Wing Week Feb. 1

White House Press Briefing Jan. 31

Hagel's Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Defense

John McCain gets irritable. Seems to be a perpetual state of being for McCain these days.

White House Fireside Chat on Immigration Reform with Celia Munoz

Hadiya Pendleton Shot Dead Days After Performing at Obama's Inauguration

NRA's Wayne LaPierre, who reps for the gun industry, and his fellow gun lovers, would suggest that Hadiya, only 15, and her friends should've been armed. Gun nuts, who have tortured our second amendment and used it as a veil to pump up gun sales and to keep nutters armed in the event they feel they need to take over the government, have made things worse for us all.

Just yesterday, some loser, who was demonstrating his second amendment rights, walked into a Kroeger with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder. Was he legally able to do that? Yes, but should he have? The guy scared the crap out of everyone. If republicans have their way we'll all have a gun slung over our shoulder. We'll be putting them on before we leave the house in the morning.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Obama's Interview with Univision Jan. 30

White House Press Briefing Jan. 30

Carney reacts to the 15-year-old girl who was shot in Chicago. She recently performed at Obama's inauguration.

Mark Kelly's Testimony on Gun Violence

What strikes me as odd about this gun debate is that Joe Biden and others are arguing for ammunition that kills fewer people. We've reached a sorry point. Instead of 25, let's only allow for 10 people to be killed at a time. The republicans would like us to be one of those nations where you sling a gun over your shoulder before you go out the door.

NRA's Wayne LaPierre is the type of guy who will never get it. Besides, he's paid to represent the gun industry. That's his job:

I'm so in awe of Gabby Giffords:

Gabby Giffords' handwritten talking points:

Today in the Oval Office

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Obama's Schedule Jan. 30

Times are eastern.

10:15 AM
The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press
12:30 PM
The President and Secretary Clinton meet for lunch
Private Dining Room
Closed Press
3:55 PM
The President is interviewed by Jose Diaz Balart of Telemundo
The Library
Closed Press
4:15 PM
The President is interviewed by Maria Elena Salinas of Univision
The Library
Closed Press

Colin Powell Schools O'Reilly

Colin Powell asks exactly what I was thinking. Bill O'Reilly can't even see his own bias. Powell is clearly the superior mind. O'Reilly exemplifies why the the GOP is failing.

Senate Confirms John Kerry for Secretary of State

Obama Announces $155 Million in Humanitarian Aid for Syria

From the White House: Statement by the President

For nearly two years, the Assad regime has waged a brutal war against the Syrian people—murdering innocent men, women and children, in their homes, in bread lines, and at universities.

In the face of this barbarism, the United States has joined with nations around the world in calling for an end to the Assad regime and a transition that leads to a peaceful, inclusive and democratic Syria, where the rights of all Syrians are protected.  We’ve worked to isolate Assad and his regime; impose sanctions that starve the regime of funds; recognize the Syrian Opposition Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people; call for accountability for perpetrators of atrocities; and provide humanitarian relief to Syrians in need.

The relief we send doesn’t say “Made in America,” but make no mistake—our aid reflects the commitment of the American people.  American aid means food and clean water for millions of Syrians. American aid means medicine and treatment for hundreds of thousands of patients in Damascus, Dar’a and Homs.  It means immunizations for one million Syrian children.  American aid means winter supplies for more than half a million people in Aleppo, Homs and Dayr az Zawr.  And we’re working with allies and partners so that this aid reaches those in need.

Today, we’re taking another step.  I’ve approved an additional $155 million in humanitarian aid for people in Syria and refugees fleeing the violence.  Here, I want to speak directly to the people of Syria. This new aid will mean more warm clothing for children and medicine for the elderly; flour and wheat for your families and blankets, boots and stoves for those huddled in damaged buildings.  It will mean health care for victims of sexual violence and field hospitals for the wounded.   Even as we work to end the violence against you, this aid will help address some of the immediate needs you face each day.

This new commitment will bring America’s total humanitarian aid to Syria to $365 million—making us the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people.  Today, I also call on the international community to do more to help these Syrians in need, and to contribute to the latest UN humanitarian appeal.

We’re under no illusions.  The days ahead will continue to be very difficult.  But what’s clear is that the regime continues to weaken and lose control of territory.  The opposition continues to grow stronger.  More Syrians are standing up for their dignity.  The Assad regime will come to an end.  The Syrian people will have their chance to forge their own future.  And they will continue to find a partner in the United States of America.

Obama's Immigration Reform Speech in Las Vegas Jan. 29

In essence, Obama outlined policy, but mostly what he did was demonstrate that when we talk about reform, we're talking about people, and therefore, we should discuss immigration reform with decency and respect. In full:

Marco Rubio tries to talk sense with Rush Limbaugh. Should be known that Rubio's plan is essentially the same as Obama's, which will make it difficult for Rush to change his pig head. But Rubio speaks the language of Rush. Congrats to Rubio for trying. Audio:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Obama's Schedule Jan. 29

Times are eastern.
Live stream of Obama's speech. Read Obama's immigration reform blueprint. 

9:20 AM
The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
South Lawn
Open Press
9:35 AM
The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route Las Vegas, Nevada
Travel Pool Coverage
2:25 PM
The President arrives in Las Vegas, Nevada
Local Event Time: 
11:25 AM PST
McCarran International Airport
Open Press
2:55 PM
The President delivers remarks on the need to fix the broken immigration system so that it is fairer for and helps grow the middle class by ensuring everyone plays by the same rules
Local Event Time: 
11:55 AM PST
Del Sol High School
Open to pre-credentialed media
5:00 PM
The President departs Las Vegas, Nevada
Local Event Time: 
2:00 PM PST
McCarran International Airport
Open Press
9:00 PM
The President arrives Joint Base Andrews
Travel Pool Coverage
9:20 PM
The President arrives the White House
South Lawn
Open Press

Rand Paul's Son's Assault on Flight Attendant Kept Out of Media

Looks like Rand Paul has more important things to do, like helping his son be a law abiding citizen.
William Paul, 19, was arrested Jan. 5 at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport after his flight landed. The Bowling Green, Ky., resident, also was charged with consuming beer/wine underage, disorderly conduct and being intoxicated and disruptive.

Initial news reports last week did not cite the assault charge, but it is unclear why that charge was not reported at the time. Read more here

White House Press Briefing Jan. 28

Obama Welcomes Miami Heat to the White House

Obama Speaks with Law Enforcement on Gun Safety

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Obama and Clinton on 60 Minutes Jan. 27

Obama's Schedule Jan. 28

Times are eastern.

Obama meets with the Miami Heat at 1:40 pm ET. Live stream 

10:30 AM
The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press
11:15 AM
The President and the Vice President meet with representatives from the Major Cities Chiefs Association and Major County Sheriffs Association to discuss the common-sense policies put forward by the President to reduce gun violence
The Roosevelt Room
Pool Spray at the Top
12:30 PM
The President and the Vice President meet for lunch
Private Dining Room
Closed Press

Obama's Interview in The New Republic

The title of the Q and A is "Barack Obama is Not Pleased:"

CH: You spoke last summer about your election potentially breaking the fever of the Republicans. The hope being that, once you were reelected, they would seek to do more than just block your presidency. Do you feel that you've made headway on that?

Not yet, obviously. TNR

FF: Have you ever fired a gun? Read Obama's answer.

A few quotes that stood out for me:  "And a big chunk of my day is occupied by news of war, terrorism, ethnic clashes, violence done to innocents."

"And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations."

Obama makes it clear that the dysfunction in Congress stems from the republicans:

FF: When you talk about Washington, oftentimes you use it as a way to describe this type of dysfunction. But it's a very broad brush. It can seem as if you're apportioning blame not just to one party, but to both parties—

Well, no, let me be clear. There's not a—there's no equivalence there. In fact, that's one of the biggest problems we've got in how folks report about Washington right now, because I think journalists rightly value the appearance of impartiality and objectivity. And so the default position for reporting is to say, "A plague on both their houses." On almost every issue, it's, "Well, Democrats and Republicans can't agree"—as opposed to looking at why is it that they can't agree. Who exactly is preventing us from agreeing?

And I want to be very clear here that Democrats, we've got a lot of warts, and some of the bad habits here in Washington when it comes to lobbyists and money and access really goes to the political system generally. It's not unique to one party. But when it comes to certain positions on issues, when it comes to trying to do what's best for the country, when it comes to really trying to make decisions based on fact as opposed to ideology, when it comes to being willing to compromise, the Democrats, not just here in this White House, but I would say in Congress also, have shown themselves consistently to be willing to do tough things even when it's not convenient, because it's the right thing to do. And we haven't seen that same kind of attitude on the other side. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

White House Press Briefing Jan. 25

GOP Scheme to Rig Electoral Vote Waning

Republicans are still in the denial phase, denying a changing nation, and have been engaged in other less than noble ways (cheating) to get votes. Changing laws to make it harder for democratic voters to vote this past election, as mentioned in Obama's inaugural speech, is one example. Republicans aren't going to lure new voters by being creepy.
Republican legislators in several states have begun to push changes to the way their states allocate electoral college votes.

These states — which include Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia — have one thing in common: They all voted for President Obama in last year's presidential election but are controlled by Republican governors and legislators. Molly Ball reports that these efforts "appear to have sprouted independently as the work of individual lawmakers." But now, a Republican operative "has a plan to take the idea national." Read on at The Week

Ted Nugent Pooped Himself to Avoid Vietnam

I did not know this. Apparently, neither do republicans. But republicans have been picking all sorts of less-than heroes, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Franklin Graham, Joe Arpaio, Joe Wilson, Jon Voight...
The reminder that Nugent pooped himself to avoid the draft comes from Dee Snider of Twisted Sister:
Nugent lashed back at Snider on Twitter, saying he had fallen “for the big lie” and adding: “I challenge u to man up to the truth We xpected btr.” The truth is, Snider’s tale of Nugent’s draft dodging comes from Nugent himself, who relayed the story to High Times in 1977, telling them he got a 30-day notice ahead of a physical exam and launched into action. Raw Story
Nugent telling High Times what he did:
Then two weeks before, I stopped eating any food with nutritional value. I just had chips, Pepsi, beer-stuff I never touched-buttered poop, little jars of Polish sausages, and I’d drink the syrup, I was this side of death. Then a week before, I stopped going to the bathroom. I did it in my pants. Poop, piss the whole shot. My pants got crusted up.” Raw Story

Paul Ryan Eight Rows Back

It would seem the GOP doesn't want to change. Frankly, I'd like to see a GOP better suited to serve the nation. That way we could have arguments based on policy, rather than bigotry, bias and personality. Not much in their "renewal" plan.
Gwen Ifill:
Instead of Mitt Romney, he was greeting the musician Jay-Z. ("He came up and shook my hand and was very friendly," Ryan said later.)

When Ryan took his seat, the lawmaker seated next to him - who he wouldn't name -- leaned over. Who were Jay-Z and Beyonce, the lawmaker wanted to know?

That's as handy a way as there is to describe the gulf that endures these days between Democrats and Republicans. The winners get to paint the day in the colors they choose. The losers sit eight rows back. Read more at PBS
Bobby Jindal says the GOP has to stop with the bizarre and act like adults. I don't think his comments went over very well:

Paul Ryan is a twit. This Q and A with the press shows where Gwen got her info. Ryan contradicts almost  every economist that says we need revenue and spending cuts, including SNAP (food stamps). He says we only need to make spending cuts. Ryan appears to believe as if he knows it all. Here's the part that's fascinating, Paul Ryan says Obama's reelection wasn't a rejection of GOP principles. He says Obama only won on communication and technology.
On climate change, Ryan says taxing carbon-based energy isn't the answer. On gun safety, he was wishy washy.

Obama Names Denis McDonough Chief of Staff Jan. 25

Read about Denis.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

West Wing Week: Behind the Scenes at the Inauguration

Obama's Statement on Women in Combat

This decision will allow women to attain higher positions in the military.

Today, by moving to open more military positions—including ground combat units—to women, our armed forces have taken another historic step toward harnessing the talents and skills of all our citizens.  This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today’s military.  Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, including more than 150 women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan—patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender.

Earlier today I called Secretary of Defense Panetta to express my strong support for this decision, which will strengthen our military, enhance our readiness, and be another step toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals of fairness and equality.  I congratulate our military, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the rigor that they have brought to this process.  As Commander in Chief, I am absolutely confident that—as with the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’—the professionalism of our armed forces will ensure a smooth transition and keep our military the very best in the world.    Today, every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love.

Obama Names Mary Jo White to SEC Jan. 24

Obama's Schedule Jan. 24

10:45 AM
The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press
2:30 PM
The President makes a personnel announcement LIVE STREAM 
State Dining Room
Pooled Press
4:35 PM
The President meets with Secretary of State Clinton
Oval Office
Closed Press