Former President Bill Clinton, in Politico, on the Family & Medical Leave Act, which he signed into law 20 years ago today.
President Obama spoke Monday in Minneapolis about controlling gun violence:
... Michael Shear of the New York Times: "President Obama traveled to the nation's heartland to press his case for tougher gun laws on Monday, even as evidence mounted in Washington that expanded background checks on gun sales may emerge as a legislative compromise in the bitterly divisive cultural debate." ...
... Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post is not impressed with the NRA's repeated claim that there are thousands of gun laws that are not being enforced: "It may well be the case that there are 'thousands' of laws, but what does that mean? What does counting statutes, or local regulations, say about the quality or effectiveness of those laws? ... This 20,000 figure appears to be an ancient guesstimate that has hardened over the decades into a constantly repeated, never-questioned talking point."
Jim Abrams of the AP: "Senate Democrats, bolstered by Republican support, on Monday launched a new attempt to broaden a law protecting women from domestic abuse by expanding its provisions to cover gays, lesbians and Native Americans. The legislation to renew the Violence Against Women Act appeared on a smooth path toward passage in the Senate, possibly by the end of this week. Monday's vote to make the bill the next order of business was 85-8.... Advocates hope that Republicans [in the House], smarting from election losses among women voters in November, won't repeat their resistance last year to the Senate approach." ...
... Annie-Rose Strasser of Think Progress: "The Senators who voted against moving to debate on the bill were: Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and James Risch (R-ID)."
Manu Raju & David Rogers of Politico: "Sen. John McCain appears to have cleared the way Monday for Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense. The Arizona Republican ... said Monday he would oppose any attempt to filibuster the nomination, likely dooming any attempt by Senate conservatives to sustain a protracted procedural fight to delay Hagel's confirmation."
Julia Preston & Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, said on Monday that a series of hearings he will schedule in the coming months would examine ... a possible overhaul of the immigration system, including proposals for a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.... Mr. Goodlatte ... has established a solid record of opposition to any measures he regarded as amnesty for illegal immigrants. But he said the Judiciary hearings would include scrutiny of proposals to offer legal status to most of the immigrants living illegally in the country."
Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "With studies suggesting that long lines at the polls cost Democrats hundreds of thousands of votes in November, party leaders are beginning a push to make voting and voter registration easier, setting up a likely new conflict with Republicans.... White House officials have told Congressional leaders that the president plans to press for action on Capitol Hill, and Democrats say they expect him to highlight the issue in his State of the Union address next week." CW: Please do look at the accompanying charts of how long it took different groups to vote. I am so very proud of the bottom line -- the length of time it took to vote in Florida relative to other states. Go Rick Scott! ...
... Ian Millhiser of Think Progress: "A new study by Princeton molecular biologist and neuroscientist Sam Wang digs deeper into the effect of the Republican gerrymander, and finds that the gerrymanders in seven states were so powerful that they are the equivalent of 1.7 million Democrats simply deciding not to show up at the polls.... Such gerrymanders can exist because five conservative justices refused to block partisan redistricting in a case called Vieth v. Jubelirer."
"Republicans v. Consumers." Andy Rosenthal of the New York Times: "On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a letter to President Obama, cosigned by 42 other Senators, insisting on 'structural changes' to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.... Unless those changes are made, Mr. McConnell said, the Senate by golly is not going to approve the appointment of a director." ...
... ** Nullification. Jamelle Bouie: "Republicans have decided to simply block any attempt at enforcing laws they don't like. For the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau], this means blocking confirmation for its director -- former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray -- until the administration agrees to gut the agency and leave consumers more vulnerable to predatory financial practices.... Blanket objections to any nominee -- out of opposition to the agency itself -- is an unacceptable and unprecedented abuse of Senate powers. Far from offering 'advice and consent,' GOP senators are using the confirmation process to block implementation of laws passed by Congress and signed by the president." ...
... ** Charles Pierce: "the Republicans seem to be arguing over whether they will be the Party Of Plutocracy or the Party Of The Stupid Rapey Guys. Will they represent the interests that stole most of the economy and wrecked what was left, or will they be the party of the people obsessed with snowflake Jeebus zygotes? ... (It's not the Tea Party that's trying to castrate the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. It's 'establishment Republicans' like Mitch McConnell.... They're acting in the interest of the mountebanks in the new financial establishment, all of them independent political actors.)" CW: I've got news for Pierce. There are plenty of elected GOP officials -- like Paul Ryan -- who represent both wings. ...
... Pierce also wrote an excellent translation of Carly Fiorina's economic philosophy, as expressed in an exchange we saw in yesterday's Commentariat: "Krugman and Fiorina got into it about the best way to put people to work, and Fiorina carefully explained to the Nobel Prize-winning economist that, in her experience at cratering companies and walking away with a big score, public sector employees don't do real jobs and are not paid in real money. They are paid in Magic Federal Dollars which are stolen from the rest of us.... Yes. You see that guy out there with the shovel, filling in the potholes on your street? His salary, such as it is, is not the same thing, and not even remotely as 'efficient,' as paying someone $21 million to clean out their desk."
Michael Isikoff of NBC News: "A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be 'senior operational leaders' of al-Qaida or 'an associated force' -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S. The 16-page memo ... provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration's ... dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan."
New York Times: "The Justice Department, along with state prosecutors, plans to file civil charges against Standard & Poor's Ratings Service, accusing the firm of fraudulently rating mortgage bonds that led to the financial crisis, people briefed on the plan said Monday. A suit against S.&P. -- expected to filed this week -- would be the first the government has brought against the credit ratings agencies related to the financial crisis, despite continued questions about the agencies' conflicts of interest and role in creating a housing bubble."
Stephen Colbert interviews Justice Sonia Sotomayor. An excellent value:
Sahil Kapur of Think Progress: "Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced Monday that he will accept the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, becoming the fifth Republican governor to embrace the provision of the health care reform law that the Supreme Court made optional. The governor unveiled the decision as part of his budget proposal."
Rachel Maddow & Frank Rich talk about Republican infighting:
Krissah Thompson of the Washington Post has what I thought was a fairly good piece on the continuing criticisms of Michelle Obama's physique. Thompson ledes with the story of an Alabama high school football coach -- Bob Grisham -- who, according to Thompson said, "Fat butt Michelle Obama. Look at her. She looks like she weighs 185 or 190. She's overweight." Thompson even cites a couple of people who -- accurately -- attribute the remarks to racism. But inexplicably Thompson does not report the clearest racist remark Grisham made -- that Obama is "a fat gorilla." ...
... CW Update: I've since listened to the audio tape, & Grisham was not the one who made the "fat gorilla" comment, as reported in the Huff Post & elsewhere, though he certainly did not challenge the remark, which might have been made by a student.
... Grisham also made extremely derogatory remarks about gays. According to the AP, "... Grisham has been suspended without pay for 10 days and is ordered to attend sensitivity training for four days." CW: I'm pretty sure whatever "sensitivity training" Coach Bubba gets in Alabama will turn him into a notable civil rights advocate. ...
... Update: in response to JJG's comment today, I've posted a picture of Grisham, which unfortunately does not include a shot of his posterior. Nonetheless, the headshot suggests the man is not svelte. The other two people Thompson mentions who have made public remarks criticizing Michelle Obama's body are Rush Limbaugh & Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.). ...
In case you don't know what Jim Sensenbrenner looks like, here's his official portrait; that is, what he thinks he looks like:
Now let's see what Sensenbrenner really looks like:
Re: JJG's comment on the obesity rate in Alabama: at 32 percent, it's one of the highest in the nation.
Justin Sink of The Hill: "Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) broke his silence on an alleged prostitution scandal for the first time Monday, dismissing the allegations that he solicited women during trips to the Dominican Republic as 'totally unsubstantiated' and 'absolutely false.' ... One of the women cited ... was interviewed Monday by Univision, and denied having ever worked as a prostitute or having met Menendez."
CW: Rachel Maddow explores a subject I touched on the other day. You cannot confuse wingers with the facts. Also, it's worth noting that over there is Right Wing World, it isn't just Michelle Obama who is too fate; so is her husband (unless he photoshopped in that little tummy the way he did the gun & the smoke & the Mom jeans, etc.):
Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed: it seems people are outraged at this tweet by former Rep. Ron Paul, the presidential candidate & libertarian dahling: "Chris Kyle's death seems to confirm that 'he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.' Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn't make sense." CW: It seems to me Paul was just stating the obvious, tho because I am always reticent to speak ill of the dead in the immediate aftermath of their deaths, I would have kept my mouth shut on this, too. At least for now. Well-meaning people make mistakes every day, even in their efforts to help others. But those mistakes usually aren't fatal -- unless lethal weapons are involved. ...
... One of those upset: the latest Paul presidential candidate -- Li'l Randy.
The Smoking Gun: "Paul Guaschino was driving Friday when a fellow motorist spotted an 'Impeach Obama' bumper sticker on the 62-year-old Connecticut resident's vehicle. According to cops, the other driver apparently did not appreciate the bumper sticker and 'displayed his dislike by showing his middle finger.' In response, Guaschino allegedly followed the other driver to a traffic light, where he exited his car -- baseball bat in hand -- and struck the trunk of the middle finger-waving driver. The second motorist 'fled in fear of his safety,' police reported." CW Safety Tip of the Day: Do not challenge wingers. They are crazy. Some of them are crazy-violent. They carry weapons. They are prone to using the weapons. ...
... CW: Speaking of guns & Kentucky (see Paul, Rand), this PCCC ad against Mitch McConnell is, IMHO, extremely effective:
New York Times: "Essie Mae Washington-Williams, who lived for decades with a stunning secret -- that she was the interracial daughter of Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, a former segregationist who never acknowledged her publicly as his child — died Monday in a nursing home near Columbia, S.C. She was 87."
AP: "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Egypt on Tuesday for the first visit by an Iranian leader in more than three decades, marking a historic departure from years of frigid ties between the two regional heavyweights. Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi gave Ahmadinejad a red-carpet welcome on the tarmac at Cairo airport, shaking the Iranian's hand and exchanging a kiss on each cheek as a military honor guard stood at attention."
New York Times: "The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles released 12,000 pages of internal files last Thursday on priests accused of sexually abusing children, saying that it was finally abiding by a settlement it signed with victims six years ago to make the painful history public. But it now appears that the files the church released with much fanfare are incomplete and many are unaccounted for, according to the abuse victims' lawyers. In addition, on many documents the names of church supervisors informed of abuse allegations were redacted by the archdiocese, in apparent violation of a judge's order."
Space.com: "Astronomers should dramatically ramp up the sky surveys, not only to better prepare for threats to Earth [by asteroid hits] but also to exploit asteroids' contents, scientists say."