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Barack Obama

It's A Free Country ®

Comments Roundup: What Brings Us Together?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

WNYC
Its a breath of fresh air to hear a discussion about what unites us, instead of what divides us. Why does it always take a tragedy to bring this home?

John Mattheson The Brian Lehrer Show.

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It's A Free Country ®

Thank You, Mr. President

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.

These words, in the final moments of President Obama’s address in Tucson, refer to the 9 year-old victim, Christina Taylor Green. Christina’s life began on a day of national tragedy, September 11th, 2001, and ended with a national tragedy — spanning a decade that saw rancor, war, and economic crisis, as well as historic elections and moments of nationwide unity, prayer and celebration. 

Her life began at the moment of President Bush’s peak of popularity, when he stepped beyond his partisan alliances and delivered words to a grieving nation. Now, a decade later, President Obama has stepped up for his turn to console us, calm us, empathize with us and inspire us.

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It's A Free Country ®

Share: 'Ways Our Hopes and Dreams are Bound Together'

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I thought we might take the opportunity to take the president up on a challenge he posed in his speech in Tucson:

 

Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

President Barack Obama

Comments [49]

It's A Free Country ®

VIDEO: President Obama's Speech in Tucson

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

President Barack Obama spoke in Tucson, Arizona, on Wednesday night.

Share your thoughts on Obama's speech: will the tragedy in Tucson change the tenor of the American political debate?

Comments [16]

It's A Free Blog

Remembering Clinton's Comforting Words after Oklahoma City

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I had just left my job in the Clinton administration. It was a spring morning. April 19, 1995. A bomb went off at the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City.

I did not know, at that moment, what a big part of my professional life that event would become — the first major news story of my journalism career; the many months I would spend in Denver covering the two federal trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols; and the execution of McVeigh another three years after that. All I knew in April 1995 was that 168 people were dead. 19 of them were children. And we knew that this was the worst act of domestic terrorism on U.S. soil, ever.

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WNYC News

Obama "Hope" Artist Settles With AP in Copyright Suit

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

After two years of wrangling, the street artist who created the Barack Obama "Hope" campaign poster and the Associated Press have settled competing copyright infringement suits against one other.

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The Empire

Why Bloomberg doesn't say where he goes when he leaves town

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Aside from public events, Mayor Bloomberg does not disclose his whereabouts. (Azi Paybarah / wnyc)

At a press conference this morning, Michael Saul of the Wall Street Journal noted President Obama lets the public know where he is when he goes on vacation. Then, Saul asked Bloomberg why he doesn't disclose his whereabouts when he leaves town.

Bloomberg:

"We have a public schedule. We started a policy back in January of 2002. The problem is the mayor would have no private life, couldn't be with his kids with the press following you around all the time. The president's job is different. The president has to be there. Presidents have always, to my recollection, they've always told everybody where they are, but you don't know the president day in and day out. I'm sure he does a lot of private things with his family and I appreciate that."

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It's A Free Blog

GOP Victories Will Be Symbolic, Not Substantial

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The next session that Republicans in the House, more than anything else, will be tasked with setting a tone. Much as conservatives would like to see action on immigration, reform of bloated entitlement programs and more tax cuts, we should be prepared to win smaller battles instead of larger wars.

Karol Markowicz, It's A Free Country blogger

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Comments [2]

The Washington Report

WQXR's The Washington Report

Monday, January 03, 2011

The New York Times' David Sanger discusses what's facing President Obama and the new 112th Congress in the new year.

It's A Free Blog

My List of 2010's Most Fascinating

Friday, December 31, 2010

With just a few hours to go this year, let me add my picks for the most fascinating people of 2010 to the mix:

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Comments [1]

WNYC News

NJ Rep Garrett Not Sold on Deal for Bush Tax Extender

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

While the Senate debates President Obama's deal with Republican leaders to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years, one high ranking local conservative Republican is pushing back.

Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ5) says he supports the call to extend the Bush tax cuts, but he says the $170 billion price tag to extend unemployment benefits and cut the Social Security payroll tax may be over the top when the federal government needs to reduce spending.

Comments [1]

The Empire

Long and short-term impacts of the health legislation on NYS

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The federal health care legislation that President Obama helped steer through Congress is now heading for a long, contentious legal fight. The latest step in that direction was a federal judge ruling part of it unconstitutional.

The legislation is something of a mixed bag for New York State, as governor-elect Andrew Cuomo described in one of the policy books he released during the campaign:

The recently enacted federal health reform legislation may prove helpful to New
York in gaining control over the runaway growth in health insurance costs in the long run, but in the short run, the new law threatens to actually increase the cost of insurance for many businesses—a risk the Cuomo Administration will work to counteract. One direct measure the Cuomo Administration will take to help protect businesses is to ensure that insurance carriers do not raise health insurance premiums beyond a level warranted by the risks they
are insuring. The Cuomo Administration will also rigorously enforce the new State law that gives the State Insurance Department prior approval over health insurance premium increases to ensure that any such increases are warranted. We will also aggressively pursue new federal subsidies that can reduce the cost of health insurance for many small businesses with 25 or fewer employees.

I've reached out to a spokesman for the governor for comment on the court decision, and will update when it's received.

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It's A Free Country ®

For Liberals, Little Comfort in Tax Cut Compromise

Friday, December 10, 2010

I think the Democrats need to draw a line in the sand now. They were real wimps during the election and Republicans were all about the deficit, the deficit, the deficit. And now they want to give all this money to the top one percent. It's crap! I heard so many people complain about bailouts. They should be crying about giving all this money to rich people.

- Linda, a caller disappointed by President Obama's tax cut compromise, on The Brian Lehrer Show

Comments [4]

The Empire

How Obama can recapture independents

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The new tax plan isn't enough, says president of IndependentVoting.org Jackie Salit:

If President Obama wants to rebuild his standing with independent voters, the compromise tax package is a small step, mainly because it shows he's willing to take on his own party. But if he really wants to send a message to independents, he's going to have to show that he's willing to take on both parties and their tightfisted control of the political process, something the left liberals who are railing at him now have refused to do. Obama should speak out for some non-partisan reforms that remind the parties that 40% of the country are independents because they don't like either of them! How about putting an independent on the Federal Election Commission? That will piss off Democrats and Republicans but it will make independents feel respected.

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Transportation Nation

So You're Thinking Of Starting An Infrastructure Bank...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

President Barack Obama speaks about infrastructure in Virginia. (Image:Pete Souza, via Wikimedia Commons)

(Matt Dellinger - Transportation Nation)  The GOP takeover of the House has reshuffled the cards for transportation policy. Already, Republicans are floating the idea of pulling back stimulus funds for infrastructure—particularly high-speed rail—and they’ve proposed a moratorium on earmarks, a practice routinely defended by outgoing House Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN). Last week, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposed a 15-cent hike in the gas tax. But will a new, more conservative Congress balk? It seems likely.

But there may be one reform on which the Obama Administration and the new House regime can agree: the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, or NIB for short.

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It's A Free Country ®

Tax Cuts Compromise: 'The Path of Least Resistance'

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

WNYC

On the one hand, Obama needed to answer to the Republicans and on the other hand he needed to answer to his liberal base. And what he did is he came up with a compromise that gives something to both sides at the cost of adding massively to the debt so in the short run the easy course is to make everybody happy... in the long run of course that's unsustainable.

- Peter Coy, Economics Editor at Bloomberg BusinessWeek onThe Brian Lehrer Show

Comments [1]

It's A Free Country ®

Why the Deficit Commission Proposal Flopped

Monday, December 06, 2010

WNYC

I think the whole approach of the fiscal commission was to put the cart before the horse. The problem is not how do we reduce the deficit. The problem is how do we get a recovery going.

- Robert Kuttner,co-editor of The American Prospect magazine on The Brian Lehrer Show

Comments [2]

It's A Free Blog

Leaked Cables Demonstrate Guantanamo Dilemma

Thursday, December 02, 2010

This week’s explosive Wikileaks story includes a bevy of cables related to Gitmo. Were the camp closed, these might be the least interesting of all. As the camp is still in operation, however, the Guantanamo cables made the front page of The New York Times and reignited the debate about when, and indeed whether, the detention center will ever be shuttered.

In case you somehow missed it (or got bogged down in the details of the 291 documents published on Sunday), we’re not talking about generalities in the cables related to the Gitmo prisoners. We’re talking about specific discussions between various countries on whether they would take detainees released from the detention facility.  If you believe what you read, the Pacific island nation of Kiribati is offered millions of dollars of incentives; Slovenia is actually offered the chance to meet President Obama if it takes a prisoner; Brussels is told that taking prisoners could be "a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.”

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WNYC News

Goverment Employees React to Donating Raises to Federal Deficit

Monday, November 29, 2010

WNYC

New Yorkers who work for the federal government have mixed reactions to President Obama's plan, announced Monday, for a two-year wage freeze.

Comments [2]

The Empire

Ask the Indys

Monday, November 29, 2010

Jackie Salit, a nationally recognized figure in the Independence Party movement is hosting a conference call next Monday, where (apologies Sarah Frazier), I suspect some Michael Bloomberg 2012 chatter will surface.

After 2008, Salit was quick to note the influential role independents played in electing Obama. Today, she's vocalizing their discontent with the administration (albeit, with plenty of optimism that Obama can win them over again).

Anyway, if you're around for the call, it should be fun. What would you ask her?

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