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Does gay marriage threaten straight marriage?


Does gay marriage threaten straight marriage?

The most popular statement voting no argues that gay marriage is no credible threat to straight marriage. The most popular statement voting yes argues that gay marriage devalues straight marriage. Where do you stand here?

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CNN: Apologize for Steubenville coverage


CNN: Apologize for Steubenville coverage.

Yesterday a guilty verdict was handed down in the Steubenville rape case, where a 16-year-old girl was raped repeatedly by boys on a high school football team. The verdict was the beginning of justice for this brave young girl, but CNN's coverage was awful.
The entire CNN panel, including Candy Crowley, reporter Poppy Harlow and legal analyst Paul Callan focused on what a tragedy this was for the boys and what a shame it was that their lives had been ruined--as if the rape was some sort of unfortunate accident and they hadn't committed a very serious, very invasive and very life-altering for the survivor, crime.
CNN didn't focus on what this verdict meant for Jane Doe--only sad reflections on the "destroyed" lives of these boys--boys who were caught on tape raping a girl. This is wrong and CNN owes us all an apology. Can you add your name to the petition?

Tell CNN:

"Your Steubenville verdict coverage was terrible and offensive. These boys committed a very serious crime, and they were held accountable. The verdict that the judge handed down was justice--not a "tragedy." The tragedy was the rape. Please apologize and make this right."


CLICK HERE 

5 facts not spoke about at CPAC



1. We need more government spending, not less.
The U.S. is currently suffering from too little investment, not too much. As a result, economic growth remains sluggish, and unemployment is still high. Economists refer to this as a “liquidity trap,” and cutting spending, or austerity, is the wrong answer. Deficit hawks in the U.K. continue to demonstrate that austerity budgets during periods of sluggish demand push countries into recession.
The way out of a liquidity trap is increased government spending. What the economy really needs right now, according to Century Foundation and Economic Policy Institute fellow Andrew Fieldhouse, is a $2 trillion stimulus, not spending cuts. Fieldhouse suggests that an additional $2 trillion in spending could increase GDP by $8.4 trillion.
Of course, that $2 trillion needs to be invested in “high bang-per-buck” spending. Which brings us to…
2. Government spending on infrastructure helps business and creates jobs.
Government spending on infrastructure projects boosts the overall economy. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that each $1 spent on infrastructure can boost the economy by as much as $2.20.
And, as President Obama reminded us in his State of the Union address:
“Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and Internet, high-tech schools, and self-healing power grids?”
The most promising infrastructure investments are those involving public-private partnerships – projects in which private companies team up with federal, state, or local governments. Private companies usually do the building but they also invest in the project. Century Foundation senior fellow Michael Likosky says these public-private partnerships are the main way to “drive down the cost of doing business” on major infrastructure projects.
When the government can leverage spending with private money to build public projects that grows the economy and creates jobs, it’s a win all around.

3. Obamacare cuts the deficit. Repealing it will make the deficit larger.
Never mind that the ideas that became Obamacareoriginated from the conservative Heritage Foundation. Conservatives want it repealed because, they claim, it will add trillions to the deficit.
The CBO has said that the Affordable Care Act (the official name of Obamacare) will in fact reduce deficits. As it turns out, the Act will actually reduce deficits by even more than CBO initially estimated.
4. Universal pre-K is affordable and effective.
You’re probably not going to hear any CPAC attendees acknowledge the merits of President Obama’s proposal “to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America.”
If you do hear anyone talk about universal preschool at CPAC, they’re more likely to claim that it’s just too costly. But there’s a lot of reason to think that such programs can provide enormous returns on investment.
The Century Foundation’s Greg Anrig sorts out the early childhood research and points to a program in Chicago that provided a total return to society of $10.83 for every dollar invested. Anrig argues that the research “reinforces Obama’s case that effective early childhood education can be implemented on a wide scale.”
5. Mass shootings increased after the assault weapons ban expired.
CPAC convenes in a city the NRA says continues to have very strict gun control laws. But you won’t hear anyone there admit that gun control saves lives.
However, the fact is that mass shootings have increased by over 200 percent since the Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004.
According to The Century Foundation’s Thérèse Postel, there have been a total of 28 mass shooting events since September 14, 2004. That’s an average of 3.5 per year. In the 10-year period during which the ban was in effect (a period which included Columbine and four other copycat shootings in the immediate aftermath), the rate was much lower – just 1.5 per year.

Obama Accomplishments despite GOP Obstruction


Republished  from PleaseCutTheCrap.typepad.com

If you’re one of those folks who thinks President Obama is a “disappointment,” you haven’t been paying attention the last few years. And those of you who try to draw comparisons with the Bush Administration should put away the hallucinogens and have your memory checked.  If you were in a coma for the eight Bush Years, I apologize and forgive you. But please join the real world. So far, this president has done most of what he said he would do if elected; imagine what he could have done by now if progressives had supported him and not given him a Congress that doesn’t look at him as if he’s the demon seed.
Not only is he NOT a “disappointment,” he’s pretty much the opposite. And no, I don’t just say that because he took out Osama bin Laden, helped Libya determine their own destiny for the first time in a while, and because he seems able to handle international incidents without starting a new war. The guy does nearly everything we elect a president to do, and he doesn’t brag about it constantly.
Is he perfect? No, he’s human. Does he deserve some criticism? I suppose, but I must admit I haven’t seen any complaints that were of based on anything having to do with the real world. One I can’t forgive him for is pulling Janet Napolitano out of Arizona. But the thing is, on balance, he’s mostly stellar. Besides, criticism about certain specific problems is one thing; taking on an overall “Obama sucks” meme not only has the potential to put Willard Romney into power, it’s also a lie. Just because you wanted a president who would give you a glitter-farting unicorn and didn’t quite get that doesn’t mean he’s not doing well at the job we hired him for.

Legislative Prowess

Despite the characterizations of some, Obama’s success rate in winning congressional votes on issues was an unprecedented 96.7% for his first year in office.  Though he is often cited as superior to Obama, President Lyndon Johnson’s success rate in 1965 was only 93%.   http://n.pr/i3d7cY
Fiscal Responsibility
Within days after taking office, he signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse.   http://1.usa.gov/dUvbu5
Created the post of Chief Performance Officer, whose job it is to make operations more efficient to save the federal government money.   http://n.pr/hcgBn1
On his first full day, he froze White House salaries.  http://on.msnbc.com/ewJUIx
He appointed the first Federal Chief Information Officer to oversee federal IT spending. http://www.cio.gov
He committed to phasing out unnecessary and outdated weapons systems, and also signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop waste, fraud and abuse in the defense procurement and contracting system.  http://bit.ly/hOw1t1     http://bit.ly/fz8GAd
Through an executive order, he created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  http://bit.ly/hwKhKa
Improving the Economy, Preventing Depression
He pushed through and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as “the stimulus package,” despite the fact that not one Republican voted for that bill. In addition, he launched recovery.gov, so that taxpayers could track spending from the Act.   http://1.usa.gov/ibiFSs   http://1.usa.gov/e3BJMk
In his first year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economy 3.5%.  http://reut.rs/i46CEE
He completed the massive TARP financial and banking rescue plan, and recovered virtually all of its costs.   http://1.usa.gov/eA5jVS   http://bit.ly/eCNrD6
He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan.  http://1.usa.gov/goy6zl
He oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years. http://bit.ly/hrrnjY
He oversaw a bailout of General Motors that saved at least 1.4 million jobs, and put pressure on the company to change its practices, resulting in GM returning to its place as the top car company in the world.  http://lat.ms/zIJuQx
He also doubled funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which is designed to improve manufacturing efficiency.  http://bit.ly/eYD4nf
He signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving  the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system. It also created a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown.  http://abcn.ws/g18Fe7
He signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which was designed to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices.  http://1.usa.gov/gIaNcS
He increased infrastructure spending after years of neglect. http://bit.ly/f77aOw
He  signed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market.  http://bit.ly/eEpLFn
Through the Worker, Home Ownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, he and Congressional Democrats provided tax credits to first-time home buyers, which helped the U.S. housing market recovery.   http://bit.ly/dZgXXw   http://bit.ly/gORYfL
He initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses.
http://1.usa.gov/eu0u0b
He created business.gov, which allows for online collaboration between small businesses and experts re managing a business. (The program has since merged with SBA.gov.)   http://www.business.gov
He played a lead role in getting the G-20 Summit to commit to a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis.   http://nyti.ms/gHlgp5
He took steps to improve minority access to capital. http://bit.ly/f9xVE7
He created a $60 billion bank to fund infrastructure improvements such as roads and bridges. http://bit.ly/e1SSaQ
He implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs.  http://bit.ly/ibhpxr   Many are of the opinion that he saved the entire auto industry, and even the economy of the entire Midwest. http://bit.ly/gj7mt5
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost.   http://1.usa.gov/ez30Dc
He dismantled the Minerals Management Service, thereby moving forward to cut ties between energy companies and the government. http://nyti.ms/bw1MLu
Provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession.  http://bit.ly/g0IKWR
He used recovered TARP money to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan.   http://on.msnbc.com/i1i8eV
Crafted an Executive order establishing the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans. http://bit.ly/eyqsNE
Wall Street Reforms and Consumer Protection
Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money.  http://huff.to/eAi9Qq
He pushed through and got passed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression.  http://bit.ly/hWCPg0   http://bit.ly/geHpcD
Dodd-Frank also included the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau http://1.usa.gov/j5onG
He made it so that banks could no longer use YOUR money to invest in high-risk financial instruments that work against their own customers’ interests.  http://bit.ly/fnTayj
He supported the concept of allowing stockholders to vote on executive compensation. http://bit.ly/fnTayj
He wholly endorsed and supported the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 that would close offshore tax avoidance loopholes.  http://bit.ly/esOdfB    http://bit.ly/eG4DPM
He made a deal with Swiss banks that permits the US government to gain access to the records of criminals and  tax evaders.  http://bit.ly/htfDgw
He established a Consumer Protection Financial Bureau designed to protect consumers from financial sector excesses.  http://bit.ly/fnTayj
He oversaw and then signed the most sweeping food safety legislation since the Great Depression.  http://thedc.com/gxkCtP 
Civil Rights and Anti-Discrimination
He advocated for and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to assault anyone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. http://bit.ly/gsMSJ7
He pushed through, signed and demanded the Pentagon enact a repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that forced soldiers to lie to fight for their country, and put our troops at risk by disqualifying many qualified soldiers from helping.  http://bit.ly/fdahuH http://bit.ly/mZV4Pz
He appointed Kareem Dale as the first ever Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy.  http://1.usa.gov/fi5IY0
Helped Congress pass and signed the Civil Rights History Act. http://bit.ly/th0JC8
He extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.  http://1.usa.gov/g2RLCj
He’s appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history.  http://bit.ly/g1lA7D
He issued a Presidential Memorandum reaffirming the rights of gay couples to make medical decisions for each other. http://1.usa.gov/aUueGT
He established a White House Council on Women and Girls  http://1.usa.gov/rFfqMM
He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers. This was after the GOP blocked the bill in 2007. Only 5 Republican Senators voted for the bill.   http://bit.ly/fT3Cxg
Wrote and signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies evaluate the effect of their policies and programs on women and families.    http://bit.ly/e1puTk
He expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act. http://1.usa.gov/dSbI0x
Under his watch, National Labor Relations Board has issued final rules that require all employers to prominently post employees’ rights where all employees or prospective employees can see it, including websites and intranets, beginning November 2011.  http://1.usa.gov/qu2EhQ
Fighting Poverty
He provided  a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps). http://nyti.ms/gfLqyM
He signed an Executive Order that established the White House Office of Urban Affairs.  http://wapo.st/eWECA8
Improved Foreign Relations and American Status Abroad
He visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any previous president during his first six months in office.   http://bit.ly/hZycda
As he promised, he gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in Cairo early in his administration. http://nyti.ms/dKvY4g 
He did much to restore America’s reputation around the world as a global leader that does the “right thing” in world affairs, at least according to the rest of the planet.   http://bit.ly/h743y7  http://bit.ly/ho4TCr
He re-established and reinforced our partnership with NATO and other allies on strategic international issues.  http://1.usa.gov/e7QuDj
Closed a number of secret detention facilities. http://nyti.ms/rpUc9l
He improved relations with Middle East countries by appointing special envoys. http://1.usa.gov/tiGAGe
He pushed for military to emphasize development of foreign language skills. http://bit.ly/AxUCLV
Offered $400 million to the people living in Gaza, called on both Israel and the Palestinians to stop inciting violence. http://bit.ly/9axfWh
He refused to give Israel the green light to attack Iran over their possible nuclear program. http://bit.ly/xVmSZK
He worked to make donations to Haiti tax-deductible in 2009.  http://huff.to/6YkAVY
He established a new U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.   http://1.usa.gov/eX28DP
Issued Executive Order blocking interference and helping to stabilize Somalia.  http://1.usa.gov/hxdf8U
He established new, more reasonable policies in our relations with Cuba, such as allowing Cuban-Americans to visit their families and send money to support them.  http://n.pr/hY3Kwa   http://nyti.ms/emQBde
He ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was Republicans (and a smattering of Democrats) who prevented him from following through.  http://bit.ly/eW6CVF
Ordered a review of our detention and interrogation policy, and prohibited the use of torture, or what Bush called “enhanced interrogation.” He ordered interrogators to limit their actions to the Army Field manual.  http://bit.ly/g6MTuC
He ordered all secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere to be closed.  http://bbc.in/h6N9ax
He released the Bush torture memos.  http://bit.ly/hWJ5z0
On his second day in office, he signed a detailed Executive Order that banned torture, reversed all  Bush torture policies, and put the United States in compliance with the Geneva Convention.  http://1.usa.gov/dL6Zve    http://nyti.ms/hzWWys
In response to the emerging “Arab Spring,” he created a Rapid Response fund, to assist emerging democracies with foreign aid, debt relief, technical assistance and investment packages in order to show that the United States stands with them. http://bit.ly/zfmGv9
Passed the Iran Sanctions Act, to prevent war, and to encourage Iran to give up their nuclear program. http://1.usa.gov/wLtNjb
Ended the Iraq War. http://tgr.ph/ru0tyS
He authorized and oversaw a secret mission by SEAL Team Six to rescue two hostages held by Somali pirates. http://bit.ly/y8c9Fz
Better Approach to “Defense”
Created a comprehensive new strategy for dealing with the international nuclear threat.  http://1.usa.gov/gDX1nE
He authorized a $1.4 billion reduction in Star Wars program in 2010. http://1.usa.gov/gLFZl2
He restarted nuclear nonproliferation talks and built up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols to where they had been before Bush.   http://lat.ms/gkcl3i
He signed and pushed to ratification a new SALT Treaty.  http://bit.ly/f3JVtw
Negotiated and signed a new START Treaty that will last until at least 2021.  http://1.usa.gov/cI1bC4
Through the Defense Authorization Act, he reversed the Bush Administration and committed to no permanent military bases in Iraq.   http://bit.ly/hk73OJ
He developed the first comprehensive strategy with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan designed to facilitate the defeat of al Qaeda and the withdrawal of most troops, as well as the rebuilding of Afghanistan. http://wapo.st/ee4Xcs
He returned our focus to Afghanistan, stabilized the country, and began the process of withdrawing our troops. http://bit.ly/lNXUna
Fulfilled campaign promise and ended our involvement in Iraq, and will complete full troop withdrawal before Christmas 2011. http://onforb.es/nTUk4Z
He took steps to severely weaken al Qaeda and limited their ability to terrorize the world.  http://yhoo.it/n5lXs6
He negotiated and signed a nuclear nonproliferation treaty with India. http://1.usa.gov/aHp0Cn
He took decisive action to use NATO to limit the slaughter of innocents in Libya, so that the Libyan people could topple a despotic government and determine their own fate.  http://aje.me/qAh4Sj
Treating  Soldiers and Veterans with Respect
He made sure that families of fallen soldiers could be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB, by providing funding for it.  He also ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers.http://nyti.ms/glqN66   http://bbc.in/gWSSkA
He funded Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an extra $1.4 billion to improve veterans’ services. http://1.usa.gov/huhqfo
He provided the troops with better body armor.  http://bit.ly/hzSv2h
Created the Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record program for military personnel, in order  to improve the quality of their medical care.  http://1.usa.gov/f4yaxW
He put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan beyond their enlistment date. (personal note: my son will be in harm’s way for six fewer months with Obama as president, so you know I love this one). http://nyti.ms/e2YQ7Q
He supported and signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available to enable better medical care for veterans.  http://1.usa.gov/fN4ur1
He ushered through the largest spending increase in 30 years for the Department of Veterans Affairs for improved medical facilities, and to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities.     http://1.usa.gov/gY8O3x
He created the Green Vet Initiative, which provided special funding to the Labor Department to provide veterans with training in green jobs.  http://bit.ly/epwUQY
He oversaw a $4.6 billion expansion of the Veterans Administration budget to pay for more mental health professionals.  http://bit.ly/gjzTxX
Education
He has repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process.   http://bit.ly/gYWd30   http://bit.ly/e9c7Dr   http://bit.ly/eEzTNq
Completely reformed the student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate.   http://nyti.ms/dMvHOt
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he invested heavily in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education.   http://1.usa.gov/gGRIAr   This includes a major expansion of broadband availability in K-12 schools nationwide   http://bit.ly/fNDcj3 , as well as an expansion in school construction.  http://bit.ly/fYwNrV
Also through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he put $5 billion into early education, including Head Start. http://1.usa.gov/tzT2Rr
Signed the Post-9/11 GI Bill, also known as GI Bill 2.0 http://bit.ly/hPhG7J 
He oversaw expansion of the Pell Grants program, to expand opportunity for low-income students to go to college.  http://bit.ly/hI6tXz
He passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provided an extra $12.2 billion in funds.  http://1.usa.gov/dQvtUe 
Greater Transparency and Better Government
He signed an order banning gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch. http://bit.ly/fsBACN
He signed an order banning anyone from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years. He also put strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House.   http://nyti.ms/gOrznV
He held the first-ever first online town hall from the White House, and took questions from the public. http://bit.ly/gVNSgX
The Obama White House became the first to stream every White House event, live. http://1.usa.gov/kAgOP5
He established a central portal for Americans to find service opportunities.  http://www.serve.gov
He provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history. http://1.usa.gov/hQ7ttV
He crafted an Executive Order on Presidential Records, which restored the 30-day time frame for former presidents to review records, and eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews. This will provide the public with greater access to historic  White House documents, and severely curtails the ability to use executive privilege to shield them.
http://1.usa.gov/gUetLb
He improved aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent in the processing of FOIA requests.   http://1.usa.gov/gjrnp2
National Safety and Security
He’s restored federal agencies such as FEMA to the point that they have been able to manage a huge number of natural  disasters successfully.   http://bit.ly/h8Xj7z
Authorized Navy SEALS to successfully secure the release of a US captain held by Somali pirates and increased patrols off the Somali coast. http://nyti.ms/efBO7B
Has repeatedly beefed up border security http://bit.ly/mMYB4i
Ordered and oversaw the Navy SEALS operation that killed Osama bin Laden. http://bit.ly/jChpgw
Science, Technology and Health Care
He created a Presidential Memorandum to restore scientific integrity in government decision-making.
http://1.usa.gov/g2SDuw
Opened up the process for fast-tracking patent approval for green energy projects.  http://bit.ly/j0KV2U
He eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. He also provided increased federal support for biomedical and stem cell research.   http://bit.ly/h36SSO    http://ti.me/edezge
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he committed more federal funding, about $18 billion, to support non-defense science and research labs.  http://nyti.ms/fTs9t7
He signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first comprehensive attempt to improve the lives of Americans living with paralysis.  http://bit.ly/fOi2rb
He expanded the Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families, to cover more first-time mothers. http://bit.ly/jRRRJc
His EPA reversed research ethics standards which allowed humans to be used as “guinea pigs” in tests of the effects of chemicals, to comply with numerous codes of medical ethics.  http://bit.ly/bKgqdS
Conducted a cyberspace policy review.   http://1.usa.gov/gmbdvC
Provided financial support for private sector space programs. http://bit.ly/fn8ucr
He oversaw enhanced earth mapping, to provide valuable data for agricultural, educational, scientific, and government use.   http://bit.ly/dNTRyP
He ushered through a bill that authorized the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.  http://on.msnbc.com/fiKViB As a result,  the FDA has Ordered Tobacco Companies to Disclose Cigarette Ingredients and banned sale of cigarettes falsely labeled as “light.”
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he provided $500 million for Health Professions Training Programs.  http://bit.ly/ecQSgA
He also increased funding for community-based prevention programs.  http://bit.ly/frMPG3
He oversaw a 50% decrease in cost of prescription drugs for seniors. http://bit.ly/e5b1iq    http://1.usa.gov/fVNkt9
He eliminated the Bush-era practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug companies on price. http://bit.ly/fOkG5b
Two weeks after taking office, he signed the Children’s Health Insurance Re-authorization Act, which increased the number of children covered by health insurance by 4 million.   http://bit.ly/fDEzGv
He held a quick press conference, and urged Congress to investigate Anthem Blue Cross for raising premiums 39% without explanation. Rep. Waxman responded by launching a probe, and Anthem Blue Cross put the increase on hold for two months.    http://yhoo.it/e8Tj9C
Ushered through and signed the Affordable Health Care Act, which expanded health insurance coverage to 30 million more people,  and ended many common insurance company practices that are often detrimental  to those with coverage.  He also established  http://www.healthcare.gov/
Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he allowed children to be covered under their parents’ policy until they turned 26.  http://nyti.ms/fNB26V
Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he provided tax breaks to allow 3.5 million small business to provide health insurance to their employees, and 29 million people will receive tax breaks to help them afford health insurance.  http://nyti.ms/fNB26V
Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he expanded Medicaid to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level. http://nyti.ms/ekMWpo
Through the Affordable Health Care Act, health insurance companies now have to disclose how much of your premium actually goes to pay for patient care.  http://nyti.ms/fNB26V
Provisions in the Affordable Health Care Act have already resulted in Medicare costs actually declining slightly this fiscal year, for the first time in many years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Last year’s increase was 4%. Compare that to the average 12% annual inflation rate during the previous 40 years. http://1.usa.gov/oMxpTh
Strengthening the Middle Class and Families
He worked to provide affordable, high-quality child care to working families.   http://bit.ly/fNfidS
He cracked down on companies that were previously denying sick pay, vacation and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare tax payments through abuse of the employee classification of independent contractor.   http://nyti.ms/fOGLcj
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families.   http://bit.ly/eSEI4F
Under Obama, tax rates for average working families are the lowest they’ve been since 1950.  http://bit.ly/f74pD8
He extended and fully funded the patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax for 10 years. http://bit.ly/eFeSdP
He extended discounted COBRA health coverage for the unemployed from 9 months to 15 months, and he’s extended unemployment benefits several times.  http://aol.it/evtVxD   http://nyti.ms/emrqKJ    http://bit.ly/hOtIpg    http://bit.ly/fTT7kz
Environment and Energy
He fast-tracked regulations to allow states to enact federal fuel efficiency standards that were above federal standards.    http://nyti.ms/e8e94x
He fast-tracked increased fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. It was the first time such standards had been increased in a decade.   http://politi.co/hiaPKM
He oversaw the establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, which creates more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies. http://bit.ly/lZp73y
His EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history.  http://bit.ly/lP3yEL
He ordered the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances.    http://1.usa.gov/g3MTbu
He ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. http://reut.rs/fV155p  (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)
He oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers. http://bit.ly/mjnq2R
Bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions.   http://bit.ly/froaP5
His EPA ruled that CO2 is a pollutant. http://bit.ly/iQTSNN
He doubled federal spending on clean energy research. http://bit.ly/iN0sCE
He pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars. http://bit.ly/j8UP5Y
He created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents.   http://1.usa.gov/fgfRWq
He reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and even proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush-era stance that climate change was a “hoax.”  http://bit.ly/dX6Vj3  http://bit.ly/fE2PxK  http://nyti.ms/hfeqvv
He fully supported the initial phase of the creation of a legally binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide.  http://bit.ly/eJ6QOO
He required states to provide incentives to utilities to reduce their energy consumption. http://bit.ly/lBhk7P
Following Bush’s eight year reign, he reengaged in a number of treaties and agreements designed to protect the Antarctic.  http://bit.ly/fzQUFO
Created tax write-offs for purchases of hybrid automobiles, and later he and Democrats morphed that program into one that includes electric cars.   http://bit.ly/glCukV
Mandated that federal government fleet purchases be for fuel-efficient American vehicles, and encouraged that federal agencies support experimental, fuel-efficient vehicles.   http://bit.ly/h5KZqy  http://1.usa.gov/fLWq5c    http://1.usa.gov/hmUSbk
He oversaw and pushed through an amendment to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorizing advances from Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. http://1.usa.gov/yTRYVo
He also actively tried to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to eliminate the liability limits for those companies responsible for large oil spills. http://nyti.ms/bxjDi3
He initiated Criminal and Civil inquiries into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. http://nyti.ms/bVuB7a
Through his EPA, he asserted federal legal supremacy, and barred Texas from authorizing new refinery permits on its own. http://bit.ly/ww8eMd
He strengthened the Endangered Species Act.  http://bit.ly/hscjsH
His EPA improved boiler safety standards to improve air quality, and save 6500 lives per year.  http://bit.ly/jYH7nt
Through the EPA, he took steps to severely limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to increase their efficacy in humans. http://bit.ly/fBuWd2
He increased funding for National Parks and Forests by 10%  http://bit.ly/fbJPjY
He announced greatly improved commercial fuel efficiency standards. http://1.usa.gov/oQiC1K
He announced the development of a huge increase in average fuel economy standards from 27.5mpg to 35.5mpg starting in 2016 and 54.5 starting in 2025   http://1.usa.gov/qtghsW
Other Stuff
He has expanded trade agreements to include stricter labor and environmental agreements such as NAFTA.  http://bit.ly/etznpY
He oversaw funding of  the design of a new Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History, which is scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015.  He protected the funding during the recent budget negotiations.   http://on.fb.me/fD0EVO    http://bit.ly/ff5Luv
Oversaw and passed increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. http://bit.ly/dFb8qF
He nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Justice in the court’s history, and the women represent only the third and fourth women to serve on the court, out of a total of 112 justices.   http://huff.to/eOChg6  http://bit.ly/i02wgP
He appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history, including more women than any other incoming president.   http://bit.ly/dX6vNB
He eliminated federal funding for abstinence-only education, and  he rescinded the global gag rule.  http://bit.ly/eCFAI1  http://bit.ly/f92drF
He loosened the rules and allowed the 14 states that legalized medical marijuana to regulate themselves without federal interference.   http://huff.to/eQfa7j
His FDA banned the use of antibiotics in livestock production. http://bit.ly/jUjLzo
Ushered through and signed national service legislation, increasing funding for national service groups, including triple the size of the Americorps program.   http://bit.ly/idgQH5

Bill Maher: Busts Republican Phonies


Maher noted that far from a million moms, the group had just over two thousand followers on Twitter. He also mentioned the Catholic League as a group constantly in the news because they also get freaked out about nonsense. Maher said:
“There is no league in the Catholic League. It’s one guy with a fax machine.” [video]
Bill goes on with some very prescient points on the myth about how Conservative the country is. He states the following:
“A recent study found that politicians in both parties consistently thought that their constituents were much more conservative than they actually were.And that’s because there is a relatively small group of very shrewd people devoted to and succeeding at convincing us that this is a much more conservative and religious nation than it is.
“Americans for example don’t hate socialism. They just can’t define it. Even though it’s kind of right in the name social security.
“Same thing with Obamacare. As an idea it is unpopular. But ask voters about the elements in it, they are all very popular.
“Same with guns. We found out this week that gun ownership is actually down in this country, way down. And yet the NRA with just four million members has a stranglehold on the gun policy in a nation of three hundred million. This  misreading of where the public really is explains why at this moment a cross section of Republican politicians are at CPAC delivering a simple message to the Right Wingers who keep losing them elections. And that message is, whatever you do, don’t change.
“They will get up one after the other and say they speak for the vast majority of real Americans who hate socialism and own guns and feel their values are under attack except they don’t speak for the vast majority of Americans or a majority at all. They are just so loud they haven’t noticed that America has moved on without them. [video]

Obama To Reject Keystone XL Travesty

Behind closed doors, deep in the Capitol crypt, President Obama on Wednesday offered a rare glimpse at his conflicted feelings ahead of a final decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Obama said his ruling on the project would come "soon," according to House Republican sources in the meeting. But despite some recent signs and speculation that he may be inclined to green-light the deal, Obama reportedly recited a litany of reasons to reject it. "He said there were no permanent jobs, and that the oil will be put on ships and exported and that the only ones who are going to get wealthy are the Canadians," Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska told AP. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, another pipeline supporter, said Obama also questioned overall job-creation estimates for pipeline construction, saying it "is not going to create as many jobs as you hope." The president is expected to receive a formal recommendation on the project from the State Department later this spring. Then it's all up to him.

The 27 Republicans who voted against both versions of VAWA

:

  • VAWA: In the previous Digest, we flagged GOP Rep. Tim Walberg's fraudulent claim that he supported the Violence Against Women Act even though he voted against final passage of the legislation last week. Walberg's claim is pathetically specious: He voted for a poison-pill GOP "alternative" that was DOA before roll was even called, on account of the fact that it deliberately left out protections for LGBT and Native American women. But as I suspected, he's not alone: Indeed, my Daily Kos colleague Kaili Joy Gray has cataloged several other Republicans peddling the same bullshit, including the likes of Steve King and Michele Bachmann! Please stay on high alert for anyone else running this scam, because I suspect the entire GOP is in on this one.
    Well, maybe not the whole party, because when you're talking about Republicans, there are always exceptions who need to prove they're even crazier than their brethren. In this case, I'm talking about the 27 members of the House GOP who voted against both bills: the real VAWA and the sham version. Here's a full list of these pieces of work:
    AR-04Tom CottonKS-01Tim HuelskampTN-02Jimmy Duncan
    AZ-04Paul GosarKS-04Mike PompeoTN-08Steve Fincher
    AZ-06David SchweikertNC-03Walter JonesTX-01Louie Gohmert
    CA-04Tom McClintockNC-11Mark MeadowsTX-07John Culberson
    CO-05Doug LambornNJ-05Scott GarrettTX-22Pete Olson
    FL-03Ted YohoOK-01Jim BridenstineTX-36Steve Stockman
    FL-06Ron DeSantisOK-02Markwayne MullinWA-04Doc Hastings
    FL-19Trey RadelSC-03Jeff DuncanWI-05Jim Sensenbrenner
    GA-10Paul BrounSD-ALKristi NoemWI-06Tom Petri

    There are some real winners on this roster, outcasts like Steve Stockman and Louie Gohmert who live to make John Boehner cry. Unfortunately, though, almost everyone here sits in an untouchably red district—but there are some exceptions worth pointing out. For instance, I spot one actual Senate candidate, Georgia's Paul Broun, who offers Democrats yet another reason to root for him to win the GOP primary. And there's also at least one potential Senate candidate as well, Arkansas's Tom Cotton.
    Other notable outliers include Kristi Noem, the only woman on the list, and Scott Garrett, the solitary vote from the northeast. Longtime observers know that Garrett is the most conservative Republican who hails from north of the Mason-Dixon line; he voted against reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act in 2006, for instance. He's proven very difficult to dislodge, but given how far to the right he is, Democrats almost have to find a way to challenge him.