President Barack Obama · Russia

President Obama Brilliantly Take Down a Heckler Who Thinks He’s Going to Blow Up Russia

obama-wtf

PoliticusUSA

During his speech at the DNC, President Obama was interrupted by a heckler who claimed that he is planning a nuclear war with Russia. The president’s reaction was priceless.

Video:

Transcript:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mr. Obama!

THE PRESIDENT: — I consider Republicans patriots who love this country just as much as we do.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Tell us about your plans for nuclear war with Russia!

THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry, who’s that back there? (Laughter.) What the heck are you talking about? (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, don’t worry about it. We’re okay. Have a seat. I don’t know anything about that plan. (Laughter.) I don’t know what you’ve been reading. (Laughter.) Let me return to what I was talking about. (Applause.) See, he thought happy hour started earlier. (Laughter and applause.)

The look on President Obama’s face was priceless. If that wasn’t the ultimate WTF look, I don’t know what is. When protesters have an issue that they care about, this president has been very generous in letting them speak. However, this particular heckler was a crackpot.

President Obama doesn’t want to go to war with Russia. He most definitely has no interest in starting a nuclear war. This isn’t the Cold War. Obama isn’t going to nuke Russia over the events in Ukraine. It’s silly to think that is a possibility.

It is even less likely to happen because the president made a statement today that emphasised that the consequences for Russia’s actions in Ukraine will come from the international community. For the millionth time, Barack Obama is not George W. Bush. Even George W. Bush wasn’t cowboy enough to threaten to drop a nuke on somebody.

This heckler was a bit of a paranoid freak, and the president handled this individual’s rude interruption incredibly well.

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: February 28, 2014

Unidentified gunmen have seized two airports in Ukraine. 
Unidentified gunmen have seized two airports in Ukraine. (REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili)

The Week

Gunmen seize airports in Ukraine’s Crimea, the FDA upgrades nutrition labels, and more

1. Armed men seize Ukraine airports
Several hundred pro-Russia gunmen in unmarked military uniforms took over the entrances to two airports in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, stoking fears of a separatist rebellion. Ukraine’s interior minister, part of the pro-Europe government that has just taken over, said the men were Russian troops launching “an armed invasion and occupation.” Moscow, which has military bases in Crimea, denied any involvement. [The New York TimesReuters]
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2. FDA revamps nutrition labels
First lady Michelle Obama announced Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration is changing nutrition labels on 700,000 food products to more accurately tell Americans whether what they are eating is good for them. The changes will be the first major revamping of food labels in 20 years. Mrs. Obama, whose “Let’s Move” campaign aims to combat obesity, said the labels would help grocery shoppers quickly and easily select healthy food. [The Christian Science Monitor]
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3. Huge chunk of the U.S. faces another big winter storm
Another major snowstorm is expected to roll into the northern Rockies and central Plains beginning Friday. The system — the latest in a series of massive winter storms — is expected to shift toward the East on Sunday and Monday, threatening Chicago and New York, ultimately affecting areas with 100 million people. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said this winter’s unusually harsh weather might be causing signs of weakness in the economy. [Accuweather,Reuters]
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4. Judge tells Kentucky to respect out-of-state gay marriages
A federal judge has ordered Kentucky to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who wed legally in other states. U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn ruled Thursday that the state constitution and laws banning the recognition of these unions are “void and unenforceable” because they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. [USA Today]
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5. Yanukovych turns up in Russia
Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych resurfaced in Russia on Thursday, insisting that he was still the legitimate ruler of his country. Yanukovych requested — and apparently received — Moscow’s protection after fleeing Kiev on Saturday. He said opposition leaders had backed out of a deal to share power. The interim government has accused him of ordering the killings of civilian protesters. [The Washington Post]
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6. British spies intercept Yahoo users’ nude pictures
Britain’s signals intelligence division has stolen hundreds of millions of Yahoo users’ webcam videos, including a trove of nude and sexually explicit images, Britain’s The Guardian reportedThursday. If the information is confirmed, Yahoo said, it would constitute “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy.” About 1.8 million users’ video communications were intercepted in one six-month period stretch in 2008. [The Associated Press]
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7. North Korea responds to U.S. drills with Scud tests
North Korea fired short-range Scud missiles into the sea on Thursday. It was the first time the isolated communist regime had fired that kind of weapon since 2009. Security experts interpreted the move as a protest against annual joint military exercises the U.S. and South Korea began on Monday. North Korea called the drills a rehearsal for an invasion, but South Korea didn’t expect tensions to escalate over the exercises. [CNN]
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8. Cemetery settles lawsuit over allegedly desecrated graves
The owners of the Eden Memorial Park in Los Angeles agreed to pay $80.5 million to settle a lawsuit accusing their cemetery of dumping human remains from hundreds of graves. The settlement was tentatively authorized on Thursday, although the final approval isn’t due until May. Cemetery owner Service Corporation International said it had done nothing wrong. The Houston company settled a similar suit in Florida for $100 million in 2003. [The Associated Press]
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9. Children of older men face risks of psychiatric disorders
Older fathers are more likely than younger ones to have children with psychiatric problems, according to a study published this week in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Kids whose dads are 45 or older, for example, are three times more likely to be on the autism spectrum and 24 times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder, compared to those whose fathers are aged 20 to 24. Older men’s sperm might be more prone to genetic mutations. [CNN]
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10. Studio starts work on a Minecraft movie
Warner Bros. has obtained movie rights to the wildly popular video game Minecraft, the game’s creator, Swedish programmer Markus Persson, tweeted Thursday. The game’s publisher, Mojang, has sold 35 million copies for game consoles and mobile devices since 2009, as well as 14 million copies for PC. As with The Lego Movie, the filmmakers will have to come up with a plot from scratch, as Minecraft players create their own action. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Affordable Care Act

Florida Restaurants Charging Patrons Obamacare Fee

Title-headline--34
AP Photo

TPM LiveWire

A few restaurants in a Florida chain have started implementing an Affordable Care Act surcharge, but employees’ coverage doesn’t start until December, according to CNN.

Gator’s Dockside restaurant group is charging patrons to help with compliance costs.

“Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.” a sign reads at one of the restaurants, alerting customers to the surcharge, according to CNN.

Sandra Clark, the director of operations for the group, said that the fee will help the group keep full-time employees on their books.

“I’m just trying to keep the employees I have that I’ve worked hard to train,” she told CNN.

The group hired an additional full-time employee to help them comply with the Affordable Care Act, under which they now have to offer health insurance to all full-time employees.

Republique, a restaurant in Los Angeles, Calif. imposes a three percent surcharge so that it can provide health insurance to full-time employees, but a spokesman for the restaurant told CNN that the fee is not related to Obamacare.

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O’Reilly Clashes with Valerie Jarrett over ‘Gangsta’ Culture

Mediaite

Bill O’Reilly faced off with White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett Thursday night overPresident Obama‘s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, and they tussled over the “gangsta” culture O’Reilly argued holds plenty of young people back and what the White House can do to help stem problems like teenage pregnancy and the collapse of the family unit. O’Reilly told Jarrett he doesn’t think the Obama administration sees the “urgency” of many of these problems,” and told her that “you’re going to have to get people like Jay-ZKanye West, all of these gangsta rappers, to knock it off.”

O’Reilly argued it’s a problem when young black boys idolize “these guys with the hats on backwards” and “terrible rap lyrics” and drug use, and told Jarrett Obama has the power to “reverse the peer pressure.” Jarrett agreed that it’s important to have great “role models” for young people, but O’Reilly insisted, “You got to get them in there to tell these kids that you’ve got to stop the disruptive behavior or you’re going to wind up in a morgue or in prison.”

O’Reilly also said Michelle Obama should come on his show and say to the young women of America that getting pregnant at a young age is dangerous and wrong. Jarrett said it’s more important to talk to young girls directly rather than going on TV, but O’Reilly insisted it would get loads of attention from a wide audience.

Jarrett told O’Reilly there are encouraging signs, that the boys at the White House today “were at risk last year” and now “they’re standing tall and doing well in school.”

O’Reilly also grilled Jarrett about Obama’s worsening poll numbers. Jarrett acknowledged the “challenging time” the White House has been through, but said Obama has never focused on the daily polling numbers.”

Watch the video below, via Fox News:

Tea Party

Progressive MSNBC Guest: We ‘Made the Mistake of Laughing’ at the Tea Party

Guilty…

Mediaite

With five years having passed since the first tea party rally in 2009, MSNBC host Ronan Farrowinvited two liberal guests on his program to discuss the impact the tea party has had on American politics and its potential to continue to shape events. Tara Dowdell, a political strategist and self-described progressive, warned her fellow liberals that it would be a mistake to write off the tea party because they are likely to have an outsize impact on the coming midterm elections.

Farrow began by briefly recapping the history of the tea party. Afterword, he asked University of Lehigh professor James Peterson what power the tea party has retained to shape American politics. Peterson said that the tea party’s “legislative impact may be waning or may have peaked.”

“The shutdown seemed to be a real moment where they stumbled out of the gate, shot themselves in the foot, pushed the country to the brink, and people started to say, ‘What’s happening here?’” Farrow agreed.

“I think that the tea party should not be underestimated,” Dowdell insisted. “I think that progressives, like myself, have made the mistake of laughing at them and being very dismissive of them.”

“That’s very dangerous,” she added.

Dowdell insisted that, while the tea party has been a “double-edged sword” for the GOP, the upcoming midterm elections provide the tea party with a good environment to drive up turnout and have a major impact on electoral outcomes.

Watch the clip  via Mediaite

U.S. Politics

When ‘Religious Liberty’ Was Used To Justify Racism Instead Of Homophobia

Klansmen file into an Atlanta church in 1949 to attend Sunday evening services…

Interesting and fact-filled article…

Think Progress

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

– Judge Leon M. Bazile, January 6, 1959

The most remarkable thing about Arizona’s “License To Discriminate” bill is how quickly it became anathema, even among Republicans. Both 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called upon Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto this effort to protect businesses that want to discriminate against gay people. So did Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Indeed, three state senators who voted for this very bill urged Brewer to veto it before she finally did so on Wednesday, confessing that they “made a mistake” when they voted for it to become law.

The premise of the bill is that discrimination becomes acceptable so long as it is packaged inside a religious wrapper. As Arizona state Rep. Eddie Farnsworth (R) explained, lawmakers introduced it in response to instances where anti-gay business owners in other states were “punished for their religious beliefs” after they denied service to gay customers in violation of a state anti-discrimination law.

Yet, while LGBT Americans are the current target of this effort to repackage prejudice as “religious liberty,” they are hardly the first. To the contrary, as Wake Forest law Professor Michael Kent Curtis explained in a 2012 law review article, many segregationists justified racial bigotry on the very same grounds that religious conservatives now hope to justify anti-gay animus. In the words of one professor at a prominent Mississippi Baptist institution, “our Southern segregation way is the Christian way . . . . [God] was the original segregationist.”

God Of The Segregationists

Theodore Bilbo was one of Mississippi’s great demagogues. After two non-consecutive terms as governor, Bilbo won a U.S. Senate seat campaigning against “farmer murderers, corrupters of Southern womanhood, [skunks] who steal Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms” and a host of other, equally colorful foes. In a year where just 47 Mississippi voters cast a ballot for a communist candidate, Bilbo railed against a looming communist takeover of the state — and offered himself up as the solution to this red onslaught.

Bilbo was also a virulent racist. “I call on every red-blooded white man to use any means to keep the n[*]ggers away from the polls,” Bilbo proclaimed during his successful reelection campaign in 1946. He was a proud member of the Ku Klux Klan, telling Meet the Press that same year that “[n]o man can leave the Klan. He takes an oath not to do that. Once a Ku Klux, always a Ku Klux.” During a filibuster of an anti-lynching bill, Bilbo claimed that the bill

will open the floodgates of hell in the South. Raping, mobbing, lynching, race riots, and crime will be increased a thousandfold; and upon your garments and the garments of those who are responsible for the passage of the measure will be the blood of the raped and outraged daughters of Dixie, as well as the blood of the perpetrators of these crimes that the red-blooded Anglo-Saxon White Southern men will not tolerate.

For Senator Bilbo, however, racism was more that just an ideology, it was a sincerely held religious belief. In a book entitled Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization, Bilbo wrote that “[p]urity of race is a gift of God . . . . And God, in his infinite wisdom, has so ordained it that when man destroys his racial purity, it can never be redeemed.” Allowing “the blood of the races [to] mix,” according to Bilbo, was a direct attack on the “Divine plan of God.” There “is every reason to believe that miscengenation and amalgamation are sins of man in direct defiance to the will of God.”

Bilbo was one of the South’s most colorful racists, but he was hardly alone in his beliefs. As early as 1867, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld segregated railway cars on the grounds that “[t]he natural law which forbids [racial intermarriage] and that social amalgamation which leads to a corruption of races, is as clearly divine as that which imparted to [the races] different natures.” This same rationale was later adopted by state supreme courts in Alabama, Indiana and Virginia to justify bans on interracial marriage, and by justices in Kentucky to support residential segregation and segregated colleges.

In 1901, Georgia Gov. Allen Candler defended unequal public schooling for African Americans on the grounds that “God made them negroes and we cannot by education make them white folks.” After the Supreme Court ordered public schools integrated in Brown v. Board of Education, many segregationists cited their own faith as justification for official racism. Ross Barnett won Mississippi’s governorship in a landslide in 1960 after claiming that “the good Lord was the original segregationist.” Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia relied on passages from Genesis, Leviticus and Matthew when he spoke out against the civil rights law banning employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters on the Senate floor.

Bob Jones

Although the Supreme Court never considered whether Bilbo, Candler, Barnett or Byrd’s religious beliefs gave them a license to engage in race discrimination, a very similar case did reach the justices in 1983.

Bob Jones University excluded African Americans completely until the early 1970s, when it began permitting black students to attend so long as they were married. In 1975, it amended this policy to permit unmarried African American students, but it continued to prohibit interracial dating, interracial marriage, or even being “affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage.” As a result, the Internal Revenue Service revoked Bob Jones’ tax-exempt status.

This decision, that the IRS would no longer give tax subsidies to racist schools even if they claimed that their racism was rooted in religious beliefs, quickly became a rallying point for the Christian Right. Indeed, according to Paul Weyrich, the seminal conservative activist who coined the term “moral majority,” the IRS’ move against schools like Bob Jones was the single most important issue driving the birth of modern day religious conservatism. According to Weyrich, “[i]t was not the school-prayer issue, and it was not the abortion issue,” that caused this “movement to surface.” Rather it was what Weyrich labeled the “federal government’s move against the Christian schools.”

When Bob Jones’ case reached the Supreme Court, the school argued that IRS’ regulations denying tax exemptions to racist institutions “cannot constitutionally be applied to schools that engage in racial discrimination on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs.” But the justices did not bite. In an 8-1 decision by conservative Chief Justice Warren Burger, the Court explained that “[o]n occasion this Court has found certain governmental interests so compelling as to allow even regulations prohibiting religiously based conduct.” Prohibiting race discrimination is one of these interests.

My Liberty Stops At Your Body

Ultimately, the question facing anti-gay business owners, even if the bill Brewer vetoed had become law, is why it is acceptable to exclude gay people simply because of who they are, when we do not permit this sort of behavior by racists such as Bilbo or Byrd? And there is another, equally difficult question facing advocates of the kind of sweeping “religious liberty” protected by the Arizona bill — why should we allow people to impose their religious beliefs upon others?

One year before Bob Jones, the Court decided a case called United States v. Lee, which involved an Amish employer’s objection to paying Social Security taxes on religious grounds. As the Court explained in Lee, allowing people with religious objections to opt out of Social Security could undermine the viability of the entire program. “The design of the system requires support by mandatory contributions from covered employers and employees,” Burger wrote for the Court. “This mandatory participation is indispensable to the fiscal vitality of the social security system. . . . Moreover, a comprehensive national social security system providing for voluntary participation would be almost a contradiction in terms and difficult, if not impossible, to administer.”

Just as importantly, allowing religious employers to exempt themselves from the law would be fundamentally unfair to the employees who are supposed to benefit from those laws. “When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.”

Lee, in other words, stands for the proposition that people of faith do not exist in a vacuum. Their businesses compete with other companies who are entitled to engage in this competition upon a level playing field. Their personnel decisions impact their employees, and their decision to refuse to do business with someone — especially for reasons such as race or sexual orientation — can fundamentally demean that individual and deny them their own right to participate equally in society.

This is why people like Theodore Bilbo should not be allowed to refuse to do business with African Americans, and it is why anti-gay business owners should not be given a special right to discriminate against LGBT consumers. And this is also something that the United States has understood for a very long time. Bob Jones and Lee are not new cases. A whole generation of Americans spent their entire professional careers enjoying the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Religious liberty is an important value and it rightfully belongs in our Constitution, but it we do not allow it to be used to destroy the rights of others.

The argument Gov. Brewer resolved Wednesday night with her veto stamp is no different than the argument Lyndon Johnson resolved when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Invidious discrimination is wrong. And it doesn’t matter why someone wants to discriminate.

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: February 27, 2014

A stamp of disapproval. 
A stamp of disapproval. (Twitter)

The Week

Brewer vetoes Arizona’s anti-gay bill, Russia holds military exercises near Ukraine, and more

1. Brewer vetoes Arizona’s anti-gay bill
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gay customers on religious grounds. “I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve,” she said. Gay rights activists and politicians from both parties applauded, but the conservative Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins said Brewer was trampling on “people’s religious freedoms.” [NBC NewsThe Washington Post]
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2. Russia holds military exercises near Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent 150,000 troops near Ukraine for military exercises on Wednesday. Russia has complained that the overthrow of fugitive former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych threatened its interests. Russian media reported that Yanukovych was in Russia, asking to be protected from “extremists” back home. In Ukraine, tensions rose on Thursday as gunmen seized government buildings in the country’s autonomous Crimea region and raised a Russian flag. [The Wall Street JournalThe Associated Press]
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3. Judge calls Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional
A federal judge struck down Texas’ same-sex marriage ban on Wednesday, saying it denied gay couples marriage rights “for no legitimate reason.” Democrats and gay-rights advocates said Judge Orlando Garcia’s ruling was a milestone for equality, while Republicans called Garcia an activist judge trying to reverse the will of the voters who approved the ban. However, the ruling won’t have any immediate effect because Garcia stayed the decision pending the state’s appeal. [The New York Times]
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4. Kerry compares Uganda’s anti-gay law to apartheid
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday likened Uganda’s new anti-gay law to apartheid and anti-Semitism, stepping up already harsh criticism from the Obama administration. “You could change the focus of this legislation to black or Jewish and you could be in 1930s Germany or you could be in 1950s-1960s apartheid South Africa,” Kerry said. Since the enactment of the law, Washington has started a review of its relations with Uganda. [Reuters]
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5. Army finds 588 troops not suited for sensitive jobs
The Army removed 588 soldiers from sensitive jobs — including some sexual assault counselors — after learning they had committed infractions ranging from sexual assault to child abuse to drunken driving, military officials said Wednesday. The Army reviewed files on 20,000 soldiers, counselors, recruiters, drill sergeants, and others under orders from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to reduce rapes in the military. [The Associated Press]
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6. Anti-graft commission targets Thailand’s prime minister
Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday called embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to answer negligence charges stemming from her handling of a subsidized rice program. The charges could, in theory, lead to her impeachment. The prime minister’s supporters responded by blocking the gates to the commission’s headquarters. The dispute comes after three months of protests demanding Yingluck’s resignation. [The Associated Press]
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7. Report questions some cases of deadly force at the border
An independent review criticized Border Patrol agents for the inappropriate use of deadly force. Investigators reviewed 67 cases that involved 19 deaths, and reported that in some cases agents might have deliberately stepped in front of oncoming cars to justify firing at their drivers. In other cases agents allegedly shot at people throwing rocks from the Mexican side of the border. [Los Angeles Times]
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8. One of British soldier’s killers sentenced to life
A British court has handed down lengthy prison sentences to two radical Islamist men who drove a car into British soldier Lee Rigby and then hacked him to death last May. Michael Adebolajo, 29, was sentenced to life; Michael Adebowale, 22, was sentenced to 45 years. Neither of the defendants was in the courtroom when the terms were announced; they had been removed for shouting at the judge. [Irish Times]
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9. Kepler telescope detects 715 planets beyond the solar system
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has spotted 715 confirmed planets, astronomers announced Wednesday. “We’ve almost doubled today the number of planets known to humanity,” NASA planetary scientist Jack Lissauer said. That’s just the beginning. The Kepler team has said it has found several thousand potential “exoplanets” outside our solar system, but scientists have not been able to confirm most of them yet. [The Washington Post]
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10. George W. Bush paintings are going on display
Paintings by former president George W. Bush will go on display at The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas starting in April. The exhibit, The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy, will include more than two dozen portraits by Bush, along with photographs and other artifacts. Bush began painting after leaving the White House. [Houston Chronicle]

The Daily Show

Ronan Farrow on Jon Stewart’s Show

So I found myself asking who is Ronan Farrow,  MSNBC’s newest host at the 1:00 pm hour on weekdays?  

The following Jon Stewart clip filled me in a great deal and I’ve decided to share it with those who are just as interested in learning about this extraordinary young person. 

The Daily Show

Ronan Farrow recalls attending college at age 11, being accepted to Yale Law at 16, and getting a show on MSNBC at 26.  (07:00)

Food Stamps

The right’s ugly food-stamp obsession is back! Why lying dog-whistle politics returned…

The right's ugly food-stamp obsession is back! Why lying dog-whistle politics returned
Dick Cheney on “Cavuto,” on the Fox Business Network, Dec. 9, 2013. (Credit: AP/Richard Drew)

Salon – Joan Walsh

“Welcome to Obama’s America,” Fox’s Eric Bolling told his audience Tuesday – a dystopia where people now use food stamps to patronize “strip clubs, liquor stores, pot dispensaries.” Following up on its rubbishy August 2013 faux-exposé “The Great Food Stamp Binge,” Fox again profiled “surfing freeloader” Jason Greenslate, who is allegedly “livin’ large” in San Diego, thanks to the SNAP program, commonly known as food stamps. After Bill O’Reilly’s errand boy Jesse Watters caught up with Greenslate again Monday night, “The Five” used the lazy surfer as “the representative of literally millions of Americans,” in Bolling’s words. It was epic.

“He’s playing the system, he’s stretching the rules to their limits,” Bolling told Fox’s angry, fearful, mostly elderly viewers. “But what would you expect with a $105 billion program that’s almost tripled under Obamanomics? That’s what you would expect, right there, take a look at it. But what’s next? Strip clubs, liquor stores, pot dispensaries? Oh, that’s already going on, folks. Welcome to Obama’s America.”

Bolling’s rant came a day after Dick Cheney visited Fox and attacked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s military cuts, telling Sean Hannity, bizarrely, that Obama “would much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”

The right just can’t leave that old dog-whistle alone. It’s 2012 all over again – Newt Gingrich will be reviving his claim that Obama’s “the food stamp president” any minute now. In “Obama’s America,” the right is determined to make the president the tribune of a moocher-rewarding, ever-expanding welfare state, even if they have to lie to do so.

Of course in Obama’s America (and everyone else’s) SNAP regulations prohibit buying alcohol or tobacco with food stamps, let alone drugs, and they can’t be used at restaurants or bars, let alone strip clubs. But Bolling wants Fox viewers in a perpetual state of moral panic, and the notion that slackers like Greenslate are “livin’ large” – Fox’s term — on the public dime just works, the facts be damned.



Cheney’s rant was in some ways more offensive. Charging that the cuts proposed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are “really devastating,” Cheney went on: “It does enormous long-term damage to our military. They act as though it is like highway spending and you can turn it on and off. The fact of the matter is he is having a huge impact on the ability of future presidents to deal with future crises that are bound to arise.”

Of course, as Think Progress noted back when Cheney began lobbying against defense cuts in 2012, the former vice president himself presided over a 25 percent cut to the defense budget back when he was defense secretary under George H.W. Bush. The fighting force was reduced by 500,000 active-duty soldiers, a move that was blessed by Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Colin Powell.

That was then. These cuts are the work of Obama’s team. So not only must they be attacked as dangerous, they’ve got to be framed as something the corrupt Chicago “gangster” is doing to reward his coalition of slackers, moochers and lazy white surfers.

Now, maybe it’s progress that Fox is making a white surfer the poster boy for food stamp abuse – but it’s the link to “Obama’s America” that updates Reagan’s old imagery about Cadillac-driving welfare queens and “young bucks” using food stamps to buy “T-bone steaks.”

In fact only 1 percent of SNAP funds are wasted in fraud. Three-quarters of SNAP households include an elderly or disabled person or a child, and fully 42 percent of adult recipients are also working, but making too little to feed themselves and their families. Among the nation’s food stamp recipients are almost a million military veterans, who were slurred by Cheney, and thousands of active duty military too. Military families spent $100 million in food stamp funds at military grocery stores in 2013.

Fox and Cheney don’t want you to think about the veteran or the soldier or the single mother or the disabled senior on food stamps. They don’t want Fox viewers to ask why 42 percent of recipients make such low wages that they qualify for food assistance, or why so many veterans and even active-duty soldiers need help. To distract from an economy that’s increasingly hoarding rewards at the top, they point to a cartoonish moocher and blame Obama.