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Obama Signals on Drug Reform

Marc Ambinder's new article suggesting Obama will shift his position on the War on Drugs if he gets re-elected doesn't offer much.

Since the United Ststes isn't about to legalize or regulate the illegal narcotics markets, the best thing a president can do may be what Obama winds up doing if he gets re-elected: using the bully pulpit to draw attention to the issue. But he won't do so before November.

The article is more a review of the documentary The House I Live In, which I wrote about in January here than it is about Obama.

I have no expectations Obama will ease up on the War on Drugs. But since we know that Republicans will keep escalating it, as they will our over-reliance on incarceration, the choice in November on this issue is clear: Obama.

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Eric Holder Assigns U.S. Attorneys to Investigate Leaks

Here is the statement of Attorney General Eric Holder today announcing he has named two U.S. Attorneys to investigate the recent alleged leaks of classified information:

“Today, I assigned U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen Jr. and U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein to lead criminal investigations into recent instances of possible unauthorized disclosures of classified information.

The Washington Post reports: [More...]

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Bon Jovi Flies With Obama on Air Force One


(larger version here).

President Obama was in New York last night for three fundraisers. Jon Bon Jovi, who attended all three and headlined the event at the Waldorf, was the President's guest on the Air Force One flight from Washington, DC to New York and back at the end of the evening. Some people (Obama) get all the luck.

Bon Jovi has been a huge supporter of Democratic candidates for more than a decade. In 2007, the New York Times wrote about his strong support for Hillary. He enthusiastically supported Obama when she withdrew from the race. [More...]

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President Obama Sings Al Green at Campaign Appearance

President Obama sings 7 seconds of an Al Green tune at a campaign appearance at the Apollo Theater in NY. He was good! He then said to Al, who was in the audience:

"Don't worry Rev, I cannot sing like you," Obama said. "I just wanted to show my appreciation."

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Obama's Deficit Cutting Plan: No Raise in Medicare Eligibility Age

President Obama took a stand for Democrats and seniors today. I'm canceling his pink slip notice.

Obama's plan to cut the nation's deficit is already being attacked by Republicans. The plan is in line with Democratic values. Why should those who make more than a million dollars a year pay tax only at the rate of 15%, when so many of us who earn far less are taxed at 35%? The Bush tax cuts should have been repealed a long time ago.

The plan also calls for $1 trillion in cuts for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. Most importantly:

The plan doesn't touch Social Security, and there is no proposed increase in the Medicare eligibility age -- a cost-saving plan the president was willing to agree to earlier in the year, to the dismay of liberals.

[More...]

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Report: Obama Won't Seek to Raise Medicare Eligibility Age

I so hope this is true:

The plan includes no changes in Social Security and does not include an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, which the president had considered this summer.

If it's accurate, I'm withdrawing my pink slip to President Obama. I'll even thank him.

Update: Obama Deficit Plan Aimed at Democratic Base.

Stay tuned.

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Sullum on Obama: "Bummer, Just Another Drug Warrior"

Jacob Sullum has the October cover story at Reason on President Obama: Bummer: Barack Obama Turns Out to Be Just Another Drug Warrior." As if anyone should be surprised.

I'm not. I've been writing since 2007 that he would do little to temper the War on Drugs. I would have called the article "Bummer: Barack Obama is Still A Drug Warrior." Why?

  • Obama's 2011 Southwest Border Drug Policy Released
  • Obama Plans to Extend Meridia Initiative in Drug War Fight
  • Obama to Ramp Up Drug War in Afghanistan
  • Obama Withdraws Support for Marijuana Decriminalization
  • Obama's 2011 Drug Policy Unveiled: Hype v. Reality
  • Obama's Drug Control Budget
  • Obama Wavers on Crack Sentencing
  • [More....]

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    Obama "Dude" Gets Serious on The Daily Show

    President Obama appeared on Jon Stewart's Daily Show Wednesday night. The show's website says video will be up shortly. But HuffPo already has it, in three parts, here.

    WaPo's Dana Milbank has all the details and lots of quotes. Stewart actually called Obama "Dude."

    The Daily Show host was giving Obama a tough time about hiring the conventional and Clintonian Larry Summers as his top economic advisor. "In fairness," the president replied defensively, "Larry Summers did a heckuva job."

    "You don't want to use that phrase, dude," Stewart recommended with a laugh.

    Milbank says Obama was "serious and defensive", even pointing his finger at Stewart when he said something he disagreed with. The LA Times report on the interview is here.

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    President Obama in Denver Today, Medical Marijuana Groups to Protest

    Update: Here's the text of Obama's remarks.

    President Obama will be in Denver this afternoon to appear at fundraisers for Sen. Michael Bennet. According to his schedule (times changed to Mountain Time):

    • 2:50PM: President Obama arrives in Aurora, Colorado
    • 3:30PM: President Obama delivers remarks at a grassroots fundraiser for Senator Bennet
    • 4:40PM: President Obama delivers remarks at a fundraising reception for Senator Bennet
    • 5:35PM: President Obama departs Aurora, Colorado en route Las Vegas, Nevada

    Locations:

    He will deliver remarks at a fundraiser for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver. He will also deliver remarks at a fundraising reception for Bennet at the Sheraton Hotel.

    Medical marijuana activists are holding protests, "Patients Picket Obama: "Get the DEA Out of Colorado" across from the Fillmore. One of the reasons for the protest is the Feb. 12 raid on Chris Bartkowicz. Bartokowicz has a detention/bail hearing this afternoon.

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    Obama's Healthcare Tuesday Speech - the contents

    Here's what's going to happen come Tuesday.  This is my naked prediction, i.e., independent of any outside information.  I've been sitting on this for two days, more out of laziness in putting it on the screen than anything else.

    And those of you who remember these things, will remember I am usually pretty darn good at my predictions being right.

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    Roberts Re-Administers Oath to Obama

    The flub apparently made people nervous. Chief Justice Roberts re-administered the oath of office to President Obama tonight, out of an abundance of caution.

    Don't worry, the White House says: Obama has still been president since noon on Inauguration Day.

    Nevertheless, Obama and Roberts went through the drill again out of what White House counsel Greg Craig called "an abundance of caution."

    Shorter version: It was unnecessary but made everybody feel better.

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    Neighborhood Ball and Youth Ball


    Via the LA Times

    Obama's Neighborhood Ball, airing on ABC (7pm MT but earlier on the east coast.) Guests include: Beyonce, Jay-Z, will.i.am, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Sting, Faith Hill, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder and Maroon 5. The Obamas will have their first dance as Beyonce sings the Etta James' classic, At Last.

    The Youth Ball airs on MTV at 8pm MT (check your time zone.) It features Kanye West, Kid Rock and Fall Out Boy, among others. Unfortunately, it's not in HD on Comcast here.

    As I wrote earlier, you can also catch Bon Jovi at the Commander in Chief's ball. Here's the Pentagon Channel Live Stream.

    This is an open inaugural entertainment thread.

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    Commander in Chiefs Ball: Bon Jovi

    Bon Jovi is headlining the Commander in Chief's ball. It's playing on the Pentagon Channel if your cable or satellite system gets it. If not, here's the live feed, courtesy of our United States Military.

    They take some breaks but I don't mind waiting. I'll also be watching the Neighborhood Ball on ABC and Youth Inaugural Ball on MTV when they start.

    Update 7:37 pm MT: Bon Jovi is on, he just sang "You Can't Go Home" and he announced he's being upstaged. It's President Barack Obama. Obama's comments below:

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    White House Gets a New Website

    Check out the new White House website. It even has a blog.

    This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Obama's Inaugural Speech: Live Thread

    12:08 pm: President Barack Obama begins his inaugural speech, expected to last 20 minutes.

    The full text of the speech is here.

    On challenges: "Know this America, they will be met."

    He acknowledges the different religions, including "non-believers." Followed by tough talk against those who need to "unclench their fist."

    12:26 p.m. Speech over. We have a new President. What a relief.

    This is a thread for your reactions. I'll be back tonight to cover the televised inaugural balls.

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