Selma’s Bridge Crossing Jubilee

Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, ALEdmund Pettus Bridge Crossing Jubilee

The three Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 were part of the Selma Voting Rights Movement and led to the passage that year of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark federal achievement of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. Activists publicized the three protest marches to walk the 54-mile highway from Selma to the Alabama state capital of Montgomery as showing the desire of black American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression.

A voters registration campaign in Selma had been launched in 1963 by local African Americans, who formed the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL). Joined by organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), they began working that year in a renewed effort to register black voters. Most of the millions of African Americans across the South had effectively been disenfranchised since the turn of the century by a series of discriminatory requirements and practices. Finding resistance by white officials to be intractable, even after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ending segregation, the DCVL invited Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the activists of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to join them. SCLC brought many prominent civil rights and civic leaders to Selma in January 1965. Local and regional protests began, with 3,000 persons arrested by the end of February.

On February 26, activist and deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson died after being mortally shot several days earlier by a state trooper during a peaceful march in Marion, Alabama. The community was sorrowed and outraged. To defuse and refocus the anger, SCLC Director of Direct Action James Bevel, who was directing SCLC’s Selma Voting Rights Movement, called for a march of dramatic length, from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery.Bevel had been working on his Alabama Project for voting rights since late 1963.

The first march took place on March 7, 1965. Bevel, Amelia Boynton, and others helped organize it. The march gained the nickname “Bloody Sunday” after its 600 marchers were attacked at the Edmund Pettus Bridge after leaving Selma; state troopers and county posse attacked the unarmed marchers with billy clubs and tear gas. Boynton was one of those beaten unconscious; a picture of her lying wounded on the bridge was published and televised around the world. The second march took place March 9; troopers, police, and marchers confronted each other, but when the troopers stepped aside to let them pass, King led the marchers back to the church. He was seeking protection by a federal court for the march. That night, a white group beat and murdered civil rights activist James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston, who had come to Selma to march in the second march, which had been joined by many other clergy and sympathizers from across the country.

The violence of “Bloody Sunday” and of Reeb’s death led to a national outcry and some acts of civil disobedience, targeting both the Alabama state and federal governments. The protesters demanded protection for the Selma marchers and a new federal voting rights law to enable African Americans to register and vote without harassment. President Lyndon Johnson, whose administration had been working on a voting rights law, held a televised joint session of Congress on March 15 to ask for the bill’s introduction and passage.

With Governor Wallace refusing to protect the marchers, President Johnson committed to do so. The third march started March 21. Protected by 2,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army, 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under Federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals, the marchers averaged 10 miles (16 km) a day along U.S. Route 80, known in Alabama as the “Jefferson Davis Highway“. The marchers arrived in Montgomery on March 24 and at the Alabama State Capitol on March 25. With thousands having joined the campaign, 25,000 people entered the capital city that day in support of voting rights.

The route is memorialized as the Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail, a U.S. National Historic Trail.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma_to_Montgomery_marches

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Selma to Montgomery Marches

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Alabama police chief apologizes to Freedom Rider congressman

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3/4/13 By Craig Giammona, NBC News

An Alabama police chief brought Rep. John Lewis to tears Saturday, apologizing to the noted civil rights leader for failing to protect the Freedom Riders during a trip to Montgomery in 1961.

Lewis and fellow civil rights activists were beaten by a mob after arriving at Montgomery’s Greyhound station in May 1961. [The march was tried again but the marchers were again brutualized. The third time was successful with the protection of the US Army].

On Saturday at ceremony at First Baptist Church, the city’s current police chief, Kevin Murphy, apologized to Lewis and offered him his badge in a gesture of reconciliation, telling the longtime Georgia congressman that Montgomery police had “enforced unjust laws” in failing to protect the Freedom Riders more than five decades ago.

Lewis, who was arrested during civil rights protests in cities across the south, said it was the first time a police chief had apologized to him.

“It means a great deal,” Lewis said. “I teared up. I tried to keep from crying.”

Lewis and other members of Congress were taking part in the 13th Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama, a three-day event that also included trips to Selma, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.

Murphy said the decision to apologize was easy.

“For me, freedom and the right to live in peace is a cornerstone of our society and that was something that Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Congressman Lewis were trying to achieve” Murphy said. “I think what I did today should have been done a longtime ago. It needed to be done. It needed to be spoken because we have to live with the truth and it is the truth.”

For more: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/03/17167907-alabama-police-chief-apologizes-to-freedom-rider-congressman?lite

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Alabama police chief APOLOGIZES to Freedom Rider congressman | Discuss apology

Published on Mar 3, 2013

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Sunday, March 3, 2013
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr Jill Biden participate in the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Selma, Alabama

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US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1863-1963 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1964-2016 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

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67 thoughts on “Selma’s Bridge Crossing Jubilee

  1. WH

    Sunday, March 3, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    Vice President Biden Speaks at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Brunch
    Wallace Community College, Selma, Alabama

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    Vice President Biden Speaks Bridge Crossing Jubilee
    Wallace Community College, Selma, Alabama

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    • POTUS podium

      March 3, 2013

      WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

      12:00 PM EST
      Vice President Biden Speaks at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Brunch
      (Audio Only)
      Wallace Community College, Selma, Alabama

      3:00 PM EST
      Vice President Biden Speaks Bridge Crossing Jubilee
      (Audio Only)
      Wallace Community College, Selma, Alabama

      —-

      ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Live/

      12:00 PM EST
      Vice President Biden Speaks at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Brunch
      Wallace Community College, Selma, Alabama

      3:00 PM EST
      Vice President Biden Speaks Bridge Crossing Jubilee
      Wallace Community College, Selma, Alabama

      —-

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

  2. Selma’s Bridge Crossing Jubilee

    In 1993, the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute had the first Bridge Crossing Jubliee in conjunction with 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, Wallace Community College, the first City of Selma, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. This annual event is held the first full weekend of every March to commemorate “Bloody Sunday”, and celebrate the Voting Rights Movement, the M arch from Selma-to-Montgomery, and the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 19t65.

    For more; http://www.bcjubilee.org/#!abou

    • Experience America’s Best Idea

      National Park Getaways

      A New National Park Getaway Every Wednesday

      Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
      Alabama

      More than a century after the Emancipation Proclamation began the long and halting process of extending equal rights to African Americans, Congress passed, and President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 . This landmark legislation, which ensured that all Americans could participate in government, came at a price. A heroic struggle unfolded in Alabama as civil rights advocates, both black and white, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fought through peaceful means for the right to vote. You can follow in their footsteps today on the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail .

      Your experience begins in Selma, Alabama. National Park Service rangers and volunteers staff the Selma Interpretive Center , which opened its doors to the public in March 2011 and affords an outstanding view of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Famous as the scene of Bloody Sunday — when local police and Alabama state troopers responded to a voting rights march with tear gas, nightsticks, and whips — the bridge is now the site of Selma’s Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee , which commemorates events of 1965.

      On Martin Luther King, Jr. Street in Selma, you can view the First Baptist Church and Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church , which served as meeting places for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, marchers, and others involved in the struggle for suffrage. On the same street is George Washington Carver Homes, a housing complex where many Selma marchers lived and where marchers and civil rights workers from out of town stayed.

      At the midpoint of the Selma to Montgomery trail, in White Hall, Alabama, you can visit the Lowndes County Interpretive Center . Watch a 25-minute film inside the theater and connect stories and events presented in the museum exhibits and photos and on the outdoor walking trail. Park rangers are available for orientations, talks, and tours.

      For more: http://www.nps.gov/getaways/semo/

    • Biden heading to Selma for bridge crossing

      2/24/13 1:37 PM EST By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

      Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, will travel to Selma, Ala., next weekend to participate in the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee, the AP reports:

      Democratic state Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma said Saturday the Bidens will attend a unity brunch and participate in the annual crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 3. Sanders said the Bidens will help observe Selma’s historic role in the civil rights movement.

      The Jubilee commemorates the Selma-to-Montgomery voting-rights march that led to passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

    • Alabama police chief apologizes to Freedom Rider congressman

      3/4/13 By Craig Giammona, NBC News

      An Alabama police chief brought Rep. John Lewis to tears Saturday, apologizing to the noted civil rights leader for failing to protect the Freedom Riders during a trip to Montgomery in 1961.

      Lewis and fellow civil rights activists were beaten by a mob after arriving at Montgomery’s Greyhound station in May 1961.

      On Saturday at ceremony at First Baptist Church, the city’s current police chief, Kevin Murphy, apologized to Lewis and offered him his badge in a gesture of reconciliation, telling the longtime Georgia congressman that Montgomery police had “enforced unjust laws” in failing to protect the Freedom Riders more than five decades ago.

      Lewis, who was arrested during civil rights protests in cities across the south, said it was the first time a police chief had apologized to him.

      “It means a great deal,” Lewis said. “I teared up. I tried to keep from crying.”

      Lewis and other members of Congress were taking part in the 13th Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama, a three-day event that also included trips to Selma, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.

      Murphy said the decision to apologize was easy.

      “For me, freedom and the right to live in peace is a cornerstone of our society and that was something that Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Congressman Lewis were trying to achieve” Murphy said. “I think what I did today should have been done a longtime ago. It needed to be done. It needed to be spoken because we have to live with the truth and it is the truth.”

      For more: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/03/17167907-alabama-police-chief-apologizes-to-freedom-rider-congressman?lite

      —————-

      Alabama police chief APOLOGIZES to Freedom Rider congressman | Discuss apology

      Published on Mar 3, 2013

    • A Daughter’s Struggle To Overcome A Legacy Of Segregation

      June 11, 2013 3:01 AM by MICHELE NORRIS – npr

      The legacy of the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace is shaped by these six words: “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!”

      June 11, 1963, was the date of what has become known as Wallace’s “stand in the schoolhouse door.” The University of Alabama campus was transformed into a scene of chaos when two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, attempted to cross the color line and register for classes. The pair was surrounded by federal marshals, camera crews, jeering students and state troopers wearing helmets and wielding clubs.

      President John F. Kennedy had federalized National Guard troops to force Wallace to back down, but the governor refused and stood ramrod straight in the entryway.

      “I stand here today as governor of this sovereign state and refuse to willingly submit to illegal usurpation of power by the central government,” he said.

      Wallace was more than just a governor. He was also a husband and father — and his family watched that day from a different vantage point.

      “Well, that day was a day that I remember quite differently than a lot of people,” says Peggy Wallace Kennedy, George Wallace’s daughter. She’s now 63, but on June 11, 1963, she was just 13.

      “My mother and I went to Lake Martin, Ala. She had a small lake cabin there. I later realized that she … had to come to the realization that after that day that all the hopes she had for a simple life were not going to come true for her,” Wallace Kennedy recalls. “She would be in the shadow of the schoolhouse door, and I felt a sense of loss for her.”

      Peggy Wallace Kennedy talks about walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

      At the time, Wallace Kennedy didn’t understand that the episode would change her life. “[But] later on, of course, I did change. Because people … judge me on what my father did,” she says.

      For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2013/06/11/190387908/a-daughters-struggle-to-overcome-a-legacy-of-segregation

    • Three Very Different People Reminisce On Crossing The Bridge In Selma

      MARCH 20, 2015 3:16 AM ET NPR

      Fifty years ago, civil rights protesters began their successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., two weeks after a crackdown by police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday. NPR talked with three people from different parts of the country, of different races and religions, who answered the call from Martin Luther King Jr. to join the marchers.

      Todd Endo:
      My name is Todd Endo. I am Japanese-American and I was born right after Pearl Harbor. From the ages of about one to almost four, my family along with 100,000 other Japanese were removed by the federal government because we were Japanese-Americans, not because we had done anything.

      The specific reason that I went to Selma is that an acquaintance of mine was killed. The summer before, I had worked in Washington, D.C., for three churches, one of which was All Souls Church Unitarian and at that point Jim Reeb was an assistant minister. Turnaround Tuesday was the march that Jim Reeb participated in, which was two days after Bloody Sunday. That evening he was clubbed in the head coming out of a restaurant and died. And I went two or three days after that.

      My only specific memory is that there were very few, and I never saw another Asian-American. I think about half the marches in ’65 were Selma residents. And the women that marched on either side of me were Selma residents, veterans of this movement. So one of them was sort of like the Oprah Winfrey character in the movie where she says, you know, “I’ve tried to register 16 times, I’ve been turned down 16 times, and I’m going to keep trying to register.” And the other one on the right side said that she had been in Bloody Sunday, had been in a lot of marches and was going to continue.

      I was in graduate school so I went back actually. And the heroes to me were these two women and others who couldn’t leave or didn’t leave. They were residents of the town and they stayed. And they kept marching.

      H. David Teitelbaum:
      I’m Rabbi Herbert David Teitelbaum, I was with the Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City, Calif. When we arrived, as you approached the colored section of Selma, immediately you have the feeling that you’re in a besieged city. And I recall the words of the Minister Earl Neil who said something that impressed me very deeply. He said, “The very fact that you’ve come here means that your skin is as black as mine.” And for the first time in my life I actually experienced the humiliation and the degradation which was allotted the African-American.

      For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2015/03/20/394028357/diverse-voices-reflect-on-historic-march-from-selma-to-montgomery

  3. Sunday talk show tip sheet

    3/1/13 5:54 PM EST By KATIE GLUECK – POLITICO

    “Meet the Press” on NBC
    • House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)
    • National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling
    • Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho)

    “This Week” on ABC
    • Sperling
    • Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
    • Democratic strategist James Carville
    • Saratoga Springs, Utah, Mayor Mia Love (R)

    “State of the Union” on CNN
    • Sperling
    • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
    • Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi
    • Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), chairman, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
    • Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman, National Republican Congressional Committee

    “Face the Nation” on CBS
    • Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
    • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
    • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
    • Cardinal Timothy Dolan
    • Journalist Bob Woodward

    “Fox News Sunday” on Fox
    • Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and wife Ann Romney
    • Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.)

    “Political Capital” on Bloomberg TV
    • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), chairwoman, House Republican Conference

    “Newsmakers” on C-SPAN
    • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

    “Washington Watch” on TV One
    • Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), chairwoman, Congressional Black Caucus
    • NAACP President Ben Jealous

    • Biden reflects on ‘Bloody Sunday’

      3/3/13 2:37 PM EST By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

      Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Selma, Ala., on Sunday to participate in the annual bridge-crossing commemorating the civil rights march that spurred a violent clash with authorities on “Bloody Sunday” in 1965.

      Biden, speaking at a unity brunch beforehand, said the clash was a “moment of clarity” for the nation, Alabama Live reports:

      Biden said there is obvious progress in the nation, recalling the day that he was waiting at a train station for a “a black man coming from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania” to pick him up for inaugural ceremonies.

      “His name is Barack Obama,” Biden said.

      But Biden also said the fight is not over….during the president’s election, states were passing new laws to restrict voting.

      “Forty-eight years after all that you did, and we are still fighting in 2011, ’12 and ’13,” Biden said.

    • Biden honors Selma march, sees ‘new fight’ over voting rights

      3/03/13 05:06 PM ET By Meghashyam Mali – TheHill

      Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday paid tribute to protesters who took part in the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. and vowed that the administration would be vigilant in the “new fight” for voting rights.

      The vice president spoke at a ceremony to commemorate the march, telling those in attendance that he wished he had joined the protesters.

      “I’m here because I know 47 years ago I should have been here,” Biden said in a speech at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Brunch at Wallace Community College, according to reports. “It’s one of the regrets that I have and many in my generation have.”

      The vice president later led the ceremonial march across Edmund Pettus Bridge, alongside civil right activist Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

      The annual crossing is held in March of every year to commemorate “Bloody Sunday,” the 1965 march where protesters where badly beaten by state troopers with clubs. Images of the violence helped boost support for passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year.

      “There’s courage and there is courage,” said Biden. “There’s a different kind of courage to stand there and face someone with a club in their hand. There’s the courage to look evil in the eye, fight against it, never give up.”

      Biden said that while there had been progress since the march, the work of the civil rights movement had not ended.

      He said that during last year’s presidential election many states had again passed new laws to restrict voting rights and expressed dismay that the Voting Rights At was being challenged in the Supreme Court.

      “Forty-eight years after all that you did, and we are still fighting in 2011, ’12 and ’13,” said Biden.

      “What you all did here 48 years ago changed the hearts and the minds of the vast majority of the American people. That’s why I am absolutely convinced we will win in this new fight in regard to voter access and voting rights,” he added.

      At the ceremony in Selma, Biden was joined by civil rights activists who argued that the law was still need to fight discrimination.

      “We are one vote away from oblivion,” said the Rev. Jessie Jackson. “We are one vote away this morning from the Voting Rights Act being undermined yet again.”

      Read more: http://thehill.com/video/administration/285903-biden-honors-selma-march-sees-new-fight-over-voting-rights-

      —————–

      Biden Selma changed the debate about voting rights

      Published on Mar 3, 2013

  4. March 03, 2013

    Statement by the President on the Passing of Van Cliburn

    This week, we mark the passing of Van Cliburn, one of the most talented pianists of the last century and a musical artist of rare distinction. At the young age of 23, Mr. Cliburn swept the world off its feet with his winning performance at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and he quickly became a beloved ambassador of American culture around the world – especially in the former Soviet Union. His music transcended the challenges of international politics and contributed to an unlikely thaw in Cold War relations. He was truly a man of his moment. Like every President since Harry Truman, I enjoyed the privilege of hearing Mr. Cliburn play, and I am confident that the enduring beauty of his art will sustain his legendary status for years to come. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Mr. Cliburn’s loved ones.

  5. WH

    Monday, March 4, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:30 AM
    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    10:00 AM
    10:15 AM
    President Obama makes an announcement for his nomination of next director of the Office of Management and Budget
    East Room

    Vice President Biden to Address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference
    Washington, DC

    11:00 AM
    11:10 AM
    First Lady Michelle Obama joins a Google+ Hangout to “continue the dialogue about healthy families online.” The Hangout will be moderated by daytime host Kelly Ripa – Washington, DC

    12:00 PM
    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

    1:00 PM
    President Obama holds a Cabinet Meeting at the White House

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  6. Obama to announce OMB director Monday

    3/3/13 6:06 PM EST Jennifer Epstein and Ben White – POLITICO44

    President Obama will on Monday nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be the next director of the Office of Management and Budget, a senior administration confirmed to POLITICO.

    The choice of Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation, has been widely reported since January. She previously spent a decade working for the Gates Foundation and served as deputy director of OMB during the Clinton administration, working with just-confirmed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

    The president will make the announcement in the East Room of the White House at 10:15 a.m. During her previous stint at OMB, Burwell “was one of the principal architects of a series of budget plans that produced a budget surplus, proving her ability to navigate the intricacies of the budget process and to work in a bipartisan way to produce results,” the White House said in a statement Sunday night. “Burwell brings rigorous analytical skills and strong relationships on both sides of the aisle to this new role.”

    “Burwell’s deep knowledge of budget and economic issues along with her record of fighting for working Americans make her the perfect choice to lead the OMB at this important time,” the statement added. “Her record proves that she knows how to cut wasteful spending in a smart way while also making the investments needed to grow the economy, protect the middle class and promote prosperity for generations to come. The president is grateful that she has agreed to serve our country again in this important role.”

    Burwell has to be confirmed by the Senate to take the job.

  7. Biden to address pro-Israel AIPAC

    2/26/13 11:32 AM ET By Julian Pecquet – TheHill

    Vice President Biden will address a prominent pro-Israel lobby’s annual conference on Monday, a White House official confirmed.

    Biden’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference will be closely watched, coming just ahead of President Obama’s inaugural visit to the country later in March. Topics on the trip’s agenda include restarting peace talks with the Palestinians, Iran’s nuclear program and the civil war in Syria.

    Other high-ranking officials who have confirmed their attendance at the AIPAC conference include Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). Biden’s attendance was first reported by JTA news service.

    The conference runs Sunday through Tuesday. It’s expected to conclude with a lobbying push for legislation that would designate Israel for the first time as a “major strategic ally.”

  8. Secretary Napolitano Announces Final Rule to Support Family Unity During Waiver Process

    January 2, 2013
    DHS Press Office

    WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced the posting of a final rule in the Federal Register that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances. The final rule establishes a process that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver before they depart the United States to attend immigrant visa interviews in their countries of origin. The process will be effective on March 4, 2013 and more information about the filing process will be made available in the coming weeks at http://www.uscis.gov/.

    “This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa,” said Secretary Napolitano.

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received more than 4,000 comments in response to the April 2, 2012 proposed rule and considered all of them in preparing the final rule.

    “The law is designed to avoid extreme hardship to U.S. citizens, which is precisely what this rule achieves,” USCIS Director Mayorkas said. “The change will have a significant impact on American families by grly reducing the time family members are separated from those they rely upon.”

    Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States to become lawful permanent residents must leave the U.S. and obtain an immigrant visa abroad. Individuals who have accrued more than six months of unlawful presence while in the United States must obtain a waiver to overcome the unlawful presence inadmissibility bar before they can return to the United States after departing to obtain an immigrant visa. Under the existing waiver process, which remains available to those who do not qualify for the new process, immediate relatives cannot file a waiver application until after they have appeared for an immigrant visa interview abroad and the Department of State has determined that they are inadmissible.

    In order to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence, and demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent. USCIS will publish a new form, Form I-601A, Application for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, for individuals to use when applying for a provisional unlawful presence waiver under the new process.

    Under the new provisional waiver process, immediate relatives must still depart the United States for the consular immigrant visa process; however, they can apply for a provisional waiver before they depart for their immigrant visa interview abroad. Individuals who file the Form I-601A must notify the Department of State’s National Visa Center that they are or will be seeking a provisional waiver from USCIS. The new process will reduce the amount of time U.S. citizen are separated from their qualifying immediate relatives. Details on the process changes are available at http://www.regulations.gov/.

    For more information, visit http://www.uscis.gov.

    • Obama again issues kinder rule for immigration

      Jan 3, 2013 2:50 PM EST By Laura Conaway – Maddowblog

      President Obama took another step toward immigration reform yesterday, issuing a new rule designed to keep families from being separated while they go through the process of getting green cards. Under the old rule, anyone who entered the country illegally and then established a family here had to pick up their papers in their native country. That meant leaving the United States — and their families — for somewhere between three and 10 years. The new rules allow for a waiver of that requirement.

      For those people and their families, the change announced by President Obama matters a great deal. From the New York Times:

      Until now, the risks for those immigrants of leaving the United States to return to their native countries to pick up their visas, even ones that were already approved, had been so great that countless families decided not to apply, adding to the numbers of immigrants living illegally in this country. . . .

      Like many Americans, Ms. Torres said she expected no difficulty gaining legal documents for her husband once they were married. But after learning about the convoluted visa process, she said, “We have waited because we were just terrified of the separation.”

      In broader political terms, Obama’s decision shows that he is willing to do what he can by executive authority, with or without Congress. Back in June, he issued a new rule that allowed for suspending deportations of young immigrants who were brought to this country as children. As you might expect, conservatives are a couple shades of enraged over it.

    • Foreign spouses, children to benefit from U.S. immigration policy change

      1/03/2013 09:46:55 AM PST By Matt O’Brien – Contra Costa Times

      In the latest move to clear paths to legal residency for illegal immigrants, the Obama administration on Wednesday ruled that thousands of foreign spouses and children can stay with their U.S. citizen relatives while applying for green cards.

      The policy “reduces long periods of separation between U.S. citizens and their immediate relatives,” Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said Wednesday in a conference call.

      The shift is a relief for married couples such as California winemakers Erika and Edgar Torres, who have delayed starting a family and lived in fear of forced separation because of immigration troubles.

      They grew up in the coastal town of Cambria and dated while studying at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo before marrying in 2006. But Edgar Torres arrived in California illegally when he was 8, creating legal problems that have dogged the 32-year-old.

      “No one understands, they just assume if you’re a U.S. citizen you can make your spouse legal,” said Erika Torres, 30. “I was pretty naive. I thought I’d marry him, I’d apply and everything would be fine.”

      Until now, thousands of illegal immigrant spouses, parents and children of U.S. citizens had to return to their native countries to apply for permanent U.S. residency, risking months or years of separation from their families.

      “We’re too terrified of the risks of him going down there,” Erika Torres said.”

      The new rule allows them to apply for a waiver in the United States instead. More than 20,000 apply annually for the waiver, which requires U.S. citizens to show “extreme hardship” if their immigrant relative cannot return.

      “Most of my clients weren’t willing to take the risk of not being able to come back,” said Bay Area immigration attorney Randall Caudle.

      Weighing the separation risk against the risk of being undocumented, they “stayed here … without legal status of any kind,” Caudle said.

      The Obama administration announced the proposal last year, but sought months of comments before making it a rule to be published Thursday in the Federal Register. The policy will take effect on March 4.

      For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_22297855/new-immigration-rule-will-ease-family-separations

    • Obama plans to push Congress on immigration overhaul

      1/12/2013 07:23:14 PM PST By Julia Preston – New York Times

      WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week.

      Obama and Senate Democrats will propose the changes in one comprehensive bill, the officials said, resisting efforts by some Republicans to break the overhaul into smaller pieces — separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers or highly skilled foreigners — that might be easier for reluctant members of their party to accept.

      The president and Democrats will also oppose measures that do not allow immigrants who gain legal status to become U.S. citizens one day, the officials said.

      Even while Obama has been focused on fiscal negotiations and gun control, overhauling immigration remains a priority for him this year, White House officials said. Top officials there have been quietly working on a broad proposal. Obama and lawmakers from both parties believe that the early months of his second term offer the best prospects for passing substantial legislation on the issue.

      Obama is expected to lay out his plan in the coming weeks, perhaps in his State of the Union address early next month, administration officials said. The White House will argue that its solution for illegal immigrants is not an amnesty, as many critics insist, because it would include fines, the payment of back taxes and other hurdles for illegal immigrants who would obtain legal status, the officials said.’

      The president’s plan would also impose nationwide verification of legal status for all newly hired workers; add visas to relieve backlogs and allow highly skilled immigrants to stay; and create some form of guest-worker program to bring in low-wage immigrants in the future.

      A bipartisan group of senators has also been meeting to write a comprehensive bill, with the goal of introducing legislation as early as March and holding a vote in the Senate before August. As a sign of the keen interest in starting action on immigration, White House officials and Democratic leaders in the Senate have been negotiating over which of them will first introduce a bill, Senate aides said.

      “This is so important now to both parties that neither the fiscal cliff nor guns will get in the way,” said Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and a leader of the bipartisan discussions.

      For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_22363559/obama-plans-push-congress-immigration-overhaul

    • U.S. Department of Labor’s Celebrates 100 Years of Helping American Workers

      Christopher Sponn March 04, 2013 03:01 PM EST

      Today, the U.S. Department of Labor is celebrating its centennial anniversary. For the past 100 years, the Department of Labor has worked to promote and advance the interests of families, workers, job seekers and retirees of the United States. While protecting the dignity of American workers, the Department has ensured workers have received safety protections and fair wages for their work. The Department of Labor is proud of its many important achievements, from providing the framework for the 40-hour work week to allowing parents to take leave for family emergencies. American workers have always been the backbone of our country and as another century stretches ahead, the Department remains committed to ensuring workers have more opportunities to build a better future.

      * Watch this centennial video that tells the story of the Labor Department.

      * Explore this interactive historical timeline that brings more detailed accounts of the Department’s challenges and achievements covering world wars to economic downturns.

      * Read President Obama’s special proclamation to mark this important occasion

      * View the DOL’s special centennial web page.

    • March 04, 2013

      Remarks by the President in Personnel Announcements

      East Room

      10:27 A.M. EST

      THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. This afternoon, I’ll hold my first Cabinet meeting of my second term. And there will be some new faces, and there will be some familiar faces in new jobs. But there will also be some seats waiting to be filled on a permanent basis. And today, I’m announcing my plan to nominate three outstanding individuals to help us tackle some of our most important challenges.

      One of those challenges is building on the work that we’ve done to control our own energy future while reducing pollution that contributes to climate change. And few people have played more of a role in addressing these issues than current Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Steven has helped us to speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. He’s given more of our brightest young scientists the opportunity to pursue the ideas that will shape our future. So I could not be more grateful to Steve for the incredible contribution that he’s made to this country.

      And now that he’s decided to leave Washington for sunny California, I’m proud to nominate another brilliant scientist to take his place — Mr. Ernie Moniz. There’s Ernie right there. (Applause.)

      Now, the good news is that Ernie already knows his way around the Department of Energy. He is a physicist by training, but he also served as Under Secretary of Energy under President Clinton. Since then, he’s directed MIT’s Energy Initiative, which brings together prominent thinkers and energy companies to develop the technologies that can lead us to more energy independence and also to new jobs.

      Most importantly, Ernie knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, our water and our climate. And so I could not be more pleased to have Ernie join us. And he will be joined in that effort by my nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

      Over the last four years, Lisa Jackson and her team at the EPA have helped us to reduce emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that causes climate change, put in place the toughest new pollution standards in two decades. Lisa is now ready for a well-deserved break. And I want to very much thank Bob Perciasepe, who’s not only been a great Deputy Administrator, but has also been acting as the Acting Administrator. So, please, Bob — everybody give Bob a big round of applause. (Applause.)

      As we move forward, I think there is nobody who can do a better job in filling Lisa’s shoes permanently than my nominee who’s standing beside me here — Gina McCarthy. (Applause.)

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/04/remarks-president-personnel-announcements

      • GOP WRONG WAY

        Asked and answered

        May 9, 2013 11:25 AM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

        It’s been over two months since President Obama introduced Gina McCarthy, an expert on federal air quality law, as his choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Given the severity of the climate crisis and the scope of the administration’s policy options, McCarthy is arguably Obama’s “most significant” second-term nominee.

        She just can’t get out of committee.

        For the second time in as many days, Senate Republicans are using the rules to delay action on one of President Barack Obama’s nominations. This time, it’s Gina McCarthy, the president’s choice to become administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

        Senate EPW ranking member David Vitter, R-La., announced in a letter to Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., this morning that the panel’s Republican members would not be attending. GOP members of the panel met Wednesday evening in the Capitol’s Strom Thurmond Room to discuss strategy on the nomination, but they were coy with reporters after the meeting about what the plan might be. The senators deferred most questions to Vitter, and he generally does not talk to members of the media in the Capitol’s corridors.

        But now, Vitter’s announced the plan, saying the EPW markup of McCarthy’s nomination should be delayed while further questions are answered.

        Ah yes, the unanswered questions. In theory, this might even be a legitimate complaint — senators routinely ask important nominees a series of questions, and if they refuse to answer, it stands to reason the lawmakers will push back.

        But in this case, the complaints are hard to take seriously. BuzzFeed ran an interesting report last night on the number of questions Senate Republicans have asked McCarthy as part of her confirmation process, and to appreciate how ridiculous it’s been, consider this: combine all of the questions submitted for the record by Senate Republicans for the three previous EPA directors. Then double that number. Then double that number again. It still doesn’t come close to the 1,079 questions the Senate GOP has submitted to Gina McCarthy.

        What’s more, Evan McMorris-Santoro added that Vitter has asked 411 written questions, with 242 subparts. “She’s provided answers to them all, but on Monday, Vitter’s office said McCarthy had been ‘unresponsive.'”

        For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/05/09/18148537-asked-and-answered?lite

    • Gina McCarthy for EPA could be Obama’s most significant nominee

      March 4, 2013 at 11:41 am Posted by Brad Plumer – tpm

      The vast majority of President Obama’s second-term agenda on climate change and energy will go through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And now we know who Obama wants to carry it all out: Gina McCarthy.

      My colleague Juliet Eilperin has a nice profile of the new nominee. McCarthy currently heads the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and played a key role in crafting strict new pollution rules, including limits on soot and mercury emissions from power plants. But she also has a “strong working relationship with members of the business community.”

      That could come in handy. McCarthy will face a staggering number of regulatory decisions in the upcoming term — many of them required under the Clean Air Act. And, with Congress deadlocked, it’s likely that many of these EPA rules will be the only action the Obama administration takes on global warming this term.

      So here are some of the biggest and most contentious issues McCarthy will face:

      1) How to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants

      2) How to reduce on methane leaks from natural-gas infrastructure

      3) How to deal with a flurry of pollution rules that have been postponed so far

      For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/04/why-gina-mccarthy-for-epa-could-be-obamas-most-important-nominee/

    • March 04, 2013

      Remarks by the Vice President to the AIPAC Policy Conference

      Walter E. Washington Convention Center
      Washington, D.C.

      10:35 A.M. EST

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.) It’s great to be here. It’s great to be here. (Applause.) Hey, Debbie.

      Ladies and gentlemen, oh, what a difference 40 years makes. (Laughter.) I look out there and see an old friend, Annette Lantos. Annette, how are you? Her husband, Tom Lantos, a survivor, was my assistant, was my foreign policy advisor for years. And Tom used to say all the time, Joe — he talked with that Hungarian accent — he’d say, Joe, we must do another fundraiser for AIPAC. (Laughter.) I did more fundraisers for AIPAC in the ‘70s and early ‘80s than — just about as many as anybody. Thank God you weren’t putting on shows like this, we would have never made it. (Laughter.) We would have never made it.

      My Lord, it’s so great to be with you all and great to see — Mr. President, thank you so much for that kind introduction. And President-elect Bob Cohen, the entire AIPAC Board of Directors, I’m delighted to be with you today. But I’m particularly delighted to be with an old friend — and he is an old friend; we use that phrase lightly in Washington, but it’s real, and I think he’d even tell you — Ehud Barak, it’s great to be with you, Mr. Minister. Great to be with you. (Applause.)

      There is a standup guy. There is a standup guy. Standing up for his country, putting his life on the line for his country, and continuing to defend the values that we all share. (Applause.) I’m a fan of the man. (Applause.) Thanks for being here, Ehud. It’s good to be with you again.

      Ladies and gentlemen, a lot of you know me if you’re old enough. (Laughter.) Some of you don’t know me, and understand I can’t see now, but in the bleachers to either side, I’m told you have 2,000 young AIPAC members here. (Applause.) We talked about this a lot over the years. We talked about it a lot: This is the lifeblood. This is the connective tissue. This is the reason why no American will ever forget. You’ve got to keep raising them. (Applause.)

      Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve stood shoulder to shoulder, a lot of us in this auditorium, defending the legitimate interest of Israel and our enduring commitment over the last 40 years. And many of you in this hall — I won’t start to name them, but many of you in this hall, starting with Annette Lantos’s husband, who is not here, God rest his soul — many of you in this hall have been my teachers, my mentors and my educators, and that is not hyperbole. You literally have been.

      But my education started, as some of you know, at my father’s dinner table. My father was what you would have called a righteous Christian. We gathered at my dinner table to have conversation, and incidentally eat, as we were growing up. It was a table — it was at that table I first heard the phrase that is overused sometimes today, but in a sense not used meaningfully enough — first I heard the phrase, “Never again.”

      It was at that table that I learned that the only way to ensure that it could never happen again was the establishment and the existence of a secure, Jewish state of Israel. (Applause.) I remember my father, a Christian, being baffled at the debate taking place at the end of World War II talking about it. I don’t remember it at that time, but about how there could be a debate about whether or not — within the community, of whether or not to establish the State of Israel.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/04/remarks-vice-president-aipac-policy-conference

  9. 11:10 AM ET
    First Lady Michelle Obama joins a Google+ Hangout to “continue the dialogue about healthy families online.” The Hangout will be moderated by daytime host Kelly Ripa – Washington, DC

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    • First Lady Michelle Obama Participates in a Let’s Move! Fireside Hangout on Google+

      Streamed live on Mar 4, 2013

    • Announcing Let’s Move Active Schools

      Published on Mar 4, 2013

      First Lady Michelle Obama speaks from Chicago during the Let’s Move 3rd anniversary tour about the “Active Schools” initiative, an unprecedented effort to bring physical education back to America’s schools.

  10. March 04, 2013

    Remarks by the President Before a Cabinet Meeting

    Cabinet Room

    1:08 P.M. EST

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is my 17th meeting with my Cabinet; the first one in a second term. And, obviously, we’ve got some familiar faces, we have some new faces, we have some familiar faces in new positions. I want to make sure that I say thank you to all of you for the work that you’ve already done and the work that you’re going to be doing.

    I want to welcome Jack Lew, former Chief of Staff and OMB Director, and now Secretary of the Treasury. We’re thrilled to have him in that position. I want to welcome Mr. Chuck Hagel, who’s in the position of Secretary of Defense. And to all of you, I appreciate everything that you’ve done.

    Obviously, we’re going to be spending some time talking about the potential impact of the sequester on all the agencies and missions across the board. It is an area of deep concern and I think everybody knows where I stand on this issue. We are going to manage it as best we can, try to minimize the impacts on American families, but it’s not the right way for us to go about deficit reduction.

    It makes sense for us to take a balanced approach that takes a long view and doesn’t reduce our commitment to things like education and basic research that will help us grow over the long term. And so I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform that everybody knows is the right way to do things.

    In the meantime, we’re going to do our best to make sure that our agencies have the support they need to try to make some very difficult decisions, understanding that there are going to be families and communities that are hurt, and that this will slow our growth. It will mean lower employment in the United States than otherwise would have been.

    But we can manage through it, and we’re going to rely on the outstanding leadership of all these agencies to make sure that we do whatever it is that we need to get done to help America’s families.

    Now, my agenda obviously is broader than just the sequester, because I laid out both in the inauguration and during the State of the Union a very robust agenda to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to grow this economy and to help families thrive and expand their opportunities. We want to make sure we’ve got a growing middle class and more ladders of opportunity into the middle class.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/04/remarks-president-cabinet-meeting

  11. Wisconsin GOP wants end to weekend voting

    Mon Mar 4, 2013 10:02 AM EST By Laura Conaway – maddowblog

    We’ve known this bill was coming, and now here it is: a proposal by Wisconsin Republicans to cap the hours for early voting and end weekend voting altogether. Wisconsin Assembly Bill 54 got introduced and moved to committee on Friday. From the summary:

    Under current law, a person may apply to the municipal clerk in person to vote using an absentee ballot. In-person applications to vote using an absentee ballot may be made beginning on the third Monday preceding the election and ending on the later of 5 p.m. or the close of business on the Friday preceding the election. Under this bill, in-person applications to vote using an absentee ballot may only be received Monday to Friday between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. In addition, the clerk’s office may not be open more than 40 hours a week beginning on the third Monday preceding the election and ending on 5 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election in order to receive applications made in person. The bill does not require that the clerk’s office be open 40 hours a week to receive applications made in person.

    For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/03/04/17168233-wisconsin-gop-wants-end-to-weekend-voting?lite

  12. Even though he apologized I cannot help but wonder if maybe he is at death’s door and wants to get rught with his Maker. I wonder if this was sincere or out of fear?

  13. Taking New Family Portraits in Japan After the Tsunami

    MARCH 4, 2013 ⋅ BY CHRIS BENDEREV – theworld

    When a disaster hits your country, it’s natural to want to help.

    Yuko Yoshikawa, who runs a photo agency in Tokyo, felt that impulse in the months after a massive tsunami and earthquake devastated much of Japan’s northeastern coast.

    “I wanted to do something by photo,” she said. “But I didn’t know how to do it.”

    Eventually she and one of her photographers, Brian Peterson, figured it out. On weekends they’d round up a group of professional photographers and head up the coast to small, damaged towns. There they’d offer locals the service they were best trained in, taking portraits. They offered their service for free.

    They called themselves Photohoku. They give photos to the people of the Tohoku, which is the region of Japan where many people lost everything in the disaster, including their family photos.

    We caught up with them at a town festival in Yamamoto-cho in Miyagi Prefecture. There were about a dozen or so photographers on hand, shuffling locals to an impromptu photo studio.

    Some were a little self-conscious about getting portraits, including the Aota family, a mother and father with their toddler son. But Brian Peterson quickly put them at ease.

    While he composed the shot, Peterson and the Aoto made small talk—half in simple English, half in Japanese. He’s lived in Tokyo for eight years.

    As Peterson works, his camera produces loud thunks and swipes.
    It’s not digital. Instead, he uses instant film, sort of like a Polaroid. You take a shot, then you wait a few minutes for it develop on the spot.

    As we pass the time, Takuya Aota, the father, explains that he’s a firefighter. He saw the damage in Yamamoto-cho up close. He crawled through the rubble to count bodies.

    For the entire and audio interview: http://www.theworld.org/2013/03/family-photos-tsunami/

  14. Durbin, Kirk gun trafficking bill named in memory of Pendleton

    March 4, 2013 8:43 PM By Lynn Sweet – suntimes

    WASHINGTON–The Senate is poised to move the first bill to curb gun violence since the Newtown massacre, named for Chicago shooting victim Hadiya Pendleton, with Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk among the chief sponsors.

    The bipartisan measure cracks down on gun-trafficking and straw purchases of firearms to get around background checks — problems that have contributed to gun-related crimes in Chicago. At present, there is no federal law banning a person fronting a gun purchase to either sell or pass along the weapon to someone else.

    “This bipartisan bill will crack down on the illegal trafficking of guns and impose strict punishments for straw purchasers. Buying a gun for another to use in a crime will mean a hard time-federal crime,” Durbin, a Democrat, said in a statement.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear the bill on Thursday and it is expected to clear the panel and head to the Senate floor in April.

    Although Congress is considering several other gun-related measures — including the more controversial proposals to ban assault weapons and limit the number of bullets in a magazine — the anti-trafficking/straw purchase crackdown bill will move as a stand-alone piece of legislation.

    For more: http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2013/03/durbin_kirk_gun_trafficking_bi.html

  15. WH

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    Vice President Joe Biden helps serve a wild game dinner to benefit the Whitehall Neck Sportsman Club
    Leipsic Fire Hall, Kent County, Delaware

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:15 AM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden receive the presidential daily briefing

    11:00 AM
    President Obama meets with senior advisors

    12:00 PM
    12:45 PM
    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:05 PM
    President Obama departs the White House en route Bethesda, Md.

    2:20 PM
    President Obama arrives in Bethesda, Md.

    2:35 PM
    President Obama visits the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:10 PM
    President Obama departs Bethesda, Md., en route the White House.

    4:25 PM
    President Obama arrives at the White House.

    5:00 PM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with Secertary Hagel.

    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  16. Service Industries in U.S. Grow at Fastest Pace in a Year

    Mar 5, 2013 7:31 AM PT By Michelle Jamrisko – bloomberg

    Service industries in the U.S. expanded in February at the fastest pace in a year, indicating executives of the biggest part of the economy were looking beyond the division in Washington over the nation’s budget.

    The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index increased to 56 last month from 55.2 in January, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Economists projected the gauge would be little changed at 55, according to the Bloomberg survey median. Readings above 50 signal expansion.

    A pickup in the housing market that’s driving sales at companies such as Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) Inc., along with sustained consumer purchases, is supporting the service industries that make up almost 90 percent of the economy. The figures follow a report last week that showed the fastest pace of manufacturing since June 2011, indicating the expansion may be broadening.

    “Business spending and investment continues to trend fairly strong despite some apparent consumer income pullbacks,” Guy Lebas, the chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, said before the report. “It’s a much more stable outlook.”

    Stocks extended gains after the report, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbing 0.9 percent to 1,539.59 at 10:29 a.m. in New York.

    Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 73 economists ranged from 50 to 56.3. The index, which includes industries ranging from utilities and retail to health care, housing and finance, has averaged 53.6 since the recession ended in June 2009, before today’s report.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-05/ism-services-gauge-in-u-s-rose-to-56-in-february-from-55-2.html

  17. Dow Jones industrial average surges to record

    3/5/13 By STEVE ROTHWELL | Associated Press – 5 mins ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow has never been higher.

    The Dow Jones industrial average surged 154 points early Tuesday, reaching 14,283 and breaking through its previous record high set in October 2007.

    The gains represent a remarkable comeback for the stock market. The Dow has more than doubled since falling to a low of 6,547 in March 2009 following the financial crisis and the Great Recession.

    Stocks have rebounded sharply since then with the help of a large dose of stimulus from the Federal Reserve, even as the U.S. economy has failed to get out of first gear.

    “Whether they want to admit it or not, everyone is very impressed with the resilience of the market,” said Alec Young, a global equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ.

    The last time the Dow was this high, Apple had just sold its first iPhone and George W. Bush had another year as president. The U.S. housing market had yet to implode, and the financial crisis that brought down Lehman Brothers was still a year away.

    Despite the stunning gains in the stock market since then, the U.S. economy has not fared nearly as well. Unemployment was just 4.7 percent when the Dow last reached a record, versus 7.9 percent today.

    Stocks have rallied powerfully this year, impressing even market’s most ardent skeptics, on optimism that the housing market is recovering and companies are slowly starting to hire again. Strong corporate earnings have also helped increase demand. The Dow is already up 9 percent so far this year, which many would consider a respectable gain for a full year.

    The market has benefited from economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve and other global central banks. The U.S. central bank is buying $85 billion each month in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities to keep long-term interest rates very low.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/dow-jones-industrial-average-surges-record-151541694–finance.html

    • Dow surges to new closing high on economy, Fed’s help

      3/5/13 By Ryan Vlastelica | Reuters – 1 hr 34 mins ago

      NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Dow Jones industrial average soared to a record closing high on Tuesday, breaking through levels last seen in 2007 and as investors rushed in to join the party in anticipation of more gains.

      Signs of a strengthening economy, continued support from the Federal Reserve, and fairly attractive valuations compared to other assets have boosted the Dow by almost 9 percent so far this year. A strong reading in the services sector, which accounts for the bulk of economic activity, was the latest indicator of improving demand.

      “I’m surprised at the speed of the gains, which have come at a pace that we can’t annualize. But stocks are still not expensive, and we can expect to continue getting a reasonable advance from here,” said Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Chicago-based Northern Trust Global Investments, who helps oversee $760 billion in assets.

      Gains came across the board, with 10 of the Dow’s 30 component stocks reaching new 52-week highs on a day when 456 securities hit new yearly highs on the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow Jones Transportation Average also closed at a new high after rising 1.5 percent.

      About 71 percent of the NYSE stocks closed higher while 67 percent of Nasdaq-listed shares ended in positive territory. About 6.41 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, slightly below the daily average so far this year of about 6.48 billion shares.

      About 16.9 million contracts changed hands in the U.S. options market on Tuesday, according to options analytics firm Trade Alert. The turnover consisted of 8.90 million calls and 8.01 million puts. The overall option turnover was in line with last month’s daily average of 16.89 million contracts.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/stock-index-futures-signal-early-gains-103258293–finance.html

  18. Senate Delays Negatively Impacting our Judicial System

    Colleen Curtis March 05, 2013 11:45 AM EST

    Ed note: The information on this graphic was updated on March 4, 2013

    In his briefing today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney talked about Caitlin Halligan, who was nominated by President Obama to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ms. Halligan, who has bipartisan support from lawyers and law enforcement, was put forward for this position in 2011.

    Mr. Carney said there will be a cloture vote on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan tomorrow, 726 days after her nomination, and strongly urged the Senate to support an up-or-down vote for this well-qualified nominee. “When Republicans filibustered her nomination in 2011, several of them hung their objections – not on her qualifications or her judicial philosophy – but on the DC Circuit workload. In essence, they didn’t object to her as a judge, just that the seat did not need to be filled. But since then, there has been an additional vacancy, leaving the court with four vacancies (36 percent vacant) – in fact, the court has never been this understaffed in history, with 188 cases pending.”

    Ms. Halligan is not President Obama’s only judicial nominee suffering endless delays for a vote. As the infographic below highlights:

    * 78 percent of President Obama’s circuit court judges have waited more than 100 days for a vote, compared to 15 of President Bush’s nominees.

    * This obstruction also applies to President Obama’s district court nominees. 42 percent of our district court judges have waited more than 100 days for a vote, compared to 8 of President Bush’s nominees.

    * Further, the average wait time for our judicial nominees to get a vote on the floor of the Senate – both for the circuit court and the district court – is 3-4 times as long as those of our predecessor.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/03/05/senate-delays-impacting-our-judicial-system

    • Obama visits Walter Reed

      3/5/13 4:12 PM EST By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

      President Obama returns to the White House Tuesday after a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he spent a little more than an hour visiting wounded troops and their families.

      He met with 10 soldiers, five Marines and one NATO forces member, according to a White House official. He awarded two Purple Hearts and took part in one promotion ceremony.

  19. Senate Intelligence Committee approves Brennan nomination

    3/05/13 04:06 PM ET By Carlo Muñoz & Jeremy Herb – TheHill

    The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday voted 12-3 to approve John Brennan’s nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

    The panel gave its blessing to the White House counterterrorism chief by a large margin after the White House provided members with access to all legal opinions justifying the use of armed drone strikes.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the panel’s chairwoman, did not reveal how members voted in the closed-door session, but said no Democrats blocked his confirmation.

    The panel vote clears the way for the full Senate to take up Brennan’s nomination.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “is committed to moving quickly to schedule a vote,” Feinstein said.

  20. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez dies from cancer: VP

    3/5/13 Reuters – 4 mins 52 secs ago

    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died after a two-year battle with cancer, ending the socialist leader’s 14-year rule of the South American country, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised speech.

    • Obama on Chavez death

      3/5/13 6:22 PM EST By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

      President Barack Obama on Tuesday reaffirmed the United States’ support for the Venezuelan people after the death of their leader.

      “At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government,” he said in a statement. “As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.”

  21. Biden makes surprise visit to hunting club dinner

    3/5/13 8:06 PM EST By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

    Vice President Joe Biden stopped by a firehouse in Delaware Monday night and helped serve a wild game dinner to benefit the Whitehall Neck Sportsman Club.

    He handed out dinner rolls to go along with the wild boar, muskrat and goose salad on the menu, according to The News Journal of Delaware. His son Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden joined him at the dinner, as did Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and more than 420 other guests.

    The event was not on Biden’s public schedule and his office said it was not planned.

    “The Vice President went to the wild game dinner for many years as a senator,” his office said. “He wanted to go again this year with his son Beau and to show support for the sportsmen community.”

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