July 2013

Jul 24, 2013

Obama Focuses on Economy, Vowing to Help Middle Class

By Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

President Obama tried to move past months of debate over guns, surveillance and scandal on Wednesday and reorient his administration behind a program to lift a middling economy and help middle-class Americans who are stuck with stagnant incomes and shrinking horizons.

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Jul 23, 2013

What Helen Thomas Taught Us

By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

I was about a year out of college, still writing wedding announcements and features like the “Auntie Litter” column for my hometown newspaper, when Helen Thomas came to San Antonio to give a speech. For the women in the newsroom, it felt like having the pope in town.

By the late 1970s, we had arrived in journalism. But it sometimes felt as though we had landed without a map or a translator. So we were not going to miss an opportunity to actually meet the reporter who more than anyone else seemed to have figured it out.

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Cybercrime May Cost US Economy $100 Billion, Says New Study

By Eamon Javers, CNBC

Quick—how much money does cybercrime cost the U.S. economy every year? Don't know? Neither does anyone else. Like other illegal activity, cybercrime is very hard to count because the crime mostly happens in secret. Think of the wide-ranging estimates for the drug trade, for example, or even insider trading.

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Zimmerman Verdict Poll: Stark Reaction By Race

By Jon Cohen and Dan Balz, The Washington Post

The not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman has produced dramatically different reactions among blacks and whites, with African Americans overwhelmingly disapproving of the jury’s decision and a bare majority of whites saying they approve of the outcome, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

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Conservatives Push to Cut Off Some NSA Funding

By Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

A cadre of conservatives is pushing the House to vote for the first time on reining in a controversial National Security Agency program that collects information about phone calls made by millions of Americans.

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On the Economy, Obama is Faltering Under His Own Terms

By Jim Tankersley, The Washington Post

President Obama thinks “Washington has largely taken its eye off the ball” on economic issues, and he’s planning a batch of speeches this week to make the case for more action. Good. Because by Obama’s own measures, the economy needs a lot of help.

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Obama to Deliver Series of Economic Speeches

By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

President Obama will travel this week to Illinois, Missouri and Florida to deliver speeches about the slowly recovering U.S. economy and to accuse Republicans of playing politics.

Obama will speak Wednesday at Illinois’ Knox College, where he spoke before becoming president, and then travel to the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo. By Thursday, the president will be in Jacksonville, Fla.

“The point is to chart a course for where America needs to go – not just in the next three months or even the next three years, but a steady, persistent effort over the long term to restore this country’s basic bargain for the middle class,” White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer explained in a blog post Sunday.

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Jul 22, 2013

Obama, from Rev. Wright to Trayvon Martin

By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

President Obama’s comments on Friday about the killing of Trayvon Martin were remarkable in many respects, but not least because of the distance he has traveled since the equally notable speech he delivered in 2008 during the controversy about his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

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Kerry’s Day-and-Night Pursuit Reaps Fragile Mideast Talks

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan & Nicole Gaouette, Bloomberg News

When John Kerry stepped onto his plane in Amman, Jordan, after announcing he had brokered a preliminary deal to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, his staff broke into applause.

The U.S. secretary of state has invested his prestige and much of his time, through day-and-night shuttle diplomacy in six trips over six months, in reviving negotiations that broke off in September 2010. The immediate goal is for Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to meet in Washington “within the next week or so,” Kerry told reporters on July 19.

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Even the Aide Who Coined the Hastert Rule Says the Hastert Rule Isn't Working

By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

House Speaker John Boehner has a tough job -- so tough that Democrats have taken to pitying him. "I feel sorry for the speaker," Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, recently confessed. New York magazine described Boehner as "one of the most beleaguered powerful people in Washington," and quoted one of his closest allies, former Rep. Steve LaTourette, as being unable to fathom what Boehner likes about his job. There's a rumor going around that Boehner's preparing to chuck it all and retire.

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“Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me”

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

The essential bet of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign was that the country was ready for an African-American president. He appealed to that same sense of hope again Friday in the White House briefing room. After a week of emotional reactions to the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, President Obama made a bet that he could contribute something useful in the aftermath, and that despite all of the partisanship of the last five years and America's tragic history with the issue of race, there would be some portion of the audience that would actually listen to what he said. If it was a renewal of his original promise, it was also fulfillment of it for many. No other president could give that talk.

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NSA Growth Fueled by Need to Target Terrorists

By Dana Priest, Washington Post

Twelve years later, the cranes and earthmovers around the National Security Agency are still at work, tearing up pavement and uprooting trees to make room for a larger workforce and more powerful computers. Already bigger than the Pentagon in square footage, the NSA’s footprint will grow by an additional 50 percent when construction is complete in a decade.

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