January 2014

Jan 31, 2014

Executive Action

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

One hundred and seventy-nine years ago today, President Andrew Jackson had a close call. The 67-year-old president emerged from a funeral in the House chamber and was set upon by Richard Lawrence, a housepainter who was off that day. Initiating what would become the first assassination attempt in American history, Lawrence tried to fire his pistol. It made a large bang, but the president did not fall. The percussion cap had detonated, but the gunpowder failed to ignite.

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Turns Out, Joe Biden Was Right About Dividing Iraq

By James Kitfield, National Journal

In his new book Duty: Memoir of a Secretary at War, Robert Gates memorably impugns Joe Biden's judgment as "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." Central to his argument is Biden's opposition to the "troop surge" that President Bush and then-Defense Secretary Gates launched in 2007 to bolster a shaky government in Baghdad and save Iraq from a sectarian civil war.

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Will Immigration Reform Finally Happen?

By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

In this snowbound summer town on the frozen Chesapeake Bay, about 100 reporters crammed into a maritime-themed restaurant, half a mile down the road from the hotel where the Republican members of the House of Representatives were holding their annual retreat. It was cold, and there was not enough coffee to go around.

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House GOP unveils immigration 'principles'

By Susan Davis and Alan Gomez, USA Today

House Republican leaders unveiled on Thursday their principles for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws. Their plan would require tighter border security and more interior immigration enforcement and allow the nation's undocumented immigrants to "get right with the law" and stay in the country.

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Obama turns attention to federal job training

By Christi Parsons, Tribune Newsapers

President Obama sat down at his portable signing table at a gas engine plant here Thursday to order an across-the-board review of how to improve federal job training programs.

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Big Companies Join Obama in Initiative to Help Long-Term Unemployed

By Peter Baker, The New York Times

President Obama has persuaded some of the nation’s largest companies, including Walmart, Apple, General Motors and Ford, to revamp their hiring practices to avoid discriminating against applicants who have been out of work for a long stretch of time.

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Jan 30, 2014

Low-income students falling behind on reading proficiency

By Reid Wilson, Washington Post

Learning to read by the end of third grade is crucial, those who study early childhood education say, because that’s the point at which children start using reading to learn other subjects. Those who are proficient in reading by the end of third grade are much more likely to graduate from high school, and to be economically successful as adults.

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Top Intelligence Official Assails Snowden and Seeks Return of N.S.A. Documents

By Mark Mazzetti and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

The nation’s top intelligence official on Wednesday delivered a scorching attack on Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, and called on him and his “accomplices” to return the trove of classified documents he took from the N.S.A.

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The Farm Bill: Proof That Congress Is Getting Better

By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

The farm bill passed the House with remarkable ease Wednesday. That's a big deal, and not just for those directly affected by the legislation (farmers and food-stamp recipients): It's the latest sign that Congress has rediscovered its ability to get things done.

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Obama Touts New Retirement Savings Plan

By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

Accompanied by his Treasury secretary, President Obama flew to Pittsburgh Wednesday to unveil a new retirement savings vehicle for workers, and at the same time encouraged Congress to take up related legislation.

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Obama takes agenda on tour, urging boost in minimum wage

By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

He has taken to saying he has a pen and a phone that he can use to work around Republicans in Congress, but President Obama also has a jet and a helicopter.

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Touring States, Obama Pushes Modest Agenda

By Peter Baker, The New York Times

As President Obama took to the road on Wednesday to promote an “opportunity agenda” that he vowed to enact with or without Congress, lawmakers began sorting through issues on which they may yet come together during what promises to be a treacherous midterm election year.

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