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Hello

Lengthy mishmash ahead.

First, Ed Schultz AWESOME piece from yesterday:

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Mike Papantonio, the lawyer for many of the affected plaintiffs:

"I was glad to see Obama get a $20 billion down payment on that obligation because I've dealt with companies like this as you probably know, over the last 25 years and I've heard promises and I've seen them talk like they have compassion and sympathy for the victim. at the end of the process, it's always their corp rated defense lawyers that bill $2,000 an hour and try to make those victims go away with nothing. When all the smoke clears on this all that talk's going to be great but Obama was smart enough to say, look, that might be fine, but right now i want $20 billion. You might remember Dick Cheney and George Bush took BP behind closed doors on that 100-day meeting and ended up giving BP  millions of dollars. The reverse of this is you have Obama that will took BP behind closed doors and said give the consumers $20 billion. This is a very different picture from the last presidency, I can tell that you much".


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Kris Broughton

....And President Obama, he of the "no drama" school of leadership, has extracted a commitment for a $20 billion dollar cash down payment on the damages this catastrophe has caused from BP, a feat no other president in the history of this country has managed to pull off while the catastrophe in question is still ongoing...

....Reagan would have acted his way out of this. Clinton would have talked his way out. Bush would have conferred with Cheney.

Obama will think his way out of this, the same way he promised us he would almost eighteen months ago, and the same way he actually does it every single day, many thousands of highly charged synapse firing incessantly until he and his team arrive at the necessary resolution.

No chest beating required.

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Andrew Sullivan: Getting shit done

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...This is just a glimpse into the distortion inherent in our current political and media culture. It's way easier to comment on a speech - his hands were moving too much! - than to note the truly substantive victory, apparently personally nailed down by Obama, in the White House yesterday. If leftwing populism in America were anything like as potent as right-wing populism - Matt Bai has a superb analysis of this in the NYT today - there would be cheering in the streets. But there's nada.

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He drives his opponents mad, and in the end, their total incoherence and malice will hurt them. In the end, because he won't take the Modo bait, the destruction of the populist ideological right will be more effective and profound because it will be self-destruction. Yes, this means that you have to endure these loonies posturing and making shit loads of money from it for the foreseeable future. But that merely requires steel and patience. Maybe some Democrats, liberal cable hosts and bloggers could do with a little more of both.

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....And that's why Obama's incrementalism, his refusal to pose as a presidential magician, and his resistance to taking the bait of the fetid right (he's president - not a cable news host) seems to me to show not weakness, but a lethal and patient strength. And a resilient ambition.

Know hope.

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Louisiana resident' moving email to Sullivan:

"For whatever it's worth, I'm a native of and currently live in Louisiana, about 20 miles outside of New Orleans. My dad is a Cajun river rat in the truest sense, born and raised in Southeastern Louisiana. His father's native language is Cajun French -- literally, he had to learn English as a boy. My dad has never fished commercially, but it defines his out-of-work, weekend persona -- it dominates his spare time. He often talks about a dream life living in a shack somewhere out in the marsh, fishing all day. He's a product of the cultural fabric of southeastern Louisiana.

My dad comes home from work these days depressed about the oil spill. He thinks about it all damn day, and, like many here, he has no shortage of outrage at everyone involved in this mess.
When Obama pivoted to his remarks about "The Blessing of the Fleet, my dad started crying".

Maureen Dowd can talk all she wants about these amorphous, nebulous standards like a "Clint Eastwood moment" or whatever, and Anderson Cooper is free to think he knows the people here better than anyone because he's been here for a few weeks, but Obama connected with my dad last night -- of that I can be sure. And trust me, my dad isn't exactly a pushover".

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TPM:

...Obama had no actual power to compel that aside from moral suasion and the threat of having an unhappy president. Legally, BP could have just waited for the lawsuits and drawn the whole thing out for years. As a lawyer, I find it a unique and mind-boggling accomplishment. So, Obama comes along, says "set up a 20 billion fund, have an independent administrator in charge, and start paying damages." He had no power to order that. But BP said, "yes, sir." And it was done.

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What a difference a day makes:

As we wrote yesterday, the Obama White House won’t have a "good day" regarding the Gulf spill until it finally stops. But yesterday wasn't bad. Consider: BP agreed to a $20 billion escrow account that Ken Feinberg will manage; at the White House's urging, BP is suspending its dividends for the rest of the year; BP is voluntarily setting up a $100 million fund to help oil workers impacted by the offshore moratorium; and BP is setting up a $500 million fund to monitor the health of Gulf Coast residents for the next decade. The White House got everything it was hoping for from BP, and it's easily the best day the White House has had on the spill since it became the dominating story that it is. The Oval Office speech wasn’t a home run, but the speech combined with yesterday’s developments might have represented an "inflection point" in the perception about how the White House is handling this crisis.

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The FP chose to highlight the "disappointed" part from Gail Collins column in the NYT today. Here's the other part:

Unlike Bush, he has no national consensus to build upon. He’d barely finished his muted remarks on Tuesday before the House minority leader, John Boehner, accused him of exploiting the crisis "to impose a job-killing national energy tax on struggling families and small business." Michael Steele, the Republican Party chairman, claimed that the president was "manipulating this tragic national crisis for selfish political gain." And the ever-popular Representative Michele Bachmann denounced the BP restitution fund as "redistribution of wealth" and "one more gateway for government control."

As a political leader, Barack Obama seems to know what he’s doing. His unsatisfying call for a new energy policy sounded very much like the rhetoric on health care reform that used to drive Democrats nuts: open to all ideas, can’t afford inaction, if we can put a man on the moon. ... But at the end of that health care slog, he wound up with the groundbreaking law that had eluded his predecessors for decades. The process of wringing it out of Congress was so slow and oblique that even when it was over it was hard to appreciate what he’d won. But win he did.

Ironic. The man we elected because we hoped his feel-good campaign speeches might translate into achievement is actually a guy who is going to achieve, even if his presidential speeches leave us feeling blah.

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Media Matters: How Bush got a free pass from the press during Exxon Valdez disaster

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If you go back and look at the coverage, in the days following the first reports that the Exxon supertanker’s hull had ruptured on Bligh Reef, spilling more than 10 million gallons of oil into the pristine Prince William Sound, a gusher that ended up covering 11,000 square miles of ocean, you’ll see that Bush was mostly a non-player in that unfolding drama, which quickly became the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Bush barely even warranted mention during the blanket news coverage.

In terms of reporting on the Exxon Valdez disaster, which was punctuated by constant claims from locals that the oil industry, with its nonexistent contingency plan, as well as the federal government, with its decidedly hands-off approach, had woefully botched the cleanup (sound familiar?), Bush remained, in the eyes of the press, a non-entity, a spectator. And not the kind of bystander who got tagged with blame, which was why there was virtually no Beltway media chatter about how the Exxon spill would play out politically for the new White House inhabitant. It wasn’t even discussed.

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WH announce $250 million in new funding to expand primary health care workforce

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The new funding – part of the Prevention and Public Health Fund – will help prepare the health system to meet the demand for health care workers with a new initiative that will train and support thousands of new doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants.

Combined with the earlier investments made by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the provisions of the Affordable Care Act will support the training, development, and placement of more than 16,000 new primary care providers over the next five years.

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AP-GfK poll: big jump in support of health care reform

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The vital signs are improving for President Barack Obama's health care plan.

The latest Associated Press-GfK poll on Obama's top domestic achievement finds support for the new overhaul has risen to its highest point since the survey started asking people about it in September - six months before it became law.

The results now: 45 percent in favor, 42 percent opposed. That's a significant shift in public sentiment considering that opposition hit 50 percent after Obama signed the health plan into law in late March and that in May, supporters were outnumbered 39 percent to 46 percent.

"I thought when people began to realize what was in the health care package that they would see it's a good, solid program and that would dispel some of the misinformation," said Brigham Young University English professor Claudia Harris, 72, of Orem, Utah
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And, speaking of HCR, here's the president speaks to the American Nurses Association last night:


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Obama Helps Buoy U.S. Popularity Abroad

BERLIN — Struggling at home, President Obama has maintained much of his high popularity abroad after more than a year in office, a new global survey has found, receiving high marks for his handling of the economic crisis and the lowest for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to a survey of nearly 25,000 people in 22 countries published Thursday by the Pew Research Center, the popularity of the United States has risen most notably over the past year among respondents in Russia and China.

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Positive attitudes toward Mr. Obama himself remain overwhelmingly strong among America’s West European allies, according to the survey, with 90 percent of Germans, 87 percent of French and 84 percent of Britons expressing confidence in Mr. Obama to do the right thing in world affairs, compared with 65 percent of Americans surveyed.

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Among the more surprising results of the survey was the substantial improvement in Russian attitudes toward the United States. Of those surveyed, 57 percent said they had a favorable view of the United States, an increase of 13 percentage points over the previous year.

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Obama spends $1.2 billion on cycling and walking initiatives

The Obama administration more than doubled spending on cycling and walking initiatives to $1.2 billion (£810 million) last year as it seeks to coax Americans out of their cars.

The new focus on biking and walking represents a turnaround from the administration of President George W Bush. Mary Peters, transportation secretary under Bush, dismissed biking paths and trails as projects that "really are not transportation," saying they had no place in federal transportation policy.

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Biking and walking is on the rise, according to the report, which is based on annual survey data. The number of reported walking trips has more than doubled since the first survey, from 18 billion in 1990 to 42.5 billion in 2009. Bicycling trips saw a similar increase, from 1.7 billion to 4 billion during the same period.

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Pundits Steal the Speech

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Apparently, President Obama gave a speech. If only we could hear him over the televised roar of people talking about it.

....By the time Obama appeared, CNN and MSNBC had done a thorough job of telling the audience how to judge what he said. (I imagine Fox did the same, but it’s so riddled with its own pathologies I didn’t check.)

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BEST YOUTUBE CLIP EVER...;)

"Everybody look at me, i'm a dummy on TV"

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All by AP
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First lady Michelle Obama speaks to Marines and their families during a speech at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in San Diego, Sunday, June 13

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President Obama greets members of the audience following his remarks at an event with military personnel at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., June 15. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
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President Obama arrives to speak before the American Nurses Association House of Delegates June 16, 2010 in Washington, DC

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Originally posted to blackwaterdog on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 01:09 PM PDT.

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