Yes, it's real. Good morning, and TGIF!
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Yes, it's real. Good morning, and TGIF!
Your morning open thread begins below...
Amid a deluge of negative news, the Obama administration seems bent on convincing the media and public that it really is still open and transparent. On Wednesday afternoon, the White House released more than 100 pages of emails between top administration officials showing that the CIA drafted and then redrafted the talking points used to describe what, exactly, happened during the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi last September. The House Intelligence Committee requested the talking points to use in interviews with the press.
The White House released more than 100 pages of e-mails on Wednesday in a bid to quell critics who say President Barack Obama and his aides played politics with national security following the deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
The e-mails detail the complex back and forth between the CIA, State Department, and the White House in developing unclassified talking points that were used to underpin a controversial and slow-to-evolve explanation of events last September 11.
You can read all the e-mails here.
But of course, the emails aren't enough for guess who?
Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee which is investigating the matter, told CNN's "Situtation Room" that his staff wants to digest the e-mails. He stressed that they were a selected set of documents as released and the committee is still seeking a range of other information.
I've heard that if you stand facing a mirror after midnight in a dark room and repeat "Benghazi!" three times...Darrell Issa, John Boehner, Dick Cheney and Sean Hannity will appear in your mirror. I advise against trying this at home.
On Saturday, the mother of a young victim of the Newtown massacre, filled in for President Obama on his weekly radio and Internet broadcast. Francine Wheeler said the presence of her son Ben, who was six years old when he was killed along with 19 other first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, gave her the courage to speak out. "Thousands of other families across the United States are also drowning in our grief," she said in a push to get a gun control bill through Congress. "Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy." Wheeler is the first person other than Vice President Joe Biden to deliver the address.
Her husband, David Wheeler, sat silently next to her as she made the recording in the White House Library. Both wore the small green pins that have become a symbol of the shooting:
Hi. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not the President. I’m just a citizen. And as a citizen, I’m here at the White House today because I want to make a difference and I hope you will join me.
My name is Francine Wheeler. My husband David is with me. We live in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
David and I have two sons. Our older son Nate, soon to be 10 years old, is a fourth grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our younger son, Ben, age six, was murdered in his first-grade classroom on December 14th, exactly 4 months ago this weekend.
David and I lost our beloved son, but Nate lost his best friend. On what turned out to be the last morning of his life, Ben told me, quite out of the blue, “ I still want to be an architect, Mama, but I also want to be a paleontologist, because that’s what Nate is going to be and I want to do everything Nate does.”
Ben’s love of fun and his excitement at the wonders of life were unmatched His boundless energy kept him running across the soccer field long after the game was over. He couldn’t wait to get to school every morning. He sang with perfect pitch and had just played at his third piano recital. Irrepressibly bright and spirited, Ben experienced life at full tilt.
Until that morning. 20 of our children, and 6 of our educators – gone. Out of the blue.
Prominent environmental leaders, including the head of the Sierra Club, were arrested Wednesday after tying themselves to the White House gate to protest the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The protesters demand that President Barack Obama reject the pipeline, which they say would carry “dirty oil” that contributes to global warming.
Executive Director Michael Brune is the first Sierra Club leader in the group's 120-year history to be arrested in an act of civil disobedience. The club's board of directors approved the action as a sign of their opposition to the $7 billion pipeline, which would carry oil derived from tar sands in western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the president of Waterkeeper Alliance, was arrested along with his son, Connor, the 18-year-old ex-boyfriend of singer Taylor Swift. In an emailed statement from his organization, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said "It's unfortunate that civil disobedience is the only recourse against a catastrophic and criminal enterprise that will enrich a few while impoverishing the rest of humanity and threatening the future of civilization."
Along with the Kennedys, 350.org founder Bill McKibben, and actress Daryl Hannah were also arrested. Hannah was previously arrested for separate Keystone pipeline protests in Texas last October and at the White House in August 2011.
McKibben said in a statement from Tar Sands Action, “We really shouldn’t have to be put in handcuffs to stop KXL–our nation’s leading climate scientists have told us it’s dangerous folly, and all the recent Nobel Peace laureates have urged us to set a different kind of example for the world, so the choice should be obvious."
In all, 48 environmental, civil rights, and community leaders from across the country joined together for a historic display of civil disobedience at the White House, where they were arrested on Wednesday after they handcuffed themselves to the fence.
Tar sands pipelines have a horrendous track record: the existing Keystone 1 pipeline leaked twelve times in its first year, and at least thirty times to date. In 2010, the added dangers of tar sands pipelines were demonstrated by Enbridge’s Line 6B pipeline spill of over a million gallons of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The Kalamazoo Tar Sands spill is the costliest inland spill in United States history, draining the oil spill coffers and placing the $800 million and rising price tag onto the backs of local and federal taxpayers. But it is not the monetary burden that weighs heaviest; the toll on human life, health and local ecosystems is immeasurable, and in the immediate, the toxicity of the diluted bitumen and undisclosed proprietary chemicals has proven devastating.
Official White House Response to Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.
This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For
By Paul Shawcross
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
The President does not negotiate with Imperialists!
The Obama family bundled up at the White House on Thursday night as celebrities, staff and their children gathered to flip the switch for the 90th annual Christmas tree lighting. The president asked the family to join in in his rendition of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Even "Santa" made an appearance.
Bo makes a final inspection of the 2012 White House Christmas decorations before 90,000 visitors come through the doors of the People's House this holiday season. Find out more about the 2012 White House Holiday celebrations, including the special tributes to troops, veterans and military families at wh.gov/holidays.
Thousands of environmentalists marched outside the White House on Sunday, armed with banners and signs, chanting and voicing their opposition against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
The rally, organized by 350.org, calls for U.S. President Barack Obama to show his commitment to the environment by rejecting the pipeline project, which would run from Alberta to Texas.The demonstration followed a “Do the Math” climate event at Washington, DC’s historic Warner Theater earlier in the day.
"Do The Math" is a 21-city nationwide tour by 350.org, headlined by 350 co-founder Bill McKibben and author Naomi Klein, and is designed to galvanize the climate justice movement in the wake of the election. The tour is helping to launch an unprecedented campaign to cut off the fossil fuel industry’s financial and political support by divesting our schools, churches and government from fossil fuels.
Daniel Kessler with 350.org told CTV News on Sunday that the White House rally was one of a number of stops on a tour across the U.S., talking about climate change and environmental concerns.
“We broke 17,000 temperature records around the globe this year. What we’re seeing is really extreme weather and really extreme temperature. “We’re seeing what the scientists are predicting around climate change,” Kessler said.
“The pipeline would lead to huge amounts of emissions and make the situation worse.”
The "Do the Math" tour picks up where Bill McKibben’s landmark Rolling Stone article left off, and everyone who comes will be asked to join a growing movement that is strong enough to stand up to the fossil fuel industry.
To attend a "Do the Math" event, you can purchase tickets here.
From the mouths of babes! Parenting magazine went to a block party in Brooklyn one recent afternoon to do some polling on the current election. Their mission: to find out exactly what is on the minds of our littlest citizens. Because Parenting truly believes as I do, that the children are our future. And our future is clearly...tiny Wonder Woman.
Is the GOP employing a racist strategy to get Mitt Romney into the White House? Watch this video to find out.