Tag Archive: President Obama

The White House Social Media Open House

On Wednesday, January 29th the White House is opening their social media doors to answer our questions in real time.

As described on the White House Blog

“On Wednesday, January 29th, with a nod to history (and maybe the TV show the West Wing), the Obama Administration is hosting the first-ever virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day”, during which dozens of White House officials will take to social media for a day long open house to answers questions from everyday Americans in real-time on TwitterFacebookTumblrInstagram, and via Google+Hangout.  You can start asking questions now using#AsktheWH.

This is an opportunity for all of us. I am sure the BJ community has plenty of ideas. Share what you will ask here and if you get an answer.

I will be asking about public education – in particular the controversies over high stakes testing that were snuck it as part of the Common Core State Standards. But mostly I want the President to know that his public education policies need to be redirected away from the market model and back into a social contract that truly invests in the public part of education.

What’s Happening Today, Fri. 08/30/2013

Syria On Our Mind: Some 140 congressmen (largely Republicans) have signed a letter to President Obama asking him to take no action in Syria without congressional approval. U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) signed the letter with very specific reasons: “The idea of taking intrusive military action before there is good international understanding of the facts is foolish – especially at a time when the experience of Iraq remains so fresh in our minds.” Good for him! Others who signed the letter with possibly less altruistic, sensible reasons include Republican congressmen Scott Garrett (CD 5) and Frank LoBiondo (CD 2). Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, who believes we should not be the policeman of the world, opposes intervention. Sen. Bob Menendez supports a punitive strike. A spokesperson for Senate candidate Mayor Cory Booker “suggested that inspectors be given as much time as possible so that there exists as much international support as possible for military action – action that should be a last resort.” Learning more about the anticipated outcome and an exit strategy  also seem important.

Local Chamber & Business Groups Call on NJ House Representatives to Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform: 11:00am, Morris County American Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Offices, 325 Columbia Turnpike, Florham Park. As the NJ Congressional Delegation returns to DC on September 9th, leaders urge Representatives to support broad immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey announces its plans to reach female voters through a multi-tiered field program in the months leading up to the November general election. The program aims to educate and mobilize New Jersey voters on the phones, at the doors, and through social media about the need to support candidates who have a strong record of standing up for women’s health.

Public Schedule It may be Labor Day Weekend but these officials are laboring today:

Buono/Siva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono along with other speakers: Rep. Rob Andrews (CD 1), Senate President Steve Sweeney, Mayor Cory Booker: 9:30am, AFL-CIO Central Labor Council South Jersey Labor Day Event, Collingswood Grand Ballroom Scottish Rite Auditorium, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood; Barbara Buono and Councilman John Loffredo: 7:15pm, Meet & Greet, Brickwall, 522 Cookman Ave., Asbury Park; Barbara Buono and Newark Mayor Cory Booker: 8:00pm, Asbury Park Run, Asbury Park High School, 1003 Sunset Ave, Asbury Park.

Governor and gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie: His week-long romp through our beach towns (how good it is to be a governor!) ends with walks on the boardwalk, 11 am, Bradley Beach and 3:00pm, Seaside Heights.

U. S. Senate candidate Cory Booker: In addition to the above activities with Barbara Buono: an early afternoon stop with Mayor Pasquale Menna and Vin Gopal, Monmouth County Democratic chairman, at Riverside Gardens Park, Red Bank, then with Gopal and Mayor Matthew Doherty for a stroll on the boardwalk, Belmar.

Failure of Our U. S. Senate To Pass Gun Legislation

A sad day for people who believe we need stronger gun violence laws. Some 90% of the public support strengthened background checks. As President Obama pointed out, about 90% of the Democrats in the Senate today agreed with the public. 90% of the Republicans disagreed, and they will have to live with their decision. Some Republican Senators may have avoided a primary from a candidate further to the right, but some may yet lose their seat  to a more moderate candidate in touch with a broader public.

In spite of being ill NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg was on the floor and received applause from his colleagues when he voted in favor of the initial key Manchin Amendment No. 715. It was designed to ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and provide a responsible and consistent background check process.” The amendment received 54 votes in favor, including that of NJ Sen. Menendez, but needed 60 votes for passage. Sen. Lautenberg’s amendment No. 714 to regulate large capacity ammunition feeding devices received only 46 votes in favor. To see the votes on all amendments go here.

President Obama said this evening, “Those who care deeply about preventing more and more gun violence will have to be as passionate, and as organized, and as vocal as those who blocked these common-sense steps to help keep our kids safe.” He vowed that this effort is not over.

In the meantime it is now up to our New Jersey Legislature to show the courage so absent from many U. S. Senators.

Sequester: For NJ Republican Congressmen Dogma Trumps Devastation

Our “Do Nothing” Republican congressmen are of no help in resolving the looming federal sequestration. They all merit a phone call, tweet, e-mail or letter to urge them to resume negotiations which include revenue enhancements.

The federal sequestration law was designed to encourage budgetary compromise. It imposed such devastating cuts if compromise was not achieved that most thought it would never be implemented. Well there has been no compromise. President Obama insists that any plan should include revenue enhancements such as higher tax for the wealthiest and a reduction of tax loopholes for corporations. Tea Party and fiscal hawk Republicans refuse to consider revenue enhancements and insist on only steep cuts in spending.

If there is no compromise by the end of February the federal government will have to start trimming $85 billion between March and September. The Office of Management and the Budget projects that sequestration would cut economic growth in 2013 by half. New Jersey Citizen Action said the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected more than 43,000 job losses in the Garden State alone in 2013. This Star Ledger article  documents some of the doomsday effects on our state.

Below are comments gleaned from five Republican congressmen.  

  •  Scott Garrett (CD 5) bluntly on Facebook says: “If [President Obama] won’t drop his tax increase and negotiate in good faith, as he hasn’t during his Presidency, then the sequester is the only way that any spending is going to be cut.”

  • Leonard Lance (CD 7) on his website says, “Contact the President , Vice President and others to avoid the devastating impact of sequestration.”

  • Chris Smith (CD 4) in a news release says, “Obama totally fails to reduce spending” and likewise places the onus on the President.

  • Frank LoBiondo (CD 2) on Twitter expresses concern about “impacts on FAA and Coast Guard” but not about negotiations.

  • Jon Runyan (CD 3) on NJ Today spoke with more concern than other colleagues indicating he fears sequester would severely harm South Jersey, but he does not veer from the Republican position. He said, “There’s still time to avoid the automatic cuts… He takes particular aim at President Obama …  and adds that South Jersey may be especially impacted given that it is so “defense heavy.”

  • Get Involved. Learn More.

    promoted by Rosi

    I am happy to announce my campaign website – www.VoteMarkAlexander.com – is now live. Take a few moments to read where I stand on the issues, how to get involved, and stay up-to-date on media reports and blog posts.

    Every day I am talking to voters and bringing my case directly to working class families in the 34th District. We need new representation in Trenton who will deliver real results. With property taxes rising every year and the disparities in our schools becoming greater every day, now is the time to send a message to the establishment in the Democratic Party.

    We need fresh faces with new ideas in the State Legislature.

    This website and social media outreach is meant to build on the conversation I already started with voters across Clifton, East Orange, Montclair, and Orange. Reach out and tell me your thoughts and problems, so I can better talk to the issues facing our communities and address the things effecting people’s lives when I get to the State Senate.

    Fundraising is off to a great start, but I need sustained grassroots donations if I’m going to take on the machine. Any donation of $10, $25, or even $50 can go a long way in helping us rent office space, buy campaign supplies, and reach voters in the district.

    Can I count on your support?

    Be sure to reach out to me directly at contact@votemarkalexander.com with any questions or concerns. Anyone interested in an internship can send their resumes to that email. You can also “Like” our new Facebook page and follow me on Twitter to hear from me on the campaign trail.

    A call for interns!

    Promoted by Rosi. If the Gill campaign is also looking for interns, they can post that request here, too.

    To students across Northern New Jersey, the Alexander for Senate campaign is looking for capable individuals of all stripes to join our team this Spring. We are looking for folks to do communications, field, and finance work based out of our Montclair headquarters. College credit can be arranged! Residents of Clifton, East Orange, Montclair, and Orange are especially encouraged to apply.

    This won’t be making copies and stuffing envelopes, you’ll be working under a top-notch team of political consultants with experience in local, county, state, and federal campaigns. Plus, there will be a lot of interaction with our candidate: a former Obama Senior Advisor and veteran of races with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Senator Bill Bradley, and Senator Ted Kennedy.

    All interested parties should email their resumes to contact@votemarkalexander.com.

    Full disclosure: I am a paid staffer working on the campaign.

    Polls: Much Ado About Margins of Error

    Polls – love them or hate them – are here to stay. Polls may be statistically significant (outside the margin of error) or statistically not significant (within the margin of error).

    Often people calculate statistical significance as twice the reported margin of error of the poll. This is done following the logic that if one candidate is at 55% and the other at 45% and the poll has a ±5% margin of error, then the first candidate could be as low as 55−5 = 50% and the second could be as high as 45+5 = 50%. In this case reporters would say the race was a statistical dead heat because the gap between the candidates (55 − 45 = 10%) is not more than two times the margin of error of the poll (5%).

    There are other factors to consider: how recent was the poll, how large was the sample size, does the pollster have a reputation for bias, and are there other polls with which to compare it. If there are more than two candidates in the race or a substantial number of undecided respondents the results may be confounding. In general, however, where the results of one candidate versus the other are more than twice the margin of error, there is considerable likelihood of statistical significance.

    Polls for the Senate race in New Jersey have consistently shown Senator Bob Menendez in the lead over State Senator Joe Kyrillos. Real Clear Politics provides him with an average 18.5 point lead based on four recent polls which have Menendez up 22, 20, 18, and 14 points. Reviewing the margins of error of these particular polls suggest they are all statistically significant.  

    Polls for the Presidential race in NJ have also consistently shown President Obama in the lead over Mitt Romney. The five most recent polls have Obama up 14, 15, 7, 8, and 11 points. Real Clear Politics provides him with an average 11 point lead. All the polls are statistically significant, except for the one with Obama leading by 7 points.

    In our congressional districts there are two strongly contested races which are leaning Republican. In CD 3 I know of only one poll, the the Stockton poll of October 4, which indicates incumbent Republican Jon Runyan leads Democratic challenger Shelley Adler by a margin of 49 percent to 39 percent among likely voters. The margin of error is +/- 4% suggesting it is statistically significant. Unfortunately I know of no other poll with which to compare it. In CD7 where incumbent Republican Leonard Lance is challenged by Democrat Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, I have seen no poll.

    Regarding the presidential tracking polls nationally, today’s Real Clear Politics (RCP) has  47.1% for President Obama and 46.9% for Mitt Romney. The most significantly outlying poll, the Gallup Poll, as of today had Obama 45% and Romney 52% – a 7 point Romney lead with a +/- 2% margin of error – rendering it statistically significant. The other eight most recent polls in the RCP computation have Romney ahead by 2, 1, and 1 points; Obama ahead by 6, 3, 3 and 1 points; and one tie. Only the Gallup Poll holds statistical significance. The Presidential Electoral College Maps, based on state polls, show considerable variance. RCP has Obama with 201 likely/leaning votes and Romney with 206 likely/leaning votes and 131 toss up votes. POLITICO apportions the toss up states and has Obama with 277 votes (enough to win) and Romney at 261. Anyway you look at it, this race is a cliffhanger filled with statistical uncertainty.

    Another pesky thing about polls is they can change. So with little more than two weeks to elections, stay tuned and check those margins of error.  

    Panic! At The Campaign (Part Deux)

    Cross-posted at A New Jersey Farmer

    Hey kids, remember in June when the Obama campaign was supposedly panicking? I sure do. That’s why I wrote about it.

    Well here we are again at a crisis point in the race. The debate went very badly for the president. He seemed uninterested, unengaged, unfocused, blah, blah, blah. In fact, he was all of those things. But to think that this race is over or that the debate performance means that he’s going to lose is hogwash. Bunk. Horse puckey. Wrong.

    Pascrell: Fighting for LGBT Equality

    Dom is the mayor of Haledon. promoted by Rosi

    Following President Obama’s historic announcement in support of marriage equality, the progressive community has been reenergized.  His support for this important civil rights issue can’t be quantified.  We all need to follow his lead and fight to elect progressive Democrats like Bill Pascrell that are going to stand up and fight for our LGBT brothers-and-sisters.  As an early supporter of marriage equality myself, I know how important this issue is to our progressive community. Unfortunately, Bill’s opponent is doing everything he can to distort his record to remain in Congress.  I’m with Bill Pascrell this June because I know he is the real fighter in this race standing up for our progressive Democratic values. He won’t cut-and-run from any fight. Don’t just take my word, see why Michael Galluccio is standing with Congressman Bill Pascrell.

    No Gas Pipeline JC: “Dear Mr. President” Edition (or, “Where’s Chris Christie?”)

    With Spectra Energy acquiring key permits last week, the company’s proposed pipeline – set to wind its hazardous path directly through the center of one of New Jersey and the U.S.’ most densely populated areas – creeps closer to becoming reality. That’s despite opposition from basically everyone in Jersey City. (Get the backstory here and here.)

    And as The Jersey Journal reports, it’s gotten to the point that Mayor Jeremiah Healy is now reaching out to President Obama:

    “The proposed pipeline would transport an unprecedented, potentially disastrous quantity of gas through the heart of Jersey City – traversing everything from low-income neighborhoods to high-rise communities to the nationally critical financial district known as ‘Wall Street West’ …On behalf of Jersey City, its quarter million residents, its ever-burgeoning development, its thriving, multi-billion dollar economic sectors, and its precious and diverse ecosystems, we ask you to put a stop to the New Jersey-New York Expansion Project’s pipeline plans.”

    Soaring! And hey, maybe the president will step in! And double hey, what’s Governor Christie got to say about this? Why isn’t he swooping in to grab a choice opportunity to defend his state?

    Good question.  If you’re in Iowa or Massachusetts or whatnot, do us all a favor and ask him.