N.J Senator Rips Obama for Cuba Actions

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez is furious at President Obama for a historical deal with Cuba that paves the way for the normalization of the relationships between the two countries.

Here’s the backstory: U.S. contractor Alan Gross has been held by the Cuban government since 2009. Today, the administration of Raul Castro agreed to free Gross — and another man, held by the Cuban government for 20 years — in exchange for three Cubans convicted of espionage in 2001.

The deal, which should be announced this afternoon, paves the way for a huge change in U.S.-Cuba relations. Obama is expected to announce a loosening of travel restrictions, and start discussions on re-opening the U.S. embassy there. It was closed in 1961.

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Obama Picks Philadelphia Native As New Defense Secretary

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Ashton Carter, a native of Philadelphia and a 1972 graduate of Abington High School, is expected to become the next Secretary of Defense. Carter was formerly the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer and has a doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford.

President Barack Obama ousted Chuck Hagel, who had been defense secretary since February 2013, last week. The New York Times reports Carter “is the only one of several top prospects who did not take himself out of the running for the job.” To quote Homer Simpson, “Default? Woo-hoo! The two sweetest words in the English language!”

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Ramsey to Co-Chair White House Task Force

Philly Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey will help lead the national response to events in Ferguson, Mo, leading a White House task force on “21st century policing.”
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Nutter Joins Mayors Backing Obama on Immigration

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Mayor Nutter has joined with mayors of two dozen other large American cities to offer President Obama support in his efforts to reduce deportations of immigrants residing illegally in the United States.

Cities United for Immigration Action announced its existence today.

“The president’s action on immigration will strengthen our cities. It will keep families together, grow our economies and foster additional community trust in law enforcement and government,” the coalition said in a statement. “We are ready — and together we’re rolling up our sleeves to turn this policy into a better reality for millions of hardworking people in the communities we serve.”

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(Updated) Over Comcast’s Objections, Obama Urges FCC to Reclassify Internet

[Update 12:20 p.m.] Comcast has issued a response to the president’s announcement, from Executive Vice President David Cohen:

“Comcast fully embraces the open Internet principles that the President and the Chairman of the FCC have espoused — transparency, no blocking, non-discrimination rules, and no “fast lanes”, which is the way we operate our network today. We continue to believe, however, that section 706 provides more than ample authority to impose those rules, as the DC Circuit made clear.”

Comcast and cable companies (along with the telcos) have led the broadband revolution, being the first to roll out America’s fastest broadband speeds across the country. As the White House itself acknowledged in its broadband report in 2013, this only happened because we were not subject to the intrusive regulatory regime designed for a different era.

To attempt to impose a full-blown Title II regime now, when the classification of cable broadband has always been as an information service, would reverse nearly a decade of precedent, including findings by the Supreme Court that this classification was proper. This would be a radical reversal that would harm investment and innovation, as today’s immediate stock market reaction demonstrates. And such a radical reversal of consistent contrary precedent should be taken up by the Congress.

The internet has not just appeared by accident or gift — it has been built by companies like ours investing and building networks and infrastructure. The policy the White House is encouraging would jeopardize this engine for job creation and investment as well as the innovation cycle that the Internet has generated.”

[Original 10:30 a.m.] Here’s some federal news with big local implications: President Obama today urged the Federal Communications Commission to classify Internet service as a utility — a move that would give the agency power to enforce “net neutrality” principles.

Philly-based Comcast has long said it supports an “open Internet,” but has opposed the FCC’s move to reclassify broadband service as Obama proposes — saying utility-style rules for Internet service might stifle innovation. (Read the President’s full statement here.)

Obama doesn’t have the final word. The FCC, led by Chairman Tom Wheeler, is expected to make its final decision on the matter next year. Still: We wonder if Comcast’s David Cohen will be hosting any more fund-raising dinners for the president.
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WATCH: Philly Boy Band Serenades Obama at Philly Campaign Stop

President Obama was at Temple University yesterday stumping for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf. While backstage in the green room, the President was treated to a ditty from Philly soul group Brotherly Love, who sang a five-song set at the rally. According to NBC 10, group members asked Obama if they could sing him a song and he not only said yes but he bopped and clapped right along with them, telling the group that they’ve “got a really great single there.”

“He was stoked,” 21-year-old group member King Kasheef told NBC 10. “He’s a genuine guy. Exactly the same as you hear him speak. He’s definitely a stand-up guy.”

Check out the video above, and read more about the group’s experience here.

PHOTOS: Barack Obama and Tom Wolf at Temple University

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President Barack Obama was at Temple University yesterday stumping for gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf. Pennsylvania’s Democratic machinery, including State Senator Mike Stack, Mayor Michael Nutter, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah, and Wolf’s one-time opponent for the nomination, former Pa. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary and former chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Katie McGinty turned out.

Jeff Fusco was on the scene, as well as at a Tom Wolf campaign stop at the 52nd Street ShopRite on Saturday.

View the full gallery after the jump »

Mechanical Issue Forces Obama to Change Planes in Philly

President Barack Obama waves from Air Force One, before departure at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. Obama is traveling to Bridgeport, Conn., and later to Philadelphia, Pa., for a campaign events for gubernatorial democratic candidates in both states. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

President Barack Obama waves from Air Force One, before departure at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. Obama is traveling to Bridgeport, Conn., and later to Philadelphia, Pa., for a campaign events for gubernatorial democratic candidates in both states. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Barack Obama flew to Philly on Air Force One. He left Philly on Air Force One. But he took two planes. How does that work?

Easy — any plane the president rides in is called “Air Force One,” not just the 747 he usually rides around the country in. That plane had mechanical problems, the Washington Post reports:

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The Best Social Media from Obama’s Philly Visit

President Obama was on Temple’s campus Sunday to stump for Tom Wolf. “If we’re going to strengthen the middle class for the 21st Century, we need leaders who understand the 21st Century and understand women are in the workforce,” he told the crowd during a 30-minute speech. (Wolf’s opponent, Gov. Tom Corbett, campaigned in the Philadelphia suburbs with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today, as well.)

Here are some of the best social media posts from Twitter and Instragram from his visit.

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Hope and Change at Last: Why a Republican Senate Will Be Good for America

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This is an article that I know full well most of you don’t give two dung heaps about — the midterm elections.

I know this because poll after poll shows that only half of the American public are interested in the upcoming election and about 10 percent of them are lying. In the last 10 midterm elections, voter turnout has been consistently around 40 percent.

The big national story in Tuesday’s voting will be the fate of the United States Senate. It is easy to lose interest in that narrative locally because our two local Senators up for re-election, Chris Coons (D-DE) and Corey Booker (D-NJ), are expected to coast to victory, as our area becomes bluer and bluer.

Of course, we have the Pennsylvania Gubernatorial election and there have been some signs that Republican Incumbent Tom Corbett is gaining ground. But President Obama’s campaign visit to Temple University on behalf of challenger Tom Wolfe is a sure sign that the Democrats believe they have the race in the bag. The President has only been campaigning for candidates who are far ahead in the polls. Candidates in competitive races don’t want the President anywhere near their campaigns, and some have even refused admitting to voting for the President in the last election.

Here’s why you should care more about the future of the Unite States Senate.

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