(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s “Funny or Die” video interview with Zach Galifianakis is doing more for the Obama administration than making people laugh.
According to White House Senior Communications Advisor Tara McGuinness, the “Funny or Die” website is driving its viral video watchers straight to the healthcare.gov site. In fact, it’s the number one referral website to the healthcare exchange Tuesday.
Even President Obama reached out to say thanks to Galifianakis for the web traffic spike, signing the tweet -bo, meaning that the President himself sent the tweet.
So was President Obama’s interview with the comedian a ploy to tell young people about the health care exchange?
“The President’s interview with Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns was designed to reach Americans where they live,” Carney said. “They watch this show in huge numbers.”
Carney said that it’s all part of the administration’s effort to reach an audience that doesn’t read newspapers or watch the evening news.
“I think what it says is that gone are the days when your broadcast, or yours, or yours, can reach everybody that we need to reach,” Carney said.
Carney said it was “safe to say” this interview was unlike any ever done by another President, but he said it didn’t denigrate the office of the Presidency.
“I think we knew that there would be an opportunity to talk about healthcare.gov,” Carney said. “There’s a lot of adlibbing in there. I can tell you there’s a lot of adlibbing.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- CIA Director John Brennan challenged allegations made Tuesday by a senator that the CIA hacked into computers used by staffers from the Senate Intelligence Committee, calling the notion “beyond the scope of reason.”
Earlier in the day, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairperson of the committee, took to the Senate floor to express “grave concerns” that the CIA had conducted an unauthorized search of a standalone computer network used by the committee to gain access to classified CIA documents about the agency’s controversial rendition program.
In January, the CIA contacted the committee with information that it believed staffers may have gained access to documents that should not have been on that network. Senators on the committee believe the CIA was able to determine that only by violating an agreement that the CIA would not have access to the computer network.
In a lengthy and blistering speech, Feinstein said she believed the CIA may have acted illegally in conducting a search that also “may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.”
“Besides the constitutional implication, the CIA’s search may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the computer fraud and abuse act, as well as executive order 12333 which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance,” Feinstein said.
But Brennan refuted the accusations.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Brennan said as he spoke before a gathering of the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington. "I mean, we wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we would do.”
In her remarks, Feinstein said she had asked for an apology “and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate.”
She added, “I have received neither.”
“We are not in any way, shape or form trying to thwart this report’s progression [or] release,” said Brennan.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid backed up Feinstein at a news conference.
“I support Senator Feinstein unequivocally,” Reid said. “I am disappointed that the CIA is apparently unrepentant for what I understand they did.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee has not released the exhaustive report that determined the CIA’s own documents raised questions about the agency’s rendition program. After 9/11, the CIA held high-level detainees at secret prisons where they were submitted to intense interrogation techniques. The program ceased operating in September 2006 when President Bush announced the transfer of 14 high-level CIA detainees to Guantanamo.
On Jan. 15, Brennan contacted Feinstein to inform her and the committee’s vice chairman, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, that the CIA had recently performed a “search” of that network. That had led the CIA to determine that committee staffers had been given access to files that should not have been on the network. The Justice Department is now investigating the matter.
Feinstein said Tuesday that since then she had tried “to resolve this dispute in a discreet and respectful way," but that the “the increasing amount of inaccurate information circulating now cannot be allowed to stand unanswered.”
Last week, Brennan released a statement expressing his dismay that “some members of the Senate have decided to make spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts.”
He encouraged lawmakers to take their time and not “overstate what they claim and what they probably believe to be the truth. These are some complicated matters.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Obamacare Enrollment Over 4 Million, Still Missing Critical Millennials
(WASHINGTON) -- Less than three weeks remain in the open enrollment period for Obamacare, but according to new statistics from the administration, a critical age group still isn’t turning out in needed numbers.
As of March 1, over 4.2 million have found insurance coverage through the online state and federal exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s a 22 percent increase over January’s 3.3 million and within possible striking distance of the 6 million estimated by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to enroll before the March 31deadline.
But persons aged 18-34 share only a quarter of the enrolled, down two points from a month ago, a missing but crucial demographic for the law, which banks on the young and healthy Millennial generation to bring down costs.
Regardless, the administration maintains they expect millions more Americans -- particularly youth -- to sign up before the end of the month, owing to last-minute procrastinators.
“We learned from the Massachusetts experience that young adults tend to sign up later in the process. So we know that millions of Americans are finally obtaining the security of affordable health coverage and that’s there still time for others to sign up,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday, referring to the state’s similar healthcare overhaul in 2007.
The White House has lobbied hard for that demographic through celebrity endorsements, humorous ads, social media campaigns, and other targeted outreach programs.
Just hours before the HHS report, President Obama himself pitched his signature achievement in an interview with actor and comedian Zach Galifianakis for a “Funny or Die” video web series.
Previous ads have ranged from a guitar-strumming hipster via Oregon’s state-run exchange, to a young man in pajamas, care of the president’s independent advocacy group, Organizing for Action.
The administration has said that if enrollment reached 7 million, millennials would need to make up 40 percent to keep insurance prices from rising.
Republicans immediately jumped on the numbers Tuesday as a canary in the coal mine.
“It seems the president’s push to enroll young adults is far too little, too late,” House Speaker John Boehner’s office said in a written statement. "The administration won’t tell us how many people have actually paid for a plan or how many were previously uninsured. But what we do know is that young adults -- those who the White House repeatedly said are critical -- are deciding the health care law is a bad deal.”
People who are not covered by health insurance by March 31 may be hit with fines, although a wide range of exemptions exist for reasons including hardship and incarceration. Eighty-three percent of enrolled have selected plans eligible for financial assistance, according to the administration.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s pick to lead the embattled National Security Agency committed Tuesday to making the actions of the agency more transparent for Americans.
“I would attempt to be as transparent as possible with the broader nation about what we're doing and why. I would try to ensure a sense of accountability in what the National Security Agency does,” Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, the president’s nominee to head the NSA, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday. “The nation places a great deal of trust in this organization. It has an incredibly important mission. It's a mission that involves a tension in our society, given the fact that the fundamental rights of the individual are so foundational to our very concept of a nation.”
At his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Rogers, who has led the Navy’s cyber command since 2011, outlined the cyber risks facing the country, including risks posed by “hacktivists.”
“We face a growing array of cyber threats from foreign intelligence services, terrorists, criminal groups and hacktivists, who are increasing their capability to steal, manipulate or destroy information or networks in a manner that risked compromising our personal and national security,” Rogers said. “They do so via a man-made environment that is constantly evolving and through the use of techniques and capabilities that are continually changing.”
“This is hard work and it requires change -- something seldom easy either for individuals or for organizations. If confirmed as the commander U.S. Cyber Command, my priority will be to generate the capabilities and capacities needed to operate in this dynamic environment and to provide senior decision makers and my fellow operational commanders with a full range of options within the cyber arena,” he said.
During a back-and-forth with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Rogers weighed in on whether Russia is capable of conducting cyber attacks against Ukraine.
“I'm not prepared to comment on the specifics of nation-state behavior. Clearly, cyber will be an element of almost any crisis we're going to see in the future. It has been in the past. I believe we see it today in the Ukraine. We've seen it in Syria, Georgia. It increasingly is becoming a norm,” Rogers said.
“As we work with the Ukrainians and other nations to attempt to figure out what's the best way to address them, whether it's the Ukrainians ask for specific technical assistance, I think we'd have to work through everything on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(TRENTON, N.J.) -- The aide to Gov. Chris Christie at the center of a massive scandal now threatening Christie’s political future, stepped out of the shadows Tuesday as her attorney fought to keep her emails and phone records out of reach of the committee investigating last September’s controversial closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
Bridget Anne Kelly, who was Christie’s deputy chief of staff, sat quietly in a Trenton courtroom and her attorney, Michael Critchley, seemed to suggest the former aide wanted immunity so she could testify about what happened at the bridge and whether it was a move to punish a local politician who wouldn’t back Christie.
During the lengthy hearing, Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobsen said to Critchley, “You act as if they could very easily afford immunity and that would take care of everything.”
Critchley snapped his fingers and said, “Like that, like that.” He added, “They don’t want to give us immunity, not that they can’t."
Critchley suggested that a federal probe being carried out by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman may be preventing Kelly getting immunity.
"I don’t know what happened when Mr. Schar met with Mr. Fishman. He probably said, ‘Do what you want to do, but don’t interfere with our investigation and one way to interfere with our investigation would be to grant immunity,’” Critchley told the judge.
Reid Schar is the attorney representing the state investigative panel that has subpoened Kelly's emails.
Kelly and Christie's former campaign manager Bill Stepien, who were both fired by Christie when the scandal broke, are citing their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to not comply with the subpoena. Stepien did not appear in court, but his attorney Kevin Marino appeared on his behalf.
Schar told the judge, "This is not, has not been, and the subpoenas are not fishing expeditions of any sort.”
Kelly and Stepien have “communications responsive and relevant to this topic,” Schar argued.
"Here we have communications specific to the lane closures by both of the defendants in this case," he said. "From our perspective that's sufficient to meet that reasonable particularity standard."
David Wildstein, a former Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which operates the bridges and tunnels connecting the two states, has already handed over documents which include emails and text messages. Kelly and Stepien are on some of those emails, including an infamous email that Kelly allegedly wrote to Wildstein saying, “It’s time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
Kelly, wearing a black cardigan and white pearls, sat watching the three attorneys, at times stopping to take notes.
Schar told the court that from the “scope” of emails they do have, Kelly and others “routinely” went off of government email to private email accounts to discuss the lanes closure.
The judge asked whether it was an “inference” whether there were more documentation and Schar replied no.
“It’s not an inference, it’s a knowledge at this point considering the amount of emails,” Schar said.
“We think we have a right to everything,” the lawyer added.
Jacobsen also asked Schar why Kelly and Stepien don’t have reasonable cause to fear criminal prosecution since the U.S. Attorney is also investigating the lane closures. The judge also questioned whether the subpoena was overly broad.
Marino, Stepien's lawyer, insisted that handing over the documents would incriminate his client.
He also said that the investigation was politically motivated, echoing what Christie allies have said of the panel dominated by Democrats. Marino said his role was to bring this “out of the realm of politics and into the realm of law where it belongs.”
It’s not clear when the judge will rule if the documents do need to be turned over.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- The House will pick up Tuesday where it left off last week -- addressing its growing concerns surrounding Russia’s apparent violation of Ukrainian sovereignty in Crimea.
The House is expected to pass a resolution condemning Russian military forces for “a blatant violation of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity” in the Crimean peninsula while contending that the intervention “poses a threat to international peace and security” and is in violation of international law.
The resolution demands that Russia withdraw all military forces in Crimea and end support of separatist and paramilitary loyalists. It also calls for the deployment of international monitors and requests that the the U.S.’s allies join together to boycott the G8′s planned meeting in Sochi and meet to consider expelling Russia “given its record of international aggression, domestic repression, and human rights records that are inconsistent with democratic standards.”
Early Tuesday evening, the House will also receive a classified briefing at the Capitol from several senior administration officials, including Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Nuland joined Secretary of State John Kerry on his March 4 visit to Kiev, where they met with Ukraine’s new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the briefing confirm that in addition to Nuland, the administration officials coming to speak to the members are Derek Chollet, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Robert Cardillo, Deputy Director for Intelligence Integration at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, along with David S. Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and Daleep Singh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia, from the Department of Treasury.
Last Thursday, the House voted to authorize the Obama administration to extend loan guarantees to Ukraine, worth up to $1 billion. The House also previously approved a resolution February 10 “to support democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear.”
House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans have also pressured President Obama to increase exports of natural gas to Europe because Russian President Vladimir Putin is exerting “an energy stranglehold” on several countries in Europe.
On Tuesday, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer expressed support for relieving Russia’s energy dominance in Eastern Europe and told reporters at the Capitol that he believes Republicans and Democrats should present a “united front” as the United States considers its options.
“Certainly using the assets available to us -- one of which is assuring both from Europe’s standpoint and U.S. standpoint and other partners around the world that the Ukraine is not blackmailed by energy cut off from Russia -- that’s something that is worthwhile to consider,” Hoyer, D-Md., said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says she has “grave concerns” the CIA has conducted an unauthorized search of a computer network used by Congress.
In a lengthy and blistering speech on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, the California Democrat says she believes the actions of the CIA may be illegal. She said the search “may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.”
“I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate,” Feinstein said. “I have received neither.”
Her comments are an escalation of the ongoing tensions between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is undertaking a deep review of the controversial interrogation and detention program. The CIA has been trying to keep the review from becoming public.
“Besides the constitutional implication, the CIA's search may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the computer fraud and abuse act, as well as executive order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducing domestic searches or surveillance,” Feinstein said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- It’s not every day you see this: President Obama sitting down with comedian Zach Galifianakis for his video series, “Between Two Ferns.”
During the interview, Obama is deadpan and the two have a few hilarious exchanges.
“In 2013 you pardoned a turkey. What are you going to do in 2014?” Galifianakis asks Obama.
Obama: “We’ll probably pardon another turkey.”
Galifianakis: ”What is it like to be the last black president?’
Obama: “What is it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?”
Obama razzes Galifinakis about how Bradley Cooper carried those Hangover movies, and suggests the third version didn’t work out too well -- just as a third Obama term would not be satisfying.
The president finally gets around to pitching health care reform for young people, apparently the reason the White House agreed to the six-minute interview.
During the wonky parts about signing up for coverage, the bored-looking Galifinakis asks, “Is this about drones?”
“Between Two Ferns” is recorded in front of a black drape, the chairs set between two ferns. Near the end, Obama reaches out and pushes a red button on the table next to him. The backdrop noisily crashes to the floor, revealing the session is actually being taped in the White House Diplomatic Room. The president feigns irritation that anyone cleared Galifinakis into the White House at all.
A White House spokesman confirmed that the interview with Obama was recorded two weeks ago.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Democrats kept their promise to stay up all night as they powered through a sleepless night into Tuesday morning to talk about climate change.
The all-night session marked the 36th in Senate history, according to the Senate historian’s office.
Thirty senators were slated to speak into Tuesday morning, with younger members such as Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, taking the shifts in the dead of the night.
In one of the more theatrical moments of the overnight session, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., borrowed a page out of the late-night playbook of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, by reading a passage from Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.
“Recently, the books of Massachusetts author and national treasure Dr. Seuss have been popular and read on the Senate floor. I wish I had the time to read the entirety of his environmental classic The Lorax,” Markey said late Monday night. “But since there are so many senators who want to talk about the impacts of climate change and the benefits addressing it will bring our country, I will just have to close with this short portion.”
“‘But now says the Once-ler, now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not,’” Markey read. “So to my colleagues here in the Senate and everyone watching and following tonight, thank you for caring a whole awful lot.”
Senate Republicans viewed the all-night session as a political stunt, which Democrats denied.
“It’s probably necessary to have something that’s all night, because you keep saying and I hear it over and over, ‘Climate change is real, it’s real, it’s real,’” Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said. “Maybe if you keep saying it’s real, people will believe it.”
“Kind of interesting that this is happening during the cold spell that hasn’t been much fun in Oklahoma,” Inhofe added.
Schatz, the Democrat from Hawaii, said in response, “Pointing out a window on a cold day and laughing about climate change is one of the most profoundly unserious things that otherwise good and responsible leaders in this chamber do.”
The Democrats didn’t promote a specific piece of legislation in their overnight session, but it was intended to serve as a rallying cry for the party on the issue of climate change.
The marathon session also will send a message to big Democratic donors, like California hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, who has pledged to spend $100 million in the midterm elections to support candidates who support climate change legislation.
“Climate change is the defining issue of our generation,” Steyer said in a statement that praised Senate Democrats’ efforts overnight.
But Senate Democrats who are in tough re-election races, like Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Mary Landrieu, D-La., Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, notably did not participate in the overnight effort.
Democrats were united in calling out Republicans who deny the effects of climate change.
“Climate Change is real. It’s here,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor Monday night. “It’s time to stop acting like those who ignore this crisis. For example, the oil baron Koch brothers and their allies in Congress have a valid point of view. They don’t.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, “Climate change deniers need to wake up and realize that the scientific diagnosis about warming the planet is real. We need to take action.”
Prior to the start of the all-night talk-a-thon, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., tweeted a photo of the senators’ preparing for the overnight session.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., joked about how the senators would power through the night.
“We have espresso coffee on tap,” he said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(NEW YORK) -- Most Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll support economic sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine -- but only if the United States’ European allies participate.
The result marks a general preference in U.S. attitudes for allied rather than unilateral action on international conflicts. In this case, 56 percent support imposing joint U.S.-EU economic sanctions on Russia. But support for the United States acting alone declines to 40 percent.
Views of Barack Obama’s handling of the situation, for their part, are evenly divided, in line with his recent job approval marks overall. His ratings on the issue, as on others, are highly partisan: Seven in 10 Democrats and six in 10 liberals approve, while three-quarters of Republicans and strong conservatives disapprove.
Obama last week took steps to freeze the assets of Russian individuals and entities tied to the country’s actions in Crimea and to deny U.S. visas to Russian officials involved in the situation. European leaders are meeting this week to consider economic and diplomatic steps; some analysts say they may feel constrained by greater economic ties between Europe and Russia.
This poll, produced by ABC for Langer Research Associates, finds that backing for sanctions falls by similar levels among Republicans, Democrats and independents -- by 16, 17 and 20 points, respectively -- when moving from multilateral to unilateral action. Democrats and Republicans go to an even split, while independents shift from 53 percent in support to 57 percent opposed.
Liberals and moderates also switch from majority support to majority opposition if European allies aren’t on board. Conservatives go from six in 10 in support to evenly divided.
Support for multilateral sanctions is greater among men, younger adults, college graduates and higher-income earners than among their counterparts. In all groups, though, backing for unilateral U.S. sanctions fails to reach a majority.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- The rivalry between a couple of Republican Tea Party darlings intensified Monday as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul took a not-so veiled swipe at Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in an op-ed published by the conservative Breitbart News.
While not naming names, Paul referenced comments Cruz made at the recently concluded Conservative Political Action Conference in which Cruz talked about emulating the foreign policy successes of the late President Ronald Reagan along with faulting the GOP for nominating who he considers conservative lightweights such as Mitt Romney and John McCain for president.
Paul, who may be seeking the GOP nod for the White House in 2016, wrote, "I will remind anyone who thinks we will win elections by trashing previous Republican nominees or holding oneself out as some paragon in the mold of Reagan, that splintering the party is not the route to victory."
Although the two senators are in synch about domestic issues, particularly regarding cutting government spending and repealing the new health care law, they split on foreign policy. Cruz has said that he disagrees with Paul's more isolationist approach to handling the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Responding to that, Paul wrote in Breitbart News that the party is more in line with him that Russia should be isolated while holding back militarily, adding, "What we don’t need right now is politicians who have never seen war talking tough for the sake of their political careers."
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate on Monday passed the military sexual assault bill, 97 to 0, eliminating the "good soldier defense," but keeping any prosecutions of sexual assaults within the chain of command.
This legislation was an alternative to a measure the Senate narrowly blocked last week that sought to strip military commanders of their authority to prosecute sexual assaults.
The “good soldier defense” has been routinely used over the years, with soldiers holding sterling military records less likely to be prosecuted on assault complaints.
“It is not the end of this,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who along with Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., sponsored the measure.
She said the overwhelming support “shows the bipartisan commitment we have to stopping the scourge” of sexual assault in the military.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a prebuttal Monday to the Democrats' all-night talk session, calling the Democrats' climate change position "cruel" because he believes it negatively impacts workers in the coal industry.
“There is a depression in Appalachia. An absolute depression. Families are losing work because of government attacks on the coal industry. Communities are hurting," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "And tonight you’re going to hear 30 hours of excuses from a group of people who think that’s ok. Well it’s not ok. It’s cruel."
“It’s cruel to tell struggling coal families that they can’t have a job because some billionaire from San Francisco disagrees with their line of work," he said.
“My colleagues say they’ll spend the entire night talking about how we need to wake up and take action. I want to challenge them to think about acting in a way that puts these Americans first. And not spend 30 hours pretending like they don’t exist," he said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Monday honored college athletes from across the country at the White House, saying they embodied the championship spirit on the field and in their communities.
“No matter what sport you play, no matter where you come from, for the rest of your lives every single one of you is going to be able to call yourselves a national champion,” the president told the students, who all won NCAA Division I championships.
“A title like that means not just performing your best when the spotlight is on and the game is under way, but also pushing yourself even harder when nobody is watching… That’s the championship spirit that we’re celebrating today -- not just the trophies in the display case back home, but the drive and the toughness and the teamwork that put them there,” he said at the ceremony on the White House South Lawn.
The athletes represented a wide range of sports, including soccer, volleyball, hockey, lacrosse, fencing, golf and tennis.
The president also praised the students for being role models and giving back to their local communities. “That’s the kind of ethic that shows this is not just about winning. It’s about learning how to lift other people up. That’s what makes a true champion,” he said.
Obama lauded the women’s teams in particular for paving the way for his own two daughters. “There was a time when college women’s athletics was relegated to second status. And all of you here are showing the incredible strides that we’ve made over the last couple of decades,” he noted.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Democrats kicked off their all-nighter on climate change Monday night with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying they were “standing up against the deniers.”
“Climate change is real. It’s here,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “It’s time to stop acting like those who ignore this crisis. For example, the oil barren Koch brothers and their allies in Congress have a valid point of view. They don’t.”
Reid and other Senate Democrats noted the climate change deniers who serve in Congress and urged their colleagues to take action to stem the impact of climate change.
“Despite overwhelming scientific evidence and overwhelming public opinion, climate change deniers still exist, there’s lot of them. They exist in this country. They exist, I’m sorry to say, in this Congress in the House and in the Senate."
“There is only one major political party in the world that denies…the scientific evidence that points to climate change and the fact that the world we’re living in is changing with extreme weather patterns, is changing the life that we lead, and the future for many generations,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said.
“Climate change deniers need to wake up and realize that the scientific diagnosis about warming the planet is real. We need to take action,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.
“Climate change is real. Climate change is caused by humans and climate change is solvable and we will not rest until Congress wakes up and acts on the most pressing issue of our time," Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said.
The all-night session does not focus on any specific legislation, but serves more as a rallying cry for Democrats on the issue of climate change.
The number of senators participating increased to a total of 30 Senate Democrats, according to Schatz. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., tweeted a photo of the senators preparing for the overnight session.
Prior to the start of the all night talk-a-thon, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., joked about how the senators will power through the night.
“We have espresso coffee on tap,” Leahy said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
|3rd Annual Special Kids Race|
Sat. (March 22, 2014) 7AM 3rd Annual Special Kids Race starting at Murfreesboro Medical Clinic (1272 Garrison Drive) and continuing through the area along with the historic Stones River National Battlefield. You decide whether you wish to be in the 15K, 5K or 1-mile event. Sign-up quickly, because this has been a sell-out for the past two-years. In addition to runners, they also need CHEER GROUPS. Your scout group, church or Sunday school class, civic club, etc. can volunteer to stand along the route and cheer the runners. See website for fees (they are different for each race). To register: https://runsignup.com/Race/TN/Murfreesboro/SpecialKidsRace.READ MORE »
|Annual Willie McGowan Banquet|
Fri. (March 14, 2014) 7PM The annual WILLIE McGOWAN BANQUET at Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center (415 S. Academy St.). Rev. James McCarroll will be the emcee, and the guest speaker is John Brown, Sr. The 2014 honorees are: Elaine Washington, Rev. Vincent Windrow, Dr. Gloria Bonner, J. W. Robinson, and Nancy Vaughan. Tickets are $30. For information, phone Bradley Academy Museum & Cultural Center (615-867-2633).READ MORE »
|Bald In The Boro|
Fri. (March 14, 2014) 4-8PM BALD IN THE BORO at Lanes, Trains and Automobiles Entertainment Depot (450 Butler Drive). Worldwide, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. And in the U.S., more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease. St. Baldrick's Foundation funds research to change these realities. For more information, contact Marshall Campbell (615-708-1542) or Denise Flanagan (615-542-1531).READ MORE »
|Beesley Animal Foundation's "Paws and Pearls"|
Thu (May 8, 2014) 6-9PM The 5th Annual Paws and Pearls to benefit the Jesse C. Beesley Animal Humane Foundation at the historic Corners on the River in Readyville, Tennessee (1990 Readyville St.). This is the historic home built in 1829 by State Commissioner and former Murfreesboro Mayor Charles Ready, Sr. One of its unique qualities was that part of the home was in Rutherford County, while another section in Cannon County. It is now the home of Karen and Bob Ford. This fundraiser benefits the Beesley Animal Foundation that runs a specialty clinic for spaying and neutering cats and dogs to prevent unwanted litters. They also provide educational programs stressing the importance of responsible pet care. The foundation also provides financial aid to families who are unable to spay or neuter their cat or dog. Goodness Gracious at The Mill will provide the food for the evening. Julie’s Bartending will be serve wine donated by Ted Robinson from Murfreesboro Wine and Spirits. Short Mountain Distillery will offer slow pours of their Tennessee Shine and Apple Pie Moonshine. Cynthia Jones Photography will be on hand documenting the evening. Again this year, be prepared to dance the night away to the musical stylings of Larry and Gay Pinkerton and The Eclectics. Art Growden has graciously donated a 20x20 Pup Portrait to be auctioned off during Paws and Pearls. Tickets for this event are $65 per person. Please RSVP by April 24, 2014: 615-217-1030. Visit their website: www.beesleyfoundation.com or www.facebook.com/PawsandPearls.READ MORE »
|CHICKEN and RIBS COOKING CLASS|
Sat. (April 12, 2014) 8AM-2:30PM "Chicken and Ribs Cooking Class" at the Lion's Clubhouse in Cannonsburgh (312 S. Front St.). The check-in is at 7:30AM, and the class begins sharply at 8AM. It's taught by Murfreesboro's George Smith ("The BBQ Doc") and Pulaski's Al Knowles ("The Old Marine"). Class fee is $70 if you register by April 1st, or $80 after that. DEADLINE: April 8, 2014. CLICK HERE for an application.
READ MORE »
|City Hall Rotunda Art Show|
M-F (now - March 14, 2014) 8:00AM-4:30PM ART SHOW in the rotunda of the Murfreesboro City Hal (111 W. Vine St.). The public is invited to see the paintings of Steve Matthews with the show entitled "Regiment Continuing Up The Hills. There is a reception for Matthews from 4:30-6:00PM on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014.READ MORE »
|Discovery Center Presents "Good Health" Climbing and Kayaking Exhibit|
M-Sat 10AM-5PM/Sun 1-5PM (Feb. 1-March 11, 2014) The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring (502 SE Broad St., at Maney Ave.) invites you to discover the Good for You: Healthy Fun on the Run. High Point Climbing School and Champion Kayaker, Lucien Scott is demonstrating climbing and display his kayak and explain his kayaking technique. For more information, call the Discovery Center at 615-890-2300.READ MORE »
|Electronic Recycling |
Sat. (March 22, 2014) 9AM-Noon ELECTRONIC RECYCLING EVENT at the Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors office (311 Butler Drive). Recycle cell phones, all phones and communications devices, flat screen TV’s, keyboards, game consoles, laptops, hard drives, printers, cameras, cable set top boxes, DVD players, stereo equipment and speakers, home office equipment, computer equipment, security equipment, copiers, fax machines (list of acceptable items at http://us.simsrecycling.com/Locations/~/media/AE7A15A342BD4C8CACE639E941B03F26.ashx For more information, phone Susan Pinkerton Woolsey at 615-893-2242 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.READ MORE »
|Exchange Club's Celebrity Waiters Dinner|
Thu. (April 3, 2014) 6PM reception/7PM dinner Fifth Annual Exchange Club Celebrity Waiters Dinner at the Stones River Country Club (NW Broad St.). Proceeds from this fun event benefit the Exchange Club Family Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. The event this year will feature a “Island Escape Theme”. Tables will be decorated with the island flowers, sand and beach buckets. Each table will be named after an island. The sounds of a steel drum band will greet the guest as they arrive. Dress for the event is island casual. Individual tickets are $125, and a table for eight is priced at $800. Reservations and tickets are available by calling 893-2067 or 849-5300.READ MORE »
|Forming "Bocce Ball" League|
A "Bocce Ball League" is being formed. Three teams would play Thursdays at 6PM and 2 would compete Saturday mornings at 9AM. Members must be age 18 or old. The league is looking for retirees, MTSU students, police and fire teams,etc. If you have never played, free lessons are provided. The Bocce League is open to everyone, and meet at the three carpeted courts at St. Rose Church (Tennessee Blvd.). For information, phone Jim Harding (615-785-2761).READ MORE »
|Golfing Friends NEEDED |
Local resident Carl Stadtmiller is aiming to start an official men's senior golf league in Rutherford County. Stadtmiller told WGNS the only requirements are that you love golf and be over 50. The group will play a round every Wednesday starting in April.
If you would like to join, call Carl at 615-896-1314.READ MORE »
|Historical Society Opens Ransom School On Saturday Mornings: Volunteers Needed|
Saturdays, 9AM-Noon: The Rutherford County Historical Society has opened the Ransom School (717 N. Academy St.) to the public on Saturdays from 9:00AM to Noon. Volunteer teams are needed to cover these hours. Preferably a man and women team. If you are interested in participating in this historical project, please contact Gwen Boyd email@example.comREAD MORE »
|Lawn Care 101|
Sat. (March 8, 2014) 8:30AM Class on "Lawn Care 101" at the Lane Agri Park (315 John R. Rice Blvd.) has been CANCELLED! For details, phone Mitchel Mote at 615-898-7710.READ MORE »
|McFadden Community Center Partially Re-Opened|
There are major renovations underway through mid-May at McFadden Community Center on Bridge Avenue. Renovations are progressing well, and only the Community Center remains closed. Other services are open. The Rutherford County Emergency Food Bank and Community Development Program are both up and running as usual. NOTICE: Entry to the Food Bank, Community Development, Child Care and John Callow's office is on the side facing Bridge Avenue (main door still not open). If you have questions, call the Parks' office at 615-890-5333.READ MORE »
|MTSU's Todd Art Gallery features "2nd Nashville Art Gallery Expo"|
Mon-Fri (Feb. 20-March 13, 2014) 8:30AM-4:30PM MTSU's TODD ART GALLERY is alive with beautiful creations (all media) from mid-state artists. It's the 2nd Nashville Art Gallery Expo. The economic influence of the Nashville area is felt worldwide. The cultural influence is equally strong, and this art show at MTSU proves that. (RECEPTION: 5-7PM Wednesday, Feb. 19th) For more information, contact Eric Snyder (615-898-5653).READ MORE »
|PINK EYE RESEARCH (free care and medication)|
Dr. Craig McCabe, the eye doctor you hear on the radio, is participating in PINK EYE RESEARCH. If you have PINK EYE, you are eligible for FREE care and medication if you are a part of a study group. For more information, contact Gigi Hampton at 615-904-9024 or e-mail her at Gigi@McCabeVisionCenter.com. The best time to contact is Monday through Friday from 10:00AM to 6:00PM. McCabe Vision Center is at 122 Heritage Park Dr. (37129).READ MORE »
|Rutherford County History Society's "Annual Show & Tell Dinner"|
Mon. (March 17, 2014) 6:30PM Rutherford County Historical Society's "Annual Show & Tell Dinner" at Carriage Lane (337 East Burton Street). This year as a courtesy to the RCHS, the new owners of Carriage Lane Inn, Darrell & Victoria Patrick, will furnish the food, drink & desert, for members and guests. Reservations required by March 12th - call Joyce Johnson 615-867-7254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.READ MORE »
|Volunteer Van Drivers Needed To Carry Vets To Doctor|
Volunteers are needed to drive vans that take veterans to medical appointments. Volunteers will need to go through a training and orientation program so that your volunteering experience will be more enjoyable. For more information, contact Darlene Haynes on the Murfreesboro campus: 615-225-6517. READ MORE »
|Workshop for Faith Leaders|
Thu. (March 6, 2014) 9AM-2PM Workshop for religious leaders at the Lane Agri Park (315 John R. Rice Blvd.). It is designed to help Faith Leaders, Benevolence Teams, Social Service Providers, Educators, and Community Help Providers learn new skills and resources for helping those in our community who are experiencing financial crisis. Cost of the workshop is $10.00 which includes free resource materials and lunch. Please call 615-898-7710 to reserve your place. Deadline to register is March 3, 2014. It is sponsored by Rutherford County UT-TSU Extension, Olive Branch and First Baptist Murfreesboro Churches.READ MORE »