Google Doodle celebrates real American love stories

By Tom Warren 2/14/14 for Time Magazine

Google is pairing up with Ira Glass, host of This American Life, for this year’s Valentine’s Day Doodle. The search giant has produced more than 2000 illustrations over the course of 16 years, ranging from gay rights to Doctor Who. Today’s Valentine’s Day version was the result of a chance meeting between Ira Glass and Google’s Doodle team at the company’s headquarters. Glass has supplied six snippets of audio based on true American love stories. The stories include fun tales of marriage, a first kiss, and middle school love.

TIME takes a rare look at Google’s Doodle team as they prepared for today’s drawings, detailing the sketching and ideas involved in the perfectly timed animations, and how six pieces of heart-shaped candy came to life. Google now has a team of three full-time engineers and 10 artists dedicated to creating its Doodles, all tasked with a creative focus on producing short animations or illustrations for events and memorable moments in history. Unfortunately, Google has restricted today’s animated Doodle so visitors outside the US will simply see a chocolate making version instead. Out of the six animations, one of the best stories is “blind date,” but you can hear and watch all of them at google.com.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Small business owners very optimistic about the US economy

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index in January increased to +45 from +24 in October. The current score is as high as it has been since the third quarter of 2008, although still below the high levels recorded pre-recession.
Read more at GALLUP.com.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Senator Teddy Cruz introduces ‘State Marriage Defense Act’

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah introduced the ” Cruz, Lee introduce ‘State Marriage Defense Act’ State Marriage Defense Act” on Wednesday. Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex.) introduced similar legislation in the House in early January. If passed, the bill would cede marriage definition to states for federal purposes, which would effectively reverse the gains same-sex couples made after the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by the Supreme Court in the summer.
If you want to become more annoyed and read the rest of this article follow this link: http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/02/13/cruz-lee-introduce-state-marriage-defense-act/?feed=mweb

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

President Putin generally not liked in the US

Americans’ opinions of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, have never been more unfavorable, as Russia assumes a more muscular posture on the world stage. At least six in 10 Americans now view both Russia and Putin unfavorably.
Read more at GALLUP.com.
Between his attacks on the gay community, his ego that goes forever and the strangest Olympics in recent memory, it is no wonder Americans don’t like him. I think he believes he is running the Soviet Union, unfortunately Russia is not the Soviet Union.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion

Associated Press By RYAN NAKASHIMA 2/12/14

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Comcast Corp. has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45.2 billion in stock, or $158.82 per share, two people familiar with the matter said late Wednesday.

The deal will combine the nation’s top two cable TV companies and make Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes.

The deal was approved by the boards of both companies and, pending regulatory approval, is expected to close by the end of the year, the people said.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced formally. An announcement is set for Thursday morning, they said.

The price is about 17 percent above Time Warner Cable shares’ Wednesday closing price of $135.31 and trumps a proposal by Charter Communications Inc. to buy Time Warner for about $132.50 per share, or $38 billion in cash and stock.
If you like you can read the rest of the article here:
http://news.yahoo.com/comcast-buy-time-warner-cable-45-billion-043347974–finance.html?.tsrc=samsungwn&.sep=table

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Putin loses support before the Olympics

A majority of Russians (54%) in 2013 approved of the way Vladimir Putin was handling his job as president, but this rating is 29 percentage points lower than the 83% approval he received at the end of his previous presidency in 2008.
Read more at GALLUP.com.
It will be interesting to see how the Russian people view this extravagant show of ego by their President.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Why We Entered the ACLU’s ‘My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding’ Contest

From the Huffington Post
Lindsey and I met three years ago through a mutual friend. While it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, there was an instant connection. We talked daily and saw each other several times a week, until one day it was like a light switch had flipped and I realized I was in love!

People say that we are polar opposites: Lindsey is reserved and organized and has a very Type-A personality, whereas I am outspoken, extroverted, and laid-back. Somehow the differences in our personalities complement each other to make us a well-balanced couple. We are that couple who complete each other’s sentences and who nobody wants to play Taboo with thanks to our uncanny ability to read each other’s minds.

Last September I gave Lindsey a fairytale proposal on the bridge where we had our first date. She was so excited that she said, “I do! I will! I mean, yes!” And then I reminded her that I hadn’t asked yet. Of course, I then got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She gave me my ring a few days later, at our favorite overlook at sunset. Since then we have been planning our March wedding. Our theme is peacocks and pearls; we want it to be very classy and elegant but still fun.

Back in June we started a nonprofit organization called TN Marriage Equality to educate and advocate for the freedom to marry in our home state of Tennessee. We have spoken at rallies, petitioned to repeal Tennessee’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, and applied and been rejected for a marriage license, and we are currently trying to get involved with the next round of lawsuits against our state.

Last month we noticed ACLU’s “My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding” competition on Facebook. We thought it would be another great avenue to bring some attention to marriage equality in Tennessee, which is something that we are passionate about. This competition came at a perfect time to help us shine light on the issue of marriage equality across the nation.

For us, equality means not having to worry about not being allowed to see my future wife if she were to find herself in the hospital; it means being able to file our taxes together; it means someday being able to put both our names on our child’s birth certificate, and so much more. We fight for the rights and protections that millions of other “traditional” couples take for granted.

Winning this contest would grant us the opportunity to show our state why marriage equality matters. It would also be a personal blessing, because we are covering the costs of our entire wedding on our own. Lindsey just graduated from nursing school, and taking our entire family to a state that legally recognizes same-sex marriage would not be easy on us, financially. Even though our Tennessee ceremony will not be legally recognized, we want to fulfill the dream that every little girl has of a beautiful wedding with a big, white gown. Sadly, having Dad walk me down the aisle will not be a reality, because he will not be attending our wedding. He is a minister and is worried about what his church will think if he supports this.

This contest was a fantastic idea, as it has brought so much attention and support to marriage equality nationwide. In Tennessee alone, we have already received an overwhelming response from friends, family, strangers, and the media. By sponsoring a national contest like this, the ACLU has raised awareness around issues regarding the freedom to marry by showing how marriage equality has a very real impact on people like us. Now couples from all over the country are spreading the word and starting conversations about why marriage equality matters. Hearing the stories of all these wonderful couples will help break down stereotypes and hopefully lead to a broader cultural acceptance in states that do not have equal marriage rights.

Thanks for your support,
Megan and Lindsey

See Megan and Lindsey’s entry in the ACLU’s “My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding” contest here.: https://weddings.aclu.org/entry/178776

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Cruz Puts Senate GOP Leader in a Jam Over Debt Ceiling

My take on this is simple,  Senator Cruz and the Tea Party are the best friends the Democratic Party could ever hope for.
By Kasie Hunt

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is taking another pound of flesh from his own party’s establishment — and in particular, the leader of the GOP in the Senate.

In a nail-biter of a vote Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was a surprise “yes” vote for a bill to raise the debt limit without any additional provisions attached.
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The Kentucky lawmaker’s vote is sure to fuel criticism from critics to his right, who say Republicans didn’t fight hard enough to attach spending reductions to the must-pass debt limit hike.

Worse yet for McConnell: he is facing a challenge from Tea Party-backed Matt Bevin, a millionaire businessman who’s attacking the minority leader as a creature of Washington.

So why did he vote for a bill that’s could be considered politically poisonous? Because Cruz had rebuffed attempts to pass the debt ceiling bill on a simple majority vote — a procedure that would have seen the chamber’s 55 Democrats lifting the ceiling without GOP support.

McConnell knew the filibuster was coming. On Tuesday, Cruz told McConnell in the Republican conference’s lunch meeting that he wanted to filibuster the debt ceiling bill — an encounter that aides familiar with the conversation described as particularly contentious.

But as the minutes ticked by Wednesday afternoon and only three Republicans had voted to break Cruz’s filibuster of a bill to lift the debt limit, McConnell and Minority Whip John Cornyn huddled together on the Senate floor, watching over the vote count.

    He knows that he’s the leader and it was up to him to cast the right vote

Cruz sat by himself, reading his smartphone, occasionally standing up to check the vote count list himself. An aide later said Cruz didn’t know the vote would be so close.
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Finally, after the vote had been held open for far longer than originally planned, McConnell and Cornyn stepped forward together and voted “yes.”

Over the next half an hour, Republicans continued hushed conversations on the floor. Eventually, a second group of senators emerged from the Republican cloakroom at the back of the chamber: Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake, and John Thune. All walked forward and voted “yes.”

In the end — after the vote stood open for nearly an hour — 11 other Republicans joined McConnell in voting to lift the debt ceiling for a year without attaching any provisions to bring down the debt or deficit.

Afterward, GOP senators who voted with him described the move as courageous and necessary.

“He knows that he’s the leader and it was up to him to cast the right vote,” McCain said after the vote — and after joking that he had voted in favor of the bill “after my shoulder was dislocated.”

“To be a leader you have to do very hard things,” said Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., who identified himself as the first Republican to vote “yes.”

Of Cruz, Johanns said: “He’s new here.”
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Cruz, meanwhile, was defiant when he spoke to reporters after the vote.

“It should have been an easy vote,” he said, derisively calling the bill a victory for the “Washington establishment.”

Asked whether he thought McConnell should be replaced as the Republican leader in the Senate, Cruz said: “That is ultimately a decision, in the first instance, for the voters of Kentucky to make.”

First published February 12th 2014, 3:13 pm
Kasie Hunt

Kasie Hunt has covered politics for NBC News since January 2013. Hunt came to NBC News from The Associated Press, where she served as a national political reporter. As one of the organization’s lead campaign

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Gary Miller Not Seeking Reelection To Congress

Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection to Congress at the end of his term.

“It has been a great honor to spend so many years in public service, striving to make a difference for Southern California families. While there is still a lot of work to be done, it is now time for me to pass the baton. I will not seek re-election to Congress at the end of this term,” he said in a statement. “While family circumstances dictate that I must leave this great institution at the end of this session of Congress, I am committed to serving out my term with the same energy and enthusiasm that I have always brought to the debate.”

Miller was first elected to Congress in 1998.

Democrats saw Miller as one of the most vulnerable House members in the 2014 election, representing a heavily Latino district won by President Barack Obama.
My take on this, the Republicans are facing both hey change in demographics and the polarization caused by the Tea Party.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil