Archive for January 30th, 2014

30
Jan
14

Night owl chat – more bbc proms 2013

Stravinsky – The Rite of Spring

Ravel – Bolero (with dancers!)

Chat away, night owls!

30
Jan
14

Waukesha and Nashville

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Intended putting together a totally awesome wrap-up of the day, but Danny’s #FrisbeeGate ruined everything. Will catch up in R&S, promise.

30
Jan
14

Chat Away

President Obama at McGavock High School in Nashville

More in a bit – chat on!

30
Jan
14

The First Lady Speaks On Let’s Move And ObamaCare

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Sierra Marquina: First Lady Michelle Obama Talks Let’s Move!, Signing Up For The Affordable Care Act, And Valentine’s Day

Mrs. Obama’s initiative to help stop the problem of childhood obesity, Let’s Move!, was launched four years ago and has made a significant impact on children’s health today, not only in their homes, but in their schools as well. The goal with the initiative is to solve obesity within a generation and set up children to be able to lead healthier lives, a movement she starts by doing at home in the White House. When it comes to her two daughters, 15-year-old Malia and 12-year-old Sasha, the first lady shares: “Barack and I try to lead by example. I mean, we eat dinner together every night and we rarely miss that, even with his schedule, and we spend a lot of time talking about the issues of the day, but we talk about what we’re eating and why we’re eating it. We have a lot of, ‘Finish your vegetables’ conversations.”

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The Affordable Care Act allows every single American to have access to quality affordable health care, which is so important because there are millions of people out there who are worried about losing their home or going bankrupt because someone gets sick … What Barack believes is that here in America … poor health should not be the thing that causes someone to lose their home. But before the Affordable Care Act … that’s actually what was happening to people around the country.” “Here’s the thing, young people lead risky lives. I always joke about this, but the young people are the ones out at the club at three o’clock in the morning and more likely to slip on the ice … I mean, life throws you some curveballs and young people in particular need to have insurance. If you think about it, you insure your car, but you’re not going to insure your life?”

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So what does Mrs. Obama expect from her husband this Valentine’s Day? Not much! Mrs. Obama explains: “This year, again, I’ve had this big birthday celebration—my husband really celebrated me so well—He did a great job. I had a great couple of weeks, so I think we’re going to low-key it for Valentine’s Day.” Albeit, she’s not concerned he’ll be too low-key. ”We have been married for 21 years and he never forgets a Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, a birthday. He’s really good at that kind of stuff.”

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after turning 50 on January 17, she insists everything gets better with age. “You’re more confident, you know yourself more, you’re not concerned about what other people think. And if you’ve taken care of your health, many times you can be in the best shape you’ve been in … you watch your kids grow up and I know, my girls, they’re starting to become real people with opinions and it’s just so much fun to talk to them now,” she shares. And speaking of her two girls, what’s it like to grow up in the White House as a 15 or 12-year-old? “Barack and I strive to make sure Malia and Sasha can lead as normal a life as possible and even though we are in this crazy bubble, they do things that normal kids do,” Mrs. Obama admits. “They go to sleepovers, they go to concerts, they go to dances.”

More here

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Bonus: The best moment of Kevin Hart’s life? Meeting President Obama and getting a nickname from him!

30
Jan
14

Bread and circuses – without the bread

BBC Bieber

The venerable BBC, doyen of all that is good and great in the News Media, had this as its screaming headline on a Wednesday night.

Yes, ne’er-do-well and click-bait Justin Bieber was charged with assault in Canada. This “breaking news” (or “latest” in the more clipped tones of Broadcasting House) trumped the Ukrainian instability, the Syria talks, or the State of the Union.

I remember, as a young lad, using my brother’s short wave radio to tune in to the BBC World Service. (This was long before we could listen to it on our computers or smart phones.) It opened up a world which I knew existed beyond the environs of Washington Heights, and in which I wanted to swim.

To a great extent, the BBC still holds that place in my astronomy of news media. I go to great lengths to have access to BBC World, and much of its reporting is relevant and informative. But the fact that it felt it needed to highlight this non-entity’s travails on its website speaks to a great cancer in our media, one which doesn’t spare blue chip organizations like the BBC.

When the Bieber arrest in Miami dominated our US cable networks, I posted this piece. A fictional character on Twitter took CNN to task for its obsession with the Bieber story. Every minute which CNN devoted to Bieber was a minute not devoted to the Ukraine, or Turkey, or the plight of those without unemployment insurance in the US. All because a pop star was on a downward spiral of self-indulgence and ignorance, abetted by his credulous and scarily devoted fans, who trended hashtags on Twitter such as #WeWillAlwaysLoveYouJustinEvenIfYouMurderPuppiesOnTour. (No, of course, that wasn’t an actual hashtag. Just because no one had the balls to post it.)

Continue reading ‘Bread and circuses – without the bread’

30
Jan
14

President Obama Speaks in Wisconsin

12:20 EST: President Obama Speaks at General Electric’s Waukesha Gas Engines Factory

30
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

President Obama shakes hands with fans at the Georgetown-Duke college basketball game at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., Jan. 30, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern):

8:50AM: President Obama Departs White House

11:00AM:  President Obama arrives in Milwaukee

11:40AM: Tours General Electric’s Waukesha Gas Engines; Waukesha, Wisconsin

12:20PM: President Obama delivers remarks

2:55PM: President Obama departs Milwaukee

4:15 PM: President Obama arrives in Nashville

5:2oPM: President Obama delivers remarks at McGavock High School

6:05PM: Departs Nashville

7:45PM: President Obama arrives at the White House

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Bruce Japsen: Wellpoint Says ObamaCare Enrollment Ahead Of Expectations

Despite problems with the rollout of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Wellpoint (WLP) Inc., one of the nation’s largest insurers, said enrollment in health plans it operates under the new health law is ahead of expectations. Wellpoint, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans across the country, said it expects to add more than one million new customers this year from across its private health plan business as well as insurance it offers to Americans covered by government programs like the expanded Medicaid insurance for the poor.

“We are encouraged by the sizable growth opportunities,” said Wellpoint chief executive Joe Swedish in an hour-long conference call with Wall Street analysts and investors. Of the half million new members Wellpoint said that have applied for coverage so far, more than 80 percent came through public exchanges and two-thirds of those were “subsidy eligible.” Under the law, those eligible can get subsidies of up to $5,000 to buy coverage on government run marketplaces known as exchanges.

More here

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Rebecca Shabad: More Uninsured Plan To Get Health Insurance Through Exchanges

More than half of people who lack health insurance in the United States say they plan to get it through a government exchange, a Gallup poll released Thursday found. According to the poll, 56 percent of the uninsured plan to get health insurance through ObamaCare.

Among the entire public, 53 percent also plan to get health insurance. Thirty-eight percent, on the other hand, say they’re willing to pay a tax penalty. Uninsured people who fail to enroll in ObamaCare by the end of March will have to face that fine.

More here

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NYT: Ukrainian President Goes On Sick Leave

Viktor F. Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine, went on sick leave on Thursday, leaving negotiated efforts to resolve the country’s political crisis uncompleted. A statement on the president’s website said Mr. Yanukovych is taking time off because of a respiratory illness and fever, and offered no indication of how long he was expected to be absent. The statement cited a deputy director of the presidential administration responsible for medical affairs. Mr. Yanukovych has faced pressure from Russia to take a harder line with protesters opposing his government rather than continue negotiations that could cede power to pro-Western members of the opposition.

Mr. Yanukovych went on sick leave before signing into law the repeal of harsh new rules against freedom of assembly and freedom of speech that was passed in Parliament with support from the pro-government party on Tuesday in a significant concession to the opposition but means little unless it is signed. Overnight Wednesday, two protesters were brought to a hospital with gunshot wounds and one died, Aleksei Davidenko, an opposition member of the Kiev City Council, told Ukrainian news websites. The death brings to four the number of protesters shot to death in recent days, all on Hrushevskovo Street, the site of a standoff with police.

More here

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Carolyn Edgar: The Right’s Single-Mom Mistake: Why Their Latest Attacks Are Clueless And Doomed

Conservatives are now attempting to discredit Davis’s up-by-her-bootstraps story by questioning the period Davis spent as a single mother between her first and second marriages, and by casting her as a bad mother for supposedly putting her career before her children. These efforts rightly have been derided as sexist. But while the broadsides at Davis are rapidly approaching the point of parody, they also illustrate why Republicans have had such a hard time attracting unmarried women voters in recent elections. Given the GOP’s growing unpopularity with this group, attacking Davis’ single mother story looks like a losing strategy.

That Davis has made single motherhood such a prominent part of her story is significant because Davis doesn’t fit the conservative stereotype of a single mother. Conservatives often use “single mothers” as code for the more noxious term “welfare queen,” to evoke the specter of young, uneducated black women dependent on handouts from their “Uncle Sugar.” Davis puts a different face on single motherhood – a face that more closely resembles what single motherhood in America actually looks like.

Republicans maintain strong support among married white women, but unmarried women voters of all races and married women of color tend to vote Democrat. The reelection of President Obama in 2012 and the election of Terry McAuliffe as governor of Virginia in 2013 both were fueled by strong support among unmarried women and women of color, married and unmarried. Demonizing unmarried women and single mothers as sluts who want handouts may keep the GOP’s conservative base happy, but it is not a viable strategy for attracting them to the Republican Party.

More here

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The People’s View: Dear Professional Left, Attacking The NSA While Giving Corporate Big Data A Pass Is NOT Progressive

I want to focus on a rather dumbfounding notion that the Left keeps convincing itself is true: that it is more dangerous for the government to have metadata than for private companies to have it because only the government is empowered to strip one of one’s liberty. Not only is this patently and provably false in today’s interconnected world, the reverse is closer to the truth. Let me explain. The same liberals who argue that Google having your information and the NSA having your information isn’t the same because Google doesn’t have the ability to physically harm you will turn right around and and walk picket lines against coal mines owned by private corporations that do physically harm people.

And by people, we aren’t even talking about just their employees but communities. Liberals protest fracking because of the possibility of corporations harming people, not the government. Liberals stand up for Americans’ right to be able to sue corporations for physical harm they have caused – whether through medical malpractice, unsafe food or water, mistreatment of employees or even mistreatment of prisoners. That corporations cannot do physical harm to people or rob them of their liberties has always been a bad joke. Health insurance companies, banks, credit card companies, payday lenders all have (or until recently have had) the power to strip an individual of their dignity, freedom and even life with zero consequence.

More here

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Reuters: Households, Trade Keep U.S. Economy Humming In Fourth Quarter

Robust household spending and strong exports kept the U.S. economy on solid ground in the fourth quarter, but stagnant wages could chip away some of the momentum in early 2014. Gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Thursday, in line with economists’ expectations. While that was a slowdown from the third-quarter’s brisk 4.1 percent pace, it was a far stronger performance than anticipated earlier in the quarter.

Earlier in the quarter many economists were expecting a growth pace below 2 percent given that an inventory surge accounted for much of the increase in the July-September period. Growth over the second half of the year come in at a 3.7 percent pace, up sharply from 1.8 percent in the first six months of the year. It was the biggest half-year increase since the second half of 2003.

More here

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Krista Daly: Affordable Care Act Makes Impact On Imperial County Residents, Hospitals And Clinics

A brain tumor, a pre-existing medical condition to insurance companies, had prevented El Centro resident Eric Villanueva from qualifying for health coverage. Thirty-three-year-old Villanueva had been without health insurance for about eight years until the Affordable Care Act took effect for him Jan. 1. “I’m so happy now that I have insurance,” he said. “I can finally look at my family and tell them everything will be all right. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay. That cloud is gone and there’s no more ‘what ifs.’ I’m covered.”

The Affordable Care Act, a plan for universal health care in the United States, is being implemented through Covered California for Imperial Valley residents and all Californians. The health plan, also known as Obamacare, has expanded coverage to people like Villanueva who were not previously eligible. This includes someone with a pre-existing medical condition, low-income individuals and families whose incomes are between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, plus an expansion of Medi-Cal- and Medicaid-eligible persons.

More here

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Pete Souza’s State of the Union photos:

President Obama reviews his speech one last time while waiting in a room at the U.S. Capitol prior to delivering the State of the Union address

President Obama waits with Sergeants at Arms and Members of Congress before entering the House Chamber to deliver the State of the Union address

President Obama signs copies of his speech for Members of Congress as he departs the House Chamber after he delivers the State of the Union address

President Obama kisses First Lady Michelle Obama following his State of the Union address

President Obama signs a copy of his speech for Rep. Frederica Wilson, (D-Fla.), in a hallway outside the House Chamber

More here

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On This Day:

President Obama meets with labor leaders in the Blue Room of the White House following a signing of an Executive Order for a White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families, Jan. 30, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama meets with labor leaders in the Blue Room of the White House and shows that his suit is made in the U.S.A., Jan. 30, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama, Jill Biden and Michelle Fenty, wife of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, leave Georgia Brown’s Restaurant in Northwest after having lunch, January 30, 2009

President Obama tries out different desk chairs in the Oval Office, Jan. 30, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama makes a phone call in the Oval Office, Jan. 30, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama welcomes Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) to the Oval Office, Jan. 30, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama meets with former President George H.W. Bush in the Oval Office, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama surprises a tour group outside the Oval Office, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama shows NFL PLAY 60 Super Kid James Gale, 11, historical photos from previous administrations on display in the Booksellers Area during a NFL taping in the East Wing of the White House, Jan. 30, 2012. At right is James’ mother Lisa Gale. (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Jan. 30, 2012 – Pete Souza: “This is one of those rare instances where my presence indirectly became a part of this reaction from those pictured in the photograph. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had just accidentally dropped all of her briefing papers onto the Oval Office rug and she, the President and Vice President all reacted in a way that indicated that surely I wouldn’t get a photo of that to embarrass her.”

President Obama participates in an interview with YouTube and Google+ to discuss his State of the Union address, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 30, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama greets former Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, in the Oval Office after they testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, Jan. 30, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)




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