The Kinks are the cool kids band that most no one listened to. Ray Davies is a pop music genius, and his fights with his brother Dave make those of the Gallaghers seem like schoolboy dustups. So, at the end of another trying day, some of Ray Davies’ genius.
President Obama applauds, from left, Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris, Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela, and Spc. Santiago J. Erevia after he awarded them with the Medal of Honor during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, March 18
24 heroes, 21 deceased, denied recognition by their nation because of racism. Today, Pres. Obama righted the wrong. pic.twitter.com/oZVmH22zHk
President Obama hugs Laurie Wegner who accepted the Medal of Honor on behalf of her uncle, Private First Class Leonard M. Kravitz
President Obama presents Nancy Weinstein with a Medal of Honor for her late husband Army Sergeant Jack Weinstein
President Obama comforts Lenora Alvarado as he awards a Medal of Honor to her late father Army Specialist Four Leonard Alvarado
President Obama presents Dominga Perez with a Medal of Honor for her late father Army Private Pedro Cano
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Melvin Morris is saluted by U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Schneider, from U.S. Army Old Guard, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, after a ceremony presenting Morris with the Medal of Honor in the White House
President Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris, one of 24 U.S. Army veterans awarded the medal for heroic action in combat during World War II, Korea and Vietnam during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, March 18
Tsar Vladimir I is making his gambit. He’s signed a treaty with the Crimean “government” annexing it to Russia. A Ukrainian soldier has been killed in a clash with Russia troops. And Russian economy officials are saying that the Ukraine adventure is sending the Russian economy into a crisis. These next few weeks may decide what kind of world—if any—we live in.
Mary Morris helps her husband U.S. Army Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Melvin Morris, a Vietnam War veteran, with his uniform as they prepare to make their to the White House on March 18. Melvin Morris and two others are the only living soldiers who will be honored with 21 others today at the White House by President Barack Obama with the Medal of Honor. Following a congressionally mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients were not bypassed due to prejudice the veterans will receive the Medal of Honor for action during major combat operations in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War
Sgt. Morris and U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Schneider, from U.S. Army Old Guard, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, walk together as they make their way to the White House
Obama apologized to Melvin that racism stopped him from getting the medal 44 years ago. Melvin dropped to his knees. pic.twitter.com/EdlJit9kDM
President Obama laughs while walking with Senior Advisor David Axelrod following an event at the Costa Mesa Town Hall at OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., March 18, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (All Times Eastern):
3:40: President Obama awards 24 Army veterans the Medal of Honor in recognition of their valor during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War
5:20: Attends a DNC fundraiser, Washington DC
HHS.gov: Marketplace Enrollment Hits 5 Million Milestone
As this historic open enrollment period enters its final weeks, millions of Americans are finding quality, affordable coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Fernando Valdez and Denise Schroeder were part of a weekend wave of consumers signing up for new coverage and bringing enrollment nationwide to more than 5 million through the Federal and State-based Marketplaces since October 1st.
Fernando Valdez, 25, of El Paso, Texas woke up early on Saturday, after his mother insisted that he walk to an enrollment center and enroll in Marketplace coverage. Now, he will pay $22 a month for his health insurance. Fernando said that he walked away knowing that if “I get into an accident I will not be in trouble with trying to find health care.”….
And Denise Schroeder says she now feels like “I have a whole new life” after enrolling in coverage in recent days. Denise, a small business owner in West Chester, Pennsylvania is also a cancer survivor. Because she had cancer, Denise knew she couldn’t let her health coverage lapse, but the $880 premium she was paying each month wiped out her savings account, and she said it was killing her. But after working with an enrollment navigator, she enrolled on Thursday in a Silver Plan for $22 a month. When she saw the new premium, she cried.
Not long ago, a trip to the emergency room at University of Iowa Hospitals was an exercise in frustration for people expecting immediate medical care. Unless they arrived with a life-threatening injury, most people often were forced to wait two hours or more in a crowded waiting room before seeing a doctor.
The federal Affordable Care Act has changed that, reducing congestion at the hospital and at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines.
Today, Iowans once covered by IowaCare are no longer forced to choose between two public hospitals — U of I Hospitals and Broadlawns — when they need medical care. Under the new Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, they can seek medical care in their hometowns where physicians now are reimbursed for services they provide.
Kathy Robertson: Covered California Hits Million Sign-Ups For Health Care Coverage
Covered California hit a milestone late Friday of one million people signed up for coverage in the state’s new health benefits exchange. By the end of Saturday, the figure was up to 1,018,315 people who have applied for coverage and selected a health plan.
There are two weeks left to sign up for individual coverage in the new insurance marketplace. Open enrollment started Oct. 1 and ends March 31. “This is a historic threshold for our exchange, for the state of California and for the nation,” Peter Lee, executive director at Covered California, said in a news release. “It speaks to the immense need for the Affordable Care Act and the millions of people who have been waiting for affordable coverage.”
Reuters: Russian Government Admits Economy In Crisis As Ukraine Weighs
Russia’s government acknowledged for the first time on Monday that the economy was in crisis, undermining earlier attempts by officials to suggest albeit weakening growth could weather sanctions over Ukraine. Moscow markets wait to see the full scale of western measures over the seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea and support of its referendum to join Russia, after losing billions of dollars in recent weeks in state and corporate money.
For weeks, Russian officials have said the confrontation between Moscow and the West over Ukraine that threatens economic sanctions and asset freezes would “weigh on the economy”. Although not speaking directly about the impact from the conflict, Deputy Economy Minister Sergei Belyakov said on Monday the economy was in trouble. “The economic situation shows clear signs of a crisis,” Belyakov told a local business conference.
Reuters: Defiant Putin Signs Treaty Making Crimea Part Of Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin, defying Ukrainian protests and Western sanctions, on Tuesday signed a treaty making Crimea part Russia but said he did not plan to seize any other regions of Ukraine. In a fiercely patriotic address to a joint session of the Russian parliament in the Kremlin, punctuated by standing ovations, cheering and tears, Putin lambasted the West for what he called hypocrisy. Western nations had endorsed Kosovo’s independence from Serbia but now denied Crimeans the same right, he said.
“You cannot call the same thing black today and white tomorrow,” he declared to stormy applause, saying Western partners had “crossed the line” over Ukraine and behaved “irresponsibly”. He said Ukraine’s new leaders, in power since the overthrow of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovich last month, included “neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites”. Putin said Crimea’s disputed referendum vote on Sunday, held under Russian military occupation, had shown the overwhelming will of the people to be reunited with Russia after 60 years as part of the Ukrainian republic.
The Obama administration announced late yesterday that 800,000 people have signed up for new health insurance so far in March. That brings the total under the Affordable Care Act to over 5 million and makes it likely that 6 million will have enrolled by March 31, the last day to sign up before getting a fine. That 6 million number would meet a projection made by the Congressional Budget Office. So what are we to make of those numbers? To a degree, targets like these are arbitrary when we’re judging the law’s success. It isn’t as though we’ll say that if 5,999,999 people signed up by the end of the month then the law has failed, while if 6,000,001 sign up then it has succeeded.
Nor does that number include the millions of people who have been enrolled in Medicaid, many of whom are getting health coverage for the first time. And the number of people signed up will continue to rise, particularly since the fines are quite small in the first year but get larger over time. But it’s worth remembering that for all the time we spend gaming out the political winners and losers of Obamacare, there are real people’s lives at stake. The law isn’t going to be repealed, something Republicans know as well as Democrats. For all its complications and the difficulty of implementation, the ACA has already done an extraordinary amount of good for those millions of people. If Republicans took their newfound concern for (some) people’s access to health care and used it to actually work to make the law work as well as possible, millions more might be helped as well. If only.
Japan will suspend talks on investment pact and relaxation of visa requirements as part of sanctions against Russia after Moscow recognized Crimea as a sovereign state, top government spokesman said on Tuesday. “Japanese government does not recognize a referendum in Crimea,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, adding that the referendum had no legal force as it was in breach of Ukraine’s constitution. “The recognition of Crimean independence by Russia violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and is regrettable,” he told a regular news conference.
Danny Vinik: Obama Is Cracking Down On For-Profit Colleges – And Liberals Should Applaud Him For It
The Department of Education released the final draft of its proposed rule on Friday to ensure that for-profit colleges offer post-graduation employment opportunities for their students that leave them capable of paying back their student loans. The rule, known as the “gainful employment” regulation, represents the culmination of a three-year fight with the industry, which successfully challenged a previous version of the rules in court.
The administration believes that the new regulation, which will first go through a 60-day public comment period, can now withstand a court challenge. And that’s a good thing once you understand what the changes will do and why they’re necessary. Students at for-profit colleges drop out at an alarming rate and those that do graduate have much higher levels of debt than students in public and private non-profit colleges. For-profits also receive a substantial share of their revenue—more than 80 percent to be exact—from loans and grants from the federal government.
Denouncing Russia’s actions in Crimea as nothing more than a “land grab,” Vice President Joe Biden warned Russia on Tuesday that the U.S. and Europe will impose further sanctions as Moscow seeks to annex the Ukrainian territory. Meeting with anxious European leaders in neighboring Poland, Biden said the world sees through Russia’s actions. He said virtually the entire world rejects the referendum in Crimea that cleared the way for Russia to annex the peninsula in Ukraine.
“The world has seen through Russia’s actions and has rejected the flawed logic,” Biden said. Biden, who arrived Tuesday morning in Warsaw, said the U.S. joins Poland and the international community in condemning the continuing assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty, calling it a blatant violation of international law.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the U.K. is suspending military cooperation with Russia in light of the crisis over Ukraine. Speaking shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty to annex Crimea from neighboring Ukraine, Hague told British lawmakers on Tuesday that it is regrettable that Putin is choosing a path of isolation in the annexation of Crimea and denying Russian and Crimean citizens of a partnership with the international community. Hague said the U.K. is suspending military export licenses to Russia, has canceled naval exercises and suspended a proposed Royal Navy ship visit to Russia.
Sahil Kapur: 45 Religious Orgs Back ‘Universal Access To Contraception’
Forty-five nationally known religious organizations want the Supreme Court to uphold Obamacare’s requirement that employer insurance plans cover birth control without co-pays, calling it a “moral good.” “As religious leaders, we support universal access to contraception,” leaders of the groups said in a joint statement Monday. “We believe that all persons should be free to make personal decisions about their reproductive lives, their health
and the health of their families that are informed by their culture, faith tradition, religious beliefs, conscience, and community.” “No single religious voice can speak for all faith traditions on contraception, nor should government take sides on religious differences,” they said. “We call on our government to respect the beliefs and values of everyone’s faith by safeguarding equal access to contraception for those whose conscience leads them to use it.”