Archive for May 1st, 2014


President Obama Celebrates Teachers





President Obama presents the 2014 National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb, a high school English teacher from Maryland who helps push students toward college, with his award, during a ceremony to honor the 2014 National Teacher of the Year and finalists in the East Room of the White House in Washington

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Nigeria’s abducted Girls: A Democracy Under Siege

by @zizii2

The world is slowly waking up to a 2 week old horror, the gut-wrenching story of 234+ teenage girls abducted by a band of terrorists from their boarding school just as they were in the midst of taking their High School Certification exams. A horror that was no less eased when it was reported that some of the traumatized girls who had managed to escape their captors, the Boko Haram, recently told grim news of their fellow captives being sold into “marriage” to terrorists within and without Nigeria’s Northern borders.


Within the 2 wks since the girls were kidnapped public anger inside Nigeria rose and spilled out into the streets in the last 24-48 hours in demonstrations against government impotence to grapple with the terrorist menace that its victims call Boko Haram, which means “Western education Forbidden” (See further below for more on history of Boko Haram). Social media relayed that anger to a wider global public under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Petition drives have accelerated to galvanize awareness and demand action, including one from currently gathering steam in the US.

Video of when abduction happened 2 weeks ago:


However the indignation captured in the hashtag bumps up against a very messy and complicated reality, one that lifts the scab off the virulent canker metastasizing in several 21st century fledgling democracies and in some mature ones as well, gashing open threadbare societies. Democracy itself is rendered naked. And so:

1) #BringBackOurGirls. But from where?

2) Who do we ask to #BringBackOurGirls?

3) And if we are able to identify captors, who, if anyone, are they answerable to?

4) When a fledgling democracy is faced with a lawless group linked to a global terrorist franchise that fights an asymmetric war, how is security of anyone, let alone children to be guaranteed?

5) Who is bankrolling and profiting from arming a group that is not directly seeking political inclusion/representation but instead wants dissolution of the modern pluralist state itself and modern life?

6) What strategy to deal with Boko Haram? Crush them? Under what rules? Negotiate with them? Contain them? Abdicate democratic governance altogether? Can Nigeria or any young democracy survive a Boko Haram menace and remain intact?

Nigeria Female Literacy RatesSource:


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#ObamaCare: A Big Win For Americans



Dylan Scott: Obamacare’s March Enrollment Explosion To Hit 8 Million

Obamacare sign-ups almost doubled in the law’s final stretch, and more than doubled in the key young adult group, according to the final enrollment report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Enrollment sat at 4.2 million at the end of February, but exploded to 8 million by April 19, the new report said. Among those ages 18 to 34, the crucial young and invincible demographic, sign-ups doubled from 1.1 million to 2.2 million.

With enrollment closed, that group accounted for 28 percent of enrollees: lower than the administration was hoping for, but at a high enough level to sustain the law, according to health policy experts. The 36 states using had a particularly good month: Sign-ups more than doubled in the final stretch, from 2.6 million in the first five months to 5.4 million as of April 19.

More here



Igor Volsky: More Than A Million Young People Enrolled In Obamacare Last Month

Obamacare experienced a surge in enrollment last month, as nearly 3.8 million people selected a plan through the exchanges, including 1.2 million young people, administration officials announced on Thursday. The rush represented “an 89 precent increase in the cumulative number of individuals” who enrolled in a health care plan through the exchange between March 1 and April 19.
Cumulatively, more than 8 million people have enrolled in an Obamacare plan though state or federal marketplaces since the beginning of open enrollment. 2.2 million of those people — or 28 percent — are between the ages of 18 and 34.

The administration also confirmed that 4.8 million people enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), 5 million enrolled in coverage outside of the marketplaces, and 3 million young people were able to remain on their parents’ health care plans. For the first time, marketplace enrollees also self-reported their race and ethnicity. Of those who did, 62.9 percent are white, 16.7 percent are African American, and 10.7 percent are Latino.

More here





Greg Sargent: Politics Of Obamacare Get Scrambled Once Again

Here’s another unexpected way the politics of Obamacare are going to get scrambled in the days ahead – and not necessarily in the GOP’s favor — as the reality of mounting sign-ups sinks in. It turns out that several of the states with some of the hardest fought races of the cycle are also boasting some of the highest Obamacare sign-up numbers in the country. This is the news contained in new Obamacare marketplace sign-up data that the Department of Health and Human Services just released, which includes a state-by-state breakdown of sign-ups that wasn’t previously available. In Florida, some 983,000 people are now signed up for private insurance through the federal exchange — up from 442,000 at the end of February. This is in a state where the Dem candidate for Governor — Charlie Crist — happens to be running on a very pro-Obamacare message.

In North Carolina, some 357,000 people have now signed up for coverage through the federal exchange — up from 200,000 at the end of February. In Michigan, some 272,000 people have now signed up for coverage through the federal exchange — up from around 144,000 people at the end of February. On top of that, the Medicaid expansion is kicking in, which will add hundreds of thousands more. A couple others: In Georgia, the sign-ups are now at around 316,000, and in Louisiana they’re at around 101,000. these numbers will make it harder and harder for Republicans to continue pretending the law’s beneficiaries don’t exist — even in states that constitute tough political terrain for the law and Democratic candidates.

More here



Continue reading ‘#ObamaCare: A Big Win For Americans’


President Obama Speaks at the Teacher of Year Award Ceremony

2:25 EDT: President Obama Speaks at the Teacher of Year Award Ceremony

Also at White House Live







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