Archive for May 12th, 2014

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May
14

The President And Vice President Honor The Nation’s TOP COPS

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden pose for photographs with members of law enforcement during a ceremony to honor the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS in East Room of the White House

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White House: President Obama And Vice President Biden Honor America’s TOP COPS

This afternoon, the President and Vice President welcomed America’s “TOP COPS” – some of our nation’s best law enforcement officials – to the White House to honor their remarkable service and sacrifice. The TOP COPS are chosen each year by the National Association of Police Organizations, after being nominated by their fellow officers for their notable service during the previous calendar year. And as the President explained, all of today’s honorees – officers, detectives, patrolmen, special agents, and troopers – shared one thing in common:

When the moment came – when the shooting started, or a bomb went off, or a hostage was taken, or a child screamed for help – they did not hesitate. They went into action. They ran toward the danger – not away from it. And they risked their lives to save the lives of others. Vice President Biden echoed these comments in his own remarks, saying that the act of putting on the police shield each morning is, in and of itself, “an act of bravery.”

More here

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President Barack Obama poses for a photograph with Brayden Gero, 9, and his father, Boston Police officer Jarrod Gero

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Star Tribune: Obama Honors 2014 Top Cops; Says America Owes A Debt To Those Who Put Themselves In Danger

The United States owes a debt to the police officers who put themselves in danger to protect the nation, President Barack Obama said Monday as he honored the nation’s top police officers at the White House. In a ceremony in the East Room, Obama praised the recipients of 2014 National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS. Obama said when the moment came, the officers didn’t hesitate to take action, but instead ran toward danger.

“The 53 officers, detectives, patrolmen, special agents, and troopers that we celebrate today are America’s finest, the best of the best,” Obama said. Some of the officers honored helped respond to the Boston Marathon bombing or the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. Obama said some sustained injuries or lost friends and partners in the call of duty.

More here

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May
14

First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates Moms

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First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during the annual Mother’s Day tea to honor military mothers at the White House. Part of the Joining Forces initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden also helped military kids create Mother’s Day cards and homemade gifts, which the children presented to their mothers and grandmothers.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Annual Mother's Day Tea Honoring Military Mothers

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ABC News: First Lady Praises Her Mom At Mother’s Day Event

Extending the Mother’s Day celebration by a day, Michelle Obama on Monday saluted military mothers for the sacrifices they make both for their families and their country, and she honored her own mother as the person who keeps her “standing up straight on my feet.” The first lady joked that her mother, Marian Robinson, “never comes to anything” at the White House, except this annual Mother’s Day tea for military moms. Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, co-host the event as part of Joining Forces, their nationwide initiative to encourage the public to support military families and veterans. Speaking of her mother, Mrs. Obama said the event “gives me an opportunity, once a year, to embarrass her by publicly stating how much my mom has meant to me.” Mrs. Robinson lives in the White House. She sat in the front row for the East Room event.

“There is no way I would be standing up straight on my feet if it weren’t for my mom, who is always there to look after our girls, to love them and to be mad at me when I’m disciplining them,” she told dozens of military mothers, grandmothers and children. Mrs. Obama said mother also has “been that shoulder for me to lean on.” “I can always go up to her room and cry, complain, argue and she just says, ‘Go on back down there,'” Mrs. Obama said. “So if my mom reflects the love and support the moms here have given to their families, then we’re in a good place here.” Near the end of the ceremony, a girl raised her hand and, in a tearful voice, told Mrs. Obama she didn’t get to do all the crafts with the first lady. Mrs. Obama linked the girl with an aide and promised that “you’re going to do every single craft that we have.”

More here

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Singer-songwriter Norah Jones holds her new baby as the stands next to her mother Sue Jones after singing during the annual Mother’s Day tea to honor military mothers, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden

First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Annual Mother's Day Tea Honoring Military Mothers

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Annual Mother's Day Tea Honoring Military Mothers

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Annual Mother's Day Tea Honoring Military Mothers

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit with children working on crafts as they host their annual Mother’s Day tea to honor military mothers

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Annual Mother's Day Tea Honoring Military Mothers

12
May
14

President Obama Honors 2014 Top Cops

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White House

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12
May
14

Monday Needs Pictures

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May
14

Rise and Shine

President Obama with Bo during a brief break from meetings on the South Lawn of the White House May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern)

11:0: President Obama meets with President Jose Mujica Cordano of Uruguay

11:0: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Host Their Annual Mothers Day Tea to Honor Military Mothers

1:15: Jay Carney briefs the press

5:25: The President honors the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS award winners

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The Week Ahead

Tuesday: The President will award Kyle J. White, a former active duty Army Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

Wednesday: The President and the First Lady will travel to New York. While there, the President will host an event on the economy and attend DNC and DSCC events. More details will be forthcoming.

Thursday: The President and the First Lady will tour the National September 11th Memorial and Museum; the President will also deliver remarks at the dedication ceremony. Following his remarks, the President and the First Lady will return to Washington, DC.

Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.

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BBC: Nigeria kidnapped girls ‘shown’ in new Boko Haram video

A new video released by Islamist militants Boko Haram claims to show around 130 girls kidnapped from a school in Nigeria last month.

The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said they would be held until all imprisoned militants had been freed.

He said the girls had converted to Islam. The video, released on Monday, claims to show them praying.

Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls in northern Nigeria on 14 April and threatened to sell them.

The BBC’s John Simpson in the northern city of Maiduguri said Boko Haram’s comments showed signs that the group was willing to negotiate.

More here

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AP: Pregnant women gain new options under health law

The health care law has opened up an unusual opportunity for some mothers-to-be to save on medical bills for childbirth.

Lower-income women who signed up for a private policy in the new insurance exchanges will have access to additional coverage from their state’s Medicaid program if they get pregnant. Some women could save hundreds of dollars on their share of hospital and doctor bills.

Medicaid already pays for nearly half of U.S. births, but this would create a way for the safety-net program to supplement private insurance for many expectant mothers.

Officials and advocates say the enhanced coverage will be available across the country, whether or not a state expands Medicaid under the health law. However, states have different income cutoffs for eligibility, ranging from near the poverty line to solid middle class.

More here

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Miami Herald: The Affordable Care Act gives former foster kids healthcare benefits to age 26, though they may not know it

Rain clouds couldn’t spoil Kenisha Anthony’s afternoon as she emerged from the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables on Saturday with an associate degree in social work from Miami Dade College. The 22-year-old from Miami had survived the school of hard knocks that is Florida’s foster care system to reach this moment. Now a provision of the Affordable Care Act promises to help her make an even better start.

As of Jan. 1, Anthony and others who aged out of foster care became eligible for Medicaid until they turn 26, just as other young adults can stay on their parents’ health plans to that age as part of the ACA. But not all former foster children may know about this little-discussed Obamacare benefit, especially if they’re no longer in the system.

More here

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Business Insider: The GOP’s Latest Anti-Obamacare Talking Point Just Went Down In Flames

Last week, the Republican-led House Committee on Energy and Commerce released information claiming only 67% of enrollees in insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act made their first premium payment. The data was paraded around as a talking point ahead of the Obama administration’s final release of stats from the law’s first open enrollment period.

On Wednesday, that talking point blew up.

Three of the country’s largest insurers — Aetna, WellPoint, and Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in several states — said between 80-90% of new customers who enrolled through Obamacare paid their first month’s premiums. Executives from the companies announced the news in testimony before the very same House Committee on Energy and Commerce where Republicans touted the contrary data last week.

More here

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ThinkProgress: GOP Blatantly Manipulates Obamacare News Footage

The Republican National Committee altered a video clip of a local news story about health insurance premiums in North Carolina to imply that rates would increase under the Affordable Care Act, cutting off the segment just before the reporter explained that “not everyone could be in for the sticker shock.”

The report, aired on the local ABC affiliate last week and posted and tweeted by the RNC, argues that since enrollment of young people did not meet expectations, health insurance would “eventually cost you more.” A small business owner interviewed for the package adds that her family’s premiums have increased since passage of the law and reporter Angelica Alvarez notes that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest insurance provider, “is warning customers now about what premium prices can look like in 2015.”

But just as Alvarez begins to explain that most customers are unlikely to experience significant premium hikes, the RNC clip abruptly ends.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: Beirut Barracks vs. Benghazi

Republicans are trying to criminalize a tragedy — wholly unprecedented, even after 241 Marines died because of a massive U.S. intelligence failure.

One of the most maddening things about this Benghazi nonsense is the way Republicans have gotten a lot of Americans to go along with the idea that 10 investigations of something is normal; that as long as there’s one unanswered question, one area where the administration’s position is ambiguous or where its cooperation has been anything other than the immediate handing over of any conceivably related document, we still need to get to the bottom of matters.

…. I’m trying to explain as calmly as I can here, to readers with no allegiance to either party, why what the Republicans are doing with Benghazi is so out of bounds. They are turning a political situation into a legal case. They’re trying to impose the standards of the courtroom onto a place where they clearly don’t belong. It’s an awful, poisonous precedent, especially given that the incident in question was a tragedy. Using a national tragedy, the kind of event that used to unite Americans, to turn a political matter into a legal one is just a shocking thing to do, wholly outside the American tradition.

More here

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Paul Waldman: The five stages of GOP scandal-mongering: A reader’s guide

The House of Representatives voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, on the grounds that she had asserted her Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer their questions, thereby depriving them of the opportunity for what they hoped would be some spectacular grandstanding. You might think that a group of people with such reverence for the Constitution wouldn’t get so angry when certain portions of it, like the Fifth Amendment, become inconvenient to their political ends. But this contempt vote was like the end of a toddler’s tantrum, the final hoarse scream before the child collapses in an exhausted heap on the floor.

You may be wondering: what ever happened to that IRS scandal, anyway? It went the way of pretty much every Obama administration “scandal,” which is that it turned out to be not nearly as scandalous as Republicans had hoped.

In fact, a clear pattern has emerged on how these scandals have unfolded, one that might be helpful to keep in mind as we start paying attention to Benghazi again. Here’s a handy guide:

More here

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Steve Benen: On Capitol Hill, it’s all about priorities

Since Congress returned from its spring recess, House Republicans have gone to almost comical lengths to focus on discredited “scandals.” GOP lawmakers have created a new special Benghazi committee; they battled each other for slots on the investigatory panel; they’ve voted to hold a former IRS official in contempt; and they’ve talked to the media an awful lot about both “controversies.”

And so it was rather amusing to listen to the Republican Party’s weekly address over the weekend, in which GOP officials demanded to know why those rascally Democrats won’t follow Republicans’ lead and focus on job creation.

…. Let’s make this very simple for everyone involved: if House Republicans are sincere about focusing on job creation, they can (a) give up the witch hunts that they know to be ridiculous; (b) put together a serious jobs package; (c) subject it to independent scrutiny to determine how many jobs the package would create and at what cost; and (d) invite Democrats to the table for talks.

Until then, the propaganda is just noise.

Full post here

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BBC: Ukraine crisis: Self-rule referendums ‘a farce’

Ukraine has condemned two unofficial referendums organised by pro-Russia groups in the east of the country as “a farce” with no legal basis.

Separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions say 89% and 96% respectively voted in favour of “self-rule”.

BBC reporters at polling stations on Sunday witnessed few checks on identity and multiple voting in places.

Russia has called for the results to be implemented without any further outbreaks of violence.

More here

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Smartypants: President Obama’s legacy: A foundation for peace

Let’s be honest – after the terrorist attack on 9/11 this country went on a bit of a freak-out…wars, torture, Gitmo, terror threat levels, TSA, warrantless surveillance, etc. Its easy to simply blame the Bush/Cheney administration. But the truth is, they got re-elected after most of that was underway. So there’s plenty of blame to go around.

President Obama had to deal with the legacy of that freak-out from the moment he was first elected. He assumed office knowing that another terrorist attack like the one this country experienced in 2001 could ignite more of the same. And he knew that allowing that to happen would threaten any attempt to wage a lasting peace.

More here

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Media Matters: Top Cable News Coverage Of Federal Climate Change Report Cast Doubt On Science

Climate Keeps Changing, But Cable Network Reporting Stays The Same

A Media Matters analysis of major cable news coverage of the National Climate Assessment (NCA) revealed that CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News devoted more than three hours of total coverage to the report on its release date, May 6, and the day after. Some reporting, however, gave false balance a national platform, and cable news outlets were more likely to interview politicians than scientists about the threat of global warming.

More here

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ABC: Obama Congratulates Michael Sam

President Obama congratulated Michael Sam today, after he made history as the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL when he was picked by the St. Louis Rams, the White House said.

“The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey. From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are,” a White House official emailed to ABC News.

More here

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This cracked me up:

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On This Day

Sens. Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Boxer confer during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting to vote on the nomination of John Bolton to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. on May 12, 2005, on Capitol Hill

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Sen. Obama plays a game of pool during a stop at Schultzie’s Bar & Hot Spot, May 12, 2008 in Springhill, West Virginia

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Sen. Obama greets supporters before speaking at a campaign rally at the Charleston Civic Center, May 12, 2008 in Charleston, West Virginia

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President Obama and Vice President Biden walk to the Rose Garden of the White House to take part in the Top Cops ceremony May 12, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama pets the family dog, Bo, during a brief break from meetings on the South Lawn of the White House May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama looks through the Oval Office door peephole as his personal secretary Katie Johnson watches, March 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama, receptionist Darienne Page, and Vice President Biden share a laugh outside the Oval Office, May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama, Vice President Biden, Tom Nee, President of the National Association of Police Organizations, and Attorney General Eric Holder, in the Oval Office before speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House at an event honoring the National Association of Police Organization’s Top Cops May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder (background) greet the crowd following the Top Cops ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House May 12, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama signs the Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 bill into law in the Oval Office of the White House Tuesday, May 12, 2009. With President Obama are from left: Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL); Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY); Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA); Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO); Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk to the East Room for “An Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word, May 12, 2009

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the first White House Poetry Jam in the East Room of the White House, May 12, 2009 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Poet Maya del Valle performs in the East Room at the first White House Poetry Jam performance event, May 12, 2009 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during the “When Parents Deploy: Understanding the Experiences of Military Children and Spouses” luncheon at Georgetown University Conference Center on May 12, 2010

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President Obama takes the stage before addressing the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast at the Mellon Auditorium May 12, 2011

President Obama arrives for a ceremony honoring the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS in the Rose Garden at the White House, May 12, 2011

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