21
May
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama greets graduating Joplin High School seniors before their commencement ceremony at Missouri Southern State University’s Leggett & Platt Athletic Center in Joplin, Mo., May 21, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (All Times Eastern)

10:45: President Obama makes a statement in the briefing room after a meeting with Sec. Eric Shinseki

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11:35: The President participates in an ambassador credentialing ceremony

12:45: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:10: The President honors the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, East Room

4:10: The President delivers remarks on the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument Designation, Department of Interior

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Washington Post: Obama: ‘In Five Years It Will No Longer Be Called Obamacare.’

Just about everyone calls the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” — even the White House. But is President Obama returning to his old stance that the health-care law should not have his name attached to it?

At a fundraiser in Potomac, Md., Monday night, Obama backed off the term that his administration shunned, and then embraced.

“First of all, in five years it will no longer be called Obamacare, because when something is working, they’re definitely not going to — there will be a whole renaming process similar to National. (Laughter.) I don’t know if it will be “Reagancare,” but it will definitely be — it will be something different,” Obama told the crowd.

(For those of you outside the Washington area, Obama was referring to Washington National Airport, which was renamed Reagan National Airport in 1998).

More here

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NYT: Memo Approving Targeted Killing Of U.S. Citizen To Be Released

Facing the potential defeat of an appeals court nominee, the Obama administration decided Tuesday to publicly release much of a classified memo written by the nominee that signed off on the targeted killing an American accused of being a terrorist. The solicitor general, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., made the call to release the secret memo — and not appeal a court order requiring its disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act — and informed Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. of his decision this week, according to two administration officials. The White House was informed Tuesday. But the memo will not be released right away because officials said they needed time to redact it and to prepare an appeal asking the court not to reveal classified sections of a federal appeals court ruling last month requiring that most of the memo be made public. The memo was written by David J. Barron, a Harvard Law professor and former acting chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, who is Mr. Obama’s choice to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston.

As a Justice Department lawyer, Mr. Barron wrote two memos concluding that it would be lawful to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a United States citizen living in Yemen, based on intelligence agencies’ conclusion that he was a senior operational terrorist plotting attacks against the United States and that his capture was not feasible. The lawsuit focused on the second and longer of those memos. Mr. Awlaki was killed by an American drone strike in September 2011. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, had promised to slow down Mr. Barron’s confirmation if the administration did not allow senators to view all of Mr. Barron’s memos or release redacted versions to the public. Libertarian-leaning senators in both parties had expressed reservations about the nomination, and some conservatives also argued that he was too liberal on other issues. A spokesman for Mr. Paul said the senator would still take the Senate floor on Wednesday for a filibuster-style protest of Mr. Barron’s nomination. Last year, Mr. Paul used the nomination of John O. Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency to stage a nearly 13-hour filibuster.

More here

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Philly.com: U.S. Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban In Pa.

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages, a landmark ruling that appeared to clear the way for the Commonwealth to become the latest state to legalize gay marriage. The decision by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III marked the first and most significant to date in a series of court challenges to the state’s 1996 ban. “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them onto the ash heap of history,” Jones wrote in the 39-page opinion. “By virtue of this, ruling, same-sex couples who seek to marry in Pennsylvania may do so, and already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth.”

“What a great day!” said Mark Aronchick, one of the plantiffs lawyers in the case. “The court, in a bell-ringing opinion, has explained in crystal clear language why the promises of our Constitution extend to all Pennsylvanians. We urge the commonwealth to take whatever steps are necessary to allow marriages to proceed and the celebrations to begin immediately.” In Philadelphia, Register of Wills Ron Donatucci’s office immediately began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Guy Sabelli, the city’s marriage license supervisor, said 12 female couples and 6 male couples had obtained licenses by the time the office closed at 5:30 p.m. The office reopens at 8 a.m. Wednesday with extended hours until 7 p.m.

More here

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TPM: WTF?

I’m not sure why this isn’t a bigger deal. I hadn’t heard about it other than in this brief passage tucked away in a Politico article about the House GOP agriculture bill. But it takes a small program intended provide meals to children in the school lunch program during the summer months and says it can now only be used to benefit kids in “rural areas”.

In other words, “urban” kids are now out of luck.

Here’s the passage in question ..

And in a surprising twist, the bill language specifies that only rural areas are to benefit in the future from funding requested by the administration this year to continue a modest summer demonstration program to help children from low-income households — both urban and rural — during those months when school meals are not available.

More here

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ThinkProgress: President Obama Is Set To Create His Largest National Monument So Far

On Wednesday, President Obama will create his second national monument of the year, designating the Organ Mountains in New Mexico a protected area. The Organ Mountains, located at the southern end of New Mexico, will be the 11th and largest national monument of Obama’s presidency. The White House says that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will create $7.4 million in new annual economic activity in the region, a finding that first appeared in a 2013 report.

That report also found the monument would double the number of outdoor recreation and tourism jobs in the region and contribute $560,000 in state and local tax revenue. The monument encompasses a total of 496,000 acres, land which contains Native American petroglyphs in its canyons and is one of the most botanically diverse mountain ranges in New Mexico, home to about 870 vascular (i.e. plants with roots, stems, and leaves) plant species and a recorded 210 species of birds.

More here

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Brentin Mock: EPA Takes On Three Villains At Once: Pollution, Climate Change, And Racism

You may have read something recently about the air being racist, which is of course ridiculous. It is true that if you are white in America you will tend to breathe air of a more premium quality. A recent study from the University of Minnesota found that black and brown Americans are more often trapped in neighborhoods laden with nitrogen dioxide than their white fellow Americans. This is not news to us. Our abnormally high asthma and cancer rates testify to this. President Obama’s first Environmental Protection Agency chief, Lisa Jackson, promoted environmental justice to top priority status in the agency’s overall mission in 2009. The resulting strategy, which the EPA began rolling out in March, is called Plan EJ 2014, and its primary goal is to end the culture of entitlement among polluters that dump toxic byproducts into the air, soil, and water of marginalized communities. Why is this a big deal?

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Because if you believe that the health and lives of people of color are no less precious than white people’s, this plan helps bring environmental laws in harmony with those values. If you think that clean air is Don Sterling (I like black people. I feed them with oxygen and give them wind. I just don’t want them breathing me.), then you want to know who the Adam Silver is who can commission a smack down. Because civil rights protections in America have been taking a beating lately. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, we now have weakened voting rights protections, weakened affirmative action policies, and we were this close to losing valuable housing discrimination protections (which would have had negative implications for environmentalists).
While civil rights have been getting pushed backwards, environmental justice is been slowly rolling along progressively. That’s no small feat, especially for an agenda that was attacked almost immediately upon Obama claiming the White House in 2009.

More here

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ABC News: Biden: Punish Russia If It Meddles In Ukraine

Russia must be punished if it seeks to derail Ukraine’s presidential election this weekend, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday. Speaking during a tour of Eastern European nations, Biden urged European allies to use their influence and “promote a stable and positive environment” so Ukrainians can vote unhindered on Sunday. “If Russia undermines these elections … we must remain resolute and impose greater costs to Russia and (be) equally resolute to invest in the NATO alliance,” Biden said after talks with Romanian President Traian Basescu. The U.S. and the EU have imposed travel bans and asset freezes on President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and have threatened to target entire sectors of the Russian economy if Russia tries to grab more land from Ukraine.

Biden urged Romania to develop its natural gas resources, which analysts say could be exported it to other countries in the region, including neighboring Moldova, which is 100 percent dependent on Russian gas. Romania imports about one-fifth of its natural gas from Russia and has its own supplies in the northwest Transylvania region. “We need to ensure that Russia can no longer use its energy resources as a weapon against anyone in the region,” Biden said. “The development of a secure, diverse and inter-connected energy market is the next great step for our European colleagues.”

More here

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ThinkProgress: Chipotle Asks Customers To Keep Guns Away From Its Stores

On Monday, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. formally requested that customers refrain from bringing guns into its restaurants. The announcement came after gun rights advocates entered a Texas restaurant with “military-style assault rifles.”

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America distributed a petition calling for firearms bans in stores like Chipotle after “open-carry gun activists” entered a Chipotle in Dallas.

According to Chipotle, “the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.” It remains unclear whether or not the chain is implementing a complete ban on all firearms, but the official statement also claims that the company has previously adhered to local gun rights laws.

More here

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Caroline F. Pearson: Avalere Analysis: Exchange Enrollment Outpaces Expectations In 22 States

A new analysis from Avalere Health finds that exchange enrollment meets or exceeds expectations in 22 states (44%), even after accounting for any attrition due to nonpayment of premiums. Assuming 15 percent of enrollees do not take the final enrollment step and pay their premiums, over 6.8 million people who enrolled through April 19 will have coverage effective as of May 1.

“The large uptick in enrollment in March and early April brought many states over the finish line in terms of projected enrollment for 2014,” said Caroline Pearson, Vice President at Avalere. “Even after accounting for potential non-payment, enrollment exceeds 100 percent of projections in nearly half of states.”

More here

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The White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show: The Full Show:

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Paul Pillar: The President Strikes A Nerve

President Obama has gotten much attention from a single extended response he gave to a question about his foreign policy from Ed Henry of Fox News in a press conference in Manila. The apparently strongly felt need, on the part of some of the president’s hardline critics, to strike back at his remarks and to try to discredit them indicates that he spoke some embarrassing truths. Garden-variety disagreement with the substance of the president’s policies and what he has said to support them would never have stimulated this kind of response. The president made several perceptive observations about the less productive aspects of current discourse in Washington about Ukraine, Syria, and other difficult issues, but if there was a single “ouch” line that made the critics most uncomfortable it may have been Mr. Obama’s comment that “for some reason many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade, and they keep on just playing the same note over and over again.”

It must be painful for Mr. Obama’s opponents to be reminded how right he was about this issue while so many others—Democrats as well as Republicans—were wrong. If subsequent commentary by the critics were to be believed, the main takeaway from the president’s remarks was that he was accusing his political opponents of being warmongers. But the president explicitly acknowledged, in referring to debates over Syria and Ukraine, that the opponents he has in mind have disavowed wanting to send U.S. troops into such conflicts. Mr. Obama’s main point was instead that after making such disavowals, the critics either (1) fail to spell out what other action they have in mind, beyond what the administration already is doing; or (2) to the extent they do mention an alternative, fail to assess carefully the likely consequences both good and bad, and instead just make unsupported assertions that acting more boldly or aggressively will somehow help to solve the problem at hand.

More here

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WPRI: 91% In RI Pay First Premiums For Obamacare Plans

The vast majority of individuals who signed up for private insurance plans through Rhode Island’s new Obamacare marketplace finished the process by paying their first premiums, the agency’s leader confirmed Friday. Christine Ferguson, executive director of HealthSource RI, said 91% of the 27,968 individuals who signed up for private plans during the open enrollment period from Oct. 1 to March 31 paid their first premiums by the April 23 deadline. Analysts have pointed to that percentage as a key test of whether the enrollment figures were as strong as they looked. A total of 25,879 individuals had signed up for a private plan through HealthSource RI and paid their first premiums as of April 30, the agency said. In addition, more than 70,000 people have now used the marketplace to sign up for Medicaid, the government insurance plan for low-income Americans, far more than were expected to do so.

Ferguson also confirmed that HealthSource RI is “in very serious discussions” with executives at UnitedHealth Group Inc. to have United start selling plans for individuals on the Rhode Island marketplace this fall. “I will say that there’s a very good chance that United will,” she said. Executives at United, the nation’s largest health insurer, have signaled in recent weeks that they plan to start selling Obamacare plans in more states during the next open enrollment period this fall. While United is already selling plans to small businesses through HealthSource RI, the marketplace currently has only Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Neighborhood Health Plan offering individual plans.

More here

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Amy Lynn Smith: Obamacare Success Stories Keep Coming, With A Rosy Forecast For 2015

So much good news, it’s hard to know where to begin. In Michigan, 272,539 people signed up for coverage through Healthcare.gov, in addition to thousands more who have enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan, the state’s Medicaid expansion program that launched April 1. Numbers don’t lie, but even more compelling are the stories of people like Karen Marshall of Oak Park, Mich. Until about four years ago, she’d always had health insurance through work. But when she lost her job, she couldn’t get even the most expensive private insurance because the insurance company claimed she had a pre-existing condition.

Marshall has always considered herself fortunate to be healthy, but she never felt luckier than she did after getting health insurance that kicked in on January 1, 2014. On a trip the week before, she slipped on the ice and fell, breaking her wrist in three places. She saw an orthopedic surgeon on January 3 and had surgery the following week. Everything was covered by her insurance, leaving her only having to pay her deductible and her $6,000 out-of-pocket maximum for the year. She’s now had two surgeries, one hospitalization, and has physical therapy and follow-up visits ahead.

More here

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On This Day

Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters during a campaign rally at the St. Pete Times Forum, May 21, 2008 in Tampa, Florida

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President Obama and the Pittsburgh Steelers pack care packages for distribution by the USO during an event on the South Lawn of the White House May 21, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama meets with Judge Sonia Sotomayor in the Oval Office on May 21, 2009. The President nominated Judge Sotomayer to the U.S. Supreme Court on May 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (left) and Senior Advisor David Axelrod review President Obama’s address on national security outside the Oval Office on May 21, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama delivers an address on national security at the National Archives May 21, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama prepares to take a group photo with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the East Room of the White House, May 21, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama meets with Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete in the Oval Office Thursday, May 21, 2009. This was the President’s first meeting with an African Head of State. A bust of Martin Luther King is at far left (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama chats with journalists in a dining room located in the in the White House Navy Mess, May 21, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama’s personal secretary, Katie Johnson, tries on a Pittsburgh Steelers football helmet outside the Oval Office, May 21, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama is reflected in a mirror during a impromptu drop-by visit with speechwriters in David Axelrod’s office in the West Wing of the White House on May 21, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama surprises members of the Office of the Staff Secretary in the West Wing of the White House during an impromptu drop-by visit on May 21, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama shares a laugh with Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., left, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., right, and others during a meeting in the Oval Office, May 21, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama disembarks Air Force One upon his arrival at Joplin Regional Airport in Joplin, Mo., May 21, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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@PeteSouza: ‘POTUS receives update this am on Oklahoma tornado aftermath from Sec Napolitano et al’ May 21, 2013

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155 Responses to “Rise and Shine”


  1. 1 JER
    May 21, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Good Morning Chips andTOD.

  2. 12 JER
    May 21, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Good Morning NW. Wonderful post as usual.

  3. May 21, 2014 at 10:29 am

    WOW, it seems like each day you outdo yourself, NW! Another AWESOME R&S. Thank you very much.

  4. May 21, 2014 at 10:30 am

  5. 17 JER
    May 21, 2014 at 10:32 am

    LIVE NOW: House Foreign Affairs hearing on Boko Haram – http://www.cbsnews.com/liveFeed/widget.shtml

  6. 18 hopefruit2
    May 21, 2014 at 10:38 am

    G’morning Nerdy, Chps, TOD, lurkers, everyone and congrats JER on #1 :)

    Thanks NW for this excellent Wednesday R & S round-up!! What a treat :)

  7. May 21, 2014 at 10:39 am

    For all the speculators:

  8. May 21, 2014 at 10:42 am

    What a good friend to let her use his head as a tripod as she takes a selfie with the President. Either that or the poor kid really has it bad for her.

  9. 31 anniebella
    May 21, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Richard Sherman the Thug is on his way to the White House today.

  10. 34 Linda
    May 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I hope he makes a statement and walks out of the room.

  11. May 21, 2014 at 10:51 am

    May 20, 2014 4:24 PM
    Getting Retirees To “Look Down On” the Disabled

    By Ed Kilgore

    If you recall the video involving Republican Senate nominee Thom Tillis that made news right before the NC primary, the self-styled conservative revolutionary told GOP activists they needed to drive a wedge between the government-dependent by getting people with disabilities to “look down on” able-bodied beneficiaries of government assistance. He actually called it a “divide and conquer” strategy.

    Well, something similar is brewing on a more perilous (for the GOP) front: a conservative effort to get retirees to “look down on” those receiving Social Security Disability benefits. Greg Sargent is all over it today:

    Dem Senator Sherrod Brown, a member of the Finance Committee, tells me that GOP Senators have requested hearings into Social Security Disability Insurance this summer. Dems expect Republicans to attack the program as wasteful and fraudulent, in part because conservative media have already done so, and in part because at least one GOP proposal in recent days took aim at the program….

    “They want to separate ‘good’ Social Security (retirement security) from ‘bad’ Social Security (disability insurance), to win support for structural reform,” said Brown, who is holding a Senate Finance sub-committee hearing tomorrow on the overall program. “The attacks on disability insurance will accelerate. This is how they will try to back-door the dismantling of social insurance.”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2014_05/getting_retirees_to_look_down050433.php

  12. 36 Nena20409
    May 21, 2014 at 10:53 am

    GM TOD.

    Great Newsy Round-Up Nerdy Wonka.

    JER, Chips and JER ;) for their Golden Medals. Congrats

    So POTUS is going to be speaking this AM on the VA problems in AZ and elsewhere.

    Happy Sunny Wednesday to all :)

  13. 37 Nena20409
    May 21, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Hmm? Just looking back 6 yrs ago, POTUS looks visibly so Young.

    As FLOTUS would say: He’s still very Cute.

    Wasn’t it sweet how FLOTUS called POTUS Honey several times at her Arts events yesterday.

    • 38 anniebella
      May 21, 2014 at 11:24 am

      I think I heard FLOTUS call him honey ten times. Well it wasn’t ten, I’m just kidding. :)

  14. 39 japa21
    May 21, 2014 at 10:59 am

  15. May 21, 2014 at 11:00 am

  16. 42 japa21
    May 21, 2014 at 11:10 am

  17. May 21, 2014 at 11:11 am

  18. 51 sherijr
    May 21, 2014 at 11:15 am

    POTUS as usual has the right… a lot too of wait time is geographical. When I lived in small town ND- I could get an appointment for the next day at the VA.. just call in. Since moving to Baltimore, it takes about two months to get an appointment- and Baltimore is hugely busy… with a far different patient type- young, incoming soldiers from war.. far less of this in ND- there it was mostly retired/ elderly vets.

    When I had an emergency, I just went to the b’more va emergency and received AWESOME care.. they left no stone unturned in trying to find what was causing my problem. I have never been poorly treated- in 7 years at any VA.- and I unfortunately have more than a few health problems.. thanks to a civilian doctor who nearly killed me 8 yrs ago. I’m just saying there may have been issues in Phoenix or wherever.. but what I’ve encountered at VAs in ND and Baltimore have been excellent.

    • 52 sherijr
      May 21, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Also: just a few weeks ago I received a phone call from women vets asking if I had any issues I didn’t feel were being dealt with by the VA.. I didn’t, but still awesome to be asked- and they wanted me to know they were there to help me/ assist me with anything should I need help.

      • May 21, 2014 at 11:22 am

        Thanks for sharing your experience, sherijr. Fixing the VA is a huge undertaking and won’t happen overnight. But PBO is determined to see more progress that will improve all aspects of their service. It’s criminal that the GOP will stand in his way.

        • 54 sherijr
          May 21, 2014 at 11:28 am

          I agree with you… I have seen improvements over these past 5 yrs. In fact I believe the VA in that small town in ND came about due to his work on the VA bill as Senator :) I had my eldest child at a military hospital/VA 36 yrs ago… and let me tell you, the way we were treated and ‘cared’ for back then was damn near barbaric. As I wrote above, the care I’ve received these 7 yrs has been consistently better and better.

          • May 21, 2014 at 11:31 am

            I have two brothers who are vets and they are both getting excellent service. The only problem with one was that he needed a cataract procedure and was told 6 weeks. That turned into 6 months. But once he was able to get the attention of a higher-up, he was scheduled immediately.

            • 56 sherijr
              May 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

              Yes the waits can get a bit frustrating… I had horrible headaches every day for weeks and finally went to emergency.. they took all night giving me major tests because they thought my brain was swelling… thankfully :) not. Turned out to be my neck injury suddenly worsening. Thus I was told that neurosurgery would send me an appointment in 6 weeks.. which they didn’t. I called after waiting two months and was finally sent and appointment for the end of this month.. but mind you this all began in late November. Sooo that can be frustrating.. on the other hand, none of this was an emergency since Nov.. and they handled my headaches.. so I just can’t complain. The military always teaches you patience ;)

    • 64 sherijr
      May 21, 2014 at 11:20 am

      dang, should be “has it right” duh

    • 65 japa21
      May 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

      In general, the VA has been able to provide fantastic care to veterans. Not to lessen the importance of the current situation. As PBO said, if some of these allegations turn out to be true people deserve to be punished.
      A while back, there was an attempt to allow people to go outside the VA network for treatment. If they had private insurance, fine. The VA would pick up whatever costs were not covered. There was a major uproar over that and it wasn’t allowed to happen. Yet, I have no doubt it would have been helpful to cut into the backlog.
      Unfortunately, a lot of the uproar was from veteran groups who misunderstood the rationale and the benefits of the program. All they knew was that their care was being tinkered with by PBO and his administration. Wonder where they got that idea?

      And for those who are yelling for heads to roll, and many of those voices are coming from the left as well as the right, I have no doubt that will happen. But PBO learned in his first term that people can be let go before all the facts are in only to discover later that there had been nothing done wrong by that individual. Shirley Sherrod is an example.

      • 66 sherijr
        May 21, 2014 at 11:30 am

        Exactly- if anyone will get to the bottom of this, it is definitely President Obama.. and I completely trust his judgment and his honest concern about this situation.

        • 67 hopefruit2
          May 21, 2014 at 11:35 am

          Mark my word. At the “bottom” of this investigation lies more than a few GOP moles. That’s why they don’t want PBO doing any investigation, they wanted him to just fire the VA Secy and leave it at that. Meanwhile, the moles could continue their covert operations working in tandem with congressional GOPers and their allies in the media who would just as well cover for them….

          • 68 GGail
            May 21, 2014 at 11:45 am

            japa, sherijr, and hf – correct, correct, correct!

          • 69 sherijr
            May 21, 2014 at 11:46 am

            I don’t doubt that at all hopefruit. When I first began going to the VA in Fargo during President Obama’s election and first year as President.. there was an active duty National Guard sgt who handled the travel reimbursements. I had to travel by train quite a ways to go to Fargo for tests, thus had to deal with this creep all too frequently. He was very vocal about Pres Obama- anti, of course.. which was completely inappropriate – and would hassle us about what he reimbursed. After I had a major lung test/procedure.. and was still drugged and not in my right mind ;) I got into it with this character.. and subsequently he was fired, true story. My point being is that tea baggers/repubs are everywhere and they cannot be trusted to be honorable.

            • May 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

              VA reimburses you for travel, I didn’t know that. Hubby will be using VA occasionally. Thanks.

              • 71 sherijr
                May 21, 2014 at 3:35 pm

                HI sorry, CarolMae, I just now saw your comment. Yes the VA will reimburse you for travel, keep your receipts (hubby’s) and go to the travel office while he’s still at the VA- before he leaves.. reimbursements for auto mileage/train/bus costs, hotel costs and taxis too.

                I was in the army, served from 1-’76 to 12-’79.. back in the olden days ;)

                • May 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm

                  Thanks, Hubby was in Navy ’70-’74 even older days. Where do you live in ND? I have lots of relatives there. It’s where my mom grew up. :)

                  • 73 sherijr
                    May 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm

                    I left ND in Oct 2012 and moved here to Baltimore. I was born in Williston ND- lived there until about age 5, grew up in California. I moved back to Williston in 2003 as both my mom and sister were living there. Less than 20 miles from Montana and about 90 miles from Canada.. do you have family in Williston?

                    • May 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm

                      Hi, no, but a friend lives close. We lived there right after Hubby got out of service for a year. Then Jamestown, ND and then Gillette, WY.

                    • 75 sherijr
                      May 21, 2014 at 4:01 pm

                      ah ok, my mom grew up in ND too- but all in Williston. I had a cousin who lived in Wyoming years ago.. and two cousins who currently live in Montana.

                    • May 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm

                      Wide open country here. :)

                    • 77 sherijr
                      May 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm

                      Montana is beautiful.. I’ve been there very little CarolMae.. drive through to get to ND.. and it seemed to take forever to get across it when we were kids :)

                    • May 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

                      That’s why they call it Big Sky Country.

                    • 79 sherijr
                      May 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm

                      Its funny that you said that, I was just thinking about our trips across from CA to ND every year.. as kids, I would spend my time staring up at the Montana sky thinking about “Big Sky” country.. as my mom would say it every year as we drove through :) I was mesmerized by that sky.. and those words to describe it. kids.

          • 81 sherijr
            May 21, 2014 at 11:57 am

            that is so weird, I replied to your comment hf, but it’s no where to be found.. suffice it to say I agree with you.. have met more than my share of teabaggers/ repubs at VAs.. and they are always vocal.. and dishonest. Fortunately they are usually patients and not staff :)

    • 88 mtmarilyn
      May 21, 2014 at 11:31 am

      It’s the same here in MT. There are issues but my husband and friends have received great care. We are a very rural state, for many things we have to drive to Helena, 109 miles and for some things we have to drive to Billings, 340 miles so it isn’t easy, but it is there.

      All the people calling for Shinseki’s firing just want someone to pay and then go on. They don’t care about solving the problem, all they care about is show and blaming this administration. I trust this President.

      • 89 sherijr
        May 21, 2014 at 11:36 am

        Agree, about those going after Shinseki, who I really like and respect. Taking him down isn’t going to address the problem, whatever ‘it’ is.

        The VA I went to in ND, was also very rural.. and they at first had a hard time keeping a good doctor.. also for anything other than meds; minor care.. I had to take the train 400 miles to Fargo.. stay over night at least one, sometimes two nights.. which was an undertaking.. so any situation can have it’s drawbacks. But as a vet I always understand that I’m not the only one who needs care, and I have rarely minded the wait, as long as my care is good and conscientious.. and it has been. I’m extremely grateful for the VA.

  19. 90 GGail
    May 21, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Good morning Nerdy!

    I want to say that you’ve created sunshine with this R&S!

    Look at all the photo’s showing how President Obama can bring smiles and laughter to any and everybody who comes into his orbit.

    And what can I can about that picture of him talking while gesturing. That is ONE good-looking man!

  20. 92 Vicki
    May 21, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for a very full news report, NW.
    I especially appreciate all the ACA items. The MSM is no longer talking about Obamacare, now that it is such a success. We at TOD will keep the healthcare flag flying.

  21. 94 Nerdy Wonka
    May 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

    • 95 Linda
      May 21, 2014 at 11:28 am

      Pres. Obama on years of VA backlog and lack of funding: “We have been working really hard to address them.” Backlog came down.

      Some “former ” someone on CNN just said it has DOUBLED since 2010.

      Liars !!!!!!!!!!!!

      • 96 Nena20409
        May 21, 2014 at 11:34 am

        It did double and then it went down 44-50%.

        But lies on cable are often left unchallenged or even corrected.

  22. 97 hopefruit2
    May 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

    The GOP wants the VA Secy to be the fall guy – but PBO is up to their dirty tricks…he knows there are GOP moles in the VA system who have been looking for an opportunity to create a “scandal” and that’s why he wants a proper investigation, not just a knee-jerk reflexive firing of someone.

  23. 98 Nerdy Wonka
    May 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

  24. 107 Nerdy Wonka
    May 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

    • 108 amk for obama
      May 21, 2014 at 11:34 am

      Last one is perfect.

    • 110 cluny
      May 21, 2014 at 11:39 am

      I agree AMK. de lurking to say that THIS is the perfect response. Should be retweeted to every asshole in the WHPC. Inquiring minds want to know when all the incompetent journos are going to resign in disgrace from all their blundering – you know – on little things like WMD and illegal wars.

      • 111 GGail
        May 21, 2014 at 11:54 am

        Exactly cluny! btw – thanks for delurking and commenting.

        I’m constantly surprised when someone delurks and comments. I think, wow, how many are out there lurking, reading, enjoying these wonderful posts and not commenting. How can you refrain? Are you typing into the air?

        Come on – join in – we’d love to hear from you….all :-)

        There’s no way I could read and NOT say something or reply to something someone here has said. LOL!!!

    • 112 GGail
      May 21, 2014 at 11:43 am

      Good job NW! Thanks

  25. 113 hopefruit2
    May 21, 2014 at 11:29 am

    LOL – thank goodness our President is not a knee-jerk reactor…

  26. 122 hopefruit2
    May 21, 2014 at 11:31 am

    • 124 anniebella
      May 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Whatever happen to before you hang someone you get the facts, nothing but the facts. Once you get the facts, then you act on it.

    • 125 Obama Grandmama
      May 22, 2014 at 12:34 am

      Holding an investigation and firing someone not exactly in that order has been how things were handled in the past. PBO finds out what happened before addressing the topic. Then a thorough investigation and plan of action to fix the problem is the end result. Firing only comes into play if it is necessary unlike previous administrations where firing is the action plan then things just go back to the same.

  27. 126 Nena20409
    May 21, 2014 at 11:31 am

    I dare any News media to report a story about the Vets and the VA with facts, data and what has happened since Jan 20th 2009 and then compare and contrast what were happening before Jan 20th, 2009.

    That would be how Journalism should work.

    I will not hold my breath.

    8M Vets. How many hospitals? How many doctors? Where are all the hospitals located?

    Facts have got to be the Main Issue NOT Politics of misinformation.

    • 127 Ladyhawke
      May 21, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Exactly nena. The jackals are salivating for heads to roll before the Inspector Generals report and internal reviews are completed. I can’t stand them. They will never put things into context. It’s as if these long wait times just surfaced and there were no issues with the VA in previous administrations. As President Obama said the long wait times issue has been around for decades.

  28. May 21, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Bombasticcccc Rise and Shine!!!!!

  29. 130 japa21
    May 21, 2014 at 11:38 am

  30. May 21, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Good Morning TODers!

    I wanted to add my 2 cents about the VA issue….

    It seems to me that the problems coming to light regarding the VA is, in part, more fall-out from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. With the number of vets entering the system, the expansion to include mental health coverage, vets already in the system, combined with an antiquated system that already had problems this is what can result.

    At the same time, there is the question about the leadership at individual facilities…how long have persons been in charge of these facilities and to what degree have they contributed to the problem? How often have “patches” been applied that may have provided quick fixes, but didn’t resolve the problem long term and may have even delayed real fixes to the problem?

    I’m glad that the President emphasized that the problems have been going on for decades. I’m also glad that he identified the improvements that have been made in recent years. Should Shinseki resign? I can’t say because I believe he is addressing problems as he becomes aware of them. If there is deliberate action to hide issues, to what degree should he be held accountable? In a system that large, what *should* he *reasonably* be expected to know?

    • 132 sherijr
      May 21, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Excellent points swblue.

    • 133 57andfemale
      May 21, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      I heard someone on the radio today say that these problems have existed since JFK.

      A caller to Stephanie Miller made an interesting point: we keep putting career military men into positions of power at the VA and they may not necessarily be the best choice administratively. Military does waste money, you follow orders unquestioningly. This problem requires management and administrative experience and skill and an atmosphere that is open to brainstorming to find the best solutions.

      • May 21, 2014 at 12:08 pm

        Oh and BTW…the people (who I suspect are primarily GOP/anti-Obama) who are yelling disgrace about the VA problems are the same people who have no problem with people not getting sufficient health care due to lack of insurance or abuses in the health care industry — the “Repeal Obamacare/No Medicaid Expansion” crowd.

        • 135 57andfemale
          May 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm

          They are also the ones who have cut funding. They don’t care that food stamps are cut for veterans and military families. They are nothing but opportunistic hypocrites.

          And here’s another thought: how about we stop sending our people to get maimed in unnecessary wars?

  31. 136 Ladyhawke
    May 21, 2014 at 11:49 am

    When Fox News Shrugged Over A Veterans Care Scandal (Hint: Bush Was President)

    BY ERIC BOEHLERT

    ————————————

    The heated right-wing response stands in stark contrast to the muted coverage Fox News provided for the last major controversy involving failed medical care for returning soldiers. In February 2007, the Washington Post, following up on original reporting done by Salon, exposed shockingly poor conditions inside the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Those revelations also sparked resignations and Congressional hearings.

    But back then, of course, George W. Bush was president and back then Fox News wasn’t as interested in the story. (It took Bill O’Reilly six weeks following the publication of the first Post expose to conclude that the Bush administration had badly bungled veterans care at Walter Reed.) And Fox worried journalists were paying too much attention to the scandal.
    .
    .
    What’s “classic” is how Fox and friends determine their level of outrage about failed veteran care based on who occupies the White House.

    ————————————–

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/05/21/when-fox-news-shrugged-over-a-veterans-care-sca/199406

  32. 137 hopefruit2
    May 21, 2014 at 11:58 am

  33. 146 japa21
    May 21, 2014 at 12:22 pm

  34. 147 57andfemale
    May 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Don’t need to click the link, the headline tells the entire story:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/05/21/1300939/-Republicans-outraged-over-treatment-of-veterans-filibustered-better-healthcare-for-vets-in-February

    can Dem’s get their effing act together and scream this if they’re within a mile of a mic?

  35. 148 japa21
    May 21, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    • 149 Vicki
      May 21, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      True.
      GOP strategy is to attack The President on his strengths. President’s strategy is to turn the force of GOP attacks around and hit them right between the eyes.

      Bill Maher must be smiling today. GOP detemined to run 2014 against PBO. AS Bill said we will beat their dumbasses for the third time.

  36. 151 57andfemale
    May 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Has this been covered here today? eBay has been hacked and passwords should be changed. Apparently PayPal was not; but if you use the same password for eBay and Paypal, change your password.

  37. 152 Kid kanga
    May 21, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Just had to de-lurk as well to post how excited i was to hear about Henry the 8th (8th cousin of our president!) putting together a museum for our beloved president. makes me want to plan a trip to ireland ASAP! also made me think about all the other types of fun things people are doing or will be doing to celebrate our first family. no amount of Koch money or CNN Drivel can change that!

    Kentucky I am so cheering for you to unseat that monster mitch mconnel. you can do it!

  38. May 21, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Instead of “there’s a problem, let’s do what we need to do to fix it”, the MSM’s mantra these days is 1) it’s political, and 2) just fire someone — no need for investigation or *fact* finding.

  39. May 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm

  40. 155 anniebella
    May 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Get ready, the WH suppose to release some memo about killing U.S. citizens who are terrorists, and watch some folks try to make a big deal of it. But as for as I am concern, these people who have turn against American, these people who would blow us to pieces in a second and not shed a tear, well I’m not going to shed a tear for them. I don’t give a dam what Rachel Maddow or those other ones think. These terrorists are enemies of our country, them mean us harm, and we have to get them before they get us.


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