On This Day: Senator Barack Obama waves as he arrives at Heathrow airport on July 25, 2008 in London. It was the last leg of a trip that took in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, the West Bank, Israel, Germany, France and Britain.
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Today (all times Eastern)
1:0: Josh Earnest briefs the press
2:0: The President and Vice President meet with President Molina of Guatemala, President Hernandez of Honduras, and President Ceren of El Salvador, Cabinet Room
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Because it can never be posted enough…..
@petesouza: President Obama greets an enthusiastic customer at Canter’s delicatessen in LA
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LA Times: On Obama’s private L.A. schedule: a meeting with Father Boyle
President Obama met privately with Father Gregory Boyle of Los Angeles’ Homeboy Industries and four former gang members Thursday as part of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative aimed at lifting African American and Latino youths.
“He talked about how he had a similar background with a single mother. She gave birth when she was 18. And he said he had gotten into trouble but was good at not getting caught,” said Boyle in an interview, adding that the meet-and-greet lasted about 10 minutes and each young man got a handshake and a picture with the president.
“The homies just loved him. Afterward they were saying, ‘He’s one of us.’”
Homeboy Industries is a much-praised Los Angeles-based program that helps former gang members turn their lives around, and Boyle is a celebrated and deeply respected community leader…
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ThinkProgress: Obamacare Has Helped Americans Save Nearly $2 Billion On Their Insurance Premiums
Millions of Americans can expect to get a refund from their insurance companies this year, at an average of about $80 dollars per family, thanks to a little-known Obamacare provision that’s helping people save money on their premiums. According to a new report released by the Health and Human Services Department on Thursday, Americans across the country have received a total of $1.9 billion dollars in rebates since this provision first took effect in 2011.
Obamacare’s medical loss ratio provision — which is also frequently referred to as the “80/20 rule” — requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of every American’s premium costs on their medical care, rather than on the company’s own profits or administrative overhead. If insurance companies don’t hit the right balance, they have to issue a refund check to their customers to make up for it.
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ICYMI: A new study says more than 10M Americans gained health insurance through the health care marketplace so far. http://t.co/gUh7Y7vnpS
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 24, 2014
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Great Fall Tribune (Letters Page): I can’t say enough good things about what “Obamacare” has done for me.
My premium is about the same per month as it was prior to “Obamacare,” but I have a much lower deductible.
Prior to “Obamacare,” my health insurance company would raise my premiums annually with no explanation. Also, it would continuously re-rate me to a higher premium for things it pulled out of my health care records that it considered “risky.”
Every time I was rated to a more expensive tier, I would have my doctor write a letter stating that I was in good health and nothing in my records indicated anything “risky.” This was a complete waste of her time and mine! Finally, before “Obamacare,” I had no prescription coverage. Now I have great prescription coverage.
I thank President Barack Obama for helping me get fair and reasonable health insurance coverage.
— Shawna Strause,
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In fairness, he’s only had five years RT @mmcauliff: Boehner on the long-promised replacement for Obamacare: “not there yet.”
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 24, 2014
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Michael Tomasky: The GOP’s 20-Year War on Health Care
Stop the presses: John Boehner admitted Thursday that the Republican Party’s long-awaited alternative to Obamacare needs a little more time in the oven. “You know, the discussions about Obamacare and what the replacement bill would look like continue. We’re trying to build consensus around one plan,” the Speaker told Hill reporters. “Not there yet.”
As if you even needed me to tell you, rest assured … they aren’t going to have a plan … The problem of millions of uninsured has existed in this country since — well, since forever …. And what, in all that time, has the Grand Old Party proposed to do about it all?
Not. One. Thing. ….. What the GOP did instead, of course, was to fight tooth-and-nail to stop the two Democratic attempts to insure more people, succeeding the first time, failing the second.
…. The 20-year war on health care — since their 1993 defeat of the Clinton plan — has been about Republicans’ hatred of government; their view of people who don’t have insurance as lazy or flawed and not worth lifting a finger for; and their fear that if a law is passed and succeeds in bringing health care to millions, they and their whole vision of society will be discredited in the eyes of millions. Of course, these days, all that is shot through with one more element: a heavy dose of Obama hatred.
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‘I HATE Obamacare!1!’ ‘Honey, a rebate has arrived from our health insurer!’ ‘I LOVE the Affordable Care Act!1!’ pic.twitter.com/5yo9opoZTa
— TheObamaDiary.com (@TheObamaDiary) July 24, 2014
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— TheObamaDiary.com (@TheObamaDiary) July 25, 2014
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BBC: Gaza conflict deaths pass 800 as Kerry pushes ceasefire
Efforts to secure a ceasefire between Israel and the militant Hamas movement are intensifying as the death toll in 18-day-old conflict continues to climb.
Gaza faced more Israeli shelling and air strikes overnight, while Israeli towns raised the alarm over Hamas rockets on Friday morning.
Israel’s security cabinet is due to discuss a seven-day truce plan backed by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
More than 800 Palestinians have now been killed, as well as 34 Israelis.
Most of the Palestinian deaths have been civilians, while 32 of Israel’s dead have been soldiers.
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— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) July 23, 2014
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I really friggin’ hate terms like ‘Tidal Wave’ – they’re human beings. Reminds me of Greenwald using “endless hordes” to describe immigrants. But any way, here’s the news on today’s meeting:
NYT: Obama to Urge 3 Leaders to Slow Tidal Wave of Migrants
President Obama will urge the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to do everything they can to stem the flow of migrant children toward the United States when he meets with them on Friday at the White House, officials said.
The president called the meeting with Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala and Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador to emphasize the importance of striking at the root causes of what he has called a humanitarian crisis on the border between Mexico and the United States. Aides said Mr. Obama will press his fellow leaders to do more to convince their citizens not to make the dangerous journey to America.
In particular, officials said Mr. Obama will urge the presidents to amplify the public message that most people trying to get into the United States will not be permitted to stay. Mr. Obama will also ask the leaders to do more to go after the smugglers who, for a price, are bringing the children to America.
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Reality begins to pierce the fog of GOP spin on the politics of the border crisis: http://t.co/SMLhjFZzgK
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) July 25, 2014
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Steve Benen: House GOP poised to kill veterans-aid bill
These days, it’s awfully difficult for major legislation on high-profile issues to generate broad, bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. The parties are usually too far apart to build consensus and strike deals.
But in mid-June, the Senate nevertheless came together to support a bipartisan veterans-aid package, written by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). There was some token opposition from the far-right, but they were easily outnumbered – the bill passed with a whopping 93 votes.
At the time, success seemed like a foregone conclusion. The VA scandal was literally front-page news and the demands for action were ubiquitous. When the Senate bill advanced on a 93-3 vote, many assumed the legislation would be on President Obama’s desk within a week.
That was six weeks ago. House Republicans now appear ready to kill the bill altogether.
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— Billy Dec (@BillyDec) July 25, 2014
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Chicago Tribune: First Lady Michelle Obama raises money for Democrats in Chicago
First Lady Michelle Obama returned to her hometown Thursday and decried the effects of gun violence on Chicago’s youth as she told a group of campaign donors to “write the biggest, fattest check that you can possibly write” to help Democrats make a better future for children.
Speaking to an estimated 150 people in the fifth-floor ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Chicago in the Gold Coast at a Democratic National Committee event, the First Lady repeatedly urged donors to “dig deep.”
She said electing Democrats in the November mid-term elections would help the nation overcome what she called Republican “obstruction” to curbing climate change, raising the minimum wage, improving the infrastructure and protecting women’s reproductive rights as well as attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“As parents, there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our children. Nothing. We always put kids’ interests first,” she said. “We deserve leaders across the country who are going to do the same.”
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Such an honor to have Mrs. Obama dining with us tonight! Staffs selfie! pic.twitter.com/4VIFeScw50
— SUNDA (@Sunda) July 25, 2014
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Newsweek: How the Republican Hold on the South Could Collapse
Henry L. Marsh III wanted to see President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in person because, at 79, he figured he might not live to see another black president elected. So the Virginia civil rights lawyer spent January 21, 2013, in Washington, D.C., witnessing a part of history he had dedicated his life to making possible.
His presence at Obama’s inauguration, however, set off one of the dirtiest political maneuvers in recent history.
Marsh is a Democrat in the Virginia Senate, a chamber that until last month was divided evenly along party lines, with 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans. But with Marsh 100 miles away in Washington, Republicans briefly enjoyed a 20-19 majority, if only for a few hours. In a power grab so brazen it caught even the GOP governor by surprise, Senate Republicans passed a bill redrawing the state Senate map to give them a permanent majority.
By the time Marsh returned, his colleagues had passed a redistricting bill that would have vastly undercut the political power of black Virginians. The new map crowded black voters into minority-heavy districts so that up to eight more districts would turn red, a strategy political scientists call “pack and crack,” leaving Republicans with a 27-13 majority in Virginia for years to come.
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The Root: All the Times Eric Holder Kept It Completely 100
Here is proof that our attorney general is as real as they come.
It was nothing for Attorney General Eric Holder to tell ABC News that Sarah Palin “wasn’t a particularly good vice presidential candidate” and for him to suggest, in his own way, that she ought to read the Constitution before proposing that President Barack Obama be impeached—seeing as how there would be no legal basis for such an act. Lest we forget, Holder has been speaking his mind since he got the job, and lucky for us—that is, people who love it when politicians let loose and tell us what they’re really thinking—he won’t stop.
As attorney general, Eric Holder is America’s chief law-enforcement officer. And judging by this roundup of times that he has spoken candidly and uninhibitedly about hot-button topics and controversial issues, I think it’s safe to say that Holder is the type of counsel who will give it to you straight—no chaser.
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On This Day
French president Nicolas Sarkozy welcomes Senator Obama at the Elysee Palace on July 25, 2008 in Paris
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President Obama writes a response to one of the ten letters he receives each day from the White House Correspondence office on Saturday, July 25, 2009 (Photo By Pete Souza)
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President Obama receives a jersey from Hall of Fame player Willie Mays and San Francisco Giants General Manager Brian Sabean during an event with the World Series champions in the East Room of the White House July 25, 2011
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Remember? Tyren was the young man who asked the President “why do people hate you?” (See here)
President Obama waves to supporters after a speech at the House of Blues in New Orleans on July 25, 2012
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President Obama speaking in Jacksonville, Florida, July 25, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)