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30
May
14

The Week In Toons

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Continue reading ‘The Week In Toons’

28
May
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama is reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall as he delivers remarks during the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War commemoration ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 28, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today

7:50 AM: President Obama departs the White House

9:15: Arrives Stewart Air Base, Newburgh, New York

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10:0: Delivers commencement address, West Point

Streaming has started

Also at White House Live

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12:0: Vice President Biden Delivers the Commencement Address at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs

1:05: President Obama Departs Newburgh

2:20: Arrives White House

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Thursday

The President will host a summit at the White House on youth sports safety and concussions, where he will be joined by stakeholders, including young athletes, parents, coaches, experts, professional athletes, and military service members. At the White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit, the President will announce new commitments by both the public and private sectors to raise awareness about how to identify, treat and prevent concussions, and conduct additional research in the field of sports-related concussions that will help us better address these problems

Friday

The President will attend a hurricane preparedness meeting at FEMA Headquarters

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Time: Why Obama Is Leaving 10,000 Troops in Afghanistan

By choosing to leave almost 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after the formal end of American combat operations later this year, President Barack Obama made a choice between two imperatives.

One was to make a clean break with a war that has lasted more than 12 years, costing hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American lives, with inconclusive results. Obama was happy to take that path in Iraq, from which he pulled out the last U.S. soldier in December 2011. (There’s some dispute as to whether Obama preferred to leave a small residual force but was denied by the Iraqi government; suffice to say Obama wasn’t hell-bent on staying.)

The other imperative was to ensure that Afghanistan doesn’t become like a horror movie killer who springs up the moment the you think he’s dead and turn your back. Afghanistan’s security forces probably aren’t yet ready to defend their government against the Taliban, a weakened but hardly defeated enemy. A residual American force can aid the Afghans with everything from intelligence to logistics to medical assistance. (The Afghans have paltry Medevac capabilities, for instance—hardly a morale booster for their troops.) Obama may rightfully doubt that maintaining tens of thousands of U.S. forces can remake Afghanistan into a tidy success story. But neither does he want to preside over a slide back into a 1990s-style civil war.

More here

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Wall Street Journal: Learning From the California Shootings

At the vigil in Isla Vista, Calif., on Saturday, I realized how stupid I had been about the Boston Marathon bombings. I remember thinking on that awful day how glad I was that my son lived in Santa Barbara, away from places targeted by such evil. But after Friday’s shootings in Santa Barbara, in which six people were killed and 13 injured, I saw the terrible pain around me. About 5,000 gathered to mourn the senseless deaths and a generation of college students ripped from adolescence. The searing pain of another dad, Richard Martinez, got the attention of a nation this weekend when he declared:

More here

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The Atlantic: A Land Without Guns: How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths

I’ve heard it said that, if you take a walk around Waikiki, it’s only a matter of time until someone hands you a flyer of scantily clad women clutching handguns, overlaid with English and maybe Japanese text advertising one of the many local shooting ranges. The city’s largest, the Royal Hawaiian Shooting Club, advertises instructors fluent in Japanese, which is also the default language of its website. For years, this peculiar Hawaiian industry has explicitly targeted Japanese tourists, drawing them away from beaches and resorts into shopping malls, to do things that are forbidden in their own country.

Waikiki’s Japanese-filled ranges are the sort of quirk you might find in any major tourist town, but they’re also an intersection of two societies with wildly different approaches to guns and their role in society. Friday’s horrific shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater has been a reminder that America’s gun control laws are the loosest in the developed world and its rate of gun-related homicide is the highest. Of the world’s 23 “rich” countries, the U.S. gun-related murder rate is almost 20 times that of the other 22. With almost one privately owned firearm per person, America’s ownership rate is the highest in the world; tribal-conflict-torn Yemen is ranked second, with a rate about half of America’s.

More here

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Homicides by gun in region (PDF):

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NYT: What Did the Framers Really Mean?

Three days after the publication of Michael Waldman’s new book, “The Second Amendment: A Biography,” Elliot Rodger, 22, went on a killing spree, stabbing three people and then shooting another eight, killing four of them, including himself. This was only the latest mass shooting in recent memory, going back to Columbine. In his rigorous, scholarly, but accessible book, Waldman notes such horrific events but doesn’t dwell on them. He is after something else. He wants to understand how it came to be that the Second Amendment, long assumed to mean one thing, has come to mean something else entirely. To put it another way: Why are we, as a society, willing to put up with mass shootings as the price we must pay for the right to carry a gun?

The Second Amendment begins, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” and that’s where Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, begins, too. He has gone back into the framers’ original arguments and made two essential discoveries, one surprising and the other not surprising at all. More:

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

29
Mar
14

The First Lady in China: A Photo Essay

First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia visit the Great Wall of China, March 23, 2014 (Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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Day One: Thursday, March 20

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First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Marian Robinson are greeted upon arrival at Xi’an Xianyang International Airport in Xi’an, China, March 24 (Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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Day Two: Friday, March 21

Greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan the Diaoyutai State guest house

Visiting the Forbidden City

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….. greeted by Peng Liyuan upon arrival for a visit to the Beijing Normal School

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Continue reading ‘The First Lady in China: A Photo Essay’

21
Mar
14

The Week in Toons

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Continue reading ‘The Week in Toons’

17
Mar
14

The 16 Sweetest Reasons To #GetCoveredNow

White House

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→  HealthCare.gov

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Time: White House Embraces March Madness To Sell Obamacare

The administration has marshaled athletes, coaches, and sports celebrities to help sell the law to the so-called “young invincibles,” whose participation is vital to the success of the insurance marketplaces, according to a White House official who described the blitz….

The field of teams in the college basketball tournament was set to be chosen on Sunday, also known as “Selection Sunday.” On Monday, the White House will release a “16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered” bracket listing the top reasons to get health insurance, along with a new web video featuring top college basketball coaches. The bracket will be updated all week to reflect the results of an online survey. The bracket is timed to coincide with the release of President Barack Obama’s selections for his own NCAA tournament bracket on Wednesday, the White House official said.

Additionally, ads paid for by the Department of Health and Human Services featuring LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning will air during March Madness games and on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBAtv, while the agency is targeting digital ads to basketball supporters. Administration officials including Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer have called into sports radio stations across the country to promote insurance enrollment.

More here

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Roy Williams UNC Men’s Basketball Geno Auriemma UCONN Women’s Basketball

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Women can’t be charged more than men

Now that’s a slam dunk.

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It’s the smart thing to do

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Nobody’s invincible

Don’t let huge medical bills be your kryptonite.

Make sure you sign up for health coverage.

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Birth control is free

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You never know when you’ll take a hard foul

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See all the gifs here

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USA TODAY: Obama team uses March Madness to sell health care plan

On Monday, Obama — who is planning to release his annual NCAA tournament picks this week — will be interviewed by the Univision Radio program Locura Deportiva(“Sports Madness”). That session tips off a string of interviews with administration officials seeking to sell the health care plan…..

Throughout March Madness, a variety of administration officials — including McDonough, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and health care adviser Phil Schiliro — will sit for interviews on sports talk radio stations across the country, another tactic the administration has used in recent weeks. Past targets have included media markets in Atlanta, Austin, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia and Tampa. Administration supporters will also hit the airwaves during the health care push. On Monday, Dan Rooney, chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, will be interviewed on a Steel City radio station.

On Thursday — the start of the Round of 64 in the men’s tournament — athletes who have helped the administration promote its health care plan in the past will participate in what the White House calls a “social media day of action,” seeking to drive traffic to websites that are linked to HealthCare.gov. Participants include basketball’s Kobe Bryant and football’s Victor Cruz

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27
Feb
14

“My Brother’s Keeper”

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Youth Guidance: President Obama Invites BAM Program Back To The White House

President Obama has invited Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) program back to Washington D.C. to kick off a new White House initiative called “My Brother’s Keeper.” Three B.A.M. students from Hyde Park High School, along with B.A.M. Lead Supervisor, Marshaun Bacon, and Youth Guidance Board Member, Stuart Taylor, will visit the White House Thursday and Friday. The President’s initiative will support young male minorities by bringing foundations and companies together to find ways to keep young men in school and out of the criminal justice system.

More here

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USA Today: Obama Plans Program To Aid Minority Men

As part of the new effort, businesses and foundations would seek to develop strategies designed to help young men at critical and vulnerable parts of their lives. Goals range from helping boys get to school on time to avoiding problems with the criminal justice system. Ideas include promoting literacy, early childhood education and healthy lifestyles, as well as disrupting what one official called “the school-to-prison pipeline.” “My Brother’s Keeper” also involves a review of existing federal programs designed to address the challenges facing young men, discarding those that don’t work and improving those that do — “all within existing federal resources,” one official said. One official said the goal of “My Brother’s Keeper” is “to make sure that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential.”

More here

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Yahoo: Obama Embraces A Lifelong Cause: Helping Minority Boys Succeed

“I never signed a Father’s Day card before,” the young man explained as the president opened the card. “I’ve never signed a Father’s Day card, either,” Obama replied, according to an aide, improbably closing the distance between the Chicago teens and the American president. It was an intimate, private moment that moved him. On Thursday afternoon, Obama will be addressing the same set of issues in a far more public way. Three of the BAM teens will return to the White House for Obama’s unveiling of a new initiative partly inspired by the Chicago program. As part of “My Brother’s Keeper,” as the new campaign is known, the White House will bring together nonprofits, foundations and private businesses to endorse and test out programs designed to help young minority men graduate from high school, stay out of juvenile detention centers and prisons, and train for and get good jobs.

More here

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Continue reading ‘“My Brother’s Keeper”’




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