Archive for the 'Articles' Category

30
Jun
15

Biggest Drop In Uninsured Rates?! Thanks, ObamaCare

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Sarah Kliff: Under Obamacare, America’s Uninsured Rate Has Fallen 35 Percent

14.1 million Americans have gained health plans since Obamacare’s coverage expansion began in 2014.
An additional 2.3 million young adults gained coverage between 2010 and 2013 — after Obamacare began requiring employer plans to offer dependent coverage through age 26. Federal officials say this is the largest drop in the uninsured rate since 1965, when Medicare and Medicaid began.

A new report from Health and Human Services finds that the uninsured rate has fallen from 20.3 percent prior to the health-care law down to 13.2 percent at the start of 2015. This is a 7.1 percentage-point decrease in the uninsured rate — or, to put it another way, a 35-percent decline in the number of Americans who lack insurance coverage. “Nothing since the implementation of Medicare and Medicaid has come close to this kind of change,” says Richard Frank, assistant secretary for evaluation and planning at Health and Human Services.

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30
Jun
15

President Barack Obama: A Champion For Workers

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President Barack Obama: A Hard Day’s Work Deserves A Fair Day’s Pay

It’s been a good few days for America. On Thursday, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the Affordable Care Act. It is here to stay. And, Democrats and Republicans in Congress paved the way for the United States to rewrite the rules of global trade to benefit American workers and American businesses. On Friday, the Court recognized the Constitutional guarantee of marriage equality. With that ruling, our union became a little more perfect — a place where more people are treated equally, no matter who they are or who they love. These steps build upon America’s steady progress in recent years. Out of the depths of recession, we’ve emerged ready to write our own future. Our businesses have created 12.6 million new jobs over the past 63 months — the longest streak on record. More than 16 million Americans have gained health insurance. More kids are graduating from high school and college than ever before. But more work lies ahead, if we are to succeed in making sure this recovery reaches all hardworking Americans and their families.

We’ve got to keep making sure hard work is rewarded. Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve. That’s partly because we’ve failed to update overtime regulations for years — and an exemption meant for highly paid, white collar employees now leaves out workers making as little as $23,660 a year — no matter how many hours they work. This week, I’ll head to Wisconsin to discuss my plan to extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers in 2016, covering all salaried workers making up to about $50,400 next year. That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve — since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren’t. That’s how America should do business. In this country, a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

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Mike Dorning: Obama Plans To Expand Overtime Eligibility For Millions

The Obama administration plans to raise the wages of millions of Americans who work more than 40 hours a week by requiring their employers to pay them overtime. Workers who earn as much as $970 a week would have to be paid overtime even if they’re classified as a manager or professional, based on draft rules to be announced as soon as Tuesday, said an administration official. Many employees now receiving as little as $455 a week, or $23,660 a year — below the federal poverty line for a family of four — aren’t entitled to overtime pay because they are classified as managers exempt from overtime pay. The regulations, from the Labor Department, would take effect in 2016, said the official, who asked for anonymity because the plan hasn’t been announced. Workers in retail stores and restaurants are among most likely to be affected.

“You would be hard pressed to find a rule change or an executive order that would reach more middle class workers than this one,” said Jared Bernstein, a former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden who is now a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The median U.S. household income of $54,600 in April was $1,600 short of the amount at the start of the recession in December 2007, according to inflation-adjusted estimates from Sentier Research. Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, a research group partly funded by labor unions, has estimated that the higher salary threshold would expand overtime to as many as 15 million additional workers.

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22
Jun
15

It’s Not The Word

It’s not the word. It’s the thought behind the word.

It’s not the word. It’s the actions taken informed by the word

Don’t think that, as Piers Morgan opines, banning the word will ban the thought.

Banning the word is merely being polite. But the same people who wouldn’t dare use the word in public believe in everything the word implies in private.

President Obama used the word “nigger” in his interview with Marc Maron, in a discourse on how racism isn’t solved.

Bill Hemmer of Fox News clutched his pearls because of the President’s use of that word. Us white folks have been taught to avoid that word, and here is Pres. Obama using it.

Like slave owners weren’t presidents.

Like the man who pushed through the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts didn’t drop it as easily as I drop “fuck”, and with as little thought.

As if a black man, who happens to be the nation’s first black chief executive, needs to be policed by white journalists on how to discuss race.

Remember, Chuck Todd said Pres. Obama can’t be “neutral” on matters of race. Because to the white commentariat, that patina of neutrality absolves them from confronting the country’s original sin.

Continue reading ‘It’s Not The Word’

19
Jun
15

First Lady Michelle Obama Visits U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza

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Colleen Barry: Michelle Obama Meets US Troops In Italy; Recalls Charleston

Michelle Obama’s thoughts turned to those grieving for nine people killed in a U.S. church as she visited Friday with American soldiers and their families stationed in northern Italy. “We have seen too many tragedies like this,” Mrs. Obama said of the attack in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. “There is something particularly horrifying about something that happens so senseless in a house of worship.” She added: “I pray for a community that I know is in pain with the hope that tragedies like these will one day come to an end.” The U.S. first lady was visiting at the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, thanking hundreds of the troops and their families for their service.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday had expressed anger and sadness over the slayings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. “As my husband said yesterday, simply saying our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and community of Charleston does not convey the heartache,” Mrs. Obama said. Her time with the troops and their families included reading a book to children, and visiting with about 30 expectant mothers to discuss the challenges faced by military families overseas. The families live in an area that includes housing units and an elementary and middle school. She spent a good half hour giving hugs and shaking hands. Her daughters Malia and Sasha helped her scoop out ice cream. About 500 people were attending a barbecue on the middle school’s athletic fields.

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19
Jun
15

The First Lady (Yesterday) In Italy

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama visits the roof of the Duomo gothic cathedral in Milan, Italy, Thursday, June 18, 2015. Earlier Michelle Obama  toured the U.S. and Italian pavilions at the Expo 2015 world's fair focused on food and nutrition, topics in step with the first lady's initiative to promote healthy eating.(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

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Colleen Barry: Michelle Obama Lights Candles For US Shooting Victims In Milan’s Duomo Cathedral

Michelle Obama and her elder daughter visited Milan’s Duomo cathedral on Thursday, where an official traveling with her said they lit candles in memory of the victims of the shooting in South Carolina. The first lady and her daughter Malia were seen by photographers entering the Gothic-inspired cathedral on the unannounced stop. Mrs. Obama was dressed in black with dark glasses, while Malia wore a white blouse with black trousers. Mrs. Obama made no comment and issued no statement. Nine people, including the pastor, were killed overnight at a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, left, flanked by Italy's first lady Agnese Landini, meets Italian schoolchildren during her visit at the Italian pavilion at the 2015 Expo in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Thursday, June 18, 2015. Mrs. Obama is leading a presidential delegation Thursday to the world's fair, organized around issues concerning food and nutrition, which dovetails with the U.S. first lady's "Let's Move" initiative to fight childhood obesity through diet and exercise. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Earlier Thursday, Mrs. Obama visited the Expo 2015 World’s Fair in Milan, which focuses on food and nutrition. She found kindred spirits in her campaign to promote healthy eating during visits to the U.S. and the Italian pavilions. Mrs. Obama was greeted by a video image of her husband, President Barack Obama, as she entered the U.S. pavilion, guided by U.S. student delegates to Expo from universities around the United States. She spent some time discussing the vertical garden covering the length of pavilion, which has rotating panels of herbs and vegetables that are engineered to maximize sunlight exposure. Mrs. Obama said the pavilion was “awe-inspiring.” “The most impactful part of it, obviously, is the vertical farm, the largest of its kind. And I couldn’t help but think about all the issues we face around hunger, around food deserts in our countries and places all over the world. And when you walk around this pavilion, you think the solutions are right in our grasp,” Mrs. Obama told some 60 student delegates during a question-and-answer session at the end of the tour.

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Italy's first lady Agnese Landini,  left, welcomes U.S. first lady Michelle Obama,  for a visit at the Italian pavilion at the 2015 Expo in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Thursday, June 18, 2015. Mrs. Obama is leading a presidential delegation Thursday to the world's fair, organized around issues concerning food and nutrition, which dovetails with the U.S. first lady's "Let's Move" initiative to fight childhood obesity through diet and exercise. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

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Italy's first lady Agnese Landini,  left, welcomes U.S. first lady Michelle Obama,  for a visit at the Italian pavilion at the 2015 Expo in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Thursday, June 18, 2015. Mrs. Obama is leading a presidential delegation Thursday to the world's fair, organized around issues concerning food and nutrition, which dovetails with the U.S. first lady's "Let's Move" initiative to fight childhood obesity through diet and exercise. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Italy’s First Lady Agnese Landini welcomes First Lady Michelle Obama to the 2015 Expo in Rho, near Milan, Italy. First Lady Michelle Obama is leading a presidential delegation to the world’s fair, organized around issues concerning food and nutrition, which dovetails with her “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity

Continue reading ‘The First Lady (Yesterday) In Italy’

18
Jun
15

The Face Of Terrorism

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“Mother Emanuel” A.M.E. Church History

The history of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church reflects the development of religious institutions for African Americans in Charleston. Dating back to the fall of 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Richard Allen founded the Free African Society, adhering to the Doctrines of Methodism established by John Wesley. In 1816, black members of Charleston’s Methodist Episcopal church withdrew over disputed burial ground, and under the leadership of Morris Brown. The Rev. Morris Brown organized a church of persons of color and sought to have it affiliated with Allen’s church. Three churches arose under the Free African Society and were named the “Bethel Circuit”. One of the Circuit churches was located in the suburbs of Ansonborough, Hampstead, and Cow Alley, now known as Philadelphia Alley in the French Quarters of Charleston. Emanuel’s congregation grew out of the Hampstead Church, located at Reid and Hanover Streets.

In 1822 the church was investigated for its involvement with a planned slave revolt. Denmark Vesey, one of the church’s founders, organized a major slave uprising in Charleston. Vesey was raised in slavery in the Virgin Islands among newly imported Africans. He was the personal servant of slavetrader Captain Joseph Vesey, who settled in Charleston in 1783. Beginning in December 1821, Vesey began to organize a slave rebellion, but authorities were informed of the plot before it could take place. The plot created mass hysteria throughout the Carolinas and the South. Brown, suspected but never convicted of knowledge of the plot, went north to Philadelphia where he eventually became the second bishop of the AME denomination.

During the Vesey controversy, the AME church was burned. Worship services continued after the church was rebuilt until 1834 when all black churches were outlawed. The congregation continued the tradition of the African church by worshipping underground until 1865 when it was formally reorganized, and the name Emanuel was adopted, meaning “God with us”. The wooden two-story church that was built on the present site in 1872 was destroyed by the devastating earthquake of August 31, 1886. The present edifice was completed in 1891 under the pastorate of the Rev. L. Ruffin Nichols. The magnificent brick structure with encircling marble panels was restored, redecorated and stuccoed during the years of 1949-51 under the leadership of the Rev. Frank R. Veal. The bodies of the Rev. Nichols and his wife were exhumed and entomed in the base of the steeple so that they may forever be with the Emanuel that they helped to nurture.

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This is why people are outraged, frustrated, and disgusted by what Rachel Dolezal did and continues to do. Blackness is not a goddamned costume. You can’t wash away Blackness when the day is over. Blackness is trying to navigate a world where you could be murdered at any time because of the color of your skin. If you aren’t disgusted or turned off by what she did, there is something fundamentally wrong with you

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Tell us more about how America has “overcome racism,” Bernie Sanders

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What domestic terrorism looks like

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Wearing apartheid era South African flag. This was a planned and deliberate massacre

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Continue reading ‘The Face Of Terrorism’

17
Jun
15

First Lady Michelle Obama In Milan: A Great American Ambassador

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First Lady Michelle Obama and First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama depart from Stansted Airport, England

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (R) arrives with her daughter Sasha (L) and Malia at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, as part of her European trip June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

First Lady Michelle Obama arrives with her daughter Sasha and Malia at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy.

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, right, her daughters Sasha, left, and Malia disembark from a plane as they arrive at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Michelle Obama has arrived in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Giuseppe Aresu)

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The First Lady is in Milan to meet with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife.

The First Lady and the Presidential Delegation will visit the Milan Expo 2015, tour the USA Pavilion at the Expo and participate in activities to promote efforts to support healthier families and communities.

With the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” the Expo Milan is promoting a global dialogue about the future of our food system.

The USA pavilion is titled “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” and it showcases American leadership on global food and development issues, science and technology, climate change, nutrition and health.

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, right, and her daughter Sasha disembark from a plane as they arrive at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Michelle Obama has arrived in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Giuseppe Aresu)

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama's daughters Sasha (L) and Malia walk as they arrive at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, as part of her European trip June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (C) greets local authorities as she arrives with her daughters Sasha and Malia at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, as part of her European trip June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama cooks with American kids at James Beard American Restaurant in Milan, Italy, as part of her European trip June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama talks at James Beard American Restaurant in Milan, Italy, as part of her European trip, June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

First Lady Michelle Obama talks at James Beard American Restaurant in Milan, Italy

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First Lady Michelle Obama with Mario Batali

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama eats as she participates in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama participates in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama greets a child at James Beard American Restaurant, as part of her European trip, in Milan, Italy, June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama poses after a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

First Lady Michelle Obama, Former Miami Heat basketball player Alonzo Mourning, a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; Chef, writer and restaurateur Mario Batali pose with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama talks with Italian premier Matteo Renzi as she arrives at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church to see Leonardo's masterpiece "The Last Supper", after participating in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  At right is Renzi's wife Agnes, while behind are Michelle's daughters Malia and Sasha and her mother Marian Robinson. Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

First Lady Michelle Obama is welcomed by Prime Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini, as she arrives at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church to see Leonardo’s masterpiece “The Last Supper”

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Agnese Landini, right, wife of Italian premier Matteo Renzi, and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama look at young Ester Renzi, as Italian premier Matteo Renzi, back to camera, talks with Sasha Obama and Marian Robinson during a visit at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church to see Leonardo's masterpiece "The Last Supper", after participating in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks with Ester Renzi

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (C) talks with Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese (R) as they arrive to visit Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" painting in Milan, Italy June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (2nd R) and her daughters Sasha (L) and Malia (C) are welcomed by Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese (R) as they arrive to visit Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" painting in Milan, Italy June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama embraces Agnese Landini, wife of Italian premier Matteo Renzi, while he greets her daughters Sasha, left, and Malia, as she arrives at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church to see Leonardo's masterpiece "The Last Supper", after participating in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Behind is Mrs Obama mother Marian Robinson. Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

U.S. President's daughters Sasha, right, and Malia Obama walk in Corso Como shopping street in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan with her daughters on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (Matteo Bazzi/ANSA via AP) ITALY OUT

First Daughters Sasha and Malia Obama walk in Corso Como shopping street in Milan, Italy

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama embraces a child as she participates in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

17
Jun
15

On chasing the “Archie Bunker voter”

In case it hasn’t been made painfully clear, the Democrats seeking to succeed Barack Obama as president have no time for his coalition.

First, Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee, urges the President to “take advice” from Nancy Pelosi on the TPP trade deal. You know, just like her husband did when he was in charge. Oh, except, Mr. Clinton didn’t. Call me confused, but I thought that, aside from sheer incompetence or malfeasance, the members of a president’s party were supposed to take leadership from him, not nip at his heels over every initiative.

Then, of course, we had Senator Bernie Sanders opining yesterday that black Americans needed to stop voting based on race. The sheer audacity of this statement is mind-boggling. There would have been no Democratic wave of 2006, or two Obama landslides, without the African American vote. And these same African Americans, before the arrival of Barack Obama, voted in almost lock-step for every tired-ass white Democratic candidate which made it through the primary meat grinder. Were blacks voting based on race when they voted for Al Gore or John Kerry?

That was insulting enough. But that was just the shot. Here’s the chaser. Sen. Sanders then went on to say that Democrats had to regain the “working class vote”.

Let that sink in. A sitting United States senator, caucusing with Democrats, running for the Democratic presidential nomination, an avowed socialist, made a distinction between black votes and working class votes. In his mind, the two are mutually exclusive, not overlapping in a Venn diagram. Blacks over there, working class over here.

President Obama showed Democrats how to win. And it wasn’t by slavishly pining after the “working class vote”.

Let’s call that vote for what it is: white voters who left the Democratic coalition in droves after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and have stayed away ever since then, generation after generation giving its allegiance to the GOP.

Continue reading ‘On chasing the “Archie Bunker voter”’




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