Posts Tagged ‘auto

15
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

@petesouza: POTUS w LeBron and D-Wade before [yesterday's] event at the White House

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern):

9:45: President Obama departs White House

11:10: Arrives Raleigh, North Carolina

11:35: Tours Vacon, Inc.; Durham, North Carolina

1:05: Delivers remarks; North Carolina State University, Raleigh

2:05: Departs Raleigh

3:15: Arrives White House

3:20: President Barack Obama will make a personnel announcement

4:0: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on Education

5:30: President Obama meets with Senate Democratic Caucus

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Jim Burress: Obamacare Giving Big Boost To Georgia’s Health IT Industry

Politically, Georgia is fighting the health law at every turn. Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, has chosen not to expand Medicaid, and the state’s insurance commissioner publically vowed to obstruct the Affordable Care Act.  But that doesn’t mean Georgia isn’t seeing a financial benefit from the law. Take the company called PreMedex.  Founder and president Van Willis knows that just a few years ago, a company like his would’ve been a hard sell — impossible, even.  The two-year-old company contracts with hospitals and doctors’ offices to call patients after they’re discharged. Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals are penalized if Medicare patients are readmitted within a month for several specific illnesses.

“From a hospital standpoint, there was very little, if any, communication with patients once they leave,” Willis explains. “A logical way to communicate with patients if you can’t be in their homes is, of course, through the telephone.” Scattered around a half-dozen office cubicles, PreMedex employees don telephone headsets on a recent morning and sit down in front of computers that automatically dial patients. After telling patients they are calling on behalf of doctors and hospitals, the workers ask some simple but important health questions: Have you had any fever? Are you in any pain? How patients answer could mean the difference between a hospital’s profit and loss. PreMedex started with five employees. It’s up to 25 and growing.  It’s a story told over and over across Georgia, according to Tino Mantella, who heads the Technology Association of Georgia.

More here

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The Atlantic: What Happens When the President Sits Down Next to You At A Cafe

Thursday into Friday, my head cold got worse, so on Friday morning I walked down to a bar-cafe-restaurant in my neighborhood….

…  the president arrived, 40 minutes later – stepping out of his SUV, smiling, with a little wave …

…. He picked up the baby. The baby’s mom told him about the baby …. He was adorable. Obama really seemed to appreciate holding him, and bounced him for probably a minute. The baby’s mom told him that their family had just been stationed in Kenya, that thats where the baby was born.

He seemed to stumble for a second, as he realized he could not phrase a joke in exactly the way he could phrase it in private.

“That’s, that’s where Donald Trump thinks I was born,” he said.

More here

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James Fallows: The Iran Vote: This Really Matters, And You Should Let Your Senators Know

If the nuclear deal is going to fail, let that happen at the negotiating table – and not be engineered under the Capitol dome.

…. The Obama Administration, along with some of the usual U.S. allies – the U.K., France, Germany – and such non-allied parties as Russia and China, has taken steps with the potential of peacefully ending Iran’s 35-year estrangement from most of the rest of the world. That would be of enormous benefit and significance to Iran, the U.S., and nearly everyone else concerned.

… derailment is what seems to be underway in the Senate right now. Republicans led by Mitch McConnell are pushing for a sanctions bill that is universally recognized (except by its sponsors) as a poison-pill for the current negotiations. Fine; opposing the administration is the GOP’s default position.

But a striking number of Democrats have joined them, for no evident reason other than AIPAC’s whole-hearted, priority-one support for the sanctions bill…

More here

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Al Jazeera: Hard Road Back to “Big 3″

When the U.S. auto industry nearly collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis, the three major American auto makers – GM, Chrysler and Ford – asked the government for a $50 billion bailout to avoid bankruptcy.

(Technically, Ford didn’t need the money, they requested the funds to stake equal advantage with their subsidized brethren.)

Although the prospect of losing millions of industry jobs loomed, a reluctant Congress wasn’t quick to grant the money…. Today, the Big 3 are back reporting healthy profits and manufacturing vehicles they think the world wants to drive.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: On Second Thought, Republicans Say, Let’s Stiff The Unemployed

Republicans determined to help the poor and the unemployed? That’s so last week.

On Tuesday, two proposals to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed failed to get past key procedural obstacles in the Senate. One proposal would extend benefits until the end of 2014, offsetting the cost by tacking on an extra year of sequestration cuts in 2024. The other proposal would extend benefits for just three months, without offsetting cuts or revenue, but in the hopes that future negotiations would produce another extension that was fully paid for.

Prospects for passage of such a proposal seemed better last week, when Democrats and a half-dozen Republicans voted to begin debate on a benefits extension, providing the 60-vote majority necessary to overcome a filibuster. But on Tuesday, when it came time to end debate and move ahead, Democratic leaders couldn’t win over the same handful of Republicans. They had only 52 votes to proceed—a majority, but short of the super-majority it takes to pass most legislation these days.

More here

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Reuters: World Bank Sees Stronger Growth As Rich Economies Expand

The World Bank on Tuesday raised its forecast for global growth for the first time in three years as advanced economies started to pick up pace, led by the United States. The rosier outlook suggests the world economy is finally breaking free from a long and sluggish recovery after the global financial crisis. The poverty-fighting institution predicted global gross domestic product will expand 3.2 percent this year, from 2.4 percent in 2013, according to its twice-yearly “Global Economic Prospects.” In the bank’s last forecast in June, it expected global growth to reach 3 percent in 2014.

The bank said the global economy had come to a “turning point,” as fiscal austerity and policy uncertainty no longer weighed as heavily on most richer economies. The bank expected stronger growth in the United States in particular, of 2.8 percent in 2014, from 1.8 percent last year. “For the first time in five years, there are indications that a self-sustaining recovery has begun among high-income countries – suggesting that they may now join developing countries as a second engine of growth in the global economy,” the bank’s chief economist Kaushik Basu said in the report.

More here

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Erin Kelly: McCain, Flake Vote Against Bill To Restore Long-Term Jobless Benefits

A bill that would have restored long-term unemployment benefits to more than 17,000 jobless Arizonans died Tuesday after Republicans blocked a vote on the legislation. Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake joined most other Republicans in blocking the bill from coming to a vote, arguing that its cost needed to be paid through budget cuts. Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, whose state has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, was the only Republican to join Democrats in supporting the bill.

The Senate’s failure to pass the bill means that another 22,500 Arizonans could lose their benefits during the next six months. It also means the House is unlikely to take up the legislation. Arizonans are still struggling with an unemployment rate that is about 1 percentage point higher than the national average, which was 6.7percent in December. The bill’s supporters fell four votes short of the 60 they needed to end the Republican filibuster and allow a vote on the $6.4billion bill to extend benefits by three months. In the end, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,

D-Nev., changed his “yes” vote to a “no” — a procedural move that allows him to bring the bill up again if he can secure more GOP votes. Heller and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., offered the bill to restore benefits under the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which helps people who have been unemployed for more than six months by sending them about $300 a week. The program, which expired Dec.28, gave unemployed Arizonans a maximum of 63weeks of benefits. Without the program, jobless Arizonans can get a maximum of 26weeks.

More here

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BBC: General Motors To Pay First Dividend Since 2008

US carmaker General Motors (GM) said it will resume dividend payments, capping a remarkable turnaround since its 2009 bailout by the US government. It will pay a dividend of 30 cents per share, the first since July 2008. GM filed for bankruptcy at the height of the global financial crisis and was rescued after the government pumped in billions of dollars.

But the firm has since seen a strong recovery, led by a jump in sales in key markets such as the US and China. On Tuesday, the firm said it sold 9.71 million vehicles in 2013, an increase of 4% on the year before. “This return to shareholders is consistent with our capital priorities, and is an important signal of confidence in our plans for a continuing profitable future,” Dan Ammann, GM’s chief financial officer, said in a statement.

More here

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McClatchy: Michelle Obama On her 50th birthday: My Message To Women Is Be Healthy

First Lady Michelle Obama said she’s yet to peak – even as she celebrates her 50th birthday at the White House this week. “I’m first lady of the United States of America – that’s pretty high up,” Obama said in a birthday-themed interview with People magazine. “But I’ve always felt like my life is ever-evolving.”

… Post her husband’s presidency, Obama noted she’ll be in her early 50s, with more to accomplish … “I’ve got to keep figuring out ways to have an impact – whether as a mother or as a professional or as a mentor to other kids.”

She noted that when the first couple leaves the White House, eldest daughter Malia will be in college and Sasha will have a few more years “and then she’ll be in college. “At that point in life,” Obama said. “Whoa, the sky is the limit!”

…. she says by 70, she’d like to be traveling — to remote castles in Ireland, on rafting trips and to the Hoover Dam, which she said she hasn’t seen.

More here

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On This Day:

On This Day: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia (partially seen at left) and Sasha attend church services at Zion Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

09
Dec
13

Government Motors? Oh Really?

Statement by the President

When I took office, the American auto industry – the heartbeat of American manufacturing – was on the verge of collapse.  Two of the Big Three – GM and Chrysler – were on the brink of failure, threatening to take suppliers, distributors and entire communities down with them.  In the midst of what was already the worst recession since the Great Depression, another one million Americans were in danger of losing their jobs.

As President, I refused to let that happen.  I refused to walk away from American workers and an iconic American industry.  But in exchange for rescuing and retooling GM and Chrysler with taxpayer dollars, we demanded responsibility and results.  In 2011, we marked the end of an important chapter as Chrysler repaid every dime and more of what it owed the American taxpayers from the investment we made under my Administration’s watch.  Today, we’re closing the book by selling the remaining shares of the federal government’s investment in General Motors.  GM has now repaid every taxpayer dollar my Administration committed to its rescue, plus billions invested by the previous Administration.

Less than five years later, each of the Big Three automakers is now strong enough to stand on its own.  They’re profitable for the first time in nearly a decade.  The industry has added more than 372,000 new jobs – its strongest growth since the 1990s.  Thanks to the workers on our assembly lines, some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient cars in the world are once again designed, engineered, and built right here in America – and the rest of the world is buying more of them than ever before.

When things looked darkest for our most iconic industry, we bet on what was true: the ingenuity and resilience of the proud, hardworking men and women who make this country strong.  Today, that bet has paid off.  The American auto industry is back.

For our autoworkers and the communities that depend on them, the road we’ve taken these past five years has been a long and difficult one.  But it’s one we’ve traveled together.  And as long as there’s more work to do to restore opportunity and broad-based growth for all Americans, that’s what we’ll keep doing to reach the brighter days ahead.

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NYT: U.S. Sells Remaining Stake in General Motors

The Treasury Department announced on Monday that the government had sold its remaining shares of General Motors stock.

The government has thus exited one of the most controversial investments made during the midst of the financial crisis, when it stepped in to rescue the Detroit automakers – a decision that as many as three in four Americans opposed at the time.

Taxpayers recouped about $39 billion on the investment, the Treasury Department said, having spent about $50 billion bailing out the automaker.

All in all, taxpayers have ended up in the black on the crisis-related bailouts, Treasury said: It has recovered $433 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program after initially investing about $422 billion.

More here

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20
Sep
13

The President Tours The Ford Stamping Plant

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President Barack Obama arrives on Air Force One at Kansas International Airport with Sen. Claire McCaskill and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver

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Governor  Jay Nixon (D) greets President Obama

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President Obama meets with the greeting party

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President Barack Obama touches a Ford truck while on a tour of the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant Liberty in Liberty, Missouri

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President Barack Obama tours the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant Liberty

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President Obama delivers a speech on the economy

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Supporters watch President Barack Obama speak at the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant Liberty

Continue reading ‘The President Tours The Ford Stamping Plant’

05
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

Two years ago today: President Obama greets a man in the crowd after addressing the Labor Day celebration in Detroit, Mich., Sept. 5, 2011. (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

This morning, President Obama met with the King and Queen of Sweden before departing Stockholm for Saint Petersburg, Russia for the G-20 summit.

Through the day, the President takes part in G-20 meetings and working sessions, finishing with a working dinner at 8:0 local time (Saint Petersburg is eight hours ahead of US Eastern)

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President Obama arrives to take part in the G20 Summit in St Petersburg, September 5

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President Barack Obama meets with Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia at the Royal Palace in Stockholm

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Nicholas Kristof (NYT): The Right Questions On Syria

Critics of American military action in Syria are right to point out all the risks and uncertainties of missile strikes, and they have American public opinion on their side. But for those of you who oppose cruise missile strikes, what alternative do you favor?

It’s all very well to urge the United Nations and Arab League to do more, but that means that Syrians will continue to be killed at a rate of 5,000 every month….

…. A decade ago, I was aghast that so many liberals were backing the Iraq war. Today, I’m dismayed that so many liberals, disillusioned by Iraq, seem willing to let an average of 165 Syrians be killed daily rather than contemplate missile strikes that just might, at the margins, make a modest difference.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the number of dead in the civil war, is exasperated at Western doves who think they are taking a moral stance.

…. how is being “pro-peace” in this case much different in effect from being “pro-Assad” and resigning oneself to the continued slaughter of civilians?

More here

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National Memo: Obama Still Most Popular World Leader

Though his popularity is down from its peak in 2009, President Obama remains the world’s most popular leader among the world’s citizens as the G20 gathers for a summit in Russia, according to Pew Research.

“Only Angela Merkel comes close to the breadth of Obama’s popularity,” writes Pew’s Andrew Kohut. However, Obama inspired more confidence than the German chancellor in seven out of eight major German countries polled last year.

…. President’s Obama’s median popularity of 42 percent is more than double that of G20 summit host Vladimir Putin’s 19 percent. The only country where Putin inspires more confidence than Obama is China.

More here

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Steve Benen: Jobless Claims Improve, Remain Near Six-Year Low

Today’s report on initial unemployment claims was widely expected to be good, but the newly released figures from the Department of Labor were even better than expected.

More here

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‘Sweden in World Focus’

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Smartypants:  Why The Most Liberal President In A Generation Is Driving Some Progressives Bonkers

Just as President Obama is taking huge steps to walk back the imperial presidency and making tremendous strides on issues like health care reform and LGBT rights and ending the war on drugs and fighting to curb climate change and ending the perpetual war and taking on the NRA and fighting for immigration reform and trying to curb the rising costs of college tuition and proposing things like a minimum wage increase along with universal day care, there is a group of progressives who have gone absolutely bonkers with their conspiracy theories about him. As Bob Cesca points out this morning, many of them are are so deranged that they’re staring to line up with tea party libertarians to destroy the Democratic Party.

Its no wonder that many of us are saying “WTH? Why now? You want to jump ship just when we’re starting to make some progress?”

To be honest, I’ve been trying to understand this particular variety of Obama Derangement Syndrome for quite a while now.

More here

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Steve Benen: Rumsfeld Just Keeps Talking

If there’s anyone in America who should go enjoy a little quiet time right about now, it’s failed former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld. Nevertheless, he just keeps talking, appearing this morning on Fox News (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up) …Rumsfeld, who earned public scorn for his leadership of the Pentagon during the Iraq War, said Obama didn’t need to ask Congress for authorization and may have made a mistake in doing so.

Rumsfeld, who seemed generally supportive of intervention in Syria, added that President Obama “doesn’t have the kind of support that President Bush had in respect to his military actions.” Yep, he really said that. Part of me continues to wonder why Rumsfeld is still allowed to speak in polite company. Lance Armstrong isn’t asked for his opinions about athletes and performance-enhancing drugs; Miley Cyrus isn’t sought out for analysis on public modesty; so why should anyone take seriously what Donald Rumsfeld has to say foreign policy and the use of military force abroad?

Don’t go away mad, Rumsfeld. Just go away.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: ObamaCare Implementation: Clinton Speech Gives The Big Picture

The Secretary of Explaining Stuff is back on the job. On Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton gave a speech about Obamacare—why it was necessary, how it will work, and what it will do in the future. In the speech, Clinton acknowledged some of Obamacare’s flaws and he urged Republicans to join Democrats in trying to fix them.

But Clinton also pointed out the benefits Obamacare has already produced. Young adults are getting insurance through their parents. The insured have new consumer protections, like those eliminating lifetime limits on benefits. Seniors have more coverage of prescription drugs and preventative services. The list goes on: In all, many millions of Americans are better off because of these provisions. Meanwhile, the year-to-year increases in health care spending have been lower than usual, which means government is saving money and premiums for the privately insured aren’t rising as fast as they would be otherwise. Obamacare isn’t the only reason for this change and it probably isn’t the primary reason, either. But most experts think it has played a role.

Those savings are likely to grow with time. Health improvement might follow, since the changes underway—like a reduction in hospital readmisisons—save lives as well as money. And that’s not all—not by a longshot. Starting next year, millions of people without insurance today will get coverage via expanded state Medicaid programs or through the new insurance exchanges. Thanks to generous federal subsidies, many people will pay less for their insurance than they pay now. And those who do pay more will at least have more comprehensive and stable coverage, while paying premiums that are pretty much comparable to what employer-sponsored insurance costs. Oh, and if the Congressional Budget Office is right, the deficit will be lower than it might otherwise be.

More here

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A Year Ago Yesterday (Chips had the photo and video ready to post yesterday, but then glitch-a-rama struck):

President Obama and his daughters Malia and Sasha watch on television as First Lady Michelle Obama begins her speech at the Democratic National Convention, in the Treaty Room of the White House, Sept. 4, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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On This Day:

President Obama hugs a woman in the crowd after addressing the Labor Day celebration in Detroit, Mich., Sept. 5, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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03
Jun
13

This and That

Text of the President’s remarks here

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Supporters engulf Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) during a rally at the Xcel Energy Center June 3, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Obama clinched the Democratic presidential nomination following primaries in South Dakota and Montana

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Michael Cohen (The Guardian): What makes the Republican position on Medicaid expansion truly sick – In their ideological vendetta against Obamacare, red states seem more willing to let low-income people die than get healthcare

If you want to get a sense of the enfeebled and wanton state of the modern Republican party, there really is no better place to start than on the issue of Medicaid, the federal program that provides healthcare coverage for the poor.

In a desperate effort to undermine the law they hate, Obamacare, Republican governors and state legislatures in half the states have either rejected or intend to reject a key part of the president’s signature domestic initiative – namely, billions in federal dollars to extend Medicaid coverage to their poorest citizens. While Republicans argue they are acting out of high-minded fiscal rectitude, the reality speaks to something else altogether – petulance and hyper-partisanship.

…. Republicans are searching for ways to rehabilitate their image. It ain’t gonna be easy so long as they operate as though saving money – and keeping their ideological purity intact – is more important than reducing suffering and saving lives.

Full post here

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Jonathan Cohn (New Republic): If you want to know why we can’t have an honest debate about Obamacare, all you have to do is pay attention to some recent news from California – and the way a highly distorted version of it, by one irresponsible writer, has rippled through the conservative press.

More here

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