A World War Two veteran greets President Barack Obama as they participate in the 70th French-American commemoration D-Day ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France on Friday, June 6, 2014
Continuing live streaming from France
President Obama travels from Normandy to Paris this afternoon where he will meet with embassy staff and family members. He then returns to Washington – he is scheduled to arrive at 8:45 PM ET.
The President’s address this morning
An Image or Two from France
@Stcrow: AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTO – President Obama, Queen Elizabeth, Petro Poroshenko, President-Elect of Ukraine (left) and Putin on right
President Obama and Russian President Putin pose during a group photo for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Benouville June 6, 2014. Between Obama and Putin are (L-R) Britian’s Queen Elizabeth, French President Francois Hollande and Danish Queen Margrethe II
President Obama with Prince Charles at Sword Beach this morning
President of France Francois Hollande speaks while flanked by President Barack Obama, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a luncheon for Heads of State at Chateau de Benouville in Benouville
Steve Benen: Job creation remains steady, 217k jobs added in May
Once in a while, the expectations for the new jobs report and the actual data line up remarkably well.
The new report from Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 217,000 jobs in May, which is almost exactly what economists expected. The overall unemployment rate, meanwhile, remained at 6.3% – still at its lowest point since September 2008, nearly six years ago.
… All told, over the last 12 months, the U.S. economy has added over 2.38 million jobs overall and 2.36 million in the private sector. What’s more, May was the 51st consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth. The year isn’t quite half over, but 2014 is currently on track to be the best year for U.S. job creation since 1999.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk towards Marine One as they leave Normandy for Paris on June 6, 2009. Seeing them off are National Security Advisor James Jones, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and Senior Advisors Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama greets the staff of the U.S. Embassy at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Paris, France on June 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama lifts a baby while meeting the staff of the U.S. Embassy at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Paris, France, June 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama tours the Centre Pompidou modern art museum in Paris, June 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama shakes hands with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a bilateral meeting in Caen, France, June 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
June 6, 2009 – Pete Souza” “After his speech in Normandy, a crush of people tried to get close to the President to shake his hand. I noticed this guy waiting patiently and then literally being pushed back into the crowd. I felt bad for him, and mentioned the incident to the President’s trip director, Marvin Nicholson. Marvin pulled the guy out of the crowd, found him a wheel chair, and brought him over to meet the President. He was a French veteran. The man’s face shows his emotion.”
President Obama gives a ‘thumbs-up’ to a group of World War II veterans sitting behind him on stage following his speech at the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France, June 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
American D-Day veteran Clyde Combs gets a hug from President Obama at the Normandy American Cemetery on June 6, 2009 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France
President Obama embraces his great uncle Charles Payne following the President’s speech at the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France, June 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama greets his great uncle Charles Payne and his wife Melanie, who is reacting to seeing First Lady Michelle Obama, before the ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings, June 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama former Senator Max Cleland of Georgia before the ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings, June 6, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama adjusts Dick Van Dyke’s tie during the Ford’s Theatre reception in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Sunday, June 6, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama talks on the phone with Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy aboard Air Force One, June 6, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama walks across the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif., June 6, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Trip Director Marvin Nicholson watches as President Obama signs items after delivering remarks at the LGBT Leadership Council Gala in Beverly Hills, Calif., June 6, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama views a math project during a tour of Mooresville Middle School in Moorseville, N.C., Thursday, June 6, 2013
On This Day: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia, tour the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (All Times Eastern):
11:0: President Obama Speaks on Ukraine
Times below now delayed:
11:0 President Obama departs White House
1:25: Arrives Orlando, Florida
2:0: Takes part in a roundtable with Valencia College students and local workers; Valencia College, Orlando
3:45: Departs Orlando
4:35: Arrives Miami
5:10: Attends a DNC fundraiser; private residence, Miami
7:35: Delivers remarks and takes questions at a fundraiser for House Democrats; private residence, Miami
8:50: Departs Miami
11:20: Arrives White House
First Lady Michelle Obama, her mother Marian Robinson, her daughters Sasha and Malia arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport, March 20
Information on the First Lady’s trip to China here
Olga Khazan: For Women, The Benefits Of Insurance Outweigh Its Costs
For young women who qualify for subsidies, the free benefits of insurance offset the cost of paying for it, according to a new analysis from Nerdwallet, a consumer financial education site. The company calculated that for a 27-year-old who earns an income of $25,000, the cost of a silver insurance plan will be approximately $1,740 per year, and a bronze plan will cost approximately $1,116 per year. But that cost is cancelled out by the range of women’s preventative health services that all insurance plans must now cover. For example, while a year’s supply of Yasmin birth control would normally have cost women $744, it’s now free for those with insurance under Obamacare.
More than 80 percent of the people who have signed up for health plans through state or federal Affordable Care Act exchanges qualify for subsidies to help pay premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses. But what about all the millions who don’t have access to employer-sponsored health insurance but also don’t qualify for subsidies? About half of the 12 million Americans buying health insurance on the individual market are subsidy-ineligible, according to the Urban Institute. Are they all fuming and lining up to appear in anti-Obamacare commercials? Chances are not. As veterans of the individual market, many are accustomed to its shocks and uncertainties. But many are finding their options much better and their status less precarious than in the pre-ACA market.
Oooo, right-wingers mad about Obamacare tweets. They're the ones who think the earth is 6000 years old. THAT'S scary.
“Finally, in December, I was able to get on the site and look for plans in Georgia that included the doctors we used—most especially for my daughter and her preexisting condition. I found one for around $1,100 per month for my family, and being the capitalist I am, went to compare it to the private marketplace.” That turned out to be a wise idea. Brad found a Humana plan that included the family’s current doctors with a family deductible of $2,500, just half that of the plan he’d considered on the exchange. While the monthly premium was about $100 more expensive, he felt the tradeoff was worthwhile. “I was surprised the private market was so accommodating,” Brad says. “Before the ACA, I couldn’t find anything like this.”
Big unappreciated story of Obama years is gov't repeatedly imposing higher standards: mileage, insurers, light bulbs, for-profit colleges
Jonathan and Rose, forty-somethings in Washington State who are also subsidy-ineligible, viewed that option differently. Over the course of 20 years, the couple had cycled variously through employer policies, COBRA, two state high-risk pools (Rose has a preexisting condition) and individual policies. They compared plans on- and off-exchange and found those on the exchange marginally cheaper. But they could have bought the plan of their choice, available through the state exchange, directly from the insurer. Why not spare themselves the extra step as Karen and Brad did? “I chose to buy through the exchange because future income is never guaranteed and if I end up unemployed or with a lower-than-expected income in 2014, I can get the subsidies later when I file my taxes, if I’m eligible,” Jonathan explained.
Second, Coates argues (in yesterday’s column) that right-wing and liberal advocates of the cultural explanation have the same worldview. “What Ryan said here is not very far from what Bill Cosby, Michael Nutter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama said before him,” he writes, “The idea that poor people living in the inner city, and particularly black men, are ‘not holding up their end of the deal’ as Cosby put it, is not terribly original or even, these days, right-wing.” There are points of overlap, to be sure, but the Ryan argument is dramatically different. Ryan’s analysis — or, at least, the analysis that follows consistently from his remarks and his policy agenda — is that culture now represents the entirety of the problem with the black poor. He attributes that culture to incentives put in place by the government not to work, and believes that removing those harmful incentives, in the form of cutting benefit programs, would teach poor black people to fend for themselves.
Here is Paul Ryan on one of his 113 working days making over 100k a year not being an inner city lazy person http://t.co/RD7gmAuLLf
Obama’s habit of speaking about this issue primarily to black audiences is Obama seizing upon his role as the most famous and admired African-American in the world to urge positive habits and behavior. Coates is equating exhortation with analysis when he cites Obama urging African-Americans to “get off the couch and stop watching SportsCenter and go register some folks and go to the polls.” Coates responds acidly that African-Americans “voted at higher rates than any other ethnic group in the country. They voted for Barack Obama. Our politics have not changed.” The Obama quote cited by Coates is from January 2008. Before then, black people turned out in presidential elections at lower rates than white people. Since, then, they have turned out at higher rates.
Carrie Dann: Obama Rules Out ‘Military Excursion’ In Ukraine
President Barack Obama on Thursday ruled out a “military excursion” by the United States in Ukraine, saying that engaging Russia militarily “would not be appropriate.” “We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine,” he said in an interview with KNSD in San Diego. “What we are going to do is mobilize all of our diplomatic resources to make sure that we’ve got a strong international coalition that sends a clear message, which is that Ukraine should decide their destiny.” “There is a better path, but I think even the Ukrainians would acknowledge that for us to engage Russia militarily
would not be appropriate and would not be good for Ukraine either,” he added. In a separate interview with KSDK in St. Louis, Obama reiterated that a military option is not on the table but that the United States and its allies are prepared to take “even more disruptive economic actions.” Obama granted interviews to six local television stations on Wednesday. In the interview with KNSD, the president insisted that Russian President Vladimir Putin “acted out of weakness, not out of strength,” saying that Putin is “not comfortable” with countries loosening their ties to the Kremlin in favor of more freedom to deal with the West.
All other Virginia Democrat campaigns, move aside: Oprah Winfrey is raising funds for Lavern Chatman, who is hoping to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran, also a Democrat, New York’s Daily News reports. The talk-show icon will be the headliner at an April 5 fundraiser in Arlington.
Chatman, former president of the Northern Virginia Urban League, says she’s “delighted” that her “good friend” Oprah will be helping her with the campaign. “To win a race like this, you need a lot of support and a strong grassroots effort,” Chatman told The Hill, the Daily News notes. “Our campaign is off to a tremendous start. We have inspired new volunteers and re-engaged many voters.”
NYT: Racing To Deadline, White House Plays To Young In Health Care Push
In the past three weeks, Mr. Obama has met with YouTube personalities in the Roosevelt Room, hosting some of the younger generation’s online favorites: a science geek, a drunken chef and an Obama impersonator. He dialed into Rickey Smiley’s hip-hop radio show and sat down in the Diplomatic Reception Room for separate interviews with the comedian Zach Galifianakis and a health care expert from WebMD. “We are going to leave no stone unturned,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president and the leader of the White House public engagement office, which is coordinating the Affordable Care Act effort. “Our goal is to meet people where they are.”
Michelle Obama urged people to sign up in an appearance at a health center in a black neighborhood in Miami, and made the pitch on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. plugged the health care site at Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta. The final push comes at a time when the administration is juggling other priorities. On March 6, at the height of the crisis in Ukraine, Mr. Obama spoke on the phone with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for an hour before going across town to urge Latinos to enroll during a town-hall meeting at a museum broadcast on three Spanish-language television networks. He returned to the White House a couple of hours later to announce the first sanctions on Russia.
On a conference call last week with almost 3,000 pastors, Mr. Obama declared it “crunch time” and asked them to do whatever they could do to urge members of their churches to sign up. At a small church in the Tampa, Fla., neighborhood of Sulphur Springs, the Rev. Timothy Wynn took up the challenge on Sunday. In front of about 50 parishioners, he delivered a sermon that combined his religious guidance with a pitch for insurance. Another YouTube star at the meeting was Hannah Hart, whose show “My Drunk Kitchen” is irreverent and hugely popular. An episode about making a grilled cheese sandwich while tipsy has gotten more than three million views, and a brunch episode, during which Ms. Hart repeatedly downs mimosas as she cooks pancakes and eggs, has gotten two million. In a video she made after leaving the White House meeting, Ms. Hart plugged the president’s website for her viewers.
Milt Shook: Answering Charlie Pierce: Much Of The Democratic “Base” Isn’t Their Actual Base
In a blog post yesterday one of my favorite columnists, Charlie Pierce (he’s not just a liberal, but a hell of a sports columnist, too), posed a question that I have asked for many years. In fact, it’s a question that many progressives are getting sick of me asking, because they hate the answer: Somebody is going to have to explain to me why the Democratic “base,” which is presumably younger and more spry than the older and whiter Republican “base,” is nonetheless less likely to turn out for midterm elections than the That Sean Hannity Reminds Me Of My Grandson crowd. It is taken as a given, and past performance indicates clearly that it’s usually the case, but I’m not sure why it has to be. So, in the interest to changing this curious dynamic, let me take this red-hot poker and shove it up the base’s ass.
But let’s explain this to Charlie, since he asked: The easy answer, Charlie, is that many, if not most, of the people who proclaim themselves the Democratic “base” are actually anything but. Among these are a bunch of self-proclaimed (mostly white and not poor) progressives who complain about Democrats more than they complain about the current incarnation of the Republican Party. They seem to imagine themselves political experts, even though their actions show a profound ignorance of the real process. Many of them aren’t even registered Democratic, nor would they deign to set foot in a Democratic caucus of any kind. They’re not the “base,” by any stretch.
Kobe Bryant talks Basketball, President Barack Obama, ObamaCare, and why everyone should get covered now. Begins at 9:00
Washington Post: This Guy Knew When Obamacare Enrollment Would Hit 5M Before Anyone Else. Now He’s Predicting 6.2M
The Obama administration on Monday announced that 5 million people had signed up for Obamacare exchange plans. Hours earlier, a self-employed Web developer from Michigan had already predicted the milestone would be hit on Monday. Meet Charles Gaba: He’s not a professional statistician, heath care expert or a political operative. He’s a self-described “numbers geek” who just wants to know how the new health care law is actually doing.
He’s been tracking the most up-to-date enrollment information and offering his own projections on his blog, ACAsignups.net. On the same day he predicted the 5 million signups milestone, he accurately predicted California would hit the 1 million mark. For policy wonks and health care journalists who have clamored for more information about Obamacare enrollment, Gaba’s blog has become a must-read. His next big prediction: The final signup tally will hit 6.22 million.
Ylan Mui: Federal Reserve Lays Groundwork For First Interest Rate Spike
The Federal Reserve spent the past five years driving home a single message: Zero percent interest rates are here to stay. Now it is preparing to change its tune. The nation’s central bank said Wednesday it will look at a broad swath of indicators – including job market data, inflation expectations and financial developments – as it determines when to raise rates for the first time since the recession hit. The deliberately vague wording is a retreat from the Fed’s concrete promise to leave rates untouched.
Though they disagree on when to act – targets range from this year to 2016 – the statement signals the moment has finally come within striking distance. The Fed has cast the shift as merely a change in semantics, not in official policy. In its statement, the central bank tried to assure investors that rates could remain below historical levels – even if they are no longer at zero.
Three weeks ago, the expectations for the Michigan State basketball team were pretty low. Riddled with injuries and unable to find any semblance of chemistry, it seemed as though the Spartans were a team destined for an early NCAA tournament exit. A few wins and Big Ten tournament title later, they’re the No. 4 seed in the East Region. The expectations soared as fans discussed how under-seeded the Spartans were, how they were no worse off than Michigan or Wisconsin, which both received No. 2 seeds.
Then, President Obama picked the Spartans to win it all in his annual “Barack-etology.” For Michigan State, it was fine to know that experts and analysts were picking the Spartans to cut down the nets, but when the president of the United States knew the names and stats and stories of the Michigan State team, it struck some members of the team. “When I saw that it was just bizarre that Barack Obama picked us and he was talking aboutKeith [Appling] and injuries and us getting back and playing together as a team,” Branden Dawson said.
President Barack Obama watches his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, on TV as she breaks ground for the White House vegetable garden, March 20, 2009. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs watches with him in the Upper Press Office of the West Wing. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama drops by Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev in the Vice President’s Office in West Wing of the White House, March 20, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama walks through the Outer Oval Office in between health care meetings, March 20, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama greets House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her grandson, following a meeting with Democratic Members of Congress to discuss the health insurance reform vote at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 20, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama plays soccer with children at the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela Community Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch a capoeira performance during their tour of the Ciudad de Deus Favela in Rio de Janeiro, March 20, 2011
President Barack Obama waves to people gathered on the street outside the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela Community Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama fist bumps a young person reaching through the door at the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela Community Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama acknowledges applause after he delivers a speech at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama meets with Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland in the Oval Office, March 20, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama is welcomed by Vice President Biden as he arrives for a reception for Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the East Room of the White House, March 20, 2012
President Barack Obama walks across the tarmac with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Bo, the Obama family dog, waits for First Lady Michelle Obama on the South Lawn driveway before departing the White House, March 20, 2013. Bo accompanied Mrs. Obama during her visit to Maryland Fisher House IV at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
On This Day: President Obama makes Congressional calls from the Oval Office before the final Senate vote repealing the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the military, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (all times Eastern):
12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:05: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama meet with moms to discuss health care, Oval Office
Sue Spanke of Missoula, Mont., was highly displeased this fall when she learned her health insurance had been canceled. “I got so mad that I went to my phone and started calling all the political people and giving them what for,” Spanke told The Billings Gazette. That was before she learned she was eligible for a policy at a much lower cost.
After angrily calling her state auditor’s office, Spanke, a self-employed artist in her 50s, found she was eligible for a federal subsidy. Her new insurance will cover her for a mere $30 to $40 a month with a deductible of only $500. She had been paying $350 a month for a Blue Cross policy with a $5,000 deductible. “I went from a horrible policy that didn’t cover anything, that was breaking me, to the best policy at the best price I’ve had since I was in my 20s,” she said.
With the website largely fixed, one of the last lines of attack against Obamacare is that the president lied when he said if people like their insurance plans, they can keep them. The White House is hoping stories like Spanke’s will inoculate them against those arguments. And the positive stories abound.
…. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, had asked for input on the Affordable Care Act during an open house Monday at his office in the E. Ross Adair Federal Building, and he got it…
…Lee Albright, owner of the south-side meat market carrying his last name, doesn’t want the Affordable Care Act repealed, which Stutzman and the Republican-controlled House have voted to do numerous times. Albright told his congressman that his monthly payment for family health coverage will drop from $3,800 to $1,700 by enrolling in a plan offered through the much-maligned law.
Albright said most of his dozen employees also are enrolling in Affordable Care Act plans and will have coverage for the first time. “If the Republican Party thinks they’re going to kill Obamacare, you guys need to realize that those nine people that I add on, are they going to vote Republican ever again if you take their health care from them?”
WMGT: Congressman Scott Talks Healthcare, Farm Bill at Town Hall Meeting
Residents from all around middle Georgia met with U.S. Representative Austin Scott to talk about concerns they have in the nation’s capitol during a town hall meeting on Monday.
Gridlock in Washington has left local business owners like Bob Schumacher, frustrated. He hasn’t had health insurance for some time, and has tried multiple times to use the scrutinized healthcare.gov website and hasn’t had any luck, until now.
“I was able to get an insurance plan and with the tax credit, it’s going to be about half of the price that it was going to be two and a half years ago,” Schumacher said.
…. “They’ve definitely got the website up and running now, and so you can get online and see if there is something out there that works for you.”
CT Mirror: CT insurance exchange enrollment up more than 50% in two weeks
Connecticut’s health insurance exchange is enrolling about 1,400 people a day and is on track to have 50,000 to 60,000 people signed up for health care coverage by the end of the year, an official said Tuesday.
Jason Madrak, chief marketing officer for Access Health CT, the state’s exchange, said about 20,000 people have signed up for private insurance plans through the marketplace, about 70 percent of whom will get federal financial assistance to discount their premiums.
In addition, about 17,000 people have signed up for Medicaid coverage through the exchange, Madrak said.
The approximately 37,000 people signed up for coverage through the exchange marks a nearly 58 percent increase from enrollment as of Dec. 4, the previous figures Access Health reported.
I’ve done some research on the question, and by my calculations, judging from current trends, this will happen approximately . . . never.
I base this on the criticism of the auto bailout of early 2009. Almost five years later, the industry is healthy again and large swaths of the Midwest have been spared what would have been certain economic devastation. All this was achieved for a relatively modest sum: … It would seem that the argument against the bailout has been settled. Yet opponents continue to argue their case — if anybody will listen.
Dana Milbank has an interesting piece today …. he compares Obamacare to the auto bailout, which at this point looks like a rousing success — but continues to be lambasted by the right, because it shouldn’t have worked, and therefore can’t have worked.
….. it’s a strong signal that the press is catching up to the reality that December is not October, and that the news — while there are still many troubles — is increasingly positive. Actually, so is Darrel Issa’s angry rebuke to a health care official: “You need to watch more Fox News.”
National Memo: What If Every Voter Denied Medicaid Expansion By Republicans Voted Democratic?
A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 4.8 million Americans will be denied health insurance because Republican governors and legislatures have refused to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Another study, called Health Care for America Now (HCAN), was released last week and found that 4,831,590 people were being denied Medicaid in red states, nearly duplicating Kaiser’s result. HCAN went a step further and estimated that the result of not expanding insurance to these eligible residents would result in the loss of 27,000 lives in 2014, while denying the states $42.6 billion a year in economic activity.
Most of these people who earn too much for Medicaid and too little to purchase insurance in the health care exchanges — 79 percent — live in southern states.
After the government shutdown, Republicans took a big hit in the polls. A very, very large hit in the polls in fact. It turned out that while various people are willing to talk about what they don’t like about “big government,” there are even more things that the government provides that they do like. While Republicans thought they had a “winning strategy” by using the shutdown to attempt to repeal “Obamacare” (for the 40′th plus time), it turned out that the public thought it was really stupid, particularly when all those things like national parks had to close. Add in a lack of action on any substantive issues, the unpopularity of various Republican governors, and some losses in elections they thought were winnable, and things are starting to get tense for them.
Once again, former Karl Rove self-actualization guru Ron Fournier has taken to the pages of the National Journal – Motto: There’s A Reader Out There Somewhere – to explain that the president misapprehended the results of the 2012 election, and that he has been operating under the illusion that, because he got the most votes, he got to be president again. To elucidate this for the dimmer people among us, Ron shows how brilliant he was in the immediate aftermath of said election, and employs the useful tool of Historical Parallelism, which he applies repeatedly and vigorously to his own forehead.
…. The IRS dumbassery was just that. The NSA surveillance started under Bush – with considerably more Democratic support in the Congress, Ron, than this president has gotten from Republicans on anything – and Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! remains a hoax. I’m afraid we are past the point where an intervention would help. Better just fire off the stun gun and pry the tool of Historical Parallels out of his hand.
ThinkProgress: Why Obama Is Sending Openly Gay Athletes To Russia’s Olympics
As controversy erupted over Russia’s anti-gay law ahead of next year’s Sochi Olympics, President Barack Obama said that he opposed boycotting the Games in favor of letting the United States delegation lead by example on the LGBT rights front.
“One thing I’m really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which i think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes were seeing there,” Obama said. “And if Russia doesn’t have gay or lesbian athletes, it’ll probably make their team weaker.”
Tuesday, Obama took a step forward in showing that example, selecting tennis legend and former U.S. Olympic coach Billie Jean King, a lesbian who has long been an LGBT equality advocate, to be a part of the delegation that will represent the White House at the opening ceremony on February 7. Hockey player Caitlin Cahow, who is also openly gay, will be a part of the delegation to the closing ceremonies on February 23.
…. note that the U.S. Olympic delegation is traditionally led by someone from the White House – current or former president, vice president, or member of the First Family. For Sochi, as Rachel noted on the show last night, Obama tapped former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, which means no one from the White House or even from the president’s cabinet will be on hand for the opening ceremony.
… this also strikes me as this latest in a series of elections-have-consequences moments. Conservatives have come to celebrate Vladimir Putin as something of an international hero, while religious right activists cheer on his culture war from afar. Obama has been highly ambitious and progressive when it comes to advancing LGBT civil rights, and his choice in Olympic delegation members sends a signal the world will notice…
LA Times: Homeless men invited to help Pope Francis celebrate birthday
Pope Francis boosted his down-to-earth image by inviting a group of homeless men to his Vatican residence to help him celebrate his 77th birthday.
The group of men joined Francis on Tuesday as he gave his morning Mass and then ate breakfast with him …. the men, a Pole, a Slovak and a Czech, were sleeping under the portico outside the Vatican’s press center when they were approached by Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who distributes charitable contributions for the pope.
“Would you like to come to Pope Francis’ birthday party?” Krajewski reportedly asked them. “After a moment of bewilderment and wonder, they started packing up their beds, pieces of cardboard and covers which were arranged to protect them from the bitter cold of the Roman night.”
President Obama walks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to their bilateral meeting at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 18, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Pete Souza: “The President briefs European leaders following a multilateral meeting in which an agreement was tentatively reached at the United Nationals Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Most conferences like this are very scripted; this one was just the opposite.” Dec. 18, 2009
President Obama speaks during a multilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Prime Manmohan Singh, and South African President Jacob Zuma during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 18, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama shows military officials the White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room following a meeting, Dec. 1, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Tomorrow: The President and First Lady will attend the Kennedy Center Honors
Alex MacGillis: Those Media Hysterics Who Said Obama’s Presidency Was Dead Were Wrong. Again.
It’s been a pretty good week for the Obama administration. The bungled healthcare.gov Web site emerged vastly improved following an intensive fix-it push, allowing some 25,000 to sign up per day, as many as signed up in all of October. Paul Ryan and Patty Murray inched toward a modest budget agreement. This morning came a remarkably solid jobs report, showing 203,000 new positions created in November, the unemployment rate falling to 7 percent for the first time in five years, and the labor force participation rate ticking back upward. Meanwhile, the administration’s push for a historic nuclear settlement with Iran continued apace.
…. it seems safe to say that the Obama presidency is not, in fact, over and done with. What, you say, was there any question of that? Well, yes, there was – less than a month ago…..
…. with whiplash force, came the obituaries for the Obama presidency. The Washington press corps has been reduced to the state of the tennis-watching kittens in this video, with the generic congressional ballot surveys playing the part of the ball flitting back and forth.
Jonathan Cohn: The Obamacare Error Rate Has Fallen Dramatically Some perspective on the latest ACA freak-out
These days it seems like everybody following Obamacare is talking about the 834s. Those are the personal data files that healthcare.gov sends insurance companies, in order to notify them of new enrollees. The data has been prone to errors and that’s a real problem. …
But the 834 problem is fixable and, according to multiple sources in the public and private sectors, it is being fixed. In fact, one administration official tells The New Republic that preliminary estimates, just now becoming available, suggest the error rate has fallen from one in four during October to one in ten now….
Just five days into the relaunch of the new and improved HealthCare.gov, it’s probably too soon to say if the website is working properly in terms of technology. The initial numbers look good. Although important back-end problems remain, the site has handled close to a million users some days, and more people signed up Tuesday than in all of October. But we don’t need the stats to know the website is working in at least one important way: politically.
Here’s how you can tell:
1) Republicans have mostly stopped attacking the website….
PoliticusUSA: A Nasty Anti-Obama Column Draws a Contributor’s Angry Response
This Newsday commentary by Lane Filler appeared in my local paper Thursday. I sent the author an email…
I just read your 12/5/13 column in my local paper under the rubric of “Media are too easy on the emperor.” … you claim that the ‘mainstream’ reporters on health care restructuring “seem to have taken a dive for their beloved.”
Surely you jest if you propose that President Barack Obama is being given a pass on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)….
…. Allow me to do the research that apparently you eschewed. In the last year alone, there have been nearly 50 SHJ AP stories about ACA that could be considered anti-Obama. There has been an endless stream of ACA attacks from right-wing columnists carried by the paper. Fully 95% of editorial cartoons have been anti-ACA and anti-Obama….
As for your description of Obama as emperor or king, what is the origin of this insult? …. maybe [he is] a little too ‘uppity’ for your taste. Could that be the problem, Lane?
…. if Obama is king, Lane Filler is the Court Jester, heartily juggling propagandized “facts” for the entertainment of HIS corporate buddies.
Charles Pierce: Conservatives can own Ronald Reagan and be welcome to him, but you don’t get Nelson Mandela.
It is possible, if we all think really hard, we can use the days between Nelson Mandela’s death and his journey to his final resting place deep in the hills of his boyhood to make quite plain to young people who may have joined us late what a thoroughgoing moral disaster was the Reagan Administration (1980-88)….
… now, of course, with the death of Mandela, there are a lot of proper retrospectives concerning how enthusiastically the Reagan Administration supported the white-supremacist government of South Africa, and how morally obtuse (at best) that administration was to the reality of apartheid….
It’s too late now to seek absolution at the bier of Nelson Mandela, who is dead and can’t speak for himself … You opposed Mandela when it really counted for the same reason you cheered on murderers in this hemisphere. Ronald Reagan was a dim hack who did horrible damage to almost everything he touched. You can own him and be welcome to him, but you don’t get Nelson Mandela.
ThinkProgress: The Right Wing’s Campaign To Discredit And Undermine Mandela, In One Timeline
The world is celebrating Nelson Mandela as a selfless visionary who led his country out of the grips of apartheid into democracy and freedom. But some of the very people lavishing praise on South Africa’s first black president worked tirelessly to undermine his cause and portray the African National Congress he lead as pawns of the Soviet Union.
In fact, American conservatives have long been willing to overlook South Africa’s racist apartheid government in service of fighting communism abroad. Below is a short history, and some explanation, of how conservatives approached Mandela with the hostility they did…
Monday: The President will host a meeting at the White House with business leaders to discuss the importance of common-sense immigration reform, including the Congressional Budget Office analysis that concludes that immigration reform would promote economic growth and reduce the deficit.
Tuesday: President Obama will speak at Georgetown University on the growing threat of climate change
Wednesday morning: The President and the First Family will depart for their trip to Africa. The trip will continue through the weekend, and the President and the First Lady will return July 2nd.
USA Today: Members of Congress will be in recess in August, but President Obama wants to make sure they hear from his supporters.
A pro-Obama organization said Friday that Obama will address an “Action August” summit designed “to plan for and discuss the action we will be taking during the August congressional recess in order to ensure that the voice of the people is heard and that Members of Congress are held accountable by those they represent.”
Organizing for Action said Obama will speak July 22 at “a working dinner with grass-roots leaders, volunteers, OFA founding members, campaign alumni and OFA staff to thank them for everything they are doing, but also to reaffirm that there is still so much left to do.”
Among the issues that OFA and Obama are pushing: an immigration bill, gun-control legislation and a new budget deal with higher taxes on the wealthy.
Washington Post: Vice President Joe Biden is not letting the gun-control issue rest. At a speech in Las Vegas Friday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting, Biden said that “at least five senators” who initially opposed background checks have sought him out for an opportunity to change their votes.
“We’re in an effort to see how we can provide another opportunity for the people who voted no” on universal background checks, which failed in the Senate in April. “That’s the hardest thing for a politician and we need to provide them a rationale. We will get to this eventually.”
Bob Cesca: The NSA absolutely can not intentionally target U.S. citizens without an individual warrant. Even if you’re the most vocal Edward Snowden supporter in the universe, you have no choice but to acknowledge the truth and accuracy of this statement.
How can I say such a thing? On Thursday, Glenn Greenwald wrote it deep within his latest “bombshell” article for the Guardian: “To intentionally target either of those groups requires an individual warrant.” The “groups” Greenwald referred to here are U.S. persons or residents.
And there you go.
This is easily the biggest news to come out of Thursday’s dispatch …. not only does it totally decimate CNet’s journalistic blunder from last weekend …. it it also represents a striking clarification in Greenwald’s reporting, not to mention Snowden’s claims of being able to target any American including the president at his own discretion and without a warrant. The “requires an individual warrant” line isn’t the centerpiece of the article by any stretch. It’s tossed into the mix almost as a throwaway ….
Here we go again. Glenn Greenwald’s latest overheated, over-long, deliberately confusing piece claims to reveal: The Top Secret Rules That Allow NSA to Use US Data Without a Warrant.
….. keep digging through the turgid prose. Keep digging. Because eventually you get to this:
FAA warrants are issued by the Fisa court for up to 12 months at a time, and authorise the collection of bulk information – some of which can include communications of US citizens, or people inside the US. To intentionally target either of those groups requires an individual warrant.
Wait a minute — did Glenn Greenwald just debunk his own exaggerated claims? Why yes, he did…..
NYT: Paula Deen, the self-proclaimed queen of Southern cooking and a sugary mainstay of the Food Network, was dropped by the network on Friday, after a bewildering day in which she failed to show up for an interview on the “Today” show and then in two online videos begged her family and audience to forgive her for using racist language.
ThinkProgress: …. what was striking both about some of the accusations she faced, and her sworn testimony in the deposition, was that Deen seemed more afraid of getting caught out being racist or being accused of having caused offense than of the idea that she might have caused someone else pain…..
Deen’s desperate to be forgiven, which in this context means not facing a boycott or loss of business …. there’s no reason anyone should gratify her until she demonstrates that she’s making real efforts to become a different person and to establish a different environment in her businesses. Paula Deen isn’t entitled to our goodwill just because she wants it…..
Four years ago today: “A temporary White House staffer, Carlton Philadelphia, brought his family to the Oval Office for a farewell photo with President Obama. Carlton’s son softly told the President he had just gotten a haircut like President Obama, and asked if he could feel the President’s head to see if it felt the same as his.” May 8, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)
10:15: VP Biden attends President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea’s address to a Joint Session of Congress
12:0: VP Biden delivers remarks at the 43rd Annual Washington Conference on the Americas at the Department of State
12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:25: President Obama meets with electric utility CEOs and their trade associations
5:30: Meets with a group of Asian American and Pacific Islanders national leaders
6:30: Has dinner with members of the House Democratic Leadership at the Jefferson Hotel
7:45: VP Biden delivers keynote remarks at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ 19th Annual Gala Awards Dinner
President Barack Obama and President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea, May 7. Photo: Pete Souza
USA Today: …. The president starts this afternoon at the Energy Department, where he meets with electric utility CEOs and trade associations to talk about preparations for the upcoming hurricane season….
Later, Obama and Vice President Biden discuss budget issues with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
Then comes a presidential meeting with a group of Asian American and Pacific Islanders national leaders. The agenda includes Obama’s efforts to win a major immigration bill and the ongoing implementation of the health care bill.
Obama caps his day with another congressional dinner, this one with House Democratic leaders. The dinner at a hotel in downtown Washington features House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Cal., and some of her colleagues: Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn, Xavier Becerra, Joe Crowley, Chris Van Hollen, Rosa DeLauro, Rob Andrew, Steve Israel, and Mike Thompson.