Posts Tagged ‘cory

29
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama meets with members of his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Jan. 29, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

10:10: The President tours Costco, Lanham, Maryland

10:25: Delivers remarks

11:20: Departs Joint Base Andrews en route Pittsburgh

12:15: Arrives Pittsburgh

1:20: Tours U. S. Steel Irvin Plant, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

1:45: Delivers remarks

3:10: Departs Pittsburgh

4:05: Arrives Joint Base Andrews

4:20: Arrives the White House

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@WhiteHouse

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Eugene Robinson: Obama’s Best State Of The Union Speech

With a strong, optimistic beginning and an unforgettable ending, that may have been President Obama’s best State of the Union speech. Apparently none of the commentators who have been saying his presidency is on its last legs bothered to let him know. He opened with a portrait of the country – not an America gripped by crisis or mired in despondency, but a sunny place where unemployment is falling, school test scores are rising, housing prices are recovering, deficits are shrinking and manufacturing jobs are coming home.

the president’s tone throughout the speech was buoyant, not sour. His defense of the Affordable Care Act was an observation that House Republicans’ first 40 useless votes to repeal the law really should suffice. Even when he bludgeoned the GOP over long-term unemployment benefits or the minimum wage, he did it with a smile. His argument for equal pay and family leave? “It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode.” His call for raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10? “Join the rest of the country. Say yes. Give America a raise.”

The end of the speech, a tribute to wounded Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, was an indelible moment. To end with such a powerful story of bravery and resilience gave emotional depth to the overall theme of the speech: America is back. I don’t know how much of his agenda Obama will achieve. But I’m pretty sure the last three years of his presidency won’t be boring.

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Charles Pierce: The State Of Our Union Is Long

Once again, he was the only obvious president in the room, much good may that do him. He did not rile up the base. He was not combative. He did not dwell on issues that his base wanted to hear. (If you had “Keystone XL,” or “NSA,” or “TPP” in your State of the Union drinking game, you probably wound up as the designated driver.) But he was firm on one thing. He is not going to be a lame duck as long as he can still walk. There were a lot of sentences that began with some variation of, “If Congress won’t act…” And he can still throw a sneaky right hand over the top: Now, I do not expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law. But I know that the American people are not interested in refighting old battles. So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, increase choice, tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up. But let’s not have another 40- something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda.

He was extraordinarily strong in spots, particularly on voting rights, where he plainly had a lot to say, and said it all, and on the process of getting the country off what he rather daringly described as the “permanent war footing” it had been on since 2001. But, if this speech burned no barns, it didn’t sound anything like a last chance, either. The president seemed to have a pen and one hand, and that well-worn olive branch still in the other. He is what he always has been, the coolest head in the room. You can never say he isn’t that.

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BBC: Stem Cell ‘Major Discovery’ Claimed

Stem cell researchers are heralding a “major scientific discovery”, with the potential to start a new age of personalised medicine. Scientists in Japan showed stem cells can now be made quickly just by dipping blood cells into acid. Stem cells can transform into any tissue and are already being trialled for healing the eye, heart and brain. The latest development, published in the journal Nature, could make the technology cheaper, faster and safer.

The human body is built of cells with a specific role – nerve cells, liver cells, muscle cells – and that role is fixed. However, stem cells can become any other type of cell, and they have become a major field of research in medicine for their potential to regenerate the body. Embryos are one, ethically charged, source of stem cells. Nobel prize winning research also showed that skin cells could be “genetically reprogrammed” to become stem cells (termed induced pluripotent stem cells).

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NYT: The Diminished State Of The Union

Every winter since 2009, President Obama has stood at the podium of the House and pleaded for the cooperation of Congress. For the last three State of the Union speeches, he has largely been ignored. That has left a growing trail of unfinished business: background checks for gun buyers, immigration reform, a higher minimum wage, tax fairness, universal preschool. This year was different. Mr. Obama’s speech on Tuesday night acknowledged the obvious: Congress has become a dead end for most of the big, muscular uses of government to redress income inequality and improve the economy for all, because of implacable Republican opposition.

“America does not stand still, and neither will I,” he said. “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”  Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers might benefit only a few hundred-thousand people, but it increases the pressure on other businesses and, ultimately, Congress to raise the wage for everyone. One particularly promising request the president made of Congress was to expand the earned-income tax credit, which now benefits 15 million families a year, to workers without children. That would not only boost the incomes of many at the bottom of the ladder, but it would provide the incentive to work that many Republicans say they support.

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Brian Beutler: The Right’s Agenda Is Reviled: The Lesson From Obama’s Confident State Of The Union

Intentionally or otherwise, Obama’s speech was a reminder to Democrats that the storm clouds of Obamacare implementation have obscured their view of the popular platform the party ran on so confidently in 2012. That there are a series of issues that animate Democratic constituencies on the docket, both ahead of 2014 and beyond, and all of them are political and substantive winners for the party.

To the extent that the GOP agenda isn’t in flux or concealed by sensitivity training, it remains broadly less popular than the Democratic agenda. Republicans understand this well enough to recognize that they need to at least pretend to want to narrow inequality, but these ideas don’t layer neatly atop the existing party platform.

 And, of course, in the long run, fanatical opposition to national health care isn’t easily compatible with any serious equality agenda. Democrats don’t have that problem. And structurally that puts them in a sound place, even if the politics of the moment feel pretty wobbly.

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Annie-Rose Strasser: Obama Goes Full Feminist: ‘Time To Do Away With Workplace Policies That Belong In A ‘Mad Men’ Episode’

President Obama let his feminist flag fly during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Citing pay disparity and paid leave policy, he argued — to loud applause — that women are still unequal in the United States, and that there are policies that can change that: Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too. It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode. Let’s work together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves. Because I believe when women succeed, America succeeds.

The President’s ‘Mad Men’-era assessment is apt. Women earn less than their male counterparts in the United States no matter their job, industry, or education. Nationally, women earn 77 cents on a man’s dollar — and that number is not getting better. It affects women right out of college and women at the tops of their fields. Obama is right to call out leave policy, as well, as an issue that keeps women on unequal footing in the workforce. The U.S. is one of the few developed nations without any requirement for paid maternity leave. Over 40 percent of women are forced to take unpaid leave from their jobs when they get pregnant, while about 25 percent quit or are forced out.

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USA Today: Obama Unveils New Retirement Savings Plan: ‘MyRA’

A new savings plan will allow Americans to buy savings bonds in a starter retirement account that “guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in,” President Obama said Tuesday evening in his State of the Union address. Details: Safe: The new savings bonds would have its principal guaranteed by the U.S. government, much like a traditional savings bond. Tax benefits: The MyRA bond would be like a Roth IRA: Your contributions would not be tax-deductible, but your earnings would be free from tax when you withdraw it. As with a Roth, your contributions can be taken out tax-free at any time.

Affordable: Minimum initial investment could be as low as $25, and subsequent investments could be as little as $5, through payroll deduction. Savers can keep the same account when they change jobs. Rates: Savers will earn interest at the same variable interest rate as the federal employees’ Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Government Securities Investment Fund. The fund earned 1.74% last year. Availability: The MyRA would be open to households earning up to $191,000 a year through their employers. Employers won’t incur any cost to offer the MyRAs. You’ll be able to save up to $15,000 a year for up to 30 years before transferring to a private Roth IRA.

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Ryan Cooper: In The State Of The Union, Obama Pledges Strong Action On Climate Change

During President Obama’s speech tonight, he announced many different ways he would use the executive branch to pursue strong action on climate change. The policy framework hasn’t changed. Instead, this is a good signal that President Obama intends to finish what he has started. To a first approximation, climate change is about coal. The oldest and filthiest coal-fired power plants are already being retired, squeezed by cheap natural gas and ever-cheaper renewables on one side, and the EPA on the other. With a bit of luck, and if the president keeps up the pressure, by the time he hands off to his successor coal will be on a permanently downward trajectory.

Here’s the money quote: Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods.  That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air.

The final sentence is the key one. Remember, the EPA still hasn’t even finalized its rule for carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants, yet it has managed to close down dozens of plants using rules governing mercury and particulate emissions. Should it come out with an even slightly aggressive rule, it could force all coal plants to eventually shut down. Doing that tomorrow would be ill-advised, but if phased in over a decade or so, the long-term benefits would be spectacular.

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On This Day:

President Obama during a budget meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 29, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Surrounded by members of Congress, and Lilly Ledbetter, President Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Bill, Jan. 29, 2009

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican member of the Cabinet, feigns being a blocking back for President Obama as he arrives backstage to meet with GOP House leaders before speaking to their issues conference at the Renaissance Baltimore Harbor Place Hotel in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 29, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama is briefed on the events in Egypt during a meeting with his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The first family walk together to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, Jan. 29, 2012

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President Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., Jan. 29, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama signs an accompanying letter to Congressional leaders after signing H.R. 152, which provides fiscal year 2013 supplemental appropriations to respond to and recover from the severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Jan. 29, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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28
Jan
14

Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg: Hero

16
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama signs letters from children backstage after signing executive orders and unveiling new gun control proposals as part of the Administration’s response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and other tragedies, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Jan. 16, 2013. The children wrote the President letters in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern):

11:20 EST: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama deliver remarks at an event on expanding college opportunity; South Court Auditorium

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AP: Obama Convenes College Leaders On Expanding Access

President Barack Obama is bringing university presidents from across the country together to exact commitments from each to expand access to higher education. The president and first lady Michelle Obama were to greet leaders from more than 100 colleges and universities, plus 40 nonprofit and other groups, in a White House auditorium Thursday. The price of admission: a promise to voluntarily take action to help more low-income students attend college.

The participating schools have agreed to take action in one of four areas: Helping low-income students connect with colleges that can meet their needs and then seeking to ensure that they graduate. Reaching out to elementary, middle and high school students in hopes that by engaging earlier, more students will be encouraged to pursue higher education. Boosting remedial programs so underprepared students will still have opportunities to succeed. Seeking to ensure lower-income students aren’t disadvantaged by lack of access to college advisers and inability to prepare for entrance exams like the SAT and ACT.

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The People’s View: Blowout Interest: 8 Million Have Applied For Coverage Under ACA

The headline numbers for the Affordable Care Act this week have been the 2.2 million Americans who have enrolled in a marketplace plan. But beneath the headlines lurks an even bigger blowout case for Obamacare: the interest is nearly literally off the charts.

By the 28th of last month 4,348,224 applications had been completed through the state and federal-run marketplaces applying for coverage for 7,716,824 individuals. Of those, 5.1 million have been deemed eligible for marketplace plans, and an additional 1.5 million for expanded Medicaid (note that Medicaid enrollees are not necessarily all enrolling through the exchanges, and additional numbers are doing so by directly applying with their states). About 1 million applicants’ status is still pending.

That only about 2.2 million of the over 5 million had chosen marketplace plans by December 28 is an indication of a surge in enrollments that likely continued past that date. That means that as we continue to receive updates and March 31 end of open-enrollment approaches, the numbers are likely to blast past even the huge spike in enrollment in December.

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Reuters: UnitedHealth says quarterly profit rose, sees 2014 growth

UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest U.S. health insurer, on Thursday reported a higher fourth-quarter profit and the addition of 170,000 members, and said 2014 earnings would improve as well. The fourth quarter marked the beginning of sales of new individual plans created under the national healthcare reform law often called Obamacare, coverage which went into effect for the first customers on January 1. UnitedHealth has limited its participation in selling those new plans so far to three states but said in the release that “strength in sales to individuals and smaller employer groups” had contributed to adding new customers in the quarter.

Net income rose to $1.4 billion, or $1.41 per share, from $1.2 billion, or $1.20 per share, a year earlier. The insurer is the first to report its results in a group that also includes WellPoint Inc and Aetna Inc. Employer-based plans and government health programs, as well as a fast-growing health technology division, make up the bulk of UnitedHealth’s annual sales. UnitedHealth also added new members in its government plans for seniors and for the poor, for a total of 45,445,000 medical customers at the end of 2013. The company said that revenue rose to $31.12 billion, up from $28.77 billion a year earlier. Both earnings and revenue came in slightly ahead of analyst expectations

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USA Today: White House Jump Starts Health Exchanges With Celebrities

After a month of marketing the federal exchange site as “not broken anymore,” the White House has tossed the ball to Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning in new ads touting health insurance to begin running Thursday. Both men offered up their help for free, said Julie Bataille, communications director at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Their ads will spark a full-court press effort to get young people — in particular, young men — to sign up for health insurance before enrollment ends March 31. The ads, part of a $52 million campaign in digital, TV and radio advertising for the first quarter of 2014, will air on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBAtv during NBA games.

Johnson and Mourning say they discovered their ailments and received treatment because they had health insurance. Johnson was diagnosed with HIV in 1991, but had no idea he was sick until after a full exam from his doctor, something he says wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t insured. Mourning’s cousin, retired Marine Jason Cooper, donated his kidney to Mourning in 2003 after Mourning was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. “I was at the top of my game,” Mourning says in his ad spot. “I felt invincible, but when I went for my regular team physical, it turned out I had serious kidney disease. It was caught in time to treat, and lucky for me, I was insured.”

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Ryan Cooper: Cory Booker Wants To Torpedo A Major Obama Achievement. What’s His Endgame?

American and Iranian negotiators came to an agreement Sunday on a six-month deal to put the Iranian nuclear program on hold in exchange for easing sanctions slightly, in the hopes of reaching a more permanent agreement in the interim. Meanwhile, at last count, 59 senators are supporting a bill that would impose new sanctions—among them Cory Booker, the brand-new New Jersey senator. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto it.

The bill’s supporters insist that they’re simply trying to improve the U.S. negotiating posture. On Twitter, Booker insisted that he favors a peaceful solution, adding, “I’m 4 additional sanctions if current negotiations fail 2 start or fail 2 work.”

A senior Democratic aide told Joshua Hersh and Ryan Grim, “The goal isn’t to disrupt things, it’s to make Iran even more willing to make serious concessions by making them aware of what will happen if they don’t.”

This isn’t credible….

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Hunter Walker: What Christie Did To Get A Reputation As A Political Bully Even In College

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is no stranger to accusations of political bullying and backroom dealing like those at the heart of the bridge scandal. TPM has found one of the first times the brash political brawler faced such claims was in the mid-1980s when he was an undergrad at the University of Delaware. There, student newspaper archives show, Christie was accused of establishing a college political machine that rewarded his friends and drove his classmates out of student government. One fellow student even wrote to the paper to decry Christie’s “cronyism” and question the legitimacy of the future governor’s reign.

The accusations have have relevance anew now that the potential 2016 presidential contender is facing the biggest turmoil of his career with the uproar over the George Washington Bridge. Democrats in New Jersey have accused members of Christie’s administration of using their power to close lanes on the bridge, causing a traffic jam in the town of Fort Lee, N.J. as revenge against the mayor there.

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Bob Cesca: President Set To Announce NSA Reforms, Greenwald Insists Nothing Will Change

On Friday, President Obama will announce a slate of reforms aimed at the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations, as well as the FISA Court that oversees it. These changes are expected to be closely related to the recommendations published by the administration’s NSA review panel last month. From what we know now, the president will announce the following: 1) He’ll reform bulk collection of metadata by limiting NSA’s access to it. A source told The Washington Post that the president will say that “NSA’s bulk collection of phone data — which includes numbers dialed but not call content — is not something that the government should rely on except in limited circumstances.”

2) He’ll call for privacy measures to foreign intelligence gathering. 3) He’ll create a public civil liberties advocate on the FISA Court as a counter-point to NSA requests. But the president is wisely not planning to unilaterally turn over bulk collection to private sector corporations, as the panel had proposed. Instead, he’s going to leave this in the hands of Congress to decide. At the time, the panel’s recommendations were applauded by a practically giddy Glenn Greenwald and his supporters who believed the findings vindicated the national security leaks by Edward Snowden. But now that the president has decided to implement most of the panel’s top shelf recommendations, including (and to repeat) limiting the bulk metadata program, which is arguably the Greenwald crowd’s primary gripe, the president is evidently not changing anything. Literally nothing, says Greenwald.

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Milt Shook: The Republicanization Of The United States: Becoming A “Can Do” Nation Again

The debt is astronomical. At the time Saint Reagan took office, the total amount of debt the United States held was $900 billion. That’s for the entire 193 years since the Constitution was ratified. Again, that was 31% of the constantly increasing GDP at the time. By the time Saint Reagan and the elder Bush were done, in just 12 years, the total debt topped $6 trillion, and it represented 63% of GDP. Think about it; they have been cutting — and continue to cut — money for food inspections, money for OSHA inspections, money for the EPA, money for customs inspections, and money for pretty much anything that makes us safer, at the same time they’re giving oil companies billions of dollars in subsidies and giving the Pentagon money that even it says it doesn’t need for projects it says it doesn’t want.

At the same time, they crow about “free markets” even as everything in most of our stores is made in Asia. and they do everything they can to prevent workers from organizing into unions. Republicans have taken us from being a nation where every worker has a right to unionize to one in which “at-will employment” and “right to work” essentially gives employers the right to do anything they want. The Republicanization of the United States has to stop, and we have to stop it.

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‘Foggy morning on the South Lawn of the White House’ by Pete Souza

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David Ingram: U.S. Judge Upholds Subsidies Pivotal To Obamacare

A judge on Wednesday upheld subsidies at the heart of President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, rejecting one of the main legal challenges to the policy by conservatives opposed to an expansion of the federal government. A ruling in favor of a lawsuit brought by individuals and businesses in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia would have crippled the implementation of the law by making health insurance unaffordable for many people. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman in Washington D.C. wrote that Congress clearly intended to make the subsidies available nationwide under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“There is evidence throughout the statute of Congress’s desire to ensure broad access to affordable health coverage,” the judge wrote. In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a requirement of the law, commonly called Obamacare, that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The subsidies, in the form of tax credits, are available to people with annual incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $94,200 for a family of four. The law aims to provide health coverage to millions of uninsured or under-insured Americans by offering private insurance at federally subsidized rates through new online health insurance marketplaces in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C.

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On This Day:

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia at a church service at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, Jan. 16, 2011

President Obama paints a quotation attributed to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr during a day of service in King’s honor at the Browne Education Campus school in Washington, January 16, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama stands with her daughter Malia as President Obama delivers remarks during a day of service to honor Martin Luther King, Jr, at the Browne Education Campus school in Washington, January 16, 2012

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the Let Freedom Ring Celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., January 16, 2012

President Obama works on his inaugural address with Jon Favreau, Director of Speechwriting, not pictured, in the Oval Office, Jan. 16, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama signs a series of executive orders on gun control surrounded by children who wrote letters to the White House about gun violence. They are, from left, Hinna Zeejah, Taejah Goode, Julia Stokes and Grant Fritz. Jan. 16, 2013

Letter-writer Grant:

Julia and Taejah’s letters:

24
Aug
13

The March on Washington: The Speeches

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Continue reading ‘The March on Washington: The Speeches’

22
Aug
13

This and That

@petesouza: Pres Obama pokes his head through a hole where visitors pose as the President at the Women’s Rights Park

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In 2010 President Obama greeted Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where Remsburg was recovering from severe injuries sustained in Afghanistan

NYT: President and Soldier: 3 Meetings, And a Lesson in Resilience

Three times, mainly by chance and in very different circumstances, Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg has met President Obama.

They were introduced near Omaha Beach in France in 2009, when Sergeant Remsburg was part of a select Army Ranger group chosen to re-enact a parachute drop for celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in World War II.

The second meeting came less than a year later at a military hospital outside Washington, where Mr. Obama was stunned to see among the wounded troops from Afghanistan a familiar young man — now brain-damaged, a track of fresh stitches across his skull, and partly paralyzed.

The third time was two weeks ago in a private visit in Phoenix, where Sergeant Remsburg did something that neither Mr. Obama nor military doctors would once have predicted: he stood up and saluted his commander in chief.

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The University of Buffalo:

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Henninger High School, Syracuse:

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@petesouza: Pres Obama at the Women’s Rights Natl Historical Park in Seneca Falls

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This is how the President deals with a heckler…..pure class:

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WH.gov

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Lovely:

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