Posts Tagged ‘detroit

23
Feb
14

Rise and Shine

President Obama greets audience members after delivering remarks on the economy at the University of Miami Field House in Coral Gables, Fla., Feb. 23, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Week Ahead:

Sunday: In the evening, the President and First Lady will host the Governors in town for the winter meeting for a dinner at the White House.

Monday: The President will meet with the National Governors Association.

Tuesday: The President will hold an event on the economy at the White House. In the evening, he will attend an OFA event in Washington DC.

Wednesday: The President will travel to the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area for an event on the economy.

Thursday: The President will host an event on his ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative.

Friday: The President will attend a DNC event in Washington.

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Kathleen O’Brien: Obamacare In NJ: Four Out Of Five Enrollees Have Paid Their Premiums

At least three-quarters of the New Jerseyans who have selected health insurance through the federal marketplace website have followed through by paying their first month’s premium, according to the three companies selling the policies. The state’s rate of paying customers is in line with figures reported across the nation. The figures are seen by some as an important barometer of success in the opening months of coverage.

In New Jersey, an early reading shows the percentage of those who have paid ranges from 75 percent to 90 percent.m”To date, more than 80 percent of enrollees from the federal marketplace have paid their first month’s premiums, said Thomas Vincz, spokesman for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. “We expect that number to increase in coming weeks.”

More here

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NYT: What The Stimulus Accomplished

Of all the myths and falsehoods that Republicans have spread about President Obama, the most pernicious and long-lasting is that the $832 billion stimulus package did not work. Since 2009, Republican lawmakers have inextricably linked the words “failed” and “stimulus,” and last week, five years after passage of the Recovery Act, they dusted off their old playbook again. it prevented a second recession that could have turned into a depression.

It created or saved an average of 1.6 million jobs a year for four years. (There are the jobs, Mr. Boehner.) It raised the nation’s economic output by 2 to 3 percent from 2009 to 2011. It prevented a significant increase in poverty — without it, 5.3 million additional people would have become poor in 2010. Government spending worked, helping millions of people who never realized it. And it can work again, whenever lawmakers agree that putting people to work is more important than winning ideological fights.

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Leonard Pitts Jr.: White Fear Trumps Black Life

“You can get killed just for living in your American skin.” — Bruce Springsteen. On Aug. 7, 1930, two young black men were lynched in Marion, Ind. A photographer named Lawrence Beitler had a studio across the street from the lynching tree. He came out and snapped what became an iconic photo, which he made into a postcard and sold. It shows Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith hanging dead and their executioners, faces clearly visible, milling about as if at a picnic. Though authorities possessed this damning photographic evidence, they never arrested anyone for the crime. It was officially attributed to “persons unknown.”

This was not a unique thing. To the contrary, it happened thousands of times. And African-Americans carry this knowledge deep, carry it in blood and sinew, the understanding that the justice system has betrayed us often, smashed our hopes often, denied the value of our lives, often. This knowledge lent a certain tension and poignancy to the wait for a verdict in the Jordan Davis trial last week. Mr. Davis was the black kid shot dead by a white man, Michael Dunn. A guilty verdict would seem to have been a foregone conclusion. It wasn’t. Indeed, the verdict was mystifying.

Mr. Dunn was found guilty on three counts of attempted murder — meaning the three other young men in the SUV with Mr. Davis — but the jury deadlocked on the murder charge. It makes no sense: If Mr. Dunn is guilty of the three charges, how can he not be guilty of the fourth? The jury’s inability to hold him accountable for Mr. Davis’ death only validates African-Americans’ grimmest misgivings about the “just us” system. Brittney Cooper, an assistant professor at Rutgers University, put it as follows on Twitter: “This is not just about jail time. This is about whether white fear legally means more than black life.”

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Catherine Thompson: Federal Court Rules Against Notre Dame’s Birth Control Appeal

A federal court ruled against the University of Notre Dame on Friday in a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate, the Associated Press reported. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld a federal judge’s previous ruling that denied Notre Dame’s request for an injunction to prevent it from complying with the birth control mandate. The court noted in its decision that Notre Dame already notified the administrator of its employee plan as well as the insurer for students that the university would not pay for contraception coverage.

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Chicago Tribune: Chicago Wins Bid For $320 Million Manufacturing Hub

Chicago will be the site of a digital manufacturing institute backed by $70 million in government money and another $250 million of private funding, giving the city, once a factory town, a better chance to re-establish its credentials as a modern maker of things. The decision, to be announced officially Tuesday by President Barack Obama, was hotly anticipated by city and state officials who recognized the opportunity to jump start high-tech manufacturing as a core component of Chicago’s economic vision. The city today, while still home to some manufacturing, is better known for its financial markets and convention business. The idea behind the institute is that manufacturing is being transformed by digital design, which replaces the draftsman’s table with the capacity to work and create in a virtual environment.

The city envisions the institute would focus on such projects as the faster and cheaper production of a next-generation aircraft engine; drastically reducing the amount of scrap material associated with small manufacturing runs; and speeding the design process among spread-out suppliers. “This is clearly, without a doubt, one of the most significant things to secure Chicago’s long-term economic future,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a Saturday interview. “It is the best insurance policy you can buy, which is major research capacity.” The $70 million grant will come from the Defense Department. Obama will officially announce the Chicago hub on Tuesday at the White House. The manufacturing initiative follows Obama’s new playbook for dealing with an oppositional Congress unlikely to enact any part of his economic vision. The announcement also delivers on the President’s pledge in his 2013 State of the Union address to set up three new manufacturing institutes from existing government programs.

In the spring of last year, the administration launched the competition. In addition to Chicago’s “Digital Manufacturing and Design Institute,” Obama will announce that Detroit has won an institute of its own focused on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing. The administration set up a pilot site in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2012, and a few weeks ago announced a new institute in Raleigh, N.C. Obama has also pledged to launch four more competitions for new institutes in the coming year in hopes of setting eight institutes in motion without any action by Congress. But Obama’s broader plan is to spur Congress to support the concept. His blueprint calls for a full national network of up to 45 institutes funded in part with new resources approved by lawmakers.

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Adam Searing: How NC (Surprisingly) Became A Leader In ACA Enrollment

While North Carolina has refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and many politicians continue to complain about the federal health exchange, the roll-out of Obamacare in N.C. tells a far more positive story. North Carolina is enrolling uninsured people at a rate at least twice that of any other state that has refused to set up its own health exchange and refused to expand Medicaid. In short, among states that are dragging their feet on the Affordable Care Act – no advertising campaigns, no speeches by the governor on how important it is for everyone to have access to health care, no Medicaid expansion that guarantees the lowest income workers coverage – North Carolina is by far leading the pack in private plan enrollment. Even with the federal health exchange’s shaky start, N.C. has already enrolled 107,778 uninsured people in private health plans.  So what’s going on?

There are several answers. Our success starts with North Carolina’s excellent Medicaid managed-care program, Community Care of North Carolina. Even though Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders declined the federal opportunity to expand Medicaid, N.C. Community Care has provided a natural framework to enroll uninsured people in private health plans. Under Community Care, local doctors, hospitals, health centers, health departments, social service offices, legal service providers and other community leaders have been quietly working together every day, every month and every year for a decade to help people access and use health care. Because of this, North Carolina’s Medicaid program is already a huge success both in delivering great care and containing costs. So, when the Affordable Care Act’s health exchange opened for business, there were already networks with proven records of success in helping people get health care. These organizations jumped right in to the enrollment effort because they work with uninsured families every day and know what a huge benefit this is.

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The Globe And Mail: How Putin’s Sochi Dream Was Shattered By Ukraine’s Nightmare

Vladimir Putin has a dream – and for the past two weeks, the world has been helping him to live it. In this dream, Russia is rich again, a place where the reported $51-billion cost of the Winter Olympics in Sochi is no object. It’s a nation of impressive architecture and smiling volunteers who speak English but think like Russians. “Russia – Great, New, Open!” brag the billboards around the Olympic city. (“Open”? Sochi has high fences, surveillance balloons and warships off the coast; every phone call and e-mail is monitored.) Mr. Putin sees a Russia that is once more a global centre of gravity, indispensable on the world stage. Soon, if his plans come to fruition, Moscow will stand as the leader of a new bloc of nations – the Eurasian Union – with borders that look a lot like those of the Soviet empire, whose fall he has openly mourned.

Vladimir Putin also has a nightmare. And this week, it looked a lot like the burning heart of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital where tens of thousands of protesters battled police to bring down their Kremlin-backed, authoritarian government. Dozens died before a tentative truce Friday interrupted the hostilities, but anger remains so high that there is no guarantee it will hold. It’s not just that Mr. Putin fears the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych and the rise of a pro-Western government in Kiev, although that would be a heavy geopolitical blow. He needs Ukraine to take part if his Eurasian Union – currently set to launch next year with only Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus as members – is to look like anything more than a tiny dictators’ club.

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Venezuela Protests

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AP: Venezuelan Government Cuts Internet Access, Blocks Websites In War Against Student Protesters

The battle for Venezuela is being fought as vigorously online as in the streets, with authorities cutting off the Internet to a clash-torn university city and blocking selected websites and a “walkie-talkie” service widely used by protesters. A local TV reporter in San Cristobal, capital of the western border state of Tachira, said Thursday night that she could hear gunshots as teargas-firing police broke up protests just as they had the night before when Internet service was cut. “We’re still without Internet. And some people don’t have water or electricity either,” said the reporter, Beatriz Font. San Cristobal, home to one private and three public universities, is where the current wave of anti-government demonstrations began on Feb. 2, the fiercest unrest since President Hugo Chavez died last March began.

Later Thursday, the U.S. company Zello told The Associated Press that Venezuela’s state-run telecoms company, CANTV, had just blocked access to the push-to-talk “walkie-talkie” app for smart phones and computers that has been a hugely popular organizing tool for protesters from Egypt to Ukraine. Zello supports up to 600 users on a single channel, and company CEO Bill Moore said it became the No. 1 app in Ukraine on Thursday for both the iOS and Android operating systems. In one day this week, Zello reported more than 150,000 downloads in Venezuela. Some believe Venezuela’s information war, which escalated last week as the government blocked images on Twitter after violence in Caracas claimed three lives, is only just beginning. The protesters are fed up with a catalogue of woes that include rampant inflation, food shortages and one of the world’s highest murder rates.

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Douglas Alexander: This Crisis Is About What’s Best For Ukraine, Not Russia

If a week is a long time in British politics, 24 hours has proven to be a long time in this Ukrainian political crisis. The priority must be to prevent further killing, and all sides must play their part in achieving this. The Ukrainian government has in recent months routinely ignored the democratic aspirations of the Ukrainian people. So it will take time for trust to be rebuilt across Ukrainian society and it will be hard for that progress to be made even after this crisis ends. That is why it is so important that the EU should continue to support Ukraine as the turmoil in Kiev continues. We must remember that this crisis began in November, when President Yanukovych walked away from an agreement with Europe that would have granted Ukraine access to the EU’s single market.

The UK government has had a noticeably low profile as the crisis unfolded. But we must recognise that the number of people killed in Ukraine last week is a tragic expression of the gravity of the crisis. The streets of Kiev have revealed a geopolitical fault line between Russia and the West. President Obama was right to say that Ukraine can no longer be seen as part of a “Cold War chess board”. More than 20 years after the Berlin Wall fell we should not see a new era of 20th-century satellite states take hold on the 21st-century European continent. President Putin is known for his zero-sum approach to foreign affairs – but what happens in Ukraine cannot just be about judging what makes sense for Russia. It must be about what works for the people of Ukraine.

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Gunner Goz: Out Of Hell, A New Hope For A Proud People

Like many of you, our friends, my wife and I have been literally rooted to our chairs as we watched events in our beloved Ukraine roll out, ever since those terrible days in Kyiv last November when Ukrainians began to die because of the brutality of Yanukovych’s Berkut. Since then, many, many more innocents have sacrificed themselves to protest injustice, tryanny and corruption. Ukrainians have been incredibly brave throughout all this. They have withstood freezing cold, Militia attacks, titushki beatings, kidnappings, torture, murder, Berkut Molotov cocktails and finally, an ultimate horror, the cold-blooded, merciless snipers of their own government’s security forces

One little known fact most Americans are not aware of is that Ukraine’s 40 million citizens legally possess more than 2 million private firearms: 400,000 of them are in Kyiv alone. And yet, even in the face of murderous provocation and killings by the police and Berkut, very few of those privately owned firearms were ever raised in anger, even against their tormentors: the ratio of citizens killed to police casualties was over 10 to 1. It tells us that Ukrainians are a people possessing extraordinary restraint and respect for life, because if every private gun in Ukraine had been fired in anger, the dead would be in the many thousands by now.

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On This Day:

President Obama meets with actor George Clooney in the Oval Office, Feb. 23, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama listens to staff during a meeting in the Oval Office, Feb. 23, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden discuss the Military Families Campaign with spouses of U.S. military leadership in the Map Room of the White House, Feb. 23, 2011 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

President Obama poses for a photograph with Ambassador Jacinth Lorna Henry-Martin of St. Kitts and Nevis during an ambassador credentialing ceremony in the Oval Office, Feb. 23, 2011. Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall and members of Henry-Martin’s family watch from the edge of the room (Photo by Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama views the Slave Pen exhibit while touring the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb. 23, 2012. Pictured, from left, are: Dina Bailey, Associate Curator of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center; Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory; Verna Williams; and Allison Singleton (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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15
Dec
13

Rise and Shine

Pete Souza: “Interrupting a Christmas Holiday photo line, the President confers with Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, about the latest developments in the payroll tax cut extension as the First Lady waits in the background.” Dec. 15, 2011

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Today:

6:20 EST: The First Family attends Christmas in Washington, National Building Museum

The schedule for the week ahead has not yet been released, but the First Family will depart the White House en route Honolulu, Hawaii on Friday

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Katharine Haenschen: My $55,000 Migrane, Or Why Young Americans Should Enroll In Health Insurance

Many years ago when I was a 23-year-old working as a hostess-with-the-mostess at a fancy seafood restaurant, saving up money to go back to school. I was hanging out in my apartment one night when my vision suddenly tunneled, and an unbearable pain exploded in the left side of my head. I couldn’t make a fist with my right hand. It was super scary. I called my Dad, who said “Go to the hospital right now.” The doctors at the emergency room took great care of me, and determined that no, I was not having a stroke. They took a spinal tap, did some scans, and sent me home a few hours later with ample headache pills. But the headache kept coming back, unbearably painful such that I couldn’t function at work and spent as much time as possible lying down.

I eventually landed back in the ER and even had to be admitted over night, until the doctors figured out that my spinal tap never healed — as 10-20% don’t, causing a slow drip of brain juice out the bottom of your spinal column.   And then the hospital bills came. At first I was afraid to open them — and that’s even though I was thankfully still covered by my Mom’s health insurance plan through her job. After all, just walking into the ER cost me $100 in co-pays each time.

Finally, I opened the big envelopes from the hospital and found a bill for $55,000. The amount I owed? $0. That’s right. Zero dollars. Because when I got my freak $55,000 headache, I was covered. No one plans to have emergency medical care — but we can prepare for the possibility of it happening by signing up with healthcare.gov. Of course, now that migraine — and my later gap in health insurance coverage — can’t come back to bite me in the butt later, because thanks to the Affordable Care Act I can’t be denied coverage for “pre-existing conditions” and I can’t be screwed over for gaps in consistent insurance coverage.

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Sun Sentinel: Affordable Care Act Really Does Work

I am one of the few people who has good things to say about Obamacare. You probably only hear from those who complain. My daughter has applied on the Internet for health insurance. She had no problem whatsoever linking to the site. Everything worked like a dream. My daughter is self-employed in a small business. She has been paying more than $2,800 every other month for her health insurance. Her entire yearly salary pays for the cost of her current insurance. She received a letter from her insurance company telling her that under Obamacare, this very same policy — without any change — will cost her $625 per month. This is less than half the price of what she is currently paying, which has been highway robbery.

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Keith Naughton: How U.S. Workers Rebuilt An Industry

In June 2009, the last auto plant in Detroit was idle, mausoleum-quiet and a symbol of failure. Weeds had grown three-feet tall around Chrysler’s sprawling Jeep factory at the desolate crossroads of Jefferson and Conner as the company went dark during bankruptcy. Among the bills the near-dead automaker couldn’t afford to pay: lawn service. Yet on one Monday morning came the drone of lawn mowers and buzz of weed whackers — sounds of rebirth. Chrysler was emerging from Chapter 11 and something had to be done about the eyesore the plant had become. The Detroit Three also overhauled their lineups to field their best cars in a generation, which now command higher prices than formerly formidable foreign offerings. Ford’s fashionable Fusion, whose looks draw comparisons to Aston Martin, has an average price of $27,444, which exceeds the Toyota Camry by $3,251, according to researcher Kelley Blue Book.

“It’s flipped,” marveled Lutz, 81, who served as a senior executive at all three Detroit automakers over the last half-century before retiring in 2010. “All of a sudden, the Japanese are behind.” Detroit’s new strength is embodied in Chrysler’s reborn Jefferson North Assembly Plant. The Jeep factory has gone from barely breathing to bursting at the seams. Its future was in doubt when it closed during Chrysler’s 2009 bankruptcy. Since then, employment there has more than tripled to 4,500, from fewer than 1,400 when Chrysler went bankrupt, and production has more than quintupled to 325,000 models this year, from 60,584 four years ago. It spits out Jeeps 20 hours a day, seven days a week and still can’t keep up with demand for the Grand Cherokee. Sales soared 21 percent for the hot model last year and are up 15 percent more this year through November. Chrysler said it expects to make as much as $2.2 billion this year.

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RH Reality Check: On Medicaid, Shame, And Not Being Silent

When the Obamacare exchanges became open for enrollment this fall, I eagerly went online to check out my options for affordable health care in my state. It was exciting to know that I could potentially afford health insurance. I considered how my life would be affected: doctors’ visits, blood tests, checkups, an eye exam,a teeth cleaning—all the things I’ve longed for as an uninsured adult. After wading through a sea of questions about my income and expenses to determine my eligibility, I discovered what I had not considered a possibility: I qualify for Medicaid. Wow. Am I that poor? For so long I made just enough money to not qualify for Medicaid. Now, I do qualify.

While I was relieved to know I wouldn’t need to pay out-of-pocket each month for health care, I felt uncomfortable. I had originally intended to write about my experiences navigating Obamacare, how I’m weighing the options or different health-care plans in my state. But how was I going to write about that now? I couldn’t possibly share my experiences navigating Medicaid in public. My initial thoughts and feelings were rooted in shame. I didn’t want people to know my income is so low that I qualify for Medicaid. Shame is a tool. It keeps people immobilized, silent, and afraid. It keeps people in closets, in hiding, invisible.

And I’m sure this is only one of the reasons why nearly 700,000 people nationwide who qualify for Medicaid haven’t enrolled in the program. Money and time is spent to keep the “welfare queen” mythology alive, not only informing budget cuts, but also the minds of people who qualify for public assistance but decide not to use it. Shame is ridiculous. It will have you believe you deserve nothing—that you don’t deserve the resources you qualify for, resources that can support your livelihood.

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A Message From Isonprize

Hey my TOD pals, have you voted for PARENTS UNITED for PUBLIC EDUCATION today?

Parents United for “Non profit of the year” and Eileen Duffey, RN, for “Do gooder of the Year”, FIERCE advocates for public education in Philadelphia.

Please don’t let us lose to a skate park!! :lol:

And for good measure, scroll to the bottom and PLEASE VOTE to EXCOMMUNCATE Gov. Tom “Cut It” Corbett

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Ari Berman: North Carolina Shows Why The Voting Rights Act Is Still Needed

A federal judge in Winston-Salem today set the schedule for a trial challenging North Carolina’s sweeping new voter restrictions. There will be a hearing on whether to grant a preliminary injunction in July 2014 and a full trial a year later, in July 2015. This gives the plaintiffs challenging the law, which includes the Department of Justice, the ACLU and the North Carolina NAACP, a chance to block the bill’s worst provisions before the 2014 election. Earlier this year, in July 2013, the North Carolina legislature passed the country’s worst voter suppression law, which included strict voter ID to cast a ballot, cuts to early voting, the elimination of same-day voter registration, the repeal of public financing of judicial elections and many more harsh and unnecessary anti-voting measures.

These restrictions will impact millions of voters in the state across all races and demographic groups: in 2012, for example, 2.5 million North Carolinians voted early, 152,000 used same-day voter registration, 138,000 voters lacked government-issued ID and 7,500 people cast an out-of-precinct provisional ballot. These four provisions alone will negatively affect nearly 3 million people who voted in 2012. Ironically, it took the North Carolina legislature less than a month to approve the law, but it will take a year before an initial hearing on it and two years before a full trial. That’s because in June 2013 the Supreme Court invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which meant that previously covered states like North Carolina, with the worst history of voting discrimination, no longer had to clear their voting changes with the federal government.

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Ian Millhiser: Meet The Next Ruth Bader Ginsburg

With her confirmation to the second highest court in the nation very early Thursday morning, Judge Nina Pillard should immediately rocket to the top of the Democratic shortlist of potential nominees to the Supreme Court. Though there are a number ofDemocratic judges who possess the youth, brilliance and legal credentials required from a new Supreme Court justice, Pillard brings something to the bench that is quite rare among judges — she’s won two of the most important civil rights victories to reach the Supreme Court during her career.

Pillard was a member of the legal team in United States v. Virginia, which eliminated the Virginia Military Institute’s discriminatory policies against women and cemented the rule that no law may engage in gender discrimination unless there is an “exceedingly persuasive justification” for doing so. Seven years later, Pillard argued and won Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs, an important case helping women (and men) with families to have a fair opportunity to participate in the workplace.

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Katya Gorchinskaya: EuroMaidan

No amount of live video feeds or news stories can convey the essence of EuroMaidan. The Dec. 11 massive attack by Berkut riot-control police, for example, took people by surprise. Although there was an alert from the leaders of the political opposition that there would be a police raid at 1 a.m., people simply dismissed as ludicrous the idea that a raid would happen that night. I left Maidan around 1 a.m., with no visible signs of an imminent attack, and with just a few handfuls of protesters shivering near the stage. I rushed back to find it completely transformed in a matter of 15 minutes after receiving a tip-off that Berkut is advancing.

When Berkut started crashing through the first barricade, it was truly scary. It was not clear what their plan was, and at that point it seemed that it would be a miracle if no blood got spilled. Now, when we know that only 20 people required hospital treatment after that night, it does seem nearly miraculous. It soon became clear that Berkut was acting under orders to go easy on the protesters, and the resulting scuffle looked like a practice session of police units, not real action. As police broke through the first barricade, the church bells of St. Michael’s started to ring – an ancient and powerful call for alarm and mobilization.

For hours that followed, those watching Maidan saw massive shoving between Berkut and demonstrators, and its footage was top news around the world. But what was even more striking is how quickly Kyiv mobilized and moved into the city center, turning a crowd of a few hundred into a mass of tens of thousands of people in a matter of several hours. There was a lot of dignity in it, and a lot of pride. This was the massive proof that EuroMaidan is not about its leaders, that it’s truly the will of the people.

More here

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Frank Schaeffer: The Slow Motion Lynching Of President Barack Obama

I’ve watched liberal and right wing commentators alike blame the president for being lynched. They say “he’s not reaching out enough” or “he’s too cold.” It’s the equivalent of assuming that the black man being beaten by a couple of thug cops must have “done something.” I am a white privileged well off sixty-one-year-old former Republican religious right wing activist who changed his mind about religion and politics long ago. Weirdly, I just realized that through all my writing, this has been the first time in my life I’ve personally gone to bat for a black man. It just happens that he’s a president. But my emotional stake in his life is now personal. So I’ve changed from a white guy who used to read news about some black man getting shot or beaten by cops or stand-you-ground types who assumed that the black man must have “done something,” to a white guy who figures that the black man was probably getting lynched. I’ve changed ideology but I’ve also changed my gut intuitive reactions.

I’ve changed because if this country will lynch a brilliant, civil, kind, humble, compassionate, moderate, articulate, black intellectual we’re lucky enough to have in the White house, we’ll lynch anyone. What chance does an anonymous black man pulled over in a traffic stop have of fair treatment when the former editor of the Harvard Law review is being lynched? One famous liberal commentator wrote a book on how Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil could disagree and still be friends. Why, he asked on many a TV show promoting his book, couldn’t President Obama be like that? Because, I yelled at the screen, those two men were white Irish Americans and part of a ruling white oligarchy.

Because, I yelled, you might as well ask why Nelson Mandela didn’t talk his jailers in South Africa into seeing reason. Because, I yelled, the president is black and anytime he’s reached out he’s pulled back a bloody stump. Because, I yelled, liberal white commentators have been as bothered by a black man in the White House, who’s smarter than they are as much as right wing bigots have been bothered. Because, I yelled, President Obama has been lied about, attacked, vilified, and disrespected since Day One. Because, I yelled, this country may have passed laws so blacks can vote and eat in a white man’s world, but in our hearts are stuck in a place more like 1952 than 2013.

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On This Day:

First Lady Michelle Obama greets guests in the Grand Foyer of the White House during a holiday party, Dec. 15, 2009 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Barack Obama walks from the White House to Blair House in Washington, D.C., to attend a working meeting with business leaders, Dec. 15, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama is joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and Bo, the Obama family dog, as he delivers remarks during a Christmas holiday reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Dec. 15, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama descend the Grand Staircase to greet guests at a holiday reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Dec. 15, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

29
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: Sen. Obama and his vice presidential running mate Sen. Biden at a rally in Sunrise, Fla., Oct. 29, 2008

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Today (All Times Eastern):

11:45: President Obama meets with CEOs on Cybersecurity Framework

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

3:0: President Obama delivers remarks at a memorial service for former Speaker Tom Foley

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Note: The interviewer is a jack a**

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USA Today: It’s A Day Of Security And Remembrance For President Obama

On Tuesday morning, Obama meets with a group of CEOs to talk about a new kind of national security challenge: Cybersecurity….

In the afternoon, Obama travels to Capitol Hill to attend a memorial service for the late House Speaker Tom Foley, who passed away last week.

In addition, Obama has meetings today with Vice President Biden and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

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A Must Read

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Detroit Free Press: Auto Sales Forecast: Buyers Back After Government Shutdown

With four days left in the month, auto dealers apparently can let out a few sighs of relief.

Auto buyers seemed to have shrugged off the government shutdown and gone back to helping to make 2013 a banner year for the auto industry, two forecasts of October auto sales suggest.

Kelley Blue Book predicts an 8% rise in auto sales in October compared to the same month last year. Edmunds.com is even more optimistic, predicting an increase of 12.7% over the same period.

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Sun Times: Durbin “Stand Your Ground” Hearing Tuesday: Trayvon Martin’s Mother To Testify

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will chair a hearing Tuesday on the controversial “stand your ground” laws that played a role in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman. Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, will be testifying.

Durbin is holding the hearing in his role as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The hearing was originally scheduled for September…..

More here

The 10 a.m. ET hearing will be shown live on C-Span

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Syracuse.com: Obama To Campaign For Terry McAuliffe

President Barack Obama plans to campaign for Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, on Sunday.

A spokesman for McAuliffe’s campaign said Obama will join McAuliffe at a rally in northern Virginia. No additional details were available.

Polls show McAuliffe, a native of Syracuse, is ahead of Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia race, one of two gubernatorial contests being held this year…

More here

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TIME: Password-Reset Security Glitch Fixed On Healthcare.gov

A security flaw in the original design of HealthCare.gov that could have disclosed e-mail and other account information to hackers was eliminated Monday during an overnight fix, a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman has told TIME.

“We are eliminating this theoretical vulnerability by preventing users from seeing the specific reset functionality when trying to reset their password,” said Brian Cook, who works for the agency that oversees the troubled website portal for federal health-insurance exchanges. There is no public evidence that these design flaws were ever exploited to compromise user accounts.

More here

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USA Today: Insurance For The Young Could Be Less Than $50 A Month

Almost half of young, single, uninsured adults in 34 states could pay $50 or less a month for insurance through the online exchanges after receiving subsidies, according to a study released by the Department of Health and Human Services Monday. The HHS study said there are 7.2 million uninsured Americans 18 to 34 in single-person households in the 34 states. Of that total, there are 2.9 million who are eligible to buy insurance on either federal or state partnership insurance marketplaces.

Of those 2.9 million young people, HHS found that 1.3 million, or 46%, could pay less than $50 a month for a bronze plan. The exchanges offer coverage from the bronze to platinum level. Bronze is the cheapest. About 1.9 million of uninsured young people in those 34 states, the study showed, could pay $100 a month or less for health insurance with the tax credits.

More here

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20 Committee: Merkel’s “Real” Cellphone Is Secure

As Germany’s “Handygate” has become a mass phenomenon bordering on hysteria, one of the strangest aspects has been the fact, which I’ve noted previously, that Chancellor Angela Merkel was using a quite insecure cellphone to conduct government business. According to numerous media reports, the cellphone in question, said to have been intercepted by NSA for years, was used by Merkel for political party affairs, and was supposed to be used only to the classification level of VS-NfD, which is roughly equivalent to the U.S. category of For Official Use Only (FOUO), in other words, not actually classified at all.

Except the actual story is coming into focus now and it’s a rather different one than what Berlin’s been complaining so loudly about. While Merkel has indeed had a quite vulnerable cellphone, her “real” Chancellor-Phone, as the Germans call it, is quite secure from interception.

More here

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Bloomberg: Obama Tells FBI Leaders He’ll Press Congress To Lift Budget Cuts

President Barack Obama said he will keep pressing Congress to lift across-the-board budget cuts to ease the limits they have placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other critical agencies.

At the formal installation ceremony for James Comey as the seventh director of the FBI, Obama said resources for the agency have been trimmed by the automatic cuts known as sequestration even as the the FBI’s mission has been expanding to confront the threat of terrorism.

A congressional committee will meet this week to come up with a plan for taxes and spending to replace the automatic spending cuts approved in 2011. Comey said in a speech in Philadelphia last week that the budget limits mean that as many as 3,500 positions will be cut and agents will be furloughed, radio station KYW reported.

More here

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President Obama talks on the phone with Israel PM Netanyahu, in the Oval Office, Oct. 28, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Rollling Stone, November 2012 (Photo released Oct 29, 2012)

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Oct. 29, 2009 – Pete Souza: “This photo was taken about 4AM after the President made an unannounced trip to Dover Air Force Base to pay respects to fallen troops coming back from Afghanistan. After meeting privately with the families, the President walked alone up the ramp of the cargo plane carrying the 18 caskets, all draped in American flags. I could see the emotion on his face as he walked from casket to casket, leaving a Presidential coin on each. When he was done, he paused for a few minutes, head bowed in prayer. I heard him tell others later how that was the most difficult moment of his Presidency thus far. Out of respect for the families, not all of who wanted their ceremony photographed, we can’t show those pictures (but they will become part of Presidential archive).”

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On This Day:

President Obama rests his foot on a desk as he talks with Phil Schiliro, assistant to the President for legislative affairs, in the Outer Oval Office, Oct. 29, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets Girl Scouts prior to a signing ceremony for the Girl Scouts USA Centennial Commemorative Coin Act in the Oval Office, Oct. 29, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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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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2013-09-05T090507Z_581828189_GM1E9951B7K01_RTRMADP_3_OBAMA-SWEDEN

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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05
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

Four years ago – Pete Souza: “I was sitting in the reception area outside the Oval Office when Sasha walked by and headed to the Oval. I suspected something was up, so I followed her. Sasha then crawled into the office, hiding behind the sofa, and when she reached the far end, jumped up and yelled trying spook her dad.” Aug. 5, 2009

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Today (all times Eastern):

12:45: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

6:0: The President meets with former Negro League baseball players

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The Week Ahead:

Tuesday: The President will travel to the Phoenix, Arizona area to continue talking with Americans about his better bargain for the middle class

That afternoon, the President will travel to Burbank, California, to tape an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Wednesday: The President will travel to Camp Pendleton to visit with troops and their families

Thursday: The President will welcome Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of Greece to the White House

Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

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USA Today: President Obama has a string of meetings on his schedule Monday, one of them with a group of legends.

Early this evening, Obama meets with former Negro League baseball players at the White House.

The president will honor the players’ “contributions to our nation’s history, civil rights, and professional baseball,” says the White House schedule.

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WCHB: Minnie Forbes Owner of the 1956 Detroit Stars Honored by President Obama

The Michigan Chapter of Negro League Baseball Players celebrate one of their members, Minnie Forbes. She is the former owner of the 1956 Detroit Stars Baseball Team. Forbes is credited with being the third woman in the United States to own a team in the Negro Leagues. After 1958, Forbes went on to be the fourth woman to play baseball in the Negro Leagues. She was the third basemen for the Kansas City Monarchs.

Louis Manley, Jr is a well-known Detroit historian and the president of The Michigan Chapter of Negro League Baseball. He is excited to be recognized nationally as a leader in Negro League Baseball. As he prepares to meet and greet President Obama on Monday August 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm in the White House, he is delighted to accompany Minnie Forbes.

More here

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The Grio: Obama turns 52: 52 things that the president has accomplished so far

More here

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Dallas News: Obama order in wake of West blast a ‘game-changer’ in chemical safety, senator says

Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the U.S. Senate’s environment and public works committee, sat visibly frustrated in a June congressional hearing. She finally told the Environmental Protection Agency official that “lives are being lost” while the agency failed to better safeguard the fertilizer chemical that blew up West.

Weeks later, Boxer wrote to the nation’s governors. She implored them to do what they could to improve the security of ammonium nitrate. Finally, the California Democrat turned to the White House. The results of her efforts became public last week when President Barack Obama issued an executive order directing the federal government to improve safety at chemical facilities.

“For me, it’s a game-changer,” Boxer said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News. “I saw the intransigence of some of the agencies. I saw them arguing and not committing. … We asked the president to help make sure this [type of disaster] never happens again.”….

More here

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@BarackObama

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Greg Sargent: Be very afraid of a government shutdown

Eric Cantor’s lengthy interview yesterday on Fox News Sunday is really worth reading in full and pondering at some length. It perfectly captures why it’s looking more and more likely that we are genuinely headed for a government shutdown this fall.

In the interview, Fox host Chris Wallace practically begs Cantor to have a reality-based conversation about the coming shutdown fight, the sequester, and Obamacare. Again and again, Cantor steers the conversation back into pure fantasy….

More here

And see Steve Benen: The wrong way to play the shutdown blame game

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Paul Krugman: Republicans Against Reality

Last week House Republicans voted for the 40th time to repeal Obamacare. Like the previous 39 votes, this action will have no effect whatsoever. But it was a stand-in for what Republicans really want to do: repeal reality, and the laws of arithmetic in particular. The sad truth is that the modern G.O.P. is lost in fantasy, unable to participate in actual governing.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about policy substance. I may believe that Republicans have their priorities all wrong, but that’s not the issue here. Instead, I’m talking about their apparent inability to accept very basic reality constraints, like the fact that you can’t cut overall spending without cutting spending on particular programs, or the fact that voting to repeal legislation doesn’t change the law when the other party controls the Senate and the White House.

Am I exaggerating? Consider what went down in Congress last week….

More here

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Time: Obama’s Photographer Joins Instagram

On July 24, Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer, joined Instagram. However, his first photo was not of the President, but the instantly-recognizable Presidential Seal, along with the caption: “My maiden voyage on Instagram. Will bring you behind-the-scenes of the Presidency.” His second picture? Presidential grapes.

Since then, @petesouza has documented the inner workings of the White House and it’s staff, from Marine One’s shadow to the Presidential dog – Bo. Souza talked with TIME’s international picture editor, Patrick Witty, about Instagram and what we can expect to see on his feed (more Bo) and what we won’t see (selfies).

What made you take the plunge and open an Instagram account?

The digital folks here at the White House have been asking me to do this for some time and I thought the time was right to finally take the plunge.

More here

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Welcome to Twitter:

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But, truly, Twitter is a cesspit:

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Steve Benen: ‘It’s a critical first step’

In recent weeks, progressive activists in Florida have pushed a very specific message: in the wake of the George Zimmerman trial, state policymakers need to revisit the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. Their task hasn’t been easy — Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has refused to consider changes to the status quo.

Late last week, however, there was an unexpected breakthrough….

More here

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MooooOOOOoooorning everyone! I’m half way through my break but reckoned after all her stupendous posting UT deserved a Monday morning lie-in – endless thank yous to her for the brilliant posting the past week, she’s like Wayne Rooney and Cheesy Puffs rolled in to one.

Hope everyone’s doing great?

22
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago: “The President hugs Stephanie Davies, who helped her friend, Allie Young, left, stay alive after she was shot during the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo. The President visited patients and family members affected by the shootings at the University of Colorado Hospital. Photo by Pete Souza, July 22, 2012

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The Week Ahead:

Today:

3:0: The President meets with Secretary of State Kerry

7:25: Delivers remarks at an Organizing for Action event, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, DC (Open Press)

8:10: Delivers remarks and answers questions at an Organizing for Action dinner, Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Print Pool for Remarks Only)

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Tuesday: The President will welcome NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals to the White House to honor the team and their 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship

Wednesday: He will travel to Galesburg, Illinois and Warrensburg, Missouri for events on the economy

Thursday: He will welcome President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam to the White House. In the afternoon, the President will travel to Jacksonville, Florida for an event on the economy. On Thursday evening, he will host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House

Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.

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Time: Drawing renewed attention to the economy, President Barack Obama will return this week to an Illinois college where he once spelled out a vision for an expanded and strengthened middle class as a freshman U.S. senator, long before the Great Recession would test his presidency.

The address Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., will be the first in a new series of economic speeches that White House aides say Obama intends to deliver over the next several weeks ahead of key budget deadlines in the fall. A new fiscal year begins in October, and the government will soon hit its borrowing limit.

…. The president will also speak Wednesday at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo.

More here – and more at the NYT

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AP: Survey: Brighter U.S. Economic Outlook Boosts Hiring

Companies are increasingly confident the economy will grow at a modest pace over the next year and are hiring more, according to a survey of business economists.

Nearly one-third of the economists surveyed said their companies added jobs in the April-June quarter …. That’s the highest percentage in nearly two years. And 39 percent expect their firms will hire more in the next six months. That’s near the two-year high of 40 percent reached in the January-March quarter.

…. Optimism about future economic growth increased. Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents forecast growth of 2.1 percent or more over the next 12 months. That’s up from two-thirds in the first quarter survey, released in April, and the most in a year.

More here

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OFA

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ThinkProgress: No, Obamacare Won’t Raise Insurance Premiums In Indiana By 72 Percent

On Friday, the Indiana Department of Insurance announced that initial rates submitted by individual health plan providers for the state’s Obamacare insurance marketplace would cost 72 percent more than currently available plans …. Gov. Mike Pence’s (R) administration was quick to use the figures to criticize the health law….

The problem is, the Department of Insurance didn’t really release “data” in the plural — it released a single data point. The $570 per month figure is the average of all of the submitted rates, including cheaper plans with less benefits (so-called “Bronze” and “Silver” level plans) as well as the more generous and expensive “Gold” and “Platinum” level plans. That’s like saying the average cost of a car in an Indiana dealership is $100,000 because it sells $20,000 Fords, $60,000 BMWs, and $220,000 Lamborghinis — technically true, but highly misleading.

More here

And see Jonathan Cohn – ‘Hoosier Hustle? Another Dubious Attack on Obamacare’

Also too – ThinkProgress: Tea Party Senator Concedes Defeat: We Won’t Be Able To Fully Repeal Obamacare

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USA Today: Vice President Biden is off on a six-day trade and diplomatic trip to India and Singapore.

…. The vice president and his wife Dr Jill Biden land Monday in New Dehli; they will travel to Mumbai later this week …. they arrive Thursday in Singapore…

… The Bidens will stop in Hawaii on their way back to the United States; they return to Washington on Sunday.

More here

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

10
Dec
12

‘It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas’

President Obama walks to the Oval Office upon his return from a trip to Michigan, December 10

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Hiya everyone, sorry for the lack of updates today, work has been marginally bonkers :???: Hopefully it’ll debonkers itself soon.

Will try to catch up properly tomorrow.

So, how are ya all doing?

10
Dec
12

Heads Up: President Obama in Detroit (2:0 ET)

White House live




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