Posts Tagged ‘doma

29
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

A Year Ago Today – Pete Souza: “There is closure in this photograph. I suspect that neither man really wanted to have lunch with the other, but they both knew the importance for the American people in seeing them do so. Here, the President bids farewell to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney following their lunch.”

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Friday, Saturday and Sunday:

The President has no public events scheduled

Today:

11:0 EST: The Arrival of the White House Christmas Tree

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s interview will air tonight on ABC’s 20/20 at 10PM ET / 9PM CT

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Timothy Egan (NYT): Rooting for Failure

I just spent 15 minutes on my local health care exchange and realized that I could save a couple hundred dollars a month on my family’s insurance. Of course, I live in Washington State, which has a very competitive market, a superbly functioning website and no Koch-brothers-sponsored saboteurs trying to discourage people from getting health care.

California is just as good. It’s enrolling more than 2,000 people a day. New York is humming as well. And Kentucky, it’s the gold standard now: More than 56,000 people have signed up for new health care coverage — enough to fill a stadium in Louisville.

This is terrible news, and cannot be allowed to continue. If there’s even a small chance that, say, half of the 50 million or so Americans currently without heath care might get the same thing that every other advanced country offers its citizens, that would be a disaster.

But not to worry. The failure movement is active and very well funded….

More here

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@AnthonyBourque

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Paul Krugman: Obamacare’s Secret Success

…. Much of the Beltway establishment scoffed at the promise of cost savings. The prevalent attitude in Washington is that reform isn’t real unless the little people suffer…

… Has the curve been bent?

The answer, amazingly, is yes. In fact, the slowdown in health costs has been dramatic.

…. The news on health costs is, in short, remarkably good. You won’t hear much about this good news until and unless the Obamacare website gets fixed. But under the surface, health reform is starting to look like a bigger success than even its most ardent advocates expected.

Full column here

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Steve Benen: The Nature Of The ACA Opposition

It’s easy and accurate to say the Affordable Care Act isn’t yet popular with the public, but it’s important to take the next step and ask why. A CNN/ORC International poll also indicates nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the national health care law, but some give the Affordable Care Act a thumbs down because it isn’t liberal enough.

This has always been the inconvenient detail for the right. Conservatives look at the top-line poll results and say, “See? 58% of Americans oppose ‘Obamacare.’ Therefore, Democrats should listen to Republicans and gut the law.” But it’s the nuances of Americans’ attitudes that matter. In this CNN poll, 40% of the public backs the Affordable Care Act and another 14% want the law to go even further and be more ambitious. In other words, as the CNN analysis explained, 54% of the country either supports Obamacare, or say it’s not liberal enough. That’s not a recipe for conservative success; that’s the opposite

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Michael Hiltzik: What Americans Really Think Of Obamacare

The data from the latest CNN opinion poll, conducted Nov. 18-20, suggest that Americans are far more sophisticated about the Affordable Care Act, glitches and all, than the Republican and Democratic parties alike have given them credit for. The poll results are here; crunch the raw numbers as you wish. Released on the eve of the reboot of the federal government’s enrollment website, healthcare.gov, the survey indicates that 54% of Americans favor the law or think it should have gone further. Most important, Americans are willing to give the law a chance to work, and on balance confident that it will work.

The pockets of greatest strength for the law are non-whites and–happily–those aged 18-34.  The breakdown by age is gratifying because participation by young persons is crucial if the cost-sharing aspects of expanded insurance coverage are to be achieved: younger and healthier enrollees subsidize their older and sicker neighbors, on average, until they themselves become older and sicker, something that befalls us all. In that age group, 48% favor the law and 12% think it should go further. The 60% total is the highest of any age cohort. Younger respondents are also the most confidence that “the current problems facing the health care law” will be solved: 71%. But more than half of all respondents (54%) think so.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: Boehner Inadvertently Exposes Sloppy Media Coverage of Obamacare Costs

House Speaker John Boehner loves to tell stories about people getting a raw deal from Obamacare. This week, he decided to tell one about himself.

As you may recall, Obamacare treats members of Congress and their staff differently from other working Americans. Thanks to a provision added to the law by Charles Grassley, the Republican Senator from Iowa, certain Capitol Hill workers can’t get insurance like other federal employees—i.e., via the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. Instead, they must get coverage through one of the new Obamacare exchanges. For many, that means enrolling through the District of Columbia exchange.

This week, Boehner did just that. But, as his advisers later explained to media outlets, the Speaker had trouble. The website had technical problems, they said, and it took hours for Boehner to complete process. When he finally found a policy, he discovered it would cost a lot more. Politico got the full story, including a quote from Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck. “The Boehners are fortunate enough to be able to afford higher costs. But many Americans seeing their costs go up are not. It’s because of them that this law needs to go.” Soon it was all over social media.

But this story turns out to be a lot more complicated than either Boehner or the initial press accounts suggested. In fact, it’s an almost perfect example of how media coverage of Obamacare has failed to provide scrutiny, context or a sense of scale.

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Washington Post: Obamacare’s Online SHOP Enrollment Delayed By One Year

The Obama administration announced Wednesday it would delay a significant piece of the health-care law: the online small business insurance marketplace. The Small Business Health Options Program, known as the SHOP exchange, will not offer online enrollment until November 2014, a one-year delay from a launch that was initially planned for this past October. Small businesses will still have the option to purchase SHOP health insurance plans through a broker or agent, who will assist the employer with filing a paper application.

The federal government expects to process those filings for eligibility within three to five days, according to a document circulated to health law stakeholders. “It’s disappointing that the online portion of the federal small business marketplace through Healthcare.gov will be delayed and it’s important it get up and running as soon as possible,” said John Arensmeyer, president of the Small Business Majority, a nonprofit that supports the Affordable Care Act. “However, it doesn’t change the fact that the marketplace can offer the most competitive combination of price and quality for small businesses purchasing health insurance.”

More here

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ThinkProgress: ThankProgress: 9 Things Progressives Can Be Thankful For

States are enacting protections for undocumented immigrants.

Same-sex couples have more access to marriage benefits than ever before.

More workers are getting raises and taking sick leave.

Uninsured Americans are signing up for health insurance.

The U.S. is taking steps to address the consequences of climate change.

States are enacting prison reform.

College activists across the country are fighting back against rape culture.

Solar power is on the rise and prices keep dropping.

Number of homeless Americans on the decline.

See details here

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Suzanne Maloney: How Rouhani Won The Negotiations And Rescued His Regime

Although it was greeted with heated debate in the United States, the announcement of a landmark deal on Iran’s nuclear program was met with wide approval in Iran. Cheering crowds decked in purple and green, the colors associated with the country’s embattled movements for moderation and reform, met Iran’s nuclear negotiators at the airport. Newspapers printed special editions with jubilant headlines. And even the stern Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, released an official statement with unusual dispatch to welcome the news and laud the diplomats who hammered out the deal.

One might think that the crowds and officials were rejoicing at the relatively meager sanctions relief meted out by a justifiably mistrustful West. Or perhaps that they were celebrating the fact that the deal left open the question of whether Iran has the right to enrich uranium. In fact, their concerns were far broader: thanks to the deal, regime moderates have started to rebalance a government that seemed on the verge of toppling only a few years ago. And, in so doing, they have confounded the world’s expectations.

More here

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Think Progress: Texas National Guard Begins Offering Benefits To Same-Sex Couples

The Texas National Guard has begun processing benefits for same-sex couples at all facilities with the so-called RAPIDS machinery necessary to produce ID cards. The state originally had refused to comply with a Defense Department directive to offer the benefits, citing a constitutional amendment that limits the definition of marriage to different-sex couples. When this change was first announced on Tuesday, it seemed as though Texas may have followed Oklahoma’s example and moved the available RAPIDS machines only to federal facilities, forcing all couples to travel to those facilities.

Staff Sergeant Jennifer Atkinson, a spokesperson for the Texas National Guard, clarified to ThinkProgress that couples can have their benefits processed at any facility currently equipped with RAPIDS, including some state facilities. Georgia and Louisiana remain the only two states that are in violation of the Defense Department’s directive to ensure same-sex couples are afforded the same federal benefits through the National Guard as other married couples.

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TPM: Biden Intends To Object To China’s New Air Defense Zone

Vice President Joe Biden intends to raise objections over China’s newly declared air defense zone in the East China Sea during a visit to the country next week. China says all aircraft must notify Chinese authorities before entering the zone, which includes islands controlled by Japan but claimed by Beijing. The United States is not acknowledging the zone and flew two B-52 through unhindered Wednesday. The officials said Biden will make it clear the U.S. has a “rock-solid commitment” to its allies in the region. Biden plans to visit allies Japan and South Korea during the visit from Dec. 1-8.

More here

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UT’s wonderful ’50 Thanks Yous’ post from yesterday is now permanently linked at the top of the sidebar on the right, so next time someone asks you, ‘but what has Obama done?’, tell them to clickety click the link.

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On This Day:

Bo is greeted by several of the President’s Active Lifestyle Award achievers in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Nov. 29, 2010 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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MoooOOOooorning! And thanks a gazillion to UT for so many of the links.

04
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama acknowledges the crowd during an event at McArthur High School in Hollywood, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

The President will welcome the five-time Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, to the White House to honor the team and their 2013 Stanley Cup victory. Following the visit, he will deliver remarks at an Organizing for Action event.

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The Week Ahead:

Tuesday: The President will travel to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and visit with wounded warriors who are being treated at the hospital and with their families. He will also visit the Fisher House, a program that supports military families by welcoming them to stay at the house while their loved ones receive specialized medical care.

Wednesday: The President will travel to Dallas to participate in DSCC events.

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

Friday: The President will travel to the New Orleans area for an event on the economy. Later that day, he will travel to Miami, Florida to participate in DNC and DSCC events.

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President Barack Obama: Congress Needs To Pass The Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Here in the United States, we’re united by a fundamental principle: we’re all created equal and every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law. We believe that no matter who you are, if you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve the chance to follow your dreams and pursue your happiness. That’s America’s promise.

That’s why, for instance, Americans can’t be fired from their jobs just because of the color of their skin or for being Christian or Jewish or a woman or an individual with a disability. That kind of discrimination has no place in our nation. And yet, right now, in 2013, in many states a person can be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. As a result, millions of LGBT Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs — not because of anything they’ve done, but simply because of who they are.

It’s offensive. It’s wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense. That’s why Congress needs to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, which would provide strong federal protections against discrimination, making it explicitly illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This bill has strong bipartisan support and the support of a vast majority of Americans. It ought to be the law of the land.

More here

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Mother Jones: Economists To Congress: It’s Time For A “Robin Hood Tax” On The Rich

Congress resolved the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis (for now) by agreeing to hash out a budget agreement by mid-December. Already, hopes are dim. Budget experts say that if any deal at all is worked out to replace the deep budget cuts that went into effect in March, the most likely outcome will be a short-term plan involving slightly less severe spending cuts—but with no new revenue, a big Democratic priority. Now, several prominent economists, along with a coalition of labor, health, and community groups are pushing progressive lawmakers to aim higher, calling for what they term a “Robin Hood tax” on the rich.

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Igor Volsky: The Next Attack Against Obamacare: If You Like Your Doctors, You Won’t Be Able To Keep Them

Opponents of the law have begun advancing another related argument against reform: if you like the doctor or hospital you have, you may not be able to keep them. Remember that while the Affordable Care Act does establish some network adequacy standards — insurers are required to ensure a sufficient choice of providers (including providers that specialize in mental health and substance abuse services) and offer essential community providers to serve predominately low-income and medically underserved populations. Big provider networks aren’t necessarily better, however.

Industry surveys show that premiums are “the most important factor in consumers’ choices” and that more than half of those surveyed would opt for “a narrow-network product if it cost them at least 10 percent less than an equivalent with broader choice.” That was certainly the experience in Massachusetts, where a 2010 law actually required health plans to offer tiered-or limited-network products “priced 12 percent below their broad network product.” Three years later, a state’s attorney general report found that membership in these limited networks grew by almost 50 percent.

More here

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Zack Ford: Defense Secretary Orders States To Provide Same-Sex Benefits To National Guard Servicemembers

After the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, the Pentagon ordered that the same-sex spouses of servicemembers be entitled to the same benefits as other spouses. Several states, however, used their own constitutional bans on same-sex marriage to justify denying such benefits to National Guard servicemembers at their state offices and facilities.

Speaking to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel condemned this discrimination as “wrong” and ordered the Pentagon to take immediate action to resolve the discrepancy:

Today, I directed the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Frank Grass, to take immediate action to remedy this situation. At my direction, he will meet with the Adjutants General from the states where these ID cards are being declined and denied. The Adjutants General will be expected to comply with both lawful direction and DoD policy, in line with the practices of 45 other states and jurisdictions.

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Obama Administration: Half Of Young Adults Can Get Marketplace Coverage For $50 Or Less A Month

Approximately 46 percent of single, uninsured young adults living in 34 of the states with a federal Obamacare marketplace will be able to purchase basic health coverage — a bare-bones “Bronze” level plan — for less than $50 per month after factoring in federal tax subsidies. An even greater number of young and uninsured single adults between the ages of 18 and 34 will be able to get coverage for less than $100 per month, according to government data.

An additional one million young adults will also now qualify for Medicaid coverage under Obamacare’s expansion of the program. All told, the report finds that 40 percent of the 7.2 million young, uninsured adults living in the 34 states will be able to get coverage for $100 per month or less thanks to the health law. That works out to be 2.9 million people. If all of the 34 states had chosen to expand Medicaid, however, that number would actually spike to 6.2 million people.

More here

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Sara Kliff: Five Myths About The Affordable Care Act

1. Americans will be forced to buy health insurance: The health-care law’s individual mandate, despite its name, isn’t meant to force Americans into health plans. Instead, it is supposed to encourage people to purchase coverage by giving them two options: Buy insurance or pay a fine. In 2014, that fine is $95 or 1 percent of an individual’s income, whichever is higher.

The Internal Revenue Service is responsible for collecting this penalty from individuals who indicate on their annual tax filings that they have not purchased coverage. The agency can take the penalty out of a filer’s refund, but beyond that, its ability to recoup those dollars is extremely limited. The IRS cannot, for example, send agents to people’s homes or put liens on their houses. In the health-care law, Congress specifically curtailed the ability to enforce this penalty, giving the IRS fewer ways to collect it than there are for other tax fines.

More here

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Erik Wasson: CBO: Ending Obamacare ‘Exemption’ Adds To Deficit

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said Friday that a Republican-backed plan to force more high-level officials and staffers to obtain their insurance through ObamaCare would add nearly $1 billion to the deficit. The CBO estimates that ending the so-called ObamaCare exemption for members of Congress and staff and forcing officials like President Obama to enroll in an ObamaCare exchange would add $978 million to the deficit over 10 years.

The plan would deny the office-holders and staff the premium support they now get from the government. Under current law, members of Congress and staff will have to obtain their health coverage from ObamaCare in 2014 rather than through the federal government’s health plan. Under a ruling from the Office of Personnel Management, the members and staff have been granted an exemption to receive premium support from their employer, the federal government.

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NYT: Under Health Care Act, Millions Eligible For Free Policies

Millions of people could qualify for federal subsidies that will pay the entire monthly cost of some health care plans being offered in the online marketplaces set up under President Obama’s health care law. The analysis found that five million to six million people who are uninsured will qualify for subsidies that will be greater than the cost of the cheapest bronze or silver plan. A million more people with individual insurance could also be eligible, according to McKinsey, although estimates of the size of the market for private individual insurance vary widely. None of the people in the analysis qualify for Medicaid.

Although they vary in their design, bronze plans generally cover about 60 percent of a person’s medical costs. All plans, including bronze, must cover standard benefits like prescription drugs, maternity care and mental health treatment. Not everyone selects the cheapest option. Dante Olivia Smith, a lighting designer from Manhattan, learned that federal subsidies would allow her to buy a bronze plan for $24 a month.

“It was astounding,” she said. “I almost started crying, and called my mom.” In the end, however, she went with a silver plan for $91 a month that included dental and vision coverage. Ms. Smith, who is 30, said she opted for the more comprehensive plan because of her work, which requires her to climb ladders and use power tools.

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Washington Post: Obama Asks Federal Agencies To ‘Prepare’ For Climate Change. Here’s What That Means.

The White House underscored that point on Friday when it issued a new executive order directing federal agencies to help states and communities prepare for the effects of climate change, including sea-level rise, storms, and droughts.

The Obama administration is still focused on cutting U.S. greenhouse gases — the official goal is to get carbon-dioxide emissions down 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. That’s why regulators have set stricter fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks — reaching 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 — and are planning carbon rules for coal- and gas-fired power plants. To that end, there are a few key aspects of the White House memo

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Tara Culp-Ressler: The Abortion Case Making Its Way To The Supreme Court Is A Stealth Attack On Your Reproductive Rights

Oklahoma’s highest court has set the stage for a potential Supreme Court showdown over abortion; specifically, over the abortion pill, which allows women to terminate an early pregnancy without having a surgical procedure. The complicated case, Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, could come before the Roberts court this term. But you’ve probably never heard of it — and that’s exactly how the anti-choice community wants to keep it.

The case in question concerns a 2011 Oklahoma state law restricting the way that doctors are allowed to administer abortion-inducing medication. That law forces doctors to follow the FDA’s outdated protocol for the abortion pill, ignoring the fact that medical standards have evolved and doctors don’t think that’s the best practice for their patients anymore. After reproductive rights groups sued to overturn the medically unnecessary policy, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court ruled in their favor, deciding that the restriction on medication abortion was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court asked Oklahoma’s court to provide more details about why exactly it chose to strike down the law.

More here

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Mike Konczal: The Tea Party’s Assault On Workers

Some elements of this this fight are well-covered and understood, particularly on voting rights and abortion. As Norm Ornstein observes, we are seeing “a new era of voter suppression that parallels the pre-1960s era — this time affecting not just African-Americans but also Hispanic-Americans, women, and students, among others.” And, as the Guttmacher Institute notes, “issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011.”

Less well-covered has been the assault on workers’ rights as part of a coordinated, strategic, national and ideological program. These recent efforts are actually focused just as much, if not much more, on private-sector workers who aren’t in a union. Efforts to roll back everything from minimum wage laws to unemployment insurance affects everyone who works for a wage, and this is where the coordination across states has been particularly intense.

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Greg Sargent: Republicans Can’t Put Off Immigration Reform Forever

On a conference call with reporters today, GOP Rep. David Valadao of California, one of three House Republicans who has embraced the House Dem comprehensive immigration reform plan, announced that he is circulating a letter calling on the House GOP leadership to hold a vote on reform this year. He is asking fellow Republicans to sign on.

“I’m hoping to get a decent number,” Valadao said. This will be interesting to watch, because it could shed light on a key question about the immigration debate: How many Republicans inside the House GOP caucus are genuinely willing to push the House GOP leadership to allow votes on reform?

More here

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Think Progress: Why Asians Are Deserting The GOP

Asian-Americans have been moving steadily toward the Democrats and away from the GOP. In 2012, Asians supported Obama by a staggering 73-26, compared to 62-35 in 2008. This is a remarkable trajectory for a group that, back in 1992, supported George H.W. Bush over Bill Clinton by a strong 54-30 margin. In every election since then, Asians have increased their support for the Democratic candidate, including elections like 2004 where most other groups, even progressive ones, were going in the opposite direction

Why is this? One reason is the GOP’s dreadful record on immigration, an issue of considerable importance to the Asian-American community. Another is that Asian-Americans are a strongly pro-government constituency. In a massive Pew study of Asians, released last year, Asians endorsed a bigger government providing more services over a smaller government providing fewer services by 55-36. That’s a sharp contrast with the public as a whole, who endorsed smaller over larger government by 52-39.

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NYT: High Income, Low Taxes And Never A Bad Year

Plenty of people did get hit in 2009, including people at the very top. But all things are relative. The fortunate 400 people with the highest adjusted gross incomes still made, on average, $202 million each in 2009, according to Internal Revenue Service data. And this doesn’t even count income that doesn’t show up as adjusted gross income, such as tax-exempt interest.

Yet the top 400 paid an average federal income tax rate of less than 20 percent, far lower than the top rate of 35 percent then in effect. Even in a bad year like 2009, the federal tax code at the very top is regressive, not progressive.

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On This Day:

President Obama greets a boy after speaking about strengthening America’s education system, at the Wright Middle School in Madison, Wis., Nov. 4, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

A student with “Obama” shaved into his hair listens to President Obama speak at Wright Middle School in Madison, Wis., Nov. 4, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets people following a ceremony to honor the French and American Alliance, at a World War I Memorial at the Hotel de Ville in Cannes, France, Nov. 4, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Cannes, France, Nov 4, 2011

Cincinnati, November 4, 2012 (Photo by Scout Tufankjian)

Concord, November 4, 2012 (Photo by Tara McMahon for Obama for America)

Concord, November 4, 2012 (Photos by Scout Tufankjian for Obama for America)

President Obama hugs 99-year-old Colorado resident and volunteer Marie Greenwood who led the Pledge of Allegiance at the Aurora rally

A boy listens to President Obama speak at The Community College of Aurora, Nov 4, 2012

03
Sep
13

News of the Day

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Michael Kelley: Actually, The U.S. Has A Strategy In Syria – And It’s Starting To Work

One of the primary criticisms of U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan for a limited attack on Syria is that there is no long-term strategy in place for what happens after bombs fall on Damascus. But that’s not true. There is a U.S. Syria strategy, and it is showing signs of increasing success. Former U.S. Army vice chief of staff General Jack Keane said he spoke with Republican senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who were briefed by the president on Monday. “What [Obama] has told the two senators is that he also intends to assist the opposition forces, so he is going to degrade Assad’s military capacity and he is going to assist and upgrade the opposition forces with training assistance,” Gen. Keane told BBC Radio.

Last week Pentagon officials told The Wall Street Journal that the planned attack would “deter and degrade” President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces. The key would be hitting various Damascus headquarters as well as some of the regime’s six operable airports. These airports are the “regime’s nervous system,” defected Air Force Colonel Hassan Hamada told Der Spiegel. The less obvious, and more long-term, part of the plan involves providing vetted parts of the opposition with advanced weaponry, training them with Western advisors, and curbing the funding for jihadist groups.

More here

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Igor Bobic: Kerry: ‘Beyond A Reasonable Doubt’ Assad Conducted Gas Attack

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the United States believed “beyond a resonable doubt” the Assad regime conducted a devastating chemical weapons attack against the Syrian people last month.

“It did happen and the Assad regime did it,” Kerry said at a Senate hearing on whether to approve President Barack Obama’s request to intervene militarily in the country.

“Our intelligence community has scrubbed and descrubbed the evidence,” Kerry said, citing in part hair and blood samples collected by first responders.

More here

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Andrea Peterson: The U.S. Isn’t Bombing Syria Yet. But It Is Providing Tech Support To The Rebels

The United States hasn’t decided whether to launch airstrikes against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. But the Obama administration long ago decided to provide the rebels with another form of assistance: hardware and software to help the rebels communicate more effectively and evade government censorship.

In fact, while the White House authorized the CIA to help arm some moderate rebels battling the Assad regime, it hasn’t done so yet. So the most significant aid given to the rebels by the United States so far may actually be the influx of communications equipment, censorship and monitoring circumvention software, and technical training sent their way by the State Department.

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TPM: Kerry: ‘Obama Is Not Asking America To Go To War’

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that President Barack Obama wasn’t seeking all out war against Syria, but rather the more specific goal of taking out the Assad regime’s capaibility to employ chemical weapons.

“President Obama is not asking America to go to war,” Kerry told a Senate hearing on whether to strike Syria with missiles in response to a reported chemical weapons attack last month.

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Brian Beutler: How Katy Perry Can Thwart GOP Obstruction

Republicans in Congress aren’t about to give the White House any money to get the word out about Obamacare. But it’s forced Obamacare implementers to think creatively about how to get the word out. Farah, and Funny or Die, are among a small network of what you could call Obamacare’s celebrity volunteer army. Just as the White House understands that reaching the young and uninsured via more traditional marketing campaigns means partnering with less-mainstream media outlets, they’ve also identified a number of celebrities with huge social media followings who want to make sure the uninsured have the date Oct. 1 seared into their minds.

Katy Perry has about 42 million followers. Obama has about 36 million. Perry is one of a number of celebrities the White House has enlisted. Last week, reporters spotted Magic Johnson entering the White House. When he left, he made it pretty clear he’s on board. Obama and White House officials also took advantage of a large, captive, mostly African-American audience during the March on Washington anniversary last week, including interviews with popular DJs, meetings, and news interviews in markets with large African-American populations. “Starting on Oct. 1, because of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — anybody who doesn’t have health insurance in this country is going to be able to get it at an affordable rate,” Obama explained to Tom Joyner, host of an eponymous, nationally syndicated morning drive show

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Chris Geidner: Husband Of Gay Service Member Booed At GOP Debate Now Has His Military ID Spouse Card

Major Stephen Snyder-Hill found himself at the center of the national debate over the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” when he was booed by audience members at a a September 2011 Republican presidential debate when he asked about the change that allows him now to serve his country and talk openly about his husband, Joshua. Two years later, in a sign of the changed landscape for same-sex couples, Stephen and Joshua Snyder-Hill went to the Defense Supply Center, Columbus, or DSCC, in Ohio on Tuesday — where Joshua became “official,” as Stephen put it, and received his spousal military ID card on the first day the cards were available to same-sex spouses.

“I’ve been in the military for 24 years. I was pre-‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ during and after. It’s just been a really long fight, I think, for [same-sex couples’] military families to be able to get the same protection that other soldiers’ families get,” Stephen Snyder-Hill told BuzzFeed Tuesday afternoon. “I mean, we’ve had times when we’ve had family days, things that just beat down your morale because you just feel like you’re not the same or you’re not equal or you’re not protected as well. And I think that now, we’re pretty much equal.”

The U.S. military began recognizing married same-sex couples Tuesday, and one of the key changes allows service members’ same-sex spouses to obtain a spousal military ID card. The card provides access to bases and services provided by the military to military families, and, before Tuesday, it was available only to opposite-sex spouses.

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Morgan Whitaker: Conservative Speaker Claims Obama Not Criticized Because He’s Black

Is President Obama criticized too much or too little? The answer you get may depend on who you ask. And if you’re asking at least one conservative writer, the answer is too little and the reason why might surprise you. Conservative writer and occasional conspiracy theorist David Horowitz joined high-profile Republicans like Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Marco Rubio at the Koch Brother-sponsored “Defending the American Dream Summit,” in Florida last Friday. While his fellow speakers were busy blasting the president, Horowitz claimed that Obama doesn’t get attacked enough as The Washington Post first reported.

“The reason we don’t attack him is obvious, but no one will say it out loud. I will: It’s because the color of his skin is black–actually he’s half black,” Horowitz told the crowd. “It is because Obama is a minority that nobody will hold him to a standard or confront him with what he has done.” In reality, the president receives criticism on a nearly daily basis, from everything from his policies to his demeanor.

More here

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Steve Benen: ‘We Agree With The Same Red Line, Actually’

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) issued a statement this afternoon that left his position on Syria unclear, though he complained that President Obama “has some work to do to recover from his grave missteps in Syria.” Curiously, the Wisconsin Republican didn’t say what “grave missteps” he disapproves of. When GOP lawmakers generally make this complaint, they’re referring to Obama last year declaring Syria’s use of chemical weapons a “red line” that the Assad government must not cross. But Ryan really isn’t in a position to make this complaint. As CNBC’s Eamon Javers noted today, this was the exchange from last year’s vice presidential candidates’ debate:

RADDATZ: What happens if Assad does not fall? Congressman Ryan, what happens to the region? What happens if he hangs on? What happens if he does?

RYAN: Then Iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. He’s a sponsor of terrorism. He’ll probably continue slaughtering his people. We and the world community will lose our credibility on this….

RADDATZ: So what would Romney-Ryan do about that credibility?

RYAN: Well, we agree with the same red line, actually, they do on chemical weapons, but not putting American troops in, other than to secure those chemical weapons. They’re right about that.

More here

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11
Jul
13

The end of DOMA & Prop 8

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Continue reading ‘The end of DOMA & Prop 8’

29
Jun
13

Oh What A Week…..

President Obama looks out of the “door of no return” during a tour of the ‘House of Slaves‘ on Goree Island, Senegal, June 27

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Monday

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Questions by Liberal Librarian

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HealthCare.gov

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Tuesday

Congressman John Lewis watches news of the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights act decision

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Click here to see the rest of the post

28
Jun
13

News Of The Day

HERO

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Oh Happy Day for Prop 8 Plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier as they tied the knot

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Annie-Rose Strasser: On Friday afternoon, the ninth circuit court lifted its stay on same-sex marriages in the state of California, acknowledging the Supreme Court’s opinion in Hollingsworth v Perry that supporters of anti-gay Proposition 8 did not have standing to appeal a lower court judge’s ruling that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The move, which came earlier than expected, allows gay and lesbian couples to begin getting married immediately.

As soon as the news came down from the ninth circuit on Friday, California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris began marrying couples — starting with Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier

More here

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Filling out the marriage license

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26
Jun
13

‘Love is Love’

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The President’s statement:

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22
Feb
13

Yet More Change….

CBS: President Obama has instructed the Justice Department to no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act….

Attorney General Eric Holder: “After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that … Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, is unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination.”

More here

20
Feb
12

‘night everyone

I love this fella.

See you tomorrow.

12
Oct
11

matthew shepard died 13 years ago today

Politicususa: … On October 7th, 1998, Matthew Shepard accepted a ride from Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson … they drove Matthew into the country, tied him to a fence post and beat him severely … they attacked Matthew because he was gay. They left him there in the cold dark, bleeding and unconscious until a cyclist found him, almost 18 hours later. Matthew died from his injuries on October 12th, 1998…

Eleven years after Matthew’s death, President Barack Obama signed into law The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act … this bill makes it a federal crime to assault people based on their gender, sexual orientation and gender identity … Judy Shepard had visited President Obama in the Oval Office and he had made her a promise that this day would come. By signing The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act into law, President Obama kept his promise to Matthew’s family.

…. I asked many people to share their memories of Matthew Shepard with me, including Captain Stephen Snyder-Hill … the Army officer who was booed at the Republican debate…

Joshua Snyder-Hill: … A year later I was taken to DC for my first equality event. I was still not out to my family or friends. The one thing I remember most were the people picketing the concert hall cheering Matthew’s death and celebrating it as a victory. I remember all my fear of coming out melted away. I had spent three days in DC seeing nothing but hope and activism until that moment; it was then and there I decided, I had to be part of the fight for equality. Matthew’s death and the energy behind it, made me want to be proud of who I was and show love conquered hate.

Full article here

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, 2009:

Rest in peace, Matthew Shepard

01
Oct
11

the fiercest advocate

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese introduces President Obama at the HRC’s annual dinner in Washington, October 1

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Full introduction and speech available here

19
Jul
11

a terrific tuesday

President Barack Obama talks with Counsel to the President Kathryn Ruemmler in the Oval Office, July 19, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Steve Benen: I don’t have high hopes for the legislation – the House majority is still the House majority – but the Obama White House’s support for the Respect For Marriage Act is the latest in a series of encouraging steps on civil rights….

…. it’s a heartening piece that fits into a larger mosaic. After two-and-a-half years, President Obama has successfully repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law; expanded federal benefits for the same-sex partners of executive-branch employees; signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law; cleared the way for hospital-visitation rights for same-sex couples; lifted the travel/immigration ban on those with HIV/AIDS; ordered the Federal Housing Authority to no longer consider the sexual orientation of applicants on loans; expanded the Census to include the number of people who report being in a same-sex relationship; and hired more openly gay officials than any administration in history…….

….I realize there are still a sizable number of people in the LGBT community who are unsatisfied with the pace of change, and consider President Obama someone who has ignored, and even betrayed, their interests. Some have even vowed not to lift a finger to help with the president’s re-election effort.

I suspect many social-conservative activists, furious with the steps Obama has already taken to advance civil rights for the LGBT community, must find this inexplicable.

Full post here

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Even GreenBeck is waving a white flag, abandoning his ‘Obama is a homophobe!’ hysteria. You can almost sense his despondency:

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President Obama walks to the podium to give an update on the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations at the White House, July 19

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Washington Post: Virtually all health insurance plans could soon be required to offer female patients free coverage of prescription birth control, breast-pump rentals, counseling for domestic violence, and annual wellness exams and HIV tests as a result of recommendations released Tuesday by an independent advisory panel of health experts.

The health-care law adopted last year directed the Obama administration to draw up a list of preventive services for women that all new health plans must cover without deductibles or co-payments. While the guidelines suggested Tuesday by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine are not binding, the panel conducted its year-long review at the request of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Full article here

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MSNBC: …. most Americans want their political leaders to compromise rather stand their ground, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

…. nearly six in 10 favor President Barack Obama’s proposal to lower the federal deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years by cutting federal spending, raising tax revenue from the wealthy and reducing some Medicare spending.

By comparison, only about a third of respondents prefer the House Republican proposal to reduce the deficit by $2.5 trillion over 10 years through cutting spending alone and not raising additional revenues.

….. As far as the differing approaches to raise the debt ceiling, 58 percent favor Obama’s approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years by cutting spending, increasing revenue through taxing the wealthy and lowering Medicare’s spending. Meanwhile, 36 percent support the House Republican proposal to reduce the deficit by $2.5 trillion through only spending cuts.

The poll also makes clear that the public is more open to raising taxes to balance the budget than it is making cuts and changes to entitlement programs.

Sixty-two percent support raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy if that’s the only way to get a debt-ceiling agreement in Congress. But 52 percent say they oppose making changes and cuts in Social Security and Medicare if that’s the only way to get an agreement.

…. Obama leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by seven points in a hypothetical 2012 general-election match up, 48 percent to 41 percent. And he leads Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., by 15 points, 50 percent to 35 percent.

More here

ABC: ….By a wide 59-26 percent, the public sees congressional Republicans as more concerned than Obama with protecting the economic interests of Wall Street financial institutions, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds. Americans even more broadly, by 67-24 percent, put the GOP ahead when it comes to looking out for the interests of large business corporations.

The tables turn – albeit with much narrower margins – on other measures. Obama leads the GOP by 18 points in looking out for middle-class Americans, 53-35 percent. He also has a 10-point advantage, 47-37 percent, as being more concerned with the economic interests of “you and your family.” And he leads by 9 points, 48-39 percent, on protecting small businesses.

The president’s advantage on small businesses is particularly notable, given the GOP’s efforts to portray his policies as damaging to small-business job creation. While Republicans are fully aboard, independents, the linchpin of national politics, say by 46-39 percent that Obama cares more than GOP leaders about the economic interests of small businesses, a fairly close call but with a tilt in the president’s direction.

This poll finds that Obama also leads among independents by 19 points on aiding the middle class, 52-33 percent, and by 11 points as caring more about the economic interests of and “you and your family.”

More here

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lodinews: James Henderson was so dismayed that his class lacked enough pencils and paper that he wrote to someone he felt could do something about it.

His principal at Leroy Nichols Elementary School? No.

The Lodi Unified School District board? Too small a government.

Maybe the governor? Still not big enough.

James went straight to the President of the United States of America – and President Barack Obama wrote back.

….In his letter, Henderson told President Obama that he didn’t see how the government could continue to cut education funding when they lacked even the basics.

“I told him they were spending a lot more money on other things than school supplies,” Henderson said. “He told me people like me could change the country.”

The student thinks that could be the case if he puts his mind to it and follows his goals, he said, adding that receiving Obama’s letter was a great honor.

Full article here

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What a waste of a foam pie:

06
Jul
11

change ….

TPM: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ordered the federal government to stop enforcing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” …. citing the government’s recent opposition to policies that discriminate based on sexuality.

…..In the decision, the panel also cited the Department of Justice’s decision in February to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act because it is unconstitutional. “The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional,” Attorney General Eric Holder wrote at the time.

The DOJ also filed a forceful brief last week in support of a female federal court employee who was suing the federal government for denying her access to equal benefits for her wife. In the brief, the DOJ acknowledged that “the federal government has played a significant and regrettable role in the history of discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals” and that DOMA “was motivated in substantial part by animus toward gay and lesbian individuals and their intimate relationships.”

In its decision Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit cited that brief. “In the context of the Defense of Marriage Act,” the Ninth Circuit wrote, “the United States has recently taken the position that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subjected to heightened scrutiny.”

“The circumstances and balance of hardships have changed,” the Ninth Circuit wrote, “and [the government] can no longer satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay.”

Full post here

Thank you Loriah

29
Jun
11

‘a president, not a governor’

Andrew Sullivan: There have been many times over the past two years when I have whacked the Obama administration on their “fierce urgency of whenever” on gay equality …  Here’s what they have done, and it ain’t nothing.

They have removed the ban on openly gay service members … Yes, Obama took his own sweet time …. What matters is: he got it done.

They ended the HIV travel ban …. it was repealed under Bush who admirably signed it into law. But Obama implemented it … Yes, it was a long, long time coming. But what matters is: he got it done.

They withdrew legal support for DOMA … this was in the presidential bound of authority. And Obama did the right thing in the end.

Some now want this president to be Andrew Cuomo … But the truth is that a governor is integral to this issue in a way a president can never be. Civil marriage has always been a state matter in the US. … by defending that norm, the Obama administration has a much stronger and more coherent case in knocking down DOMA than if it had echoed Clinton in declaring that the feds could dictate a national marriage strategy … Obama’s defense of federalism in this instance is not a regressive throw-back; it is a pragmatic strategy.

…Obama does not think of the presidency the way he thinks of a campaign. He knows he is president of all the people, including those who voted against him and those who conscientiously oppose marriage equality. He does not seek to divide as his predecessor did. By staying ever so slightly above on this issue, Obama is doing the right presidential thing – while presiding over what may well be the most seismic period for gay equality in history. I do not despise his restraint in his office. I wish more presidents exhibited it….

Full article here

Plenty of snark in the article – as usual from Sullivan – but he at least gives credit where it’s due. I’m guessing Choi and Co will now disown him. ;-)

Thank you Loriah




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