Posts Tagged ‘frank

01
Feb
14

“Opportunity Is Who We Are”

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Frank Bruni: Obama’s Magic Three

First President Obama recognized Mary Barra, who was in the audience, noting that her childhood wasn’t a gilded one—she wasn’t born into corporate royalty. No, she got there by dint of toil and talent, a factory worker’s daughter rising to become the first female chief executive officer of General Motors. She’s the American dream personified. Then Obama recognized John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, as “the son of a barkeep.” He, too, landed far from where he began. He, too, took the kind of journey that we like to believe is uniquely possible in this country, the fabled land of opportunity.

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But it was also a lens through which the rest of the speech could be heard, and it was the lens through which all of us should be evaluating the policies and direction of our country right now. In paying tribute to Barra, Boehner and Barack Obama, the president was paying tribute to social mobility, and he was correctly defining the chance to better oneself—to travel from the circumstances of one’s birth to the circumstances of one’s merit and labor—as this country’s central and sustaining promise. It’s essential to our national identity. It’s vital to our sense of honor and purpose. It’s the foundation of an optimism that seems to be fading fast. If we let “the American dream” become a storybook phrase, a quaint and saccharine anachronism, no longer broadly evident and no longer widely believed, then we’re in desperate trouble.

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Over the next year and the ones after that, we as a country somehow need to make sure that decades from now, a president delivering his or her State of the Union can survey the spectators and see someone like Barra; can glance back and see someone like Boehner; and can look in the mirror and see someone like the man who bridged Kenya, Kansas and the White House.

More here

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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.

More here

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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.

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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)

03
Jun
13

This and That

Text of the President’s remarks here

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

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

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

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

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

Full post here

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

More here

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19
May
13

Rise and Shine

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Alex Sietz-Wald: This week, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough joined the chorus of those decrying the IRS for targeting Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny in applying for nonprofit status. “You can’t allow the government to tread on political speech,” Scarborough said. “The Internal Revenue Service — the taxman — to go after their political beliefs. … I can’t imagine much worse than this,” he added.

Targeting nonprofit groups because of their political beliefs is wrong — pretty much everyone agrees on that. So today’s Scarborough must be outraged by his 2003 self, which gave this monologue on his show “Scarborough Country” on July 13, 2003:

The leader of the NAACP bashes President Bush and the Republican Party. Why is this clearly partisan group still being funded by your tax dollars? [...]

[T]he NAACP continues to get a free ride off of taxpayers because of the tax-exempt status that’s conferred to them by our federal government, now, this despite the fact the NAACP produced and ran the most vicious campaign attack ad in the history of televised presidential campaign. [...]

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Rick Ungar: Over the first four years of the Obama presidency, the deficit shrunk by a total of $300 billion dollars. That is not the national debt- it is the amount of money we spend each year relative to the amount we take in. According to the latest CBO report,

“Compared to the size of the economy, the deficit in 2013 is much lower than in 2009, when Obama took office. The deficit will be 5.3 percent of gross domestic product this year, nearly half the 10.1 percent of GDP in 2009.”

The improvement in the deficit as measured against GDP is the direct result of the deficit falling to $845 billion for fiscal year 2013—a $300 billion improvement over the previous year. And the positive trend is projected to continue though the next fiscal year where the the annual budgetary deficit will fall again to $430 billion.

More here

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Five Takeaways From The CBO’s Analysis Of Obama’s Budget

Dylan Matthews: For the most part, the description of President Obama’s budget found in the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of it jibes with the description included in the initial budget release. But the CBO analysis does highlight some interesting features of the proposal. Here are a few.

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18
Apr
12

ohio

President Obama shakes hands with Lorain County Community College student Bronson Harwood after speaking at the college in Elyria, Ohio

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…. greeted by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson as he steps off of Air Force One at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport

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…. holding a roundtable discussion at Lorain County Community College in Elyria

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President Obama speaks about job training at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio




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