“Where the jazz makes you cry, the funerals make you dance, and the bayou makes you believe all kinds of things.”
President Barack Obama holds a child as he greets residents in the the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans for the 10th anniversary since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Tremé is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in America
President Barack Obama with Mayor Mitch Landrieu
President Barack Obama sits for lunch at Willie Mae’s restaurant with young men from My Brother’s Keeper initiative
President Barack Obama participates in a roundtable on Hurricane Katrina at the Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center in New Orleans
President Barack Obama speaks during an event to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on August 27, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. President Obama spoke at the Andrew P. Sanchez & Copelin-Byrd Multi-Service Center located in the Lower 9th Ward, a largely African-American neighborhood that was one of the hardest hit by the storm
President Barack Obama listens during a tour of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, to draw attention to preparedness in advance of the annual storm season that formally begins June 1. With President Obama are National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb, left, and Hugh D. Cobb III, center, Chief, Tropical Analysis & Forecast Branch
It’s wonderful to have a president take time out of his busy day to answer questions honestly and not dismissively. Thanks, President Barack Obama!
Just got a hurricane preparedness briefing in Miami. Acting on climate change is critical. Got climate Qs? I'll answer at 1pm ET. #AskPOTUS
President Barack Obama passes an image of a hurricane during a tour of the National Hurricane Center
President Barack Obama speaks after receiving a briefing at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. From left are, NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan; Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate
Obama visiting Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Miami to pay respects to the Cuban-American diaspora. http://t.co/lhJ11t3jzU
President Obama announces that he has accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki during a press conference in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington
Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson leaves the White House after being named by President Barack Obama to run the Veterans Affairs Department on an interim basis while President Obama searches for a replacement for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki who resigned Friday.
President Barack Obama gives White House press secretary Jay Carney a hug after announcing that Carney will step down later next month, during a surprise visit to the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. The president announced Carney’s departure in a surprise appearance at in the White House press briefing room Friday. He said principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will take over the job
Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, share the stage and a laugh during the daily briefing at the White House
President Barack Obama, flanked by Attorney Holder Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan,and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker; speaks about a report from “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative to expand opportunity for young men and boys of color
President Barack Obama attends a hurricane preparedness meeting at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, DC
Jason Sattler: SHOCKER: Obamacare Is Working Best In States That Aren’t Trying To Sabotage It
Of the 106,185 people who have completed an application for health insurance, nearly 75 percent came from 14 states and the District of Columbia that both set up their own exchanges and expanded Medicaid. Unsurprisingly, California and New York combined for the bulk of the enrollments, 51,769. But the most promising news from the Golden State wasn’t even included in this report.
Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, reported Wednesday that as of Tuesday, 60,000 Californians had signed up for insurance. Signups have increased to a rate of almost 2,500 enrollees per day in November. At that pace, the state could be expected to enroll 402,500 people by March 31 but Lee says that he expects to hit a goal of 500,000 to 700,000 people by then, which means he expects the pace to pick up by at least 640 people a day to over 3,000 enrollees.
Red Kentucky is the only state in the union that voted for Mitt Romney and set up its own exchange, thanks in large part to Democratic governor Steve Beshear. The state’s site signed up a total of 32,485 Kentuckians, with 5,586 enrolling in private plans, in its first month of operation. This reduces the state’s uninsured population —estimated at 640,000 — by just over 5 percent.
President Barack Obama will visit John F. Kennedy’s gravesite and honor two of Kennedy’s lasting initiatives as the nation observes the 50th anniversary of his assassination in the coming week. Obama and his wife, Michelle, will be accompanied by former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, at a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon. Also that day, Obama will be joined by scores of prominent Americans who have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in paying tribute to Kennedy’s legacy.
Obama will present the award Wednesday to the 2013 recipients, including Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, the late astronaut Sally Ride, women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, country music singer Loretta Lynn and 10 others. On Wednesday evening, Obama plans a speech on Kennedy’s legacy of service with a dinner at the Smithsonian American History Museum attended by current and past recipients of the medal, including baseball’s Hank Aaron, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, singer Aretha Franklin, economist Alan Greenspan, activist Jesse Jackson and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kennedy’s grandson, Jack Schlossberg, is to introduce Obama at the dinner.
Tara Culp-Ressler: Hurricane Katrina, The Obamacare Rollout, And Allowing Privilege To Shape Our Politics
On Friday, the media got swept up in an unhelpful comparison between the rocky Obamacare rollout and the botched clean-up efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina …
But …. there is one obvious point of comparison. It doesn’t have anything to do with the political career of the sitting president, though. It has to do with the privilege that continues to dominate the United States’ political priorities.
It’s about who is worth rescuing.
…. Intent on resisting Obamacare at every turn, Republican legislators in over 20 states have refused to expand Medicaid, leaving many of their low-income residents with no good options…. But the current discussion is centered on a relatively small group of people who do currently have insurance, but whose plans don’t meet the minimum standard for benefit requirements put forth by the health reform law.
…. If we must draw comparisons between Obamacare and previous national disasters, consider this one. As a collective society, we still haven’t really learned the lessons of Hurricane Katrina – but not because of a broken website or a broken promise about keeping your plan. We haven’t figured out how to prioritize that Louisiana mother’s life.
Sherilyn Horrocks’ body is under siege. Her immune system is attacking her tissues and organs, causing her esophagus, stomach and liver to harden. “I’ll die of [systemic sclerosis] like my brother did,” she said. “It’s just a matter of time.” Hoping to buy more time, and quality of life, the 61-year-old career homemaker is dropping by Gov. Gary Herbert’s annual health summit on Thursday to try to persuade him to expand Medicaid.
She’s among 123,000 uninsured Utahns who would qualify for Medicaid under an optional expansion of the low-income health program through the Affordable Care Act. There is no cure for her autoimmune disease. “But there are medicines and procedures that would prolong my life if I could afford them,” she said. “I have a feeling I’m going to be one of those who falls through the cracks.”
Utah has yet to opt into an expansion, despite analyses showing it would bring billions in federal funding to the state during the next 10 years, create jobs and reduce the charity-care burden on hospitals. Republican legislators remain adamantly opposed, and Herbert is weighing the pros and cons of partial expansion scenarios to be discussed at Thursday’s summit.
US negotiators say they feel they are close to finalizing a nuclear agreement with Iran for the first time in a decade. “For the first time in nearly a decade we are getting close to [reaching agreement on] the first step towards a comprehensive agreement that would stop Iran’s nuclear program from advancing, and put time on the clock to reach a negotiated agreement that addresses all of our concerns,” a senior U.S. administration official told journalists at a background briefing at the State Department Friday.
“I don’t know if we will get agreement,” in Geneva next week, the U.S. official said. “It’s quite possible we can. But there are tough issues to negotiate.” The reason the last meeting ended in Geneva at 1am last weekend was that Iran, after receiving the consensus P5+1 draft proposal only late in the evening of November 9th, “felt it needed to look at the document and come back to the negotiations.”
In an interview with the BBC this week, Oprah Winfrey said of President Obama: “There is a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs, in some cases, and maybe even many cases, because he’s African-American.” With that remark, Winfrey touched on an issue that many Americans have wrestled with: To what extent does this president’s race animate those loyal to him and those opposed? Is race a primary motivator or a subordinate, more elusive one, tainting motivations but not driving them?
To some degree, the answers lie with the questioners. There are different perceptions of racial realities. What some see as slights, others see as innocent opposition. But there are some objective truths here. Racism is a virus that is growing clever at avoiding detection. Race consciousness is real. Racial assumptions and prejudices are real. And racism is real.
Jennifer Herrera and her family are always on the move. She and her husband, Fredy, enjoy hiking in the mountains near their Southern California home and cheering on their children in one of their many sports — golf, football, volleyball or basketball. She was glad she had insurance recently when her son badly cut his face during a basketball game. “It was off to the emergency room we go,” she recalls. “Obviously, I had to pay for some of it, but thank God I didn’t have to come up with that $3,000 [for the full cost of the visit].”
Her family has always had health insurance, mainly because of hearing the story of Jennifer’s grandmother and the effect that not having insurance had on the family. It was the late 1940s, and Ethel and Chuck Meyer were proud parents of their first child, Bill (Jennifer’s father). “[Ethel] was hanging the laundry one day and just all of a sudden collapsed,” Jennifer says. “She didn’t know why. She had been kind of tired but chalked it up to having an active child.” Ethel eventually learned she had polio, a debilitating virus that reached epidemic levels in the United States prior to the development of the polio vaccine in the 1950s.
Jamelle Bouie: No, The Rollout Of HealthCare.gov Is Nothing Like Hurricane Katrina
Right now, the problem with the website is that it can’t accommodate everyone who wants to buy health insurance. That is a serious issue, but not the worst mistake ever made by a president.By contrast, George W. Bush’s response to Katrina comes close. Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest storms ever to hit the United States. It killed more than 1,800 people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes, caused billions of dollars in property damage, and nearly sank a major American city.
And the Bush administration’s response was criminally negligent, a basic failure of duty that should haunt everyone involved. Despite several days of memos and warnings to administration officials that Katrina would be a major storm, that the levees had been breached, that flooding had began, it took two days for President Bush—who was on vacation, spawning a series of photo-ops that would look awful in retrospect—to begin to organize the federal response.
Joshua DuBois: Anyone Who Counts Obama Out Hasn’t Reckoned On His Survival Skills
It’s been a week of football metaphors in politics. President Obama said this week that the administration “fumbled” the health care rollout. A lot of folks believe that this turnover is decisive, handing the ball to Republicans in Congress and opponents of health reform with the second half well underway. And now we’re starting to see frightened Democrats on the sidelines hovering over Obama like uneasy linemen, wondering if their QB has enough left in him to turn the game around.
Not me. I’ve seen this game–and this particular quarterback–far too many times before. And as sure as I know never to count out Peyton Manning when he’s down by a couple scores heading into the fourth quarter, I never bet against Obama when the press and pundits have declared game-over. It rarely, if ever, is–this guy knows how to win.
This is a president, and a country, who have been counted out more times than we remember, and bounced back in ways we quickly forget. The reality is, if we take the long view, we’ll see that our country has been on an upward trajectory over the last 5 years. The ball may have been fumbled, and momentum may be in the other direction. But if history tells us anything, it’s this: the smart money’s on the gray-haired, steady-handed guy in the White House, who has been down this field a few times before.
Embassy staff members listen to President Obama at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, Nov.17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama tours the Forbidden City in Beijing, Nov. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama is reflected in a window while touring the Forbidden City in Beijing, Nov. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama watches a performance at a state dinner with President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Nov. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
One of the most beautiful moments:
President Obama meets survivor Mary Lee after laying a wreath at the memorial of the USS Peary in Darwin, Nov 17, 2011. Mary was 9 at the time of the bombing by Japanese aircraft which resulted in the sinking of the Peary on February 19, 1942
People react as President Obama walks by on his way to address the Australian Parliament at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Nov.17, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard greet members of the Royal Australian Air Force after delivering remarks on the U.S. and Australian Alliance, in Darwin, Australia, Nov.17, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with law enforcement officials to discuss policies the President put forward last month that would reduce gun violence in communities across America, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 28 (Photo by Pete Souza)
9:20: President Obama departs the White House
2:25: Arrives Las Vegas
2:55: Delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School
5:00: Departs Las Vegas
9:20: Arrives at the White House
Washington Post: The Obama administration has developed its own proposals for immigration reform that are more liberal than a separate bipartisan effort in the Senate, including a quicker path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, people with knowledge of the proposals said.
President Obama is expected to provide some details of the White House plans during a Tuesday appearance in Las Vegas, where he will call for broad changes to the nation’s immigration laws. The speech will kick off a public push by the administration in support of the broadest overhaul of immigration law in nearly three decades.
Atlantic Wire: The gay community seemed to gasp in unison on Monday afternoon when the Senate revealed a much anticipated immigration plan that did not, in the end, include same-sex couples. But according to multiple reports Monday night, this is just the beginning: President Obama will include same-sex couples in the proposals of a major policy speech on immigration in Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon that will seek to build on “momentum” from Congress for broad reform.
Steve Benen: After a bipartisan group of eight senators unveiled their proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, most proponents of improving the status quo, including President Obama and his team, were delighted. All eyes, however, quickly turned to House Republicans, who’ve long opposed reform and are in a position to kill it in this Congress.
Liberal Librarian: So, the news of the day is that a bipartisan group of senators have a plan for comprehensive immigration reform. That’s all to the well and good. This country needs a sensible immigration policy that allows for the legalization of those undocumented immigrants already in the country, and for a rational method for immigrants to come in legally.
Now, don’t be mistaken: this Damascene conversion on the part of a few Republican senators is due more to the stranglehold that the Democratic Party has on immigrant voters, rather than to any true change of heart that maybe it would be a good idea to decriminalize 11 million US residents.
Washington Post: The nation’s housing market is surging again after years of historic declines, and the unique forces powering its return could last well into 2013.
The number of homes for sale is at its lowest level since before the recession, sparking competition among buyers that has led to 10 straight months of price increases. The volume of activity is the highest since 2007.
Builders broke ground in December on the most new housing developments in four years. And interest rates on mortgages are expected to remain near all-time lows through much of the year, galvanizing once-skeptical buyers.
President Obama hugs Donna Vanzant, the owner of North Point Marina, as he tours damage from Hurricane Sandy in Brigantine, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Steve Benen: It’s taken far longer than it should have, but federal aid for areas affected by Hurricane Sandy is finally on the way.
…. it’s worth pausing to note the partisan split on Sandy relief – in the Senate, 36 Senate Republicans, including members representing coastal states like Florida, Texas, Alabama, and the Carolinas, voted against the federal aid. Or put another way, 80% of Senate Republicans opposed post-Sandy relief …. 78% of House Republicans voted against the emergency assistance.
….. it is now effectively the standard position of congressional Republicans to reject disaster relief unless the funding is offset by other spending cuts. So long, compassionate conservatism, we hardly knew you.
TPM: The Senate is fast-tracking its reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to a floor vote expected by next week, two Democratic aides tell TPM.
But House Republican leaders remain silent on how they intend to proceed, which suggests that there has not been a breakthrough since last year, when the bill fell prey to the House GOP’s resistance to expand coverage to gays, illegal immigrants and Native Americans who have suffered domestic abuse.
Business Week: Last week campaign disclosure reports revealed that Hillary Clinton had finally retired the debt from her 2008 presidential campaign—with a little help from the guy who beat her, Barack Obama. Clinton’s debt once totaled more than $20 million, although it had dwindled to about $250,000 by last year. That’s when a team of top Obama donors decided to surprise Clinton, and thank her for her loyal service, by raising enough money to pay off her bills. As secretary of state, she was forbidden from political fundraising.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican member of the Cabinet, feigns being a blocking back for President Barack Obama as he arrives backstage to meet with GOP House leaders before speaking to their issues conference at the Renaissance Baltimore Harbor Place Hotel in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 29, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
AP: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the only Republican still left in President Barack Obama’s first-term Cabinet, says he plans to leave the Obama administration.
…. LaHood says he will not run for public office in his home state of Illinois, saying he believes “you should go out while they’re applauding.”
BooMan: For the first time in some of your lives, the House of Representatives just passed a bill that the majority of the majority party opposed. Ordinarily, such votes are not even allowed to happen …. this is the first time that Republicans have voted for tax increases since they helped Poppy Bush violate his “Read My Lips” pledge over twenty years ago…..
If you are worried that we will see cuts in entitlements two months from now, you are probably correct. We were never going to escape that entirely. But any cuts we see will be matched by further tax hikes. We have a president who is coming off a series of victories whose popularity will have never been higher, and he isn’t going to cave…..
TPM: During tense fiscal cliff negotiations, House Speaker John Boehner last Friday told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “go fuck yourself,” according to a Politico report published early Wednesday. Boehner confronted Reid in the White House lobby and later bragged about it to his colleagues, according to the report.
Sometimes you just have to smile at NY Daily News’ headlines:
CNN: In a move that surprised many lawmakers and angered others, House Republican leaders wrapped up this session of Congress Tuesday night without voting on a package that would have provided billions of dollars in aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy.
The Senate passed the $60.4 billion measure last week, and senators from New York had called on the House to take it up promptly. But because the House failed to act and a new Congress will be sworn in Thursday, the entire legislative process will have to start over – delaying the package from disbursing money to affected states.
GOP leaders announced they would not bring up any legislation Wednesday – the last day of the session – as many expected. This prompted many angry Democrats and some Republicans – mostly from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut – to demand that House GOP leaders bring members back and vote on the bill.
10:15: President Obama hosts the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress at the White House; VP Biden also attends.
2:0: President Obama and VP Biden meet with leaders of civic organizations and other groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP, AARP and National Council of La Raza
Michael Tomasky: What is going on with John McCain? Maybe he just despises Barack Obama so completely that he almost can’t help himself. That’s one option. Another is that he has decided for whatever reason to finish his Senate career as a full-out tea partier. A third is that he’s just a nasty man, which is pretty widely known to be true in Washington.
Hard to say. But this jihad of his against Susan Rice really is about the nastiest thing we’ve ever seen him do. Rice had nothing to do with security at the Benghazi consulate. Nothing….
…. in 2005, McCain and Graham fiercely defended Condi Rice from Democratic attacks of “lying,” arguing she had been misled by intelligence. “I can only conclude we’re doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness at the outcome of the elections,” McCain complained when Condi Rice’s nomination came to a vote.
Amazing. The man needs an intervention. Isn’t there anyone who loves him who can tell him what he’s doing to what remains of his reputation?
President Obama meets privately with Damien and Glenda Moore at a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center tent in Staten Island, Nov. 15. The Moore’s two small children, Brandon and Connor, died after being swept away during Hurricane Sandy. (Pete Souza)
…. talking with residents on Cedar Grove Avenue during a walking tour of Hurricane Sandy storm damage in Staten Island
President Barack Obama meets privately with Damien and Glenda Moore at a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center tent in Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 15. The Moore’s two small children, Brandon and Connor, died after being swept away during Hurricane Sandy. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Sheila Traina, whose home was completely demolished by flooding from Hurricane Sandy in New Dorp Beach, holds a letter written by her 11 year-old granddaughter Maggie Traina to President Obama who visited victims of the storm in Staten Island, November 15
With Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Charles Schumer, greeted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, upon their arrival at JFK International Airport
(Be warned, there’s a Romney rally on at the CBS link now – so, if you have a weak stomach, don’t click for a while)
Seen through a wire screen, President Obama conducts a conference call to update New York Gov. Cuomo and other New York officials on the ongoing federal government response to Hurricane Sandy, Nov. 1. The President made the call backstage at the University of Colorado in Boulder. (Pete Souza)
The Springfield speech:
5:0: VP Biden at Superior Middle School, Wisconsin (listed by CNN)
5:25: Michelle Obama at Virginia State University (C-Span)
5:45: Bill Clinton at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg, Florida (listed by CNN)
10:40: Delivers remarks at Austin Straubel International Airport, Green Bay
11:45: Departs Green Bay
1:15: Arrives Las Vegas
2:10: Delivers remarks at Cheyenne Sports Complex, Las Vegas
3:25: Departs Las Vegas
5:55: Arrives Denver, Colorado
7:0: Delivers remarks at Coors Events Center, Denver
8:45: Departs Denver
1:05: Arrives Columbus, Ohio where he will stay overnight
Steve Benen: If the White House hopes to see initial unemployment claims drop just before the election, officials got their wish. The new figures from the Department of Labor – the last report before Election Day – show a move in the right direction:
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 363,000 in the week of Oct. 21-27, keeping them in a range that indicates little change in U.S. hiring patterns over the past few months. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to fall to 365,000. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 372,000 from an original reading of 369,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Toledo Blade: In the final few days of the presidential contest, Mitt Romney evidently recognizes that his opposition to the federal rescue of General Motors and Chrysler is costing him voter support he needs in Ohio and Michigan. So the Republican nominee is conducting an exercise in deception about auto-industry issues that is remarkable even by the standards of his campaign.
…. Mr. Romney’s own words make clear he is no friend of the auto industry, on which Ohio relies for one of every eight jobs. Voters in Ohio and Michigan — and the nation — need to remember that.
NYT Editorial: When General Motors tells a presidential campaign that it is engaging in “cynical campaign politics at its worst,” that’s a pretty good signal that the campaign has crossed a red line and ought to pull back. Not Mitt Romney’s campaign. Having broadcast an outrageously deceitful ad attacking the auto bailout, the campaign ignored the howls from carmakers and came back with more.
Mr. Romney apparently plans to end his race as he began it: playing lowest-common-denominator politics, saying anything necessary to achieve power and blithely deceiving voters desperate for clarity and truth.
….. Mr. Romney is providing a grim preview of what kind of president he would be.
Greg Sargent: The chatter continues this morning about GOP Governor Chris Christie’s astonishingly effusive praise of Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy. After they toured the damage yesterday, Christie thanked Obama for their “great working relationship” and claimed Obama “sprung into action immediately.” The day before, Christie praised Obama’s storm response as “outstanding,” adding: “He deserves my praise, and he will get it regardless of what the calendar says.”
What’s striking about this is how directly it undermines one of the central arguments Mitt Romney is making against Obama, with only five days left until Election Day … Romney has been closing out the campaign with a series of ads claiming that he will work with Democrats to get things done in Washington and arguing that Obama utterly failed to persuade Republicans to work with him….
Now Americans are being treated to images of a Republican Governor extensively praising Obama for working with him cooperatively and displaying leadership and a propensity for quick action at a time of crisis.