Posts Tagged ‘Italy

19
Jun
15

First Lady Michelle Obama Visits U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza

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Colleen Barry: Michelle Obama Meets US Troops In Italy; Recalls Charleston

Michelle Obama’s thoughts turned to those grieving for nine people killed in a U.S. church as she visited Friday with American soldiers and their families stationed in northern Italy. “We have seen too many tragedies like this,” Mrs. Obama said of the attack in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. “There is something particularly horrifying about something that happens so senseless in a house of worship.” She added: “I pray for a community that I know is in pain with the hope that tragedies like these will one day come to an end.” The U.S. first lady was visiting at the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, thanking hundreds of the troops and their families for their service.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday had expressed anger and sadness over the slayings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. “As my husband said yesterday, simply saying our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and community of Charleston does not convey the heartache,” Mrs. Obama said. Her time with the troops and their families included reading a book to children, and visiting with about 30 expectant mothers to discuss the challenges faced by military families overseas. The families live in an area that includes housing units and an elementary and middle school. She spent a good half hour giving hugs and shaking hands. Her daughters Malia and Sasha helped her scoop out ice cream. About 500 people were attending a barbecue on the middle school’s athletic fields.

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19
Jun
15

The First Lady (Yesterday) In Italy

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama visits the roof of the Duomo gothic cathedral in Milan, Italy, Thursday, June 18, 2015. Earlier Michelle Obama  toured the U.S. and Italian pavilions at the Expo 2015 world's fair focused on food and nutrition, topics in step with the first lady's initiative to promote healthy eating.(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

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Colleen Barry: Michelle Obama Lights Candles For US Shooting Victims In Milan’s Duomo Cathedral

Michelle Obama and her elder daughter visited Milan’s Duomo cathedral on Thursday, where an official traveling with her said they lit candles in memory of the victims of the shooting in South Carolina. The first lady and her daughter Malia were seen by photographers entering the Gothic-inspired cathedral on the unannounced stop. Mrs. Obama was dressed in black with dark glasses, while Malia wore a white blouse with black trousers. Mrs. Obama made no comment and issued no statement. Nine people, including the pastor, were killed overnight at a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, left, flanked by Italy's first lady Agnese Landini, meets Italian schoolchildren during her visit at the Italian pavilion at the 2015 Expo in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Thursday, June 18, 2015. Mrs. Obama is leading a presidential delegation Thursday to the world's fair, organized around issues concerning food and nutrition, which dovetails with the U.S. first lady's "Let's Move" initiative to fight childhood obesity through diet and exercise. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Earlier Thursday, Mrs. Obama visited the Expo 2015 World’s Fair in Milan, which focuses on food and nutrition. She found kindred spirits in her campaign to promote healthy eating during visits to the U.S. and the Italian pavilions. Mrs. Obama was greeted by a video image of her husband, President Barack Obama, as she entered the U.S. pavilion, guided by U.S. student delegates to Expo from universities around the United States. She spent some time discussing the vertical garden covering the length of pavilion, which has rotating panels of herbs and vegetables that are engineered to maximize sunlight exposure. Mrs. Obama said the pavilion was “awe-inspiring.” “The most impactful part of it, obviously, is the vertical farm, the largest of its kind. And I couldn’t help but think about all the issues we face around hunger, around food deserts in our countries and places all over the world. And when you walk around this pavilion, you think the solutions are right in our grasp,” Mrs. Obama told some 60 student delegates during a question-and-answer session at the end of the tour.

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Italy's first lady Agnese Landini,  left, welcomes U.S. first lady Michelle Obama,  for a visit at the Italian pavilion at the 2015 Expo in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Thursday, June 18, 2015. Mrs. Obama is leading a presidential delegation Thursday to the world's fair, organized around issues concerning food and nutrition, which dovetails with the U.S. first lady's "Let's Move" initiative to fight childhood obesity through diet and exercise. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

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Italy's first lady Agnese Landini,  left, welcomes U.S. first lady Michelle Obama,  for a visit at the Italian pavilion at the 2015 Expo in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Thursday, June 18, 2015. Mrs. Obama is leading a presidential delegation Thursday to the world's fair, organized around issues concerning food and nutrition, which dovetails with the U.S. first lady's "Let's Move" initiative to fight childhood obesity through diet and exercise. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Italy’s First Lady Agnese Landini welcomes First Lady Michelle Obama to the 2015 Expo in Rho, near Milan, Italy. First Lady Michelle Obama is leading a presidential delegation to the world’s fair, organized around issues concerning food and nutrition, which dovetails with her “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity

Continue reading ‘The First Lady (Yesterday) In Italy’

17
Jun
15

First Lady Michelle Obama In Milan: A Great American Ambassador

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First Lady Michelle Obama and First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama depart from Stansted Airport, England

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (R) arrives with her daughter Sasha (L) and Malia at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, as part of her European trip June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

First Lady Michelle Obama arrives with her daughter Sasha and Malia at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy.

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, right, her daughters Sasha, left, and Malia disembark from a plane as they arrive at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Michelle Obama has arrived in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Giuseppe Aresu)

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The First Lady is in Milan to meet with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife.

The First Lady and the Presidential Delegation will visit the Milan Expo 2015, tour the USA Pavilion at the Expo and participate in activities to promote efforts to support healthier families and communities.

With the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” the Expo Milan is promoting a global dialogue about the future of our food system.

The USA pavilion is titled “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” and it showcases American leadership on global food and development issues, science and technology, climate change, nutrition and health.

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, right, and her daughter Sasha disembark from a plane as they arrive at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Michelle Obama has arrived in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Giuseppe Aresu)

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama's daughters Sasha (L) and Malia walk as they arrive at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, as part of her European trip June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (C) greets local authorities as she arrives with her daughters Sasha and Malia at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, as part of her European trip June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama cooks with American kids at James Beard American Restaurant in Milan, Italy, as part of her European trip June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama talks at James Beard American Restaurant in Milan, Italy, as part of her European trip, June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

First Lady Michelle Obama talks at James Beard American Restaurant in Milan, Italy

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First Lady Michelle Obama with Mario Batali

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama eats as she participates in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama participates in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama greets a child at James Beard American Restaurant, as part of her European trip, in Milan, Italy, June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama poses after a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

First Lady Michelle Obama, Former Miami Heat basketball player Alonzo Mourning, a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; Chef, writer and restaurateur Mario Batali pose with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama talks with Italian premier Matteo Renzi as she arrives at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church to see Leonardo's masterpiece "The Last Supper", after participating in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  At right is Renzi's wife Agnes, while behind are Michelle's daughters Malia and Sasha and her mother Marian Robinson. Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

First Lady Michelle Obama is welcomed by Prime Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini, as she arrives at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church to see Leonardo’s masterpiece “The Last Supper”

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Agnese Landini, right, wife of Italian premier Matteo Renzi, and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama look at young Ester Renzi, as Italian premier Matteo Renzi, back to camera, talks with Sasha Obama and Marian Robinson during a visit at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church to see Leonardo's masterpiece "The Last Supper", after participating in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks with Ester Renzi

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (C) talks with Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese (R) as they arrive to visit Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" painting in Milan, Italy June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (2nd R) and her daughters Sasha (L) and Malia (C) are welcomed by Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese (R) as they arrive to visit Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" painting in Milan, Italy June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama embraces Agnese Landini, wife of Italian premier Matteo Renzi, while he greets her daughters Sasha, left, and Malia, as she arrives at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church to see Leonardo's masterpiece "The Last Supper", after participating in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Behind is Mrs Obama mother Marian Robinson. Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

U.S. President's daughters Sasha, right, and Malia Obama walk in Corso Como shopping street in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan with her daughters on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (Matteo Bazzi/ANSA via AP) ITALY OUT

First Daughters Sasha and Malia Obama walk in Corso Como shopping street in Milan, Italy

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama embraces a child as she participates in a cooking demonstration at the James Beard American Restaurant with Italian and American middle school students in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Michelle Obama is in Milan on the second leg of a European trip that puts an international spin on her core initiatives. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

15
Jun
15

The First Lady in Europe

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Tuesday

First Lady Michelle Obama, Marian Robinson, Malia and Sasha Obama arrive in London

The First Lady hosts a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Research for Equitable Access and Learning Centre and the Peace Corps, former prime minister of Australia Julia Gillard and students on expanding access to girls education around the world, Mulberry School for Girls, London

Holds a Q&A session with students, Mulberry School for Girls

Meets with British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, Downing Street

Meets with Harry ‘Prince’ Windsor, Downing Street

The First Lady, Marian Robinson, Malia and Sasha leave for Milan

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Wednesday

The First Lady meets with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife in Milan

The First Lady and the Presidential Delegation visit the Milan Expo 2015, tour the USA Pavilion at the Expo and participate in activities to promote efforts to support healthier families and communities.

With the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” the Expo Milan is promoting a global dialogue about the future of our food system.

The USA pavilion is titled “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” and it showcases American leadership on global food and development issues, science and technology, climate change, nutrition and health.

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Thursday

The First Lady, Marian Robinson, Malia and Sasha travel to Vicenza

The First Lady visits the US Army North to meet American military families, Vicenza

The First Lady, Marian Robinson, Malia and Sasha travel to Venice

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Friday

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The First Lady, Marian Robinson, Malia and Sasha tour the canal-crossed UNESCO World Heritage site, Venice

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Saturday

The First Lady, Marian Robinson, Malia and Sasha depart Venice for Washington DC

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07
Jun
15

Germany: The President’s Day

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President Barack Obama arrives at the summit of G7 nations on June 7, 2015 in Kruen, Germany. In the course of the two-day summit G7 leaders are scheduled to discuss global economic and security issues, as well as pressing global health-related issues, including antibiotics-resistant bacteria and Ebola

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President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak at the summit of G7 nations at Schloss Elmau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

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President Barack Obama is welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer at the summit of G7 nations

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President Barack Obama enjoys a non-alcoholic weissbier

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Justin Huggler: Why is Barack Obama drinking beer at 11am?

Angela Merkel welcomed Barack Obama to the G7 summit with a traditional Bavarian breakfast on Sunday – complete with a half-litre of beer.But before he could get down to business, Mrs Merkel treated him to a full Bavarian breakfast of white sausages, pretzels and foaming lager. Eleven in the morning might be considered a little early for a beer in some parts of the world, but in Bavaria breakfast is not complete without a weissbier, as the local wheat beer is called.

It’s not quite as hard-drinking as it sounds: Bavarians don’t down a quick pint before heading to the office every morning. It originates in Frühschoppen – a local tradition of meeting for a drink late in the morning on Sundays and holidays. According to Bavarian custom, the sausages cannot be eaten after 12 noon, because no preservatives are used and they are made fresh every day. Therefore those who wish to wash their sausages down with a beer must get supping before that time. The local saying is that the sausages must not be allowed to hear the church bells chime noon.

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen Harper speak with President Barack Obama at an evening concert

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resident Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel sit down for a working dinner at the summit of G7 nations

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(Clockwise from L) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk sit down for a working dinner

17
Apr
15

The President And First Lady’s Day

Barack Obama, Matteo Renzi

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Obama welcomes Renzi before their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington

 President Barack Obama welcomes Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi before their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House

Obama speaks with Renzi at the start of their meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington

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U.S. President Obama listens during joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Renzi at the White House in Washington

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 President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The two leaders spoke on a range of issues, including Ukraine, Libya and Islamic State militants

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U.S. President Obama and Italian Prime Minister Renzi listen to a question during joint news conference at the White House in Washington

U.S. President Obama addresses joint news conference at the White House in Washington

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U.S. President Obama greets Italian Prime Minister Renzi after their joint news conference at the White House in Washington

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President Barack Obama greets poet laureate Elizabeth Alexander during an event in the State Dining Room at the White House. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the event in celebration of National Poetry Month

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First Lady Michelle Obama attends an event in celebration of National Poetry Month

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Poet laureate Elizabeth Alexander gives a poetry reading in the State Dining Room of the White House

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Obama arrives to deliver opening remarks at a poetry reading by Alexander, in honor of National Poetry Month, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington

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Obama waves to students sitting behind her as she arrives for a poetry reading by Alexander, in honor of National Poetry Month, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington

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Barack Obama, Elizabeth Alexander

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04
Sep
14

Croeso i Gymru, President Obama

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President Barack Obama meets children at Mount Pleasant Primary School in Newport, Wales. President Barack Obama visited the school with Prime Minister David Cameron, before attending a two-day NATO summit at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport

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Wales Online: Nato Summit 2014: Barack Obama And David Cameron Visit Newport’s Mount Pleasant Primary School

Hundreds of wellwishers greeted American President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron as they arrived at a primary school in Newport this morning. Mr Obama’s car was adorned with an American and Welsh flag, and he greeted the smiling youngsters of Mount Pleasant Primary School in Welsh saying “bore da” – “good morning” – and then listened to a welcome message, thanking him for being the first serving US president to visit Wales. When a smiling Mr Obama walked into a Year 6 class speaking Welsh, the pupils’ nervous chatter turned to delighted smiles.

Some onlookers had brought ladders while others stood on walls or even on the back of bikes to try to get the best view. Local resident Sally Pyrah-Barnes, 47, said the day felt like a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. “It’s good Barack Obama took time out from the summit to acknowledge the local city and the local kids,” she said. Among the crowds gathered outside was college student Jay Singh, 16. He said: “It’s pretty surreal, Barack Obama being in Rogerstone. It’s great that he’s come here and shows Newport has plenty to offer and it’s not just about Cardiff. Mrs Green added: “We both like Obama. He seems to have his finger on the pulse.”

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A crowd cheers President Barack Obama’s arrival during a visit at Mount Pleasant Primary School in Newport, Wales

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President Barack Obama speaks with Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron during the NATO summit at the Celtic Manor resort, near Newport, in Wales

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President Barack Obama, is seated at a table with, from left to right: France’s President Francois Hollande; Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko; British Prime Minister David Cameron; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as they meet about Ukraine

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Secretary of State John Kerry passes a document to President Barack Obama as British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaks at a meeting of NATO leaders regarding Afghanistan

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President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron bow their heads for a moment of silence for service members killed in Afghanistan

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks with President Barack Obama as they arrive for a group photo

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President Barack Obama stands with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and British Prime Minister David Cameron as he arrives for a NATO summit

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05
Jun
14

President Obama At The G7 Summit

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President Barack Obama arrives for the G7 summit at the European Council building in Brussels

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Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama attend the first working meeting of the day at the G7 Summit in Brussels. (The Prime Minister’s Office)

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President Barack Obama smiles during the G7 summit at the European Council headquarters in Brussels

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President Barack Obama meets with King Philippe of Belgium, right, and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo at the Royal Palace in Brussels, Belgium

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President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron speak during a news conference at the G7 summit

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Continue reading ‘President Obama At The G7 Summit’

30
Mar
14

Pete Souza: Genius

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President Obama shakes hands with a young boy while greeting audience members during a U.S. Embassy meet and greet at the Ritz Carlton Riyadh (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama looks at Rembrandt’s “Self-portrait as the Apostle Paul” during a tour of the Gallery of Honor at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama signs items backstage next to a sculpture of a giraffe in a shipping crate, following remarks at the Palais Des Beaux Arts in Brussels (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama points to writing on a wall during a tour of the Colosseum with Barbara Nazzaro, Technical Director & Architect of the Colosseum (Photo by Pete Souza)

People line the street to wave at President Obama as the motorcade passes by en route to the World Forum, The Hague (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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President Obama delivers remarks during a meet and greet with the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, The Holy See, and the U.N. Agencies in Rome (Photo by Pete Souza)

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See lots more photos from the President’s trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia here

29
Mar
14

Rise and Shine: The Week at TOD

Photo of the Week? First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha and Malia visit the Great Wall of China, March 23 (Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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And another photo of the week:

Pope Francis and President Obama smile as they exchange gifts at the Vatican, March 27

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Sunday

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The First Lady in China

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Rise and Shine

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Life Can Get Crazy ➞ Get Covered

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ObamaCare Means: Affordable And Comprehensive Coverage

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A Tweet or Two #GetCovered

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Chat Away

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Travels with the First Lady and First Daughters

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Monday

President Obama stands in front of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch during a flying visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

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Early Bird Chat

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Rise and Shine: The Netherlands and China

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Take the #100Challenge

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The President’s Day

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Happy Birthday, Aretha

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Chat Away

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Chat On

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Tuesday

@petesouza: Pres Obama w young girl during an event at the US Embassy in The Netherlands today

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Early Bird Chat

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Rise and Shine

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President Obama’s News Conference

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Wherein I Go On A Little Rant

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ObamaCare: Not Numbers But People

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The President’s Day

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@PeteSouza: Pres Obama talks on phone to Washington Gov Jay Inslee about mudslide in Oso. Alyssa Mastromonaco is in foreground

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Night Owl Chat – MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC! (and a poem)

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Flanders Fields

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine: The Week at TOD’

27
Mar
14

The President’s Day

@dougmillsnyt: President Obama meets with Pope Francis, March 27, at the Vatican

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10:15 AM: The President had an audience with Pope Francis

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11:25 AM: Met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin

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12:15 PM: Arrived the Quirinal Palace

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12:25 PM: Participated in a bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy, Quirinal Palace

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1:05 PM: Attended a working lunch with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy

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2:20 PM: Arrived Villa Madama

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2:25 PM: Participated in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, Villa Madama

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3:35 PM: Held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Renzi

Text of remarks here

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4:40 PM: Toured The Colosseum

@dougmillsnyt

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6:30 PM: Met with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome

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27
Mar
14

The Colosseum

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President Obama, with Barbara Nazzaro, Technical Dir. and Architect of the Colosseum, tours the Colosseum in Rome

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More in a while – chat on!

27
Mar
14

Chat Away

Chat on!

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12:40 EDT: Live Streaming: President Obama Tours the Colosseum – see here

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27
Mar
14

Rise and Shine

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President Barack Obama and Pope Francis laugh while exchanging gifts after their meeting at the Vatican

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at Quirinal Palace in Rome

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USA Today: Obama’s Gift To Pope Francis: A Seed Chest

President Obama presented Pope Francis with a custom-made seed chest on Thursday, containing fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House Garden. The gift was inspired by the pope’s decision to grant public access to the gardens of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer residence, according to a White House statement. Obama and Pope Francis met for 52 minutes at Vatican City.

Pope Francis, meanwhile, presented the president with a plaque of some kind, and an encyclical. “I will treasure this,” Obama said. “I actually will probably read this (encyclical) in the Oval Office when I’m deeply frustrated. I’m sure it will give me strength and calm me down.” The seed chest from Obama is made from American leather and wood reclaimed from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals built in the United States.

More here

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Jason Millman: Young Adults Signing Up At Higher Rates Off Obamacare Exchanges

A higher rate of young adults and uninsured people are signing up for coverage through a private insurance website as next week’s enrollment deadline approaches, according to information released by the company Tuesday. The enrollment data, issued by eHealthInsurance, provides a snapshot of how some customers are shopping for insurance away from Obamacare exchanges during the law’s first enrollment period. EHealth, a national online insurance broker predating the health care law, operates similar to the Obamacare exchanges, offering customers a selection of health plans from competing insurers.

However, shoppers on eHealth’s website can’t access federal subsidies to help purchase insurance, though the company says it has helped people enroll in subsidy-eligible plans by telephone. Since Jan. 1, about 45 percent of those picking new health plans through eHealth were between 18 and 34 years old, the company says. By comparison, the all-important demographic accounted for 27 percent of signups on Obamacare exchanges the past couple of months. EHealth says its rate of youth enrollment has increased from 39 percent of signups between October and December.The rate of eHealth customers who identified themselves as previously uninsured has also increased since the first three months of the enrollment, the company says. Since January, 51 percent of the website’s shoppers say they were previously uninsured, up from 34 percent between October and December.

More here

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America Blog: They Stole Her Photo, Then Claimed She Hated Obamacare. She Doesn’t

Helene isn’t having the best week. The Texas blogger was visiting Las Vegas for a bachelorette party this past weekend, and woke up on Saturday to find that she’d become the latest anti-Obamacare poster child. The thing is, Helene never signed up for the job. In fact, she told me yesterday that she’s quite happy with the Affordable Care Act (ACA),

and with the “affordable” health care it helped her find. “Not only do I not agree with what the image is portraying,” Helene wrote me, “I actually have Affordable Healthcare!” So, if anything, Helene is an Obamacare success story. But that didn’t stop over 17,000 people on Facebook from sharing an image of her face, posted just days ago, with a caption complaining about Obamacare. To add insult to injury, the people who stole her image couldn’t even spell “conspiracy” right.

More here

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SmartyPants: President Obama’s Speech In Brussels – One Of The Most Important Of His Presidency

One of the things we know from reading about President Obama’s life story is that while he was practicing law in Chicago, he taught classes on the topic of “power.” I’ve always wished that either he or someone who attended one would outline the content of what he taught. Perhaps the President will do that once his second term is over.

He doesn’t tend to speak directly about the topic, but from listening to him refer to it in other contexts, what I’ve deduced is that he embraces the power of partnership as the alternative to our more traditional concept of the power of domination. Today the President began his speech in Brussels with a history lesson on the power of partnership vs the power of domination.

More here

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Paul Krugman: Data As Slogan. Data As Substance

Noah Smith has the definitive piece on what’s wrong, so far, with the new FiveThirtyEight. For all the big talk about data-driven analysis,what it actually delivers is sloppy and casual opining with a bit of data used, as the old saying goes, the way a drunkard uses a lamppost — for support, not illumination.So what would real data-driven reporting look like (beyond what goes on at the sites Noah mentions, and also at the Times)? Well, here’s an example: Charles Gaba’s ACASignups.net.

Gaba, a website developer, realized that nobody was systematically keeping track of enrollment data for Obamacare, and has turned himself into one-stop shopping on the law’s progress. And he really fills a need: when you read news reports on Obamacare, you can tell right away which reporters have been reading Gaba and know what’s happening and which reporters are relying solely on official announcements — or, worse, dueling political spin.

More here

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NYT: Obama Juggles Itinerary In Bid To Ease Tensions Between Two Allies

When President Obama brings together the estranged leaders of Japan and South Korea for a peacemaking session in The Hague on Tuesday evening, it will be the culmination of three months of intense behind-the-scenes American diplomacy. The unusual effort included a phone call from Mr. Obama to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan; a follow-up lunch that the American ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, had with Mr. Abe; a decision to put both Tokyo and Seoul on Mr. Obama’s itinerary when he visits Asia next month; and a plan to resolve this neighborhood quarrel on the ultimate neutral ground: a stately Dutch city accustomed to litigating international disputes.

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In this case, Mr. Abe and President Park Geun-hye of South Korea have barely been on speaking terms since coming to power just over a year ago. Their antagonism is complex and deeply personal, rooted in World War II history as well as their own conservative and nationalist political leanings, which make old animosities even harder to overcome. Convinced the two were not going to mend relations on their own, the White House proposed a “trilateral” meeting with Mr. Obama at the nuclear security summit in the Netherlands. The European locale and nonproliferation theme made sense. “It’s a multilateral meeting not in Asia,” said a senior administration official, “and a multilateral meeting about the one thing Japan and South Korea are in agreement on.” Mr. Obama’s participation was critical: In a call on March 6, the president told Mr. Abe he wanted to bring his two allies together. At a lunch that day, Ambassador Kennedy fleshed out the idea.

More here

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Sy Mukherjee: Anti-Obamacare Governor Now Encouraging Residents To Enroll Under Health Law

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), an ardent Affordable Care Act critic, is now encouraging residents to transition into new health plans under the very reform law that he once refused to help implement. Walker told the Washington Examiner’s Philip A. Klein that he has instructed state agencies to work with individuals who are transitioning into plans offered on Wisconsin’s Obamacare marketplace. That includes both the previously uninsured and poor residents just above the poverty level who are being siphoned out of the state’s Medicaid program, BadgerCare,

and into private ACA plans under Walker’s conservative alternative to Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion.  Just two years ago, Walker was singing a very different tune. He had refused to create a statewide ACA marketplace — thereby also forgoing significant federal funding for Obamacare outreach efforts — and said he wouldn’t lift a finger to help implement the law until the Supreme Court decided the law’s fate. In fact, Wisconsin’s spending on ACA outreach is the lowest in the nation at just 46 cents per capita.

More here

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Bloomberg: WTO Panel Sides With U.S. In Dispute Over China Minerals

The World Trade Organization backed the U.S. in a dispute with China, agreeing that limits on exports of rare-earth elements used in hybrid-car batteries and wind turbines violate trade rules. A Chinese industry group said it regrets the ruling against China. A dispute-settlement panel at the Geneva-based trade arbiter yesterday determined that China, the world’s largest producer of the minerals, didn’t adequately justify imposing export duties and quotas on the goods, as well as the elements tungsten and molybdenum. China’s export limits “have been putting American manufacturers at a disadvantage and preventing full and fair competition,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters yesterday on a conference call.

The WTO decision follows a 2011 ruling in which the trade arbiter sided with the U.S. in determining that China’s export limits on raw materials for steel and chemical production, such as bauxite, magnesium and zinc, broke trade law. The U.S., the 28-nation EU and Japan in 2012 filed complaints with the WTO, saying that China’s restrictions on exports of rare-earth minerals — a group of 17 chemically similar elements used in electronics, autos, helicopter blades and other goods — disrupted trade flows and caused global prices to jump, in some cases as much as three times as much as what Chinese companies pay.

More here

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Tara Culp-Ressler: Hobby Lobby Inspired New York Lawmakers To Fight To Protect Birth Control In Their State

If the craft chain Hobby Lobby and the furniture company Conestoga Wood Specialties successfully win their Supreme Court challenges, it could open the door to allow businesses across the country to compromise their workers’ access to reproductive health care. In response to that potential future, New York lawmakers are taking the opportunity to reaffirm their state’s commitment to providing insurance coverage for essential preventative health services like birth control.

Earlier this month, New York Sen. Liz Krueger (D) and Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee (D) introduced the so-called “Boss Bill,” which would close a loophole in the state’s existing workplace anti-discrimination laws to protect women’s access to birth control. Under the legislation — which was written in direct response to the multiple lawsuits against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive provision — New York’s labor law would be amended to prevent employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of their reproductive health care decisions, even if those employers are trying to cite their religious beliefs.

More here

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Owen Matthews: Sanctions Will Work, All Right. Just Ask The Oligarchs

President Barack Obama, who has supposedly taken the toughest line in condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “aggression,” has merely declared banking sanctions on a dozen Russian businessmen personally close to Putin. But in truth, there’s some deep thinking behind Washington’s sanctions regime, and they could ultimately prove deadly to Putin’s future. The key to the sanctions strategy is to drive a wedge between Putin’s shrinking inner circle and the wider Russian elite. “People aren’t ready to sacrifice their holidays in the Alps and in Antalya for the sake of an idea of a Great State,” says Nina Khrushcheva, a historian at New York City’s New School and a granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader who ceded Crimea to Ukraine in 1954. “That was fine in Stalin’s time, but it’s not fine in Putin’s time.”

In other words, the sanctions are smart because they so precisely target Kremlin insiders and personal friends of Putin—men such as such as billionaire Gennady Timchenko, whose Gunvor company trades most of Russia’s oil and who has major interests in gas pipe-building companies, and Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s former judo partner, whose construction company hugely benefited from the $50 billion Sochi Olympics. The share prices of companies associated with the sanctioned billionaires have been badly hit, and Visa and Mastercard suspended operations with two banks linked to those on Washington’s list. In other words, Putin has become a liability for Russia’s rich—and they’re getting nervous.It’s easy to see why Putin’s moves worry them. Even without direct personal sanctions, all of Russia’s businesspeople will pay a price for the Crimea annexation in the form of steeply higher borrowing costs. Most international ratings agencies have downgraded Russia’s outlook from stable to negative. The ruble has slid further; capital is fleeing Russia fast.

More here

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Brian Beutler: Republicans Losing It Over New Obamacare Data: Why Their Position Is Collapsing

It’s a complete accident of legislative and administrative history that the fourth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act should fall the week before the end of the law’s first ever, six-month-long open-enrollment period. But it’s a great coincidence for those of us in the business of cutting through all the hyperbole that accompanies each ACA anniversary, because, for the first time since the law passed, there are real data, and real beneficiaries, to hold up against the spin.

And as I’ve been arguing for months now, the GOP’s position on the law can’t actually withstand on-the-ground realities. Case in point: Terri Lynn Land — Michigan’s one-time Republican secretary of state, turned Senate candidate — held a first-ever conference call with reporters to trash the ACA on its fourth birthday. But confronted with the question of what happens to people with preexisting medical conditions if the GOP repeals the law (and thus eliminates the individual mandate) — Land’s press aide, Heather Swift, commandeered the call, and tried to take the whole thing off the record.

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Coral Davenport: Obama Turns To Web To Illustrate The Effects Of A Changing Climate

President Obama wants Americans to see how climate change could deluge or destroy their own backyards — and to make it as easy as opening a web-based app. As part of an effort to make the public see global warming as a tangible and immediate problem, the White House on Wednesday inaugurated a website, climate.data.gov, aimed at turning scientific data about projected droughts and wildfires and the rise in sea levels into eye-catching digital presentations that can be mapped using simple software apps. The project is the brainchild of Mr. Obama’s counselor, John D. Podesta, and the White House science adviser, John P. Holdren.

The effort comes as Mr. Obama prepares to announce a set of aggressive climate change regulations aimed at limiting emissions from coal-fired plants.“Localizing this information gives a sense of how this affects people and spurs action,” Mr. Podesta told a small group of reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “If you’re thinking about this from the perspective of how your local community will be affected, it’s likely to change that question of salience.”

More here

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Sahil Kapur: Kagan Throws Scalia’s Own Religious Liberty Arguments Back In His Face

During oral arguments Tuesday about the validity of Obamacare’s birth control mandate, Justice Elena Kagan cleverly echoed Justice Antonin Scalia’s past warning that religious-based exceptions to neutral laws could lead to “anarchy.” “Your understanding of this law, your interpretation of it, would essentially subject the entire U.S. Code to the highest test in constitutional law, to a compelling interest standard,” she told Paul Clement, the lawyer arguing against the mandate for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. “So another employer comes in and that employer says, I have a religious objection to sex discrimination laws;

and then another employer comes in, I have a religious objection to minimum wage laws; and then another, family leave; and then another, child labor laws. And all of that is subject to the exact same test which you say is this unbelievably high test, the compelling interest standard with the least restrictive alternative.” Kagan’s remarks might sound familiar to the legally-trained ear. In a 1990 majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, Scalia alluded to the same examples of what might happen if religious entities are permitted to claim exemptions from generally applicable laws. He warned that “[a]ny society adopting such a system would be courting anarchy.”

More here

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The Bump: A Message From Michelle Obama For The Bump Moms (Really!)

Back when Barack and I were expecting our first daughter, we were overwhelmed with so many emotions: excitement, wonder, hope… and occasional moments of panic at the prospect of bringing this little person into the world. We had all the usual first-time parent worries: How would we balance the needs of our growing family with the demands of our jobs? How would the stresses of caring for a new baby affect our marriage? Would our little girl be able to tell that we had no idea what we were doing? But there was one thing we never worried about: ensuring that I would have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. That’s because, while we were still struggling to pay off our student loans and pay down our mortgage, we both had jobs that provided health insurance.

So while our finances weren’t perfect, we had the security of knowing that I could get the maternity care I needed. Every mother and every father in this country deserves this kind of peace of mind – and that’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about.Every plan on HealthCare.gov covers maternity care, pediatrician’s visits, preventive care (things like flu shots, mammograms and vaccines for kids), birth control and more. And these plans are affordable – the majority of people without insurance today will be able to get covered for $100 a month or less, and many young adults will be able to get covered for as little as $50 a month. Also, if you’re pregnant now, and you get signed up by March 31st, when your baby is born, you’ll both be covered.

More here

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Greg Sargent: Is Obamacare Repeal Fatigue Setting In?

Views of the ACA remain unfavorable, but the gap is narrowing. The new poll finds that in March, 38 percent viewed the law favorably, versus 46 percent who saw it unfavorably. That’s a substantial narrowing from the 34-50 spread during the dark days of January, and a return almost to where opinion was in September (39-43), before the rollout disaster began. – Support for repeal continues to shrink. Only 18 percent want to repeal the law and not replace it, while all of 11 percent want to repeal and replace it with a GOP alternative — a grand total of 29 percent. Meanwhile, 49 percent want to keep the law and improve it, and another 10 percent want to keep it as is — a total of 59 percent.

Among indys, that keep/improve versus repeal/replace spread is 52-31. Republicans are all alone here, with their spread at 31-58. That overall keep-versus-repeal spread has improved for the law since February (when it was 56-31), and even more so since December and October, suggesting a clear trend. – Crucially, a majority, 53 percent, say they are tired about hearing about the law and want to move on to other issues. Only 42 percent think the Obamacare debate should continue. A majority of independents has had enough (51-45). Even 47 percent of Republicans are done with it. – Most of the ACA’s individual provisions are wildly popular. Virtually every one of them — the Medicaid expansion; the preexisting conditions piece; subsidies for low income people’s coverage – has overwhelming majority support, and all of those are even backed by a majority of Republicans.

More here

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Pope Francis takes a picture with President Barack Obama and his delegation after his meeting at the Vatican with the President

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Jonathan Cohn: John Bohener’s Hypocritical Griping About The Obamacare Deadline Delay. Conservatives’ Real Beef: That People Want To Sign Up

The Obama Administration has made another adjustment to the Affordable Care Act and the critics are making another fuss. The adjustment, first reported (I think) by Amy Lotven for Inside Health Policy, is an extension of the open enrollment period for buying private insurance through the new Obamacare marketplaces. Officially, most people have until March 31 to sign up for a plan. (The exception are people who lose a job or have some other, similar life-altering experience. They can sign up throughout the year.) But on Wednesday, the administration announced that it will be offering some extra time to consumers who don’t finish their applications in time. They’ll be able to use the websites, just like they can now, only they’ll have to check a box attesting to the fact that they started the application process before April 1.

“What the hell is this? A joke?” House Speaker John Boehner said at a press conference. “Another deadline made meaningless. If he hasn’t put enough loopholes in the law already, the administration is now resorting to an honor system to enforce it.”For each one of these extensions or delays, the ultimate question is whether they change the law’s ability to realize its basic goals—which, in this case, means encouraging people to buy new private health plans while maintaining a stable insurance market. Giving people a little extra time to enroll wouldn’t seem to impede this kind of progress. If anything, it would seem to enhance it. And maybe that’s what really bothers some of the law’s fiercer critics.

More here

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Market Watch: Jobless Claims Fall To 4-Month Low Of 311,000

The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to 311,000 last week to mark the lowest level in four months, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to total 320,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended March 22. The average of new claims over the past month declined by 9,500 to 317,750. That was the lowest level since last September, when claims fell sharply because of a major errors related to a computer upgrade in California’s system for processing claims. The four-week average is the lowest since 2007 if the reports distorted by California’s computer problems are excluded. The monthly figure smooths out the jumpiness in the weekly report and offers a better look at the underlying trend.

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On This Day:

Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL, listens to testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs about the health care needs of returning service members on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 27, 2007

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President Obama makes a point during an interview in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 27, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

 President Obama preps with staff in the Cabinet Room of the White House before interviews, March 27, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama laughs as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder jokes about his basketball skills during his ceremonial installation at George Washington University on March 27, 2009

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President Obama travels aboard Air Force One en route to Afghanistan, March 27, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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 First Lady Michelle Obama helps to plant a cherry blossom tree during an event celebrating the centennial anniversary of the 1912 gifts of cherry blossom trees to the United States from Japan, in Washington, D.C. on March 27, 2012

President Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani of Pakistan during the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 27, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

 President Obama talks with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon during a break in the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 27, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine during a pull aside at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 27, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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 President Obama watches as Vice President Biden administers the oath of office to Julia Pierson, as she is sworn-in as the new director of the U.S. Secret Service, March. 27, 2013, in the Oval Office

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27
Mar
14

The President And The Pope

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President Barack Obama and Pope Francis exchange gifts after their meeting at the Vatican

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with bishop Georg Ganswein as he arrives at the Vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis, in Vatican City

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President Barack Obama, followed by Archbishop George Gaenswein, prefect of the papal household, is welcomed by Papal gentlemen as he arrives at the Vatican to meet Pope Francis

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