Posts Tagged ‘kennedy



03
Feb
14

Early Bird Chat

On This Day: Michelle Obama poses with Caroline Kennedy, Maria Shriver and Oprah Winfrey at a rally for Barack Obama, UCLA, Feb. 3, 2008

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MoooOOOooorning Early Birds – Happy Monday!

20
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

Five Years Ago Today

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Today:

1:30 EST: The President and First Lady participate in a service project, Washington, DC area

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Washington Post: Martin Luther King Jr. And The Catalyst Of Change

MARTIN LUTHER King Jr. preached nonviolence, practiced it and led a great movement guided by its principles. Yet surely he knew, as did most of his followers, that what they were doing would lead to violence. One need only look at the old black-and-white photos of civil rights protests, at the hatred, scorn and, perhaps most important, fear on the faces of some of the white people there to confront the demonstrators to understand how such simple acts as sitting down in a bus or entering a restaurant, seeking the right to vote or go to a better school, could lead to the worst sorts of violence — a bitter truth that followed King to the day of his death.

Yet out of that violence came new understanding of a sort: People who had been all but invisible to much of the United States came to be seen through the newspapers and television as individual human beings : women and children being firehosed; war veterans returning home to be subjected to all the humiliations and restrictions of the time (or to be murdered, like Medgar Evers); polite young men trying to get a sandwich at a lunch counter; a dignified woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus; the children killed by a bomb in a Birmingham church. For many Americans, this marked the first time they had come face to face, or had allowed themselves to come face to face, with the cruelty of racial separation and oppression, a century after the official end of slavery.

More here

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John Blake: The Greatest MLK Speeches You Never Heard

‘Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community’ King’s fifth book was published in 196Why it’s important: This is King’s last — and most radical — book. By 1967, he was organizing a “Poor People’s Campaign,” a plan to dispatch an interracial army of poor people to occupy Washington and force the U.S. government to address poverty.

What he said: He takes on black nationalists who ridiculed nonviolence. He says the passage of civil rights laws is not enough. The country must institute a “massive, new national program” to attack poverty. He predicts the civil rights movement will go international as oppressed peoples in other countries adopt nonviolent tactics to combat America’s “economic colonialism.”

Signature lines: “White Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society. The comfortable, entrenched, the privileged cannot continue to tremble at the prospect of change of the status quo. … This is a multiracial nation where all groups are dependent on each other. … There is no separate white path to power and fulfillment, short of social disaster, that does not share power with black aspirations for freedom and human dignity.”

What others say: “I get so tired of people turning Dr. King into a dreamer,” says Doreen Loury, a sociology professor at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania, who says she was blown away by the book when she first read it in the 1960s. “They made him safe. He was a revolutionary.”

More here

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AP: MLK Discusses Kennedy In Rediscovered 1960 Tape

As the nation reflects on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., an audiotape of an interview with the civil rights leader discovered in a Tennessee attic sheds new light on a famous phone call John F. Kennedy made to King’s wife more than 50 years ago. Historians generally agree that Kennedy’s phone call to Coretta Scott King expressing concern over her husband’s arrest in October 1960 — and Robert Kennedy’s work behind the scenes to get King released — helped JFK win the White House that fall.

King himself, while appreciative, wasn’t as quick to credit the Kennedys alone with getting him out of jail, according to a previously unreleased portion of the interview with the civil rights leader days after Kennedy’s election. “The Kennedy family did have some part … in the release,” King says in the recording, which was discovered in 2012. “But I must make it clear that many other forces worked to bring it about also.”

“I think Dr. King was aware in the tape that he probably did more for John F. Kennedy than perhaps John F. Kennedy did for him,” said Keya Morgan, a New York-based collector and expert on historical artifacts. John Kennedy didn’t actually commit to the movement until a few months before his assassination when civil rights leader Medgar Evers was gunned down by a Klansman outside his Jackson, Miss., home just after midnight on June 12, 1963. “There were a lot of black folks who … weren’t fully committed to his campaign,” said Winbush, who is also a historian and psychologist. “That call he made to Coretta moved black folks.”

More here

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Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr., registering African-Americans to vote in Greenwood, Miss. on July 21, 1964

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Ned Resnikoff: Four Ways Martin Luther King Jr. Wanted To Battle Inequality

1. Ratify an economic bill of rights: In 1968, members of King’s premier civil rights group, the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), drafted a letter demanding “an economic and social bill of Rights” that would promise all citizens the right to a job, the right to an adequate education, and the right to a decent house, among others.

“It cannot take more than two centuries for it to occur to this country that there is no real right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for people condemned by the accident of their birth to an existence of hereditary economic and social misery,” wrote the letter’s drafters. While the SCLC was specifically concerned with the ways in which economic inequality perpetuates racial inequality, they made clear that the rights they proposed would apply to all citizens. It sounded radical at the time.

In fact, the effort echoed a proposal made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his 1944 State of the Union Address, when he called for a “second Bill of Rights,” to guarantee all citizens a “useful and remunerative job” and “adequate medical care.

More here

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ZDF German news interview with President Obama from Friday

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Steve Kornacki: US Attorney Inquiry Into Christie Widens

The New Jersey mayor who publicly claimed this weekend that Gov. Chris Christie’s administration tried to withhold hurricane relief funds met Sunday in private with the U.S. attorney for the state of New Jersey. “This afternoon I met with the U.S. Attorney’s office for several hours at their request and provided them with my journal and other documents,” Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said in a statement Sunday. “

As they pursue this investigation, I will provide any requested information and testify under oath about the facts of what happened when the Lieutenant Governor came to Hoboken and told me that Sandy aid would be contingent on moving forward with a private development project.”

Zimmer said Saturday in an interview with MSNBC that she would be willing to sign a sworn statement and testify under oath that she had been threatened by the governor’s staff to approve a development project or risk hurricane relief funding for her town of Hoboken, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

More here

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BBC: UN Invites Iran To Syria Peace Talks

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has invited Iran to take part in preliminary Syrian peace talks this week in Switzerland, an offer Tehran has accepted. Mr Ban said he had received assurances that Iran would play a positive role in securing a transitional government. The preliminary talks will open in Montreux on Wednesday and then continue in Geneva two days later.

Syria’s government and the main political opposition group earlier agreed to attend the meeting. The three-year conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people. An estimated two million people have fled the country and some 6.5 million have been internally displaced.

More here

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White House: Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Ukraine

We are deeply concerned by the violence taking place today on the streets of Kyiv and urge all sides to immediately de-escalate the situation. The increasing tension in Ukraine is a direct consequence of the government failing to acknowledge the legitimate grievances of its people. Instead, it has moved to weaken the foundations of Ukraine’s democracy by criminalizing peaceful protest and stripping civil society and political opponents of key democratic protections under the law.  We urge the Government of Ukraine to take steps that represent a better way forward for Ukraine, including repeal of the anti-democratic legislation signed into law in recent days, withdrawing the riot police from downtown Kyiv, and beginning a dialogue with the political opposition.  From its first days, the Maidan movement has been defined by a spirit of non-violence and we support today’s call by opposition political leaders to reestablish that principle. The U.S. will continue to consider additional steps — including sanctions — in response to the use of violence.

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Finally got around to reading the New Republic article on Snowden, Greenwald and Assange – ironically written by a character who has ‘Obama Derangement’ issues himself.

Not sure there’s anything new in it, but the section on Snowden says it all about his agenda and motivation:

…. by the end of Bush’s second term, Snowden certainly held the president in low esteem. But not, apparently, his intelligence policies. Nor, it seems, was he drawn to insiders who exposed details of these programs. Quite the opposite: Snowden vilified leakers and defended covert intelligence ops.

In January 2009, Snowden lambasted The New York Times and its anonymous sources for exposing a secret Bush administration operation to sabotage Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Such infuriating breaches had occurred “over and over and over again,” Snowden complained. The Times, he railed, was “like wikileaks” and deserved to go bankrupt; sources who leaked “classified shit” to the Times ought to “be shot in the balls.” When an online interlocutor suggested that it might be “ethical” to report “on the government’s intrigue,” Snowden replied emphatically: “VIOLATING NATIONAL SECURITY? No.” He explained, “that shit is classified for a reason.”

Surprise, surprise:

… nearly as soon as Obama took office, Snowden developed a deep aversion to the new president …. he became furious about Obama’s domestic policies on a variety of fronts. For example, he was offended by the possibility that the new president would revive a ban on assault weapons. “See, that’s why I’m goddamned glad for the second amendment,” Snowden wrote, in another chat. “Me and all my lunatic, gun-toting NRA compatriots would be on the steps of Congress before the C-Span feed finished.”

And this from the ‘progressive’ hero:

At the time the stimulus bill was being debated, Snowden also condemned Obama’s economic policies as part of a deliberate scheme “to devalue the currency absolutely as fast as theoretically possible.” (He favored Ron Paul’s call for the United States to return to the gold standard.) The social dislocations of the financial collapse bothered him not at all. “Almost everyone was self-employed prior to 1900,” he asserted. “Why is 12% employment [sic] so terrifying?” In another chat-room exchange, Snowden (TheTrueHOOHA) debated the merits of Social Security:

<TheTrueHOOHA> save money? cut this social security bullshit

<TheTrueHOOHA> Somehow, our society managed to make it hundreds of years without social security just fine

….. Later in the same session, Snowden wrote that the elderly “wouldn’t be fucking helpless if you weren’t sending them fucking checks to sit on their ass and lay in hospitals all day.”

What a classy guy.

Snowden’s disgruntlement with Obama, in other words, was fueled by a deep disdain for progressive policies …. Contrary to his claims, he seems to have become an anti-secrecy activist only after the White House was won by a liberal Democrat who, in most ways, represented everything that a right-wing Ron Paul admirer would have detested.

Full article here

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On This Day:

Jan. 20, 2009 – Pete Souza: “President-elect Barack Obama was about to walk out to take the oath of office. Backstage at the U.S. Capitol, he took one last look at his appearance in the mirror.”

Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

08
Dec
13

The Kennedy Center

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Carlos Santana and fellow 2013 Kennedy Center Honors recipient Shirley MacLaine

Herbie Hancock

Person (unidentified) at the Kennedy Center Honors reception at the White House

?, Herbie Hancock and Martina Arroyo

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Chat away!

08
Dec
13

Oh Heavens

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at the Kennedy Center Honors reception at the White House, Dec 8

08
Dec
13

The Kennedy Center Honors

5:20: President Obama delivers remarks at the Kennedy Center Honors Reception, East Room

Also at White House Live

Later:

7:30: The President and First Lady attend the Kennedy Center Honors, Kennedy Center

Don’t think this will shown tonight – will be aired on CBenghaziS on December 29… presumably Billy Joel will be ‘singing’ (sic) :???:

03
Dec
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama, with mother-in-law Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha and Malia, and First Lady Michelle Obama, react as they push to button to light the National Christmas Tree during a ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010

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Today (All Times Eastern):

11:0: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia

12:05: Holds a working lunch with President Santos

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:30PM: President Obama speaks on the Affordable Care Act

3:30: President Obama participates in ambassador credentialing ceremony

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Get Covered America: Certainty For Rebecca

Certainty. That’s what Rebecca Haug of Del Norte, CO wanted most when she went to look for a new plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Since her husband passed away in 2007, she has been working as a registered nurse, gaining and losing coverage through employers who have closed up or cut back in tough times.

But now, Rebecca knows that her health insurance can’t be taken away if her job changes. Debt from her medical expenses, which have been pushing her toward bankruptcy, will finally stop piling up. Before the Marketplace opened, Rebecca was quoted a health insurance premium at nearly $1,100 a month — just for herself — from private insurers. But through the Marketplace, Rebecca found out she qualified for a $500 tax credit to purchase insurance. Because of that financial assistance, she will pay nothing for her monthly premium.

More here

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TPM: Obamacare To Cost ‘Billions Of Dollars Less Than Originally Projected’

Among the GOP’s myriad criticisms of the Affordable Care Act, one of the loudest has centered around the law’s price tag. But it turns out Obamacare won’t be as costly as expected. The New York Times reported Tuesday that “the government is expected to spend billions of dollars less than originally projected on the law.” The adjusted estimate is a result of the law’s Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for private insurance plans proving less costly than initially anticipated.

More here

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Michelle Andrews: Health Law May Offer Part-Time Workers Better Options

In January, part-time workers who have so-called “mini-med” health insurance plans with very limited benefits and annual caps on payments will begin to lose that coverage, which under the health care overhaul can’t  be renewed after the beginning of the year.  Many experts say it’s just as well, noting that part-timers likely will have better options in January. After the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, nearly all plans were required to eliminate lifetime and annual dollar limits on benefits.

When Roberta Grindle was diagnosed with colon cancer in October, she blew through the $5,000 coverage limit on her mini-med plan almost immediately. Grindle, 62, worked 16 hours a week at a big box store near her home in Sebring, Fla., and paid $32 every two weeks for the store’s  plan, the only coverage available to part-time workers.

The health law requires that employers offer health insurance to employees who work at least 30 hours a week or face penalties starting in January, but the Obama administration delayed that provision until 2015. Many part-time workers will have more options for better coverage starting in January. If their employer doesn’t offer a health plan, they can shop for insurance on the online marketplaces, and subsidies will be available to those with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($45,960 for an individual in 2013).

More here

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NYT: U.S. Regulator To Keep An Eye On Largest Student Loan Servicers

The U.S. consumer financial watchdog will soon start supervising the seven largest student loan servicers to ensure they treat borrowers fairly and comply with federal consumer laws, the agency said on Tuesday. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken a broad interest in the burden of student loan debt, which it says now totals $1.2 trillion and saddles many borrowers with debt that takes years to repay.

Student loan borrowers have complained about being charged late fees as a result of processing mistakes by the servicers, lost paperwork and poor communication. “Student loan borrowers should be able to rest assured that when they make a payment toward their loans, the company that takes their money is playing by the rules,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. Under a new rule set to take effect on March 1, the CFPB would expand its supervision to non-bank student loan servicers that handle more than 1 million accounts, regardless of whether they include federal or private loans.

More here

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Colorado Consumer Health Initiative: Strong Coverage For A Strong Family

Sara and I are also both self-employed small business owners. While Margaret and I have no health issues, Sara has a pre-existing condition. In 2008, Sara was treated for a “mild” heart issue, specifically a super ventricular tachycardia (SVT). At the time, the procedure was recommended essentially because it “couldn’t hurt” to get this issue done. It was a simple, low-risk procedure and was completed in a few hours.

However, what the doctors didn’t tell us is that treatment for this problem (which was a problem in name only – Sara had no illness or issues) would make it impossible for her to obtain healthcare later in life. Using the new Colorado Health exchange, Sara, myself, and Margaret were quoted $590.65 per month for a family plan. The individual annual deductible is lower ($1,750 per person, $3,500 per family), there is 25% coinsurance, and it’s a “silver” plan (KP CO Silver), which seems like it should be an upgrade over existing policies.

What’s more, the whole family will share the same policy. They can visit the same doctors (not all doctors would take Sara’s insurance via Cover Colorado), use the same online health record management system via KP.org, etc. Through Connect for Health Colorado my family can save money and have a more comprehensive health plan that meets our needs thanks to Obamacare.

More here

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Pisarski: #Ukraine | 1,6 mln people gathered in #Kiev on Sunday – according to Ukr police.

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Masha Gessen: A Whiter Shade Of Envy

In Russian, envy comes in two colors: black and white. The former is mean and resentful: “It should be me, not you.” The latter is aspirational: “I want to be you.” “Black envy” affirms a despondent world view; “white envy” affords a hopeful one. For a week and a half, many Russians have had a clear case of white envy watching the protests in neighboring Ukraine. After President Viktor F. Yanukovich backed out of signing a political and trade agreement with the European Union, protests broke out in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities.

Many competing and contradictory political forces are involved, but the way it looks from Moscow the front line is drawn clearly: Ukraine has to choose between an increasingly reactionary Russia and Western Europe. Russia is using every kind of pressure — from threatening economic sanctions to declaring tens of thousands of Ukrainians persona non grata — all in order to drag Ukraine back into the Middle Ages with it. Western Europe, which has many demands of its own, promises a future of openness and progress.

More here

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@DavidNakamura: VP Biden meets with Japan’s Deputy PM Taro Aso as U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy looks on.

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Nooga.Com: One Chattanoogan’s Experience With Obamacare

Chattanooga resident John VanHyning and his wife have gone without health insurance since July 2012. His wife is disabled, and the couple has two grandchildren who live with them, VanHyning said. He has a part-time job that pays a couple hundred dollars a week. Now, he has coverage that will go into effect Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. Liberty Tax officials connected him with American Exchange, a local company whose leaders are helping residents nationwide connect with health insurance through the online marketplaces.

“I was even a little skeptical—how can they hook me up so easily when everybody else has [had so many problems?]” he said. Within about 40 minutes of going into Liberty Tax, where he made a phone call to American Exchange, he and his wife were signed up for health care coverage. It won’t cost the couple anything to get a silver plan through BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The monthly premium cost for that plan is $683.64. But because of federal tax credits, the couple won’t have to pay any of that.

More here

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Edward Domain: My Affordable Care Act Enrollment Experience

On May 4th of this year, I was in a cab on a Saturday afternoon heading to the St. Louis Cinco de Mayo parade with two friends. My cab driver was texting and as a result rolled through a red light, we collided head-on with a van and I wound up in the hospital requiring 5 total surgeries and spent five and a half months in two hospitals and a nursing home. I have a new hip, will be in physical therapy for my shoulder for another year and without insurance I would have been doomed. My current bill for health insurance is $628.34/mo and only covers me.

This is insane.  No one I know pays this much for health insurance, so when Healthcare.Gov was announced, I was cautiously optimistic- I had also gotten a letter from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois informing me my policy was being cancelled. After I chose my plan rated ‘gold’ here is my new bill for health insurance under Obamacare: I am saving $265.85/mo under Obamacare, for a total savings of $3,190.20/year This plan is far better than what I had before. My current plan has a deductible of $3,000 and has a $20 co-pay. Under Obamacare, my new plan has a $750 deductible and $30 co-pay for doctor’s visits.

For me, I’ll happily pay an extra $10 when I visit the doctor in return for a smaller copay for the important stuff. If you look, the most I’ll ever pay in one year is $6000- after that I am 100% covered for everything. If you look at my plan details, you’ll see that if I am in-network, after the deductible is covered ($750) then almost everything gets covered 100%. The biggest point for me is that my new plan under Obamacare is with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the same company that my old plan was under. That means they were happily over-charging me for insurance and now, thanks to Obamacare, I have a better plan than I had before and I am paying less for it. Also of note- I did not qualify for subsidies- I am paying the full rate.

More here

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Philadelphia Weekly: So I Signed Up For Obamacare And Got A Big Surprise

From 2005 to 2009, I paid $15 for all office visits after meeting my out-of-pocket deductible. But starting in 2010, that number became $30 per office visit for my family doctor and $50 for any specialists—and with a chronic illness, most of my office visits involve specialists. So, with age 40 looming on the horizon, I had resigned myself to rearranging my life still further, to the reality that I’d need to find, somehow, significantly more money to spend on my private health insurance—since it isn’t something I can live without. Then Obamacare appeared.

With the Personal Choice Platinum Plan PPO, I’ll pay $429.96 per month as a tobacco non-user at age 39. And when I turn 40 a few months later—the source of my financial dread? I’ll pay $435.41 per month. That’s not just no huge increase after all. That’s fifty bucks a month less than I’m paying now. It gets better. Instead of paying my current $30 for a family doctor visit, I’ll pay only $10. I’ll pay $40 for a specialist instead of the $50 I now pay.

With my new Platinum Plan, prescriptions are priced in three tiers. A generic drug’s copay is $5; a brand name drug purchase is a $30 copay; and a non-formulary brand is a $50 copay. That’s the pricing at retail pharmacies—but my new plan also offers a mail-order option to my door through Future Scripts that will enable me to buy a three-month supply of prescription drugs at the cost of a two-month supply’s copay. What sorcery is this? Well—it’s Obamacare. This is what Obamacare is. It’s not the flawed website the media has been dwelling on. It’s the more affordable care structure the website is supposed to point us to—and that a simple phone call did point me to.

More here

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Lauren Silverman: An Obamacare Success Story: From The High Risk Pool To The Marketplace For A Lot Less

More than 20,000 people rely on the state run Texas Health Insurance Pool. The pool insures folks with pre-existing health conditions who can’t find coverage elsewhere. In a few months, that risk pool will no longer exist. And at least one North Texas family is celebrating. Right after he retired a decade ago, Bob Flood learned he had cancer and a kidney would have to be removed. Just one month after he lost his kidney, he lost his health insurance. “The only place I could get health insurance was through the Texas health risk pool. And that is 200 to 400 percent above what the average person pays,”

Flood says. Flood’s family policy was more than three thousand a month. His wife Amy says they tried to write the check once a year to avoid seeing the bill so often. “That was a sizeable chunk of change,” Amy Flood says. “And frankly I would have rather given it to other needy people rather than just to an insurance consortium.” But the Floods wanted to be responsible, so they agreed to grin and bear it. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, they don’t have to anymore. “Now we have a policy which covers the three of us for less than a thousand dollars a month.”

More here

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On This Day:

President Obama whistles as he and Vice President Biden wait in the holding room of the South Court Auditorium prior to the opening session of the White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Dec. 3, 2009. The Vice President’s personal aide, Fran Person, is at right (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama attends a breakout session, “Creating Jobs Through the Rebuilding of America’s Infrastructure,” during the White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Dec. 3, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters, Sasha and Malia, at the National Christmas Tree ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2009

On This Day: President Obama heads along the White House colonnade to the residence after leaving the Oval Office for the day, Dec. 3, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama reaches for a Purple Heart medal which he presented to a wounded soldier at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, Dec. 3, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama participates in a live Twitter question and answer session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 3, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

22
Nov
13

Early Bird Chat

On a tour of the State Floor of the White House, President Obama looks at a portrait of John F. Kennedy by Aaron Shikler, January 24, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Morning everyone.

17
Nov
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama looks out a window of Air Force One during the flight from Canberra to Darwin, Australia, Nov. 17, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Week Ahead:

Today: The First Family will attend the game between the University of Maryland and Oregon State University at College Park, Md

Monday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

Tuesday: Will deliver remarks at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council’s annual meeting

Wednesday: The President will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the First Lady will also attend

Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House

Friday: The President will host King Mohammed XI of Morocco at the White House

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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.

More here

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The Boston Globe: Obama, Clintons To Visit JFK Gravesite Wednesday

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.

More here

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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.

Full post here

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The Salt Lake Tribune: Dying For Coverage: Utahn Lobbies To Expand Medicaid

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.

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Laura Rozen: Iran Nuclear Deal Close, US Officials Say

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.”

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Charles Blow: Disrespect, Race, And Obama

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.

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@NoGOPNo

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Michelle Carl: People Like Me

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.

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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.

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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.

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On This Day:

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)

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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

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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)

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