Posts Tagged ‘March Madness

20
Mar
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia, tour the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (All Times Eastern):

11:0: President Obama Speaks on Ukraine

Times below now delayed:

11:0 President Obama departs White House

1:25: Arrives Orlando, Florida

2:0: Takes part in a roundtable with Valencia College students and local workers; Valencia College, Orlando

3:45: Departs Orlando

4:35: Arrives Miami

5:10: Attends a DNC fundraiser; private residence, Miami

7:35: Delivers remarks and takes questions at a fundraiser for House Democrats; private residence, Miami

8:50: Departs Miami

11:20: Arrives White House

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First Lady Michelle Obama, her mother Marian Robinson, her daughters Sasha and Malia arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport, March 20

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Information on the First Lady’s trip to China here

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Olga Khazan: For Women, The Benefits Of Insurance Outweigh Its Costs

For young women who qualify for subsidies, the free benefits of insurance offset the cost of paying for it, according to a new analysis from Nerdwallet, a consumer financial education site. The company calculated that for a 27-year-old who earns an income of $25,000, the cost of a silver insurance plan will be approximately $1,740 per year, and a bronze plan will cost approximately $1,116 per year.  But that cost is cancelled out by the range of women’s preventative health services that all insurance plans must now cover. For example, while a year’s supply of Yasmin birth control would normally have cost women $744, it’s now free for those with insurance under Obamacare.

More here

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Andrew Sprung: The Satisfied Unsubsidized: Obamacare’s Hidden Winners

More than 80 percent of the people who have signed up for health plans through state or federal Affordable Care Act exchanges qualify for subsidies to help pay premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses. But what about all the millions who don’t have access to employer-sponsored health insurance but also don’t qualify for subsidies? About half of the 12 million Americans buying health insurance on the individual market are subsidy-ineligible, according to the Urban Institute. Are they all fuming and lining up to appear in anti-Obamacare commercials? Chances are not. As veterans of the individual market, many are accustomed to its shocks and uncertainties. But many are finding their options much better and their status less precarious than in the pre-ACA market.

“Finally, in December, I was able to get on the site and look for plans in Georgia that included the doctors we used—most especially for my daughter and her preexisting condition. I found one for around $1,100 per month for my family, and being the capitalist I am, went to compare it to the private marketplace.” That turned out to be a wise idea. Brad found a Humana plan that included the family’s current doctors with a family deductible of $2,500, just half that of the plan he’d considered on the exchange. While the monthly premium was about $100 more expensive, he felt the tradeoff was worthwhile. “I was surprised the private market was so accommodating,” Brad says. “Before the ACA, I couldn’t find anything like this.”

Jonathan and Rose, forty-somethings in Washington State who are also subsidy-ineligible, viewed that option differently. Over the course of 20 years, the couple had cycled variously through employer policies, COBRA, two state high-risk pools (Rose has a preexisting condition) and individual policies. They compared plans on- and off-exchange and found those on the exchange marginally cheaper. But they could have bought the plan of their choice, available through the state exchange, directly from the insurer. Why not spare themselves the extra step as Karen and Brad did? “I chose to buy through the exchange because future income is never guaranteed and if I end up unemployed or with a lower-than-expected income in 2014, I can get the subsidies later when I file my taxes, if I’m eligible,” Jonathan explained.

More here

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Jonathan Chait: Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Poverty, And Culture

Second, Coates argues (in yesterday’s column) that right-wing and liberal advocates of the cultural explanation have the same worldview. “What Ryan said here is not very far from what Bill Cosby, Michael Nutter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama said before him,” he writes, “The idea that poor people living in the inner city, and particularly black men, are ‘not holding up their end of the deal’ as Cosby put it, is not terribly original or even, these days, right-wing.” There are points of overlap, to be sure, but the Ryan argument is dramatically different. Ryan’s analysis — or, at least, the analysis that follows consistently from his remarks and his policy agenda — is that culture now represents the entirety of the problem with the black poor. He attributes that culture to incentives put in place by the government not to work, and believes that removing those harmful incentives, in the form of cutting benefit programs, would teach poor black people to fend for themselves.

Obama’s habit of speaking about this issue primarily to black audiences is Obama seizing upon his role as the most famous and admired African-American in the world to urge positive habits and behavior. Coates is equating exhortation with analysis when he cites Obama urging African-Americans to “get off the couch and stop watching SportsCenter and go register some folks and go to the polls.” Coates responds acidly that African-Americans “voted at higher rates than any other ethnic group in the country. They voted for Barack Obama. Our politics have not changed.” The Obama quote cited by Coates is from January 2008. Before then, black people turned out in presidential elections at lower rates than white people. Since, then, they have turned out at higher rates.

More here

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Carrie Dann: Obama Rules Out ‘Military Excursion’ In Ukraine

President Barack Obama on Thursday ruled out a “military excursion” by the United States in Ukraine, saying that engaging Russia militarily “would not be appropriate.” “We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine,” he said in an interview with KNSD in San Diego. “What we are going to do is mobilize all of our diplomatic resources to make sure that we’ve got a strong international coalition that sends a clear message, which is that Ukraine should decide their destiny.” “There is a better path, but I think even the Ukrainians would acknowledge that for us to engage Russia militarily

would not be appropriate and would not be good for Ukraine either,” he added. In a separate interview with KSDK in St. Louis, Obama reiterated that a military option is not on the table but that the United States and its allies are prepared to take “even more disruptive economic actions.” Obama granted interviews to six local television stations on Wednesday. In the interview with KNSD, the president insisted that Russian President Vladimir Putin “acted out of weakness, not out of strength,” saying that Putin is “not comfortable” with countries loosening their ties to the Kremlin in favor of more freedom to deal with the West.

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Breanna Edwards: Oprah To Headline At Virginia Democrat’s Fundraiser

All other Virginia Democrat campaigns, move aside: Oprah Winfrey is raising funds for Lavern Chatman, who is hoping to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran, also a Democrat, New York’s Daily News reports. The talk-show icon will be the headliner at an April 5 fundraiser in Arlington.

Chatman, former president of the Northern Virginia Urban League, says she’s “delighted” that her “good friend” Oprah will be helping her with the campaign. “To win a race like this, you need a lot of support and a strong grassroots effort,” Chatman told The Hill, the Daily News notes. “Our campaign is off to a tremendous start. We have inspired new volunteers and re-engaged many voters.”

More here

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NYT: Racing To Deadline, White House Plays To Young In Health Care Push

In the past three weeks, Mr. Obama has met with YouTube personalities in the Roosevelt Room, hosting some of the younger generation’s online favorites: a science geek, a drunken chef and an Obama impersonator. He dialed into Rickey Smiley’s hip-hop radio show and sat down in the Diplomatic Reception Room for separate interviews with the comedian Zach Galifianakis and a health care expert from WebMD. “We are going to leave no stone unturned,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president and the leader of the White House public engagement office, which is coordinating the Affordable Care Act effort. “Our goal is to meet people where they are.”

Michelle Obama urged people to sign up in an appearance at a health center in a black neighborhood in Miami, and made the pitch on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. plugged the health care site at Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta. The final push comes at a time when the administration is juggling other priorities. On March 6, at the height of the crisis in Ukraine, Mr. Obama spoke on the phone with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for an hour before going across town to urge Latinos to enroll during a town-hall meeting at a museum broadcast on three Spanish-language television networks. He returned to the White House a couple of hours later to announce the first sanctions on Russia.

On a conference call last week with almost 3,000 pastors, Mr. Obama declared it “crunch time” and asked them to do whatever they could do to urge members of their churches to sign up. At a small church in the Tampa, Fla., neighborhood of Sulphur Springs, the Rev. Timothy Wynn took up the challenge on Sunday. In front of about 50 parishioners, he delivered a sermon that combined his religious guidance with a pitch for insurance. Another YouTube star at the meeting was Hannah Hart, whose show “My Drunk Kitchen” is irreverent and hugely popular. An episode about making a grilled cheese sandwich while tipsy has gotten more than three million views, and a brunch episode, during which Ms. Hart repeatedly downs mimosas as she cooks pancakes and eggs, has gotten two million. In a video she made after leaving the White House meeting, Ms. Hart plugged the president’s website for her viewers.

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Milt Shook: Answering Charlie Pierce: Much Of The Democratic “Base” Isn’t Their Actual Base

In a blog post yesterday one of my favorite columnists, Charlie Pierce (he’s not just a liberal, but a hell of a sports columnist, too), posed a question that I have asked for many years. In fact, it’s a question that many progressives are getting sick of me asking, because they hate the answer: Somebody is going to have to explain to me why the Democratic “base,” which is presumably younger and more spry than the older and whiter Republican “base,” is nonetheless less likely to turn out for midterm elections than the That Sean Hannity Reminds Me Of My Grandson crowd. It is taken as a given, and past performance indicates clearly that it’s usually the case, but I’m not sure why it has to be. So, in the interest to changing this curious dynamic, let me take this red-hot poker and shove it up the base’s ass.

But let’s explain this to Charlie, since he asked: The easy answer, Charlie, is that many, if not most, of the people who proclaim themselves the Democratic “base” are actually anything but. Among these are a bunch of self-proclaimed (mostly white and not poor) progressives who complain about Democrats more than they complain about the current incarnation of the Republican Party. They seem to imagine themselves political experts, even though their actions show a profound ignorance of the real process. Many of them aren’t even registered Democratic, nor would they deign to set foot in a Democratic caucus of any kind. They’re not the “base,” by any stretch.

More here

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Kobe Bryant talks Basketball, President Barack Obama, ObamaCare, and why everyone should get covered now. Begins at 9:00

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Washington Post: This Guy Knew When Obamacare Enrollment Would Hit 5M Before Anyone Else. Now He’s Predicting 6.2M

The Obama administration on Monday announced that 5 million people had signed up for Obamacare exchange plans. Hours earlier, a self-employed Web developer from Michigan had already predicted the milestone would be hit on Monday. Meet Charles Gaba: He’s not a professional statistician, heath care expert or a political operative. He’s a self-described “numbers geek” who just wants to know how the new health care law is actually doing.

He’s been tracking the most up-to-date enrollment information and offering his own projections on his blog, ACAsignups.net. On the same day he predicted the 5 million signups milestone, he accurately predicted California would hit the 1 million mark. For policy wonks and health care journalists who have clamored for more information about Obamacare enrollment, Gaba’s blog has become a must-read. His next big prediction: The final signup tally will hit 6.22 million.

More here

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Ylan Mui: Federal Reserve Lays Groundwork For First Interest Rate Spike

The Federal Reserve spent the past five years driving home a single message: Zero percent interest rates are here to stay. Now it is preparing to change its tune. The nation’s central bank said Wednesday it will look at a broad swath of indicators – including job market data, inflation expectations and financial developments – as it determines when to raise rates for the first time since the recession hit. The deliberately vague wording is a retreat from the Fed’s concrete promise to leave rates untouched.

Though they disagree on when to act – targets range from this year to 2016 – the statement signals the moment has finally come within striking distance. The Fed has cast the shift as merely a change in semantics, not in official policy. In its statement, the central bank tried to assure investors that rates could remain below historical levels – even if they are no longer at zero.

More here

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ESPN: MSU Honored That Obama Chose Spartans

Three weeks ago, the expectations for the Michigan State basketball team were pretty low. Riddled with injuries and unable to find any semblance of chemistry, it seemed as though the Spartans were a team destined for an early NCAA tournament exit. A few wins and Big Ten tournament title later, they’re the No. 4 seed in the East Region. The expectations soared as fans discussed how under-seeded the Spartans were, how they were no worse off than Michigan or Wisconsin, which both received No. 2 seeds.

Then, President Obama picked the Spartans to win it all in his annual “Barack-etology.” For Michigan State, it was fine to know that experts and analysts were picking the Spartans to cut down the nets, but when the president of the United States knew the names and stats and stories of the Michigan State team, it struck some members of the team.  “When I saw that it was just bizarre that Barack Obama picked us and he was talking aboutKeith [Appling] and injuries and us getting back and playing together as a team,” Branden Dawson said.

More here

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On This Day:

President Barack Obama watches his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, on TV as she breaks ground for the White House vegetable garden, March 20, 2009. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs watches with him in the Upper Press Office of the West Wing. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama drops by Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev in the Vice President’s Office in West Wing of the White House, March 20, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama walks through the Outer Oval Office in between health care meetings, March 20, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama greets House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her grandson, following a meeting with Democratic Members of Congress to discuss the health insurance reform vote at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 20, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama plays soccer with children at the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela Community Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch a capoeira performance during their tour of the Ciudad de Deus Favela in Rio de Janeiro, March 20, 2011

President Barack Obama waves to people gathered on the street outside the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela Community Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama fist bumps a young person reaching through the door at the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela Community Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama acknowledges applause after he delivers a speech at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama meets with Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland in the Oval Office, March 20, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama is welcomed by Vice President Biden as he arrives for a reception for Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the East Room of the White House, March 20, 2012

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President Barack Obama walks across the tarmac with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Bo, the Obama family dog, waits for First Lady Michelle Obama on the South Lawn driveway before departing the White House, March 20, 2013. Bo accompanied Mrs. Obama during her visit to Maryland Fisher House IV at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

19
Mar
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: Senator Barack Obama at the 36th Annual NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles, March 19, 2005

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Today (all times Eastern):

1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:25: President Obama hosts a screening of the film Cesar Chavez at the White House

3:05: The President will participate in the latest installment of “Live from the White House” by conducting a round of interviews with local television anchors from New England, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Dallas, Phoenix, and San Diego to make the case for raising the minimum wage and giving hardworking Americans the raise they deserve. While in Washington, the local anchors will spend the day with behind-the-scenes access to the White House and the President’s top advisers. These interviews are embargoed until 5:00PM EDT

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CBS Philly: Organizers Urging Philadelphians To Beat Obamacare Signup Deadline

Federal officials have announced that more than five million people have now enrolled in a health insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act web site, healthcare.gov.

Philadelphia has one of the highest rates of signup, but advocates are not resting until the March 31st deadline passes.

Today, a signup rally in Love Park (JFK Plaza) featured elected officials and the newly insured, who testified to the “affordable” part of the Affordable Care Act.

“My rate for my health care, per month, is 27 cents,” said Susan O’Connell, who said she had been paying almost $600 a month for a “Cobra” plan after losing her job.  So, she noted, it was a significant savings for a plan that all her doctors accept and has lower co-pays.

More here

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The People’s View: The Obamacare Coalition: Why the Affordable Care Act is a Huge Asset for Democrats

As we sprint to the finish to the March 31 open-enrollment period deadline in the health insurance marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act, national pundits are increasingly making the case that Obamacare is going to be a political liability for Democrats in November. As evidence, they point to the loss of Alex Sink in a Congressional special election in Florida, pronouncing that it was the ACA that sank Sink’s ship.

Actual data, of course, points in the exact opposite direction, suggesting that the traction Sink got in a heavily Republican district in a low-turnout election was in part due to her opposition to Obamacare’s repeal. If Obamacare is responsible for the results, then a more accurate reading would be that Obamacare closed an 11-point GOP registration gap to a 2-point voting gap on election day. That’s the miracle here, and of course, the corpse of a national media isn’t talking about it.

More here

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EclectaBlog: Could you get health insurance for $56/month? This Michigan man did

He’s one of the 17 million Americans eligible for financial assistance to make coverage more affordable. Find out if you are, too — before the March 31 deadline.

Michael Paul Goldenberg has lived without health insurance since 2009 — almost as long as he’s had type 2 diabetes. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based part-time math teacher and consultant lost his insurance when he lost his previous job, and the $500 a month to continue his coverage was unaffordable over the long term.

When some additional health concerns came up a few months ago, Goldenberg decided it was time to look into what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could do for him…..

More here

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Steve Benen: Boehner’s casual indifference to healthcare facts

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) held a press conference late last week and said, practically as an afterthought, that there are “less people today with health insurance than there were before this law went into effect.” That didn’t make any sense, so a reporter followed up.

REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, you said a minute ago there are fewer people today with health insurance then when the law was passed. I want to make sure I understand. You’re saying that “Obamacare” has resulted in a net loss of insurance?

BOEHNER: I believe that to be the case. When you look at the 6 million Americans who have lost their policies and some – they claim 4.2 million people who have signed up – I don’t know how many have actually paid for it – that would indicate to me a net loss of people with health insurance.

The problem, of course, is that none of this is even remotely true….

More here

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ThinkProgress: Parts Of The GOP’s Obamacare Alternative Just Rip Off Obamacare

House Republicans are planning to unveil a unified alternative to the Affordable Care Act this spring, the Washington Post reported on Monday. Though details of the plan remain sketchy, the measure is “hardly intended as a full replacement of the federal health-care law” and will focus on filling gaps in the health care system.

According to the Post, lawmakers will endorse “ability to buy insurance across state lines, guaranteed renewability of policies and changes to medical-malpractice regulations.” Once Obama’s health care reform law is repealed, insurers will be able to discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions, though the GOP-backed proposal will offer sicker individuals coverage through “high-risk insurance pools” managed and subsidized by the states.” The alternative will also promote health savings accounts, allow small businesses “to purchase coverage together” and permit young people to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26.

If that last plank sounds a whole lot like the Affordable Care Act, that’s because it is. Of the seven provisions outlined by the Post, five — save health savings accounts and malpractice reform — are already included in the law in one way or another.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: Another Rich Guy Says Populists Are Like Nazis

Remember the story about the rich guy comparing left-wing populism to Nazism? It’s happening again, only this time it’s a different rich guy.

It’s Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and financier of the Republican Party. Politico’s Ben White and Maggie Haberman caught up with him, while reporting an article about how the very wealthy see the political landscape—and whether they are worried, as they were before, that liberal arguments about inequality and redistribution were resonating with the public.

“I hope it’s not working,” Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot and major GOP donor, said of populist political appeals. “Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”

…. An easy and perfectly appropriate response would be to focus on the absurdity of these Nazi comparisons — starting with the fact that, you know, raising taxes on the wealthy isn’t exactly like genocide.

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A rare Politico link, but this fella’s usually worth it:

Roger Simon: (Politico): Mess with bull, get horns

…. And you thought the big three issues for Obama were jobs, jobs, jobs. How wrong you are. Why should Obama worry about Detroit, when he should really be worrying about Donetsk?

…. Past U.S. presidents knew how to use power. There is but one nation in the history of the world that has used nuclear weapons against another nation: USA! USA! USA!

Obama should stop going around in that silly windbreaker with the presidential seal on the front. Instead, the front of his jacket should have a mushroom cloud and the words: “You mess with the bull and you get the horns.”

But he won’t do that. He worries about things like a thermonuclear exchange and how it would end all mankind.

Wuss.

More here

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Paul Waldman: Vivek Murthy, the NRA and the politics of fear

The National Rifle Administration knows the power of fear. After all, its entire business model is based on it. When the organization’s chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, goes before an audience and proclaims, “We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all,” he’s not trying to give a reasoned assessment of contemporary challenges. (In the real world, crime has been steadily declining for two decades.) LaPierre is trying to make his audience as afraid as possible, because fear is great for his business.

More here

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USA Today: Obama’s Final Four: Fla., Ariz., L’ville, Mich. St.

President Obama has picked his Final Four in the 2014 men’s college basketball tournament: Florida, Louisville, Arizona, and Michigan State.

ESPN, which interviewed Obama about the tournament on Tuesday, will reveal the president’s pick for the title later today.

It’s the sixth straight year that the president has participated in what ESPN calls “Barack-etology.”

More here

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On This Day:

President Obama practices his golf swing at an outdoor hold prior to an event at the Miguel Contreras Learning Center in Los Angeles, Calif., March 19, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and L.A. Mayor Antonio Ramon Villaraigosa prior to an event at the Miguel Contreras Learning Center in Los Angeles, Calif., March 19, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama gestures while speaking at the Miguel Contreras Learning Center in Los Angeles, Calif., March 19, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama shares a moment with Jay Leno off set of the Tonight Show at NBC Studios, Burbank, Calif., March 19, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama talks to a Member of Congress while en route to George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., to deliver remarks on health insurance reform, March 19, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama speaks on health insurance reform at George Mason University’s Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia on March 19, 2010

President Obama calls a Member of Congress to discuss health care reform in the Oval Office, March 19, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama calls a Member of Congress about health care reform from the Oval Office, March 19, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Arriving at Brasilia Air Base, Brazil, March 19, 2011

President Obama walks with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff following the arrival of First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia, at the Palacio do Alvorada in Brasilia, Brazil, March 19, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama talks on the phone with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office, March 19, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama is interviewed during a taping of the “Late Show with David Letterman” at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, N.Y., March 19, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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President Obama speaks during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office of the White House, March 19, 2013

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