President Barack Obama participates in a group conversation with Jude Schimmel (L) of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, Tatiana Ticknor (R) of the Yup’ik/Tlingit/Dena’ina of Alaska and other young Native people during the 7th White House Tribal Nations Conference. He took questions about higher education opportunities for native youth, the need to change offensive school and sports team mascots and other topics
President Barack Obama participates in a group conversation with (L-R) Jude Schimmel of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, Tatiana Ticknor of the Yup’ik/Tlingit/Dena’ina of Alaska, Brayden White of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, Blossom Johnson of the Navajo Nation and Philip Douglas of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to Native American youth at the first White House Tribal Youth Gathering. She told hundreds of Native American youths that they are all precious and sacred and that “each of you was put on this earth for a reason”
More than 1,000 Native American children gathered Thursday for the first-ever Tribal Youth Gathering at the White House, where first lady Michelle Obama called them precious and sacred members of society. “Each of you was put on this Earth for a reason. Each of you has something that you’re destined to do, whether that’s raising a beautiful family, whether that’s succeeding in a profession or leading your community into a better future,” she said. “You all have a role to play and we need you.” The first lady touched upon the historical struggles of Native Americans: being forced from lands they had lived on for generations, requiring young people to attend boarding schools designed to strip them of their cultural traditions and outlawing their religions and traditional ceremonies. She urged the individuals to learn about their elected officials, and run for local, state or federal office if they aren’t satisfied with their current efforts. “Make no mistake about it, your customs, your values, your discoveries are at the heart of the American story,” she told the crowd. “And yet, as we all know, America hasn’t always treated your people and your heritage with dignity and respect.”
The meeting was part of President Barack Obama’s vow to remove barriers that make it hard for Native American children to succeed. The children came from 230 tribes in 42 states to attend the inaugural summit and meet with the first lady, cabinet officials and members of the White House Council on Native American Affairs. They planned to discuss issues ranging from cultural protection and revitalization, to tribal justice and economic opportunity. Along with the meeting on Thursday, the White House announced several commitments aimed at ensuring Native children can thrive. DOI will issue $995,000 to be distributed to 20 tribal colleges and universities, and will award seven tribal applicants a total of $1.45 million in new funding to build their tribal education departments. And in September, there will be a second Native Languages Summit to identify ways to preserve and revitalize Native languages.
Gusccavedo Harrison of the Navajo Nation who is from Chinle, Arizona, cheers as First Lady Michelle Obama mentions the Navajo as being among the Nations present as she speaks to Native American youth at the first White House Tribal Youth Gathering
Shasta Dazen of Whiteriver, Arizona, who is the 53rd Miss Indian Arizona, and Deandra Antonio, right, both of the White Mountain Apache Nation and who serve on the White Mountain Apache youth council, take pictures of First Lady Michelle Obama
For example, last night, France’s minister of foreign affairs, Britain’s foreign secretary, Germany’s federal minister for foreign affairs, and the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs wrote a joint piece for the Washington Post, urging Congress to allow the talks to continue. This was no small development – the piece was written by the chief diplomatic officer (the equivalent of the U.S. Secretary of State) of some of America’s closest allies on the planet. If there are Republicans who argue that these allies aren’t as important as Israel, they should remember that even some top Israeli officials themselves believe that Netanyahu and GOP officials are pursuing the wrong course.
The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has broken ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling U.S. officials and lawmakers that a new Iran sanctions bill in the U.S. Congress would tank the Iran nuclear negotiations. It’s going to be tough for anyone to argue that the international negotiations are anti-Israel when the Mossad is arguing otherwise. What’s more, note that the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman also believes the Republican gambit is a mistake. Foxman urged Boehner to rescind the invitation and urged Netanyahu not to accept it.
On This Day: President Barack Obama greets baseball fans during a Washington Nationals vs. Chicago White Sox baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (All Times Eastern)
10:0: Live from the First White House Makers Faire
10:45: President Obama views “Maker Faire” projects devoted to using science and technology to advance business, South Lawn
11:30: Delivers remarks at the White House Maker Faire, East Room
12:15: Meets with economists for lunch, Roosevelt Room
12:45: Jay Carney briefs the press
3:0: The President meets with members of the Congressional Leadership
5:10: Meets with Secretary of State Kerry
President Barack Obama and Press Secretary Jay Carney disembark from Air Force One upon arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Wednesday night, June 17, 2014. It was Carney’s last flight on Air Force One as White House Press Secretary. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The Week Ahead
Thursday: The President will award Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.
Friday: The President will meet with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand.
President Obama speaks at the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) fundraiser gala in Gotham Hall, Tuesday, June 17
You can see a video of the President’s remarks here
NYT: Obama Is Said To Consider Selective Airstrikes On Sunni Militants
President Obama is considering a targeted, highly selective campaign of airstrikes against Sunni militants in Iraq similar to counterterrorism operations in Yemen, rather than the widespread bombardment of an air war, a senior administration official said on Tuesday. Such a campaign, most likely using drones, could last for a prolonged period, the official said. But it is not likely to begin for days or longer, and would hinge on the United States’ gathering adequate intelligence about the location of the militants, who are intermingled with the civilian population in Mosul, Tikrit and other cities north of Baghdad. Even if the president were to order strikes, they would be far more limited in scope than the air campaign conducted during the Iraq war, this official said, because of the relatively small number of militants involved, the degree to which they are
dispersed throughout militant-controlled parts of Iraq and fears that using bigger bombs would kill Sunni civilians. At a meeting with his national security advisers at the White House on Monday evening, the official said, Mr. Obama was presented with a “sliding scale” of military options, which range from supplying the beleaguered Iraqi Army with additional advisers, intelligence and equipment to conducting strikes targeting members of the militant group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Much of the emphasis at the meeting, the official said, was on how to gather useful intelligence about the militants. They are not wearing uniforms or sleeping in barracks; and while there may be periodic convoys to strike, there are no columns of troops or vehicles.
Ahmed Abu Khattala was always open about his animosity toward the United States, and even about his conviction that Muslims and Christians were locked in an intractable religious war. During the assault on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, Mr. Abu Khattala was a vivid presence. Witnesses saw him directing the swarming attackers who ultimately killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Afterward, he offered contradictory denials of his role, sometimes trying to say that he did not do it but strongly approved. He appeared to enjoy his notoriety. Captured by military commandos and law enforcement agents early on Monday, Mr. Abu Khattala may now help address some of the persistent questions about the identity and motives of the attackers.
The thriving industry of conspiracy theories, political scandals, talk show chatter and congressional hearings may now confront the man federal investigators say played the central role in the attack. On the day of the attack, Islamists in Cairo had staged a demonstration outside the United States Embassy there to protest an American-made online video mocking Islam, and the protest culminated in a breach of the embassy’s walls — images that flashed through news coverage around the Arab world. As the attack in Benghazi was unfolding a few hours later, Mr. Abu Khattala told fellow Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him.
President Obama’s climate speech Saturday got plenty of press for its lengthy assault on global-warming denial. But what excited an aggressive wing of the climate movement were just a few cryptic words elsewhere in the commencement address at the University of California (Irvine): “You need to invest in what helps, and divest from what harms.” Activists pushing universities and other institutions to dump their financial holdings in coal and oil-and-gas companies believe they heard an unmistakable White House endorsement.
“People are thrilled about it,” Jamie Henn of 350.org, one of the groups leading the divestment movement, said of Obama’s comments Saturday. “Students will be taking the president’s message to their college presidents and boards of trustees,” he said of the fossil-fuel-divestment campaign, which also includes the Energy Action Coalition, the Responsible Endowments Coalition, the Sierra Student Coalition, and groups on specific campuses. The founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben, a high-profile climate activist, has been a major divestment advocate.
NYT: U.S. Defends Prosecuting Benghazi Suspect In Civilian Rather Than Military Court
Conservative lawmakers on Tuesday sharply criticized the Obama administration’s decision to prosecute the suspected leader of the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, in the civilian criminal justice system, arguing that he should be questioned and tried by the military. The White House quickly pushed back. “Some have suggested that he should go to Gitmo,” said Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman. “Let me rule that out from the start.” “We have had substantial success delivering swift justice to terrorists through our federal court system,” she added. Greg Doherty, the brother of one of the attack’s victims, Glen A. Doherty, said he supported the decision to try Mr. Abu Khattala in a civilian court. “I think that’s what we should do with criminals, which is try them,” he said.
The Obama administration has sought to close the Guantánamo prison and refused to send newly captured prisoners there, instead using federal courts to prosecute terrorism cases that arose after Mr. Obama took office. The military commissions system, which the Bush administration established and Congress revised in 2009, has struggled. Appeals courts have vacated the convictions of the only two Guantánamo detainees who were tried for war crimes before a military commission — as opposed to pleading guilty without a trial and giving up a right to appeal — because of flaws that would likely not have been a problem in civilian court.
Daily Beast: Why Delta Force Waited So Long To Grab A Benghazi Ringleader
The mission to capture Ahmed abu Khatallah, one of the ringleaders of the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya was more than a year in the making. In the months leading up to the raid, teams from the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, or Delta Force, practiced the extradition on a mock-up of abu Khatallah’s compound at Fort Bragg, according to a U.S. military contractor familiar with the planning for the mission. Eventually, it was a Delta Team with embedded FBI agents on Sunday that snagged the man wanted for the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, State Department officer Sean Smith and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. The Obama administration has come under withering criticism because the whereabouts of abu Khatallah have been generally known.
But other U.S. officials, who spoke to The Daily Beast anonymously because they were not authorized to talk to the press, said the mission to grab abu Khatallah had been planned for more than a year. Indeed, the Benghazi ringleader had been in the sights of Delta Force operators at the end of August, according to these sources, but no order was given at the time. A senior administration official told The Daily Beast that the delay in apprehending the suspect was due in part to requests from the Justice Department to gather appropriate evidence to prosecute him in criminal court. The practice and patience paid off, apparently. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday’s raid resulted in no casualties. “Khatallah currently faces criminal charges on three counts, and we retain the option of adding additional charges in the coming days,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement Tuesday.
CBS Local: New York, Chicago, Hawaii Bid For Obama Presidential Library
At least six locations in three different states, including New York, entered official bids by Monday’s deadline in an effort to house Barack Obama’s presidential library. Columbia University, where Obama got his undergraduate degree, pitched a West Harlem site.
Four of the confirmed bidders are from Chicago, the president’s hometown, and a fifth was expected. Obama’s birth state of Hawaii also offered an oceanfront location in Honolulu.
While the Obama Foundation, which is planning the library, declined to confirm the bids it has received, planners for the six widely reported potential locations all confirmed they had submitted proposals. All see the library and museum as a potential driver of economic development. The University of Chicago cited a study it commissioned that concluded the library would draw 800,000 visitors a year and create 1,900 permanent jobs.
Simon Maloy: Stop Treating War-Crazy Buffoons As Experts! They Got It Wrong, Remember?
If you were asked to identify a single moment that best captures the failure of elite media outlets to act as agents of accountability, you could do worse than David Gregory asking Paul Wolfowitz on “Meet the Press” this weekend what we should do, “as a policy matter,” to deal with the deteriorating situation in Iraq. Wolfowitz, as deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005, was one of the chief visionaries and supporters of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. And he got just about everything wrong, from the cost of the war to the presence of WMD. And he doesn’t particularly care. In an interview with the Sunday Times last March, Wolfowitz made the argument that even though they got it wrong on WMD in 2003,
everything they said was happening (but wasn’t) would likely have happened later. “We would very likely either have had to go through this whole scenario all over but probably with higher costs for having delayed, or we’d be in a situation today where not only Iran was edging towards nuclear weapons but so was Iraq and also Libya.” What price did Wolfowitz pay for his part in the biggest American foreign policy disaster of that last generation? George Bush nominated him to the presidency of the World Bank. While at the World Bank he violated ethics rules and caused a scandal that paralyzed the institution. He was forced to resign after governments around the world called for him to be fired.
Travis Waldron: In Landmark Decision, U.S. Patent Office Cancels Trademark For Redskins Football Team
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six federal trademark registrations for the name of the Washington Redskins, ruling that the name is “disparaging to Native Americans” and thus cannot be trademarked under federal law that prohibits the protection of offensive or disparaging language. The U.S. PTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued a ruling in the case, brought against the team by plaintiff Amanda Blackhorse, Wednesday morning. “We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” the board wrote in its opinion.
“The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with our clients that the team’s name and trademarks disparage Native Americans. The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place,” Jesse Witten, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, said in a press release. “We presented a wide variety of evidence – including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups – to demonstrate that the word ‘redskin’ is an ethnic slur.”
President Obama walks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi backstage at a Democratic fundraiser in Washington, D.C., June 18, 2009 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Obama meets with Senior Advisors in the Oval Office in the White House, June 18, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama (background in Oval Office) chats before a lunch with members of the press in his private dining room, on June 18, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama listens to Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office for Health Reform, in a meeting on health care reform in the Roosevelt Room in the White House, June 18, 2009. From left: OMB Director Peter Orszag, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, DeParle, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (Photo by Pete Souza)
After playing a round of golf, President Obama has a drink with Vice President Joe Biden, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, at Joint Base Andrews, June 18, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama walks with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton following a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia at the Esperanza Resort in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, June 18, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama talks with Chief of Staff Jack Lew at the Esperanza Resort in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico, before the start of a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, June 18, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama waits with advisors before a bilateral meeting during the G8 Summit at the Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 18, 2013. Pictured, from left, are: Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; President Obama; Rob Nabors, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy; and Caroline Atkinson, Special Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs (Photo by Pete Souza)
First Lady Michelle Obama with Sasha and Malia during a visit to Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland, on June 18, 2013.
President Obama walks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada on the grounds of Lough Erne Resort during the G8 Summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 18, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)
On This Day – Pete Souza: “The President shows off his dance moves as he and the First Lady waited backstage during an intermission of daughter Sasha’s dance recital at Strathmore Arts Center in North Bethesda, Maryland.” June 16, 2013
10:0 am PT: President Obama departs Palm Springs
5:30 pm ET: Arrives White House
The Week Ahead
Tuesday: President Obama will travel to TechShop Pittsburgh to deliver remarks on the economy. Following this, he will travel to New York City to attend the DNC LGBT Gala and take part in another DNC Event.
Wednesday: The President will host the first ever White House Maker Faire and meet with students, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens who are using new tools and techniques to launch new businesses, learn vital skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and fuel the renaissance in American manufacturing.
Thursday: The President will award Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.
Friday: The President will meet with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand.
Paul Krugman: Yes He Could – Health Care And Climate: President Obama’s Big Deals
You should judge leaders by their achievements, not their press, and in terms of policy substance Mr. Obama is having a seriously good year. In fact, there’s a very good chance that 2014 will go down in the record books as one of those years when America took a major turn in the right direction. First, health reform is now a reality — and despite a shambolic start, it’s looking like a big success story. Remember how nobody was going to sign up? First-year enrollments came in above projections. Remember how people who signed up weren’t actually going to pay their premiums? The vast majority have.
Then there’s climate policy. The Obama administration’s new rules on power plants won’t be enough in themselves to save the planet, but they’re a real start — and are by far the most important environmental initiative since the Clean Air Act….Put it all together, and Mr. Obama is looking like a very consequential president indeed.
Colin H. Kahl: No, Obama Didn’t Lose Iraq: What The President’s Critics Get Wrong
As the senior Pentagon official responsible for Iraq policy during the first three years of the Obama administration, I had a front-row seat for the internal deliberations over how to end the war. Through the first half of 2011, there was a vigorous debate within the administration about whether U.S. forces should remain in Iraq beyond December, and if so, in what numbers and with what missions. Ultimately, at great political risk, President Obama approved negotiations with the Iraqi government to allow a force of around 5,000 American troops to stay in Iraq to provide counterterrorism support and air cover and to train the Iraqi army. But, as commander in chief, he was unwilling to strand U.S. forces in a hostile, anti-American environment without the legal protections and immunities required to ensure soldiers didn’t end up in Iraqi jails. These protections, which are common in nearly every country where U.S. forces operate, were guaranteed under the 2008 status of forces agreement negotiated by the Bush administration; Obama simply demanded that they continue under any follow-on accord. Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, told
U.S. negotiators that he was willing to sign an executive memorandum of understanding that included these legal protections. But for any agreement to be binding under the Iraqi constitution, it had to be approved by the Iraqi parliament. This was the judgment of every senior administration lawyer and Maliki’s own legal adviser, and no senior U.S. military commander made the case that we should leave forces behind without these protections. Even Sen. John McCain, perhaps the administration’s harshest Iraq critic, admitted in a December 2011 speech discussing the withdrawal that the president’s demand for binding legal immunities “was a matter of vital importance.” Moreover, because the 2008 security agreement had been approved by the Iraqi parliament, it seemed both unrealistic and politically unsustainable to apply a lower standard this time around. Unfortunately, Iraqi domestic politics made it impossible to reach a deal. Iraqi public opinion surveys consistently showed that the U.S. military presence was deeply unpopular
Matthew Lee: Kerry: US Open To Cooperation With Iran On Chaos In Iraq
Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is willing to talk with Iran over deteriorating security conditions in Iraq and is not ruling out potential U.S.-Iranian military cooperation in stemming the advance of Sunni extremists. Kerry also says U.S. drone strikes “may well” be an option.
In a Monday interview with Yahoo! News, Kerry said Washington is “open to discussions” with Tehran if the Iranians can help end the violence and restore confidence in the Iraqi government. Asked about possible military cooperation with Iran, Kerry said he would “not rule out anything that would be constructive.” However, he stressed that any contacts with Iran would move “step-by-step.”
New data show the number of students without health insurance on California State University campuses dropped by 60% after health insurance enrollment, defying concerns that not enough young people would sign up for health insurance. According to a poll released Thursday, at the 15 largest CSU campuses, between 25% and 30% of students were uninsured before enrollment began, and 10% were uninsured after. The drop accounts for 60,000 students who became insured, and illustrates the late surge of young people who signed up for policies. “These students proved that the folks we’re calling young invincibles do want health insurance,” said William Covino, president of Cal State Los Angeles. Walter Zelman, chair of the Cal State L.A. Public Health Department and director of the project, said that he believes the 10% uninsured rate among the students is “virtually unheard of in California.”
He pointed out that the 60% drop in the number of uninsured CSU students is vastly higher than the 26% reduction in the number of uninsured nationwide that was reported by a Gallup poll this month. CSU students were perhaps more likely to sign-up for insurance than expected because many are low-income and therefore qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health program that was expanded under the federal health care law. Natasha Buranasombati, 23, signed up for an insurance plan through Covered California. A recent Cal State L.A. grad, she’d been off her parents’ insurance for a few years, and couldn’t afford a plan on the individual market. She now pays $117 a month for her new plan. “The issue is not invincibility, it’s affordability,” Zelman said.
Bloomberg: Taliban Fighters Warn Foreign Investors To Leave Pakistan
Pakistan’s military began a full-scale operation in the Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan, prompting insurgents to warn foreign investors, airlines and multinational companies to leave the country. “We’re in a state of war,” Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, said in a statement today. “Foreign investors, airlines, and multinational companies should cut off business with Pakistan immediately and leave the country or else they will be responsible for their damage themselves.”
The army said yesterday it would target local and foreign terrorists in North Waziristan, a tribal region near the Afghan border the U.S. has called the “epicenter” of terrorism. The operation, long sought by the U.S., comes a week after militants attacked the country’s biggest international airport. As Islamic militants capture cities in Iraq and the U.S. draws up plans to withdraw from Afghanistan, public opinion in Pakistan is shifting in favor of stronger action against fighters who were previously seen locally as more of a threat to America’s interests. The Taliban wants to impose its version of Islamic Shariah law in Pakistan, which includes a ban on music and stricter rules for women.
LA Times: Actors, Musicians Are Big Beneficiaries Of Obamacare
In 2011, actress Lynda Berg didn’t make enough money to qualify for health insurance through her union. And, on her own, she had trouble finding a plan she could afford because she’s a survivor of breast cancer, considered a preexisting condition. The uncertainty of not having a health plan was stressful and at times expensive, she recalls. A few years ago she fell and broke her hand and elbow and ended up paying $4,000 for her medical care. But all that has changed for Berg, 59. In March, she went online, signed up for a policy through Covered California, the state’s new health insurance marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act, and now is getting medical care. More than most people, workers in the area’s vast entertainment industry are poised to benefit from the federal health law.
“When people think Hollywood, they think George Clooney and Meryl Streep, but that’s not the average person in this town,” said Dan Kitowski, director of health services for the western region of the Actors Fund, a national nonprofit that does Affordable Care Act outreach. Actress Berg, who lives in Beverlywood, now pays a premium of $145 a month for her Blue Shield of California plan. She’s using her coverage to get prescriptions for $5 a month that she was paying more than $100 to fill before. She plans to head to the doctor’s office soon for a checkup she’s been putting off. “It’s a tremendous blessing to actors and anyone who doesn’t have insurance,” she said. “Even if you get a plan with a large deductible, at least you have that safety net … and you’re not in debt for the next seven years.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Friday $70 million in funding available during Fiscal Year 2014 to tribal communities across the nation to improve Indian housing conditions and stimulate community development for low and moderate income families. The grants are available through HUD’s Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) Program for a wide variety of community development and affordable housing activities. Read HUD’s ICDBG Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). The purpose of the ICDBG program is to develop viable Indian and Alaska Native communities, including decent housing, suitable living environments, and economic opportunities. Recipients can use the funding to support rehabbing or building new housing or to buy land for housing. They can use it toward infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer facilities. Recipients can also spur economic development including commercial and industrial projects.
This has included community and health centers, energy conservation projects, or new businesses such as shopping centers, manufacturing plants, restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations. “Housing and infrastructure needs in Indian Country are severe and widespread, and far exceed what has been provided to tribes and their designated housing entities. This funding will go directly to the Native American and Alaska Native communities that are working hard every day to improve housing for the families who need it most,” said Rodger Boyd, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Native American Programs. “HUD invests in people and neighborhoods across the country that promote development at the local level by those local leaders who know their communities best. This year we are committed to not only expanding housing opportunities but also helping to ensure healthier environments for those affected by mold.”
Eliza Griswold: Can General Linder’s Special Operations Forces Stop the Next Terrorist Threat?
On a searing morning this spring, Brig. Gen. James B. Linder leaned against the red-webbing seats of a C-130 as it flew over the Sahara. On his camouflaged knee, he balanced two dog-eared Moleskine notebooks and a map of Africa. Linder, who is in his early 50s, commands the United States Special Operations forces in Africa. He was on his way to visit a detachment of 12 Army Green Berets training with African troops to fight Al Qaeda and its affiliates in Niger. Through the plane’s scratched plexiglass portholes, dunes crested like waves in an ocean of sand, and hot blasts of wind buffeted the fuselage.
An hour’s flight to the south, his team of Special Forces was deployed along the Nigerian border, where the militant group Boko Haram was targeting children in its bid to establish an Islamic state. “My job is to look at Africa and see where the threat to the United States is,” Linder said as he unfolded his map and traced circles around the territories where he knew extremist groups were operating. “I see Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Libyan problem set, Al Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, Benghazi and Darna.”
NYT: Starbucks To Provide Free College Education To Thousands of Workers
Starbucks will provide a free online college education to thousands of its workers, without requiring that they remain with the company, through an unusual arrangement with Arizona State University, the company and the university will announce on Monday. The program is open to any of the company’s 135,000 United States employees, provided they work at least 20 hours a week and have the grades and test scores to gain admission to Arizona State. For a barista with at least two years of college credit, the company will pay full tuition; for those with fewer credits it will pay part of the cost, but even for many of them, courses will be free, with government and university aid. Starbucks is, in effect, inviting its workers, from the day they join the company, to study whatever they like, and then leave whenever they like — knowing that many of them, degrees in hand, will leave for better-paying jobs.
In a low-wage service industry, Starbucks has for decades been unusual, doing things such as providing health insurance, even for part-timers, and giving its employees stock options. (Like other food and drink chains, it has also been accused of using improper tactics in fighting unionization drives.) Whether in spite of those perks or because of them, the company has been highly successful; its stock, which closed Friday at $74.69, has grown in value more than a hundredfold since it went public in 1992. The president of Arizona State, Michael M. Crow, something of an evangelist for online education, was scheduled to join Mr. Schultz and Arne Duncan, the education secretary, to announce the program on Monday in Manhattan. Arizona State has one of the largest online degree programs in the United States, with 11,000 students and 40 undergraduate majors, and one of the most highly regarded.
I’m here in Florida visiting my father, Ed Reich, who, at the young age of 100 and a half, just came up with one of the most incisive assessments I’ve heard of what’s happened in Iraq: “George W. Bush and the crooks he hired are responsible for this. If they hadn’t lied to the American people about weapons of mass destruction we wouldn’t have lost nearly 5,000 American lives and god knows how many Iraqi lives, and stirred up this hornet’s nest. Obama has spent his entire administration cleaning up Bush’s shit, like someone with a giant pooper scooper.” Dad has lived during the administrations of 17 presidents. “Bush was the worst,” he says. “Reagan the second worst.”
The Supreme Court says federal law does not allow a “straw” purchaser to buy a gun for someone else, even if both are legally eligible to own firearms. The justices ruled Monday that the federal background check law applied to Bruce James Abramski, Jr. when he bought a Glock 19 handgun in Collinsville, Virginia, in 2009 and later transferred it to his uncle in Easton, Pennsylvania. Federal officials brought charges against Abramski because he assured the Virginia dealer he was the actual buyer of the weapon, even though he had already agreed to buy the gun for his uncle.
Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters a campaign rally at Kettering High School June 16, 2008 in Flint, Michigan
Sen. Barack Obama, former U.S. vice president Al Gore and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm appear on stage together after Gore spoke endorsing him at a rally at Joe Louis Arena June 16, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan
President Obama picks up a fly he swatted during an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood in the East Room of the White House, June 16, 2009 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Obama gives a fist-bump to personal aide Reggie Love in the Oval Office of the White House on June 16, 2009. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is at left (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama arrives to speak the American Nurses Association House of Delegates June 16, 2010 in Washington, DC.
President Obama walks with his daughter Malia as they follow First Lady Michelle Obama into the Strathmore Music Center June 16, 2013 in Bethesda, Maryland. The Obama’s were attending a dance performance with where their daughter Sasha was performing.
President Obama interacts with children while flanked by First Lady Michelle Obama and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman David Archambault II during the Cannon Ball Flag Day celebration at the Cannon Ball Powwow Grounds on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota
Man in the crowd: “We love Michelle too!” Pres. Obama smiles: “Of course you love Michelle. Who doesn’t love Michelle?” #PrezRezVisit
President Obama’s signature on a wall in a health classroom at Southwest High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he attended a town hall meeting on health care, June 11, 2009. The physical education and health staff left a note asking the President to sign the wall for future students to see (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (All Times Eastern)
10:50 President Obama meets with the United States Sentencing Commission, Roosevelt Room
1:50: Departs White House
3:20: Arrives Worcester, Mass.
4:0: The President delivers remarks at the Worcester Technical High School Commencement
7:0: Delivers remarks and answers questions at a fundraiser for House Democrats, private residence, Weston, Mass.
8:20: Departs Worcester
10:0: Arrives White House
Later This Week
Thursday: The President will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia at the White House. In the afternoon, the President will welcome the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx to the White House to honor the team and their victory in the WNBA Finals.
Friday: The President and the First Lady will travel to the Cannonball, North Dakota area to visit the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Following their visit to Indian Country, they will travel to Palm Springs, CA.
Saturday: The President will deliver the commencement address at University of California, Irvine on the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the UC Irvine campus by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The President and the First Lady will return to Washington, D.C on Monday.
President Obama and Tumblr’s founder, David Karp
Adam Vaccaro: No, Obama’s Student Debt Executive Order Doesn’t Incentivize Colleges To Raise Tuition
When President Barack Obama announced yesterday that he would extend the “Pay as You Earn” federal student loan repayment program to older, previously ineligible debtors, it was met with a common contention. I’ve seen it in a few places, including the comments section in our article on the action. In short, people say that the order will make it easier for students to manage their debt, and that will incentivize schools to raise tuition. The assertion doesn’t make any sense. The Pay as You Earn program, which limits monthly payments to 10 percent of a borrowers’ income and can allow for loan forgiveness after 20 years of repayments, had previously only been available to new student borrowers. In order to be eligible, debtors could not have taken out a student loan before October 2007, and could not have stopped taking payments before October 2011.
In other words, the program was essentially put in place for the high school class of 2008 and later classes—meaning those currently in school are already eligible for the program. If the program incentivizes colleges to raise tuition—again, probably a fun debate, though it ignores that tuition was already skyrocketing well before the program was put in place—it was already happening. Obama’s action, meanwhile, extends the option to older borrowers—those who have already graduated and are making repayments, some at much higher rates than the program allows. The vast majority of those people are by definition already out of school. Who, then, would colleges raise tuition on that they couldn’t already?
Washington Post: Republican House Majority Leader Succumbs To Tea Party Challenger Dave Brat
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), the chamber’s second-ranking Republican, was badly beaten in a primary contest Tuesday by an obscure professor with tea party backing — a historic electoral surprise that left the GOP in chaos and the House without its heir apparent. Cantor, who has represented the Richmond suburbs since 2001, lost by 11 percentage points to Dave Brat, an economist at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. It was an operatic fall from power, swift and deep and utterly surprising.
As late as Tuesday morning, Cantor had felt so confident of victory that he spent the morning at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill, holding a fundraising meeting with lobbyists while his constituents went to the polls. By Tuesday night, he had suffered a defeat with few parallels in American history. Historians said that no House leader of Cantor’s rank had ever been defeated in a primary. That left stunned Republicans — those who had supported Cantor, and even those who had worked to beat him — struggling to understand what happened.
Nick Wing: If It’s A School Week In America, Odds Are There Will Be A School Shooting
Since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been an average of 1.37 school shootings for each school week, according to data maintained by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting to end gun violence. Including Tuesday’s incident at a high school in Troutdale, Oregon, 74 school shootings have taken place in the approximately 18 months since the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown shooting. The average school year typically lasts about 180 days, which means there have been roughly 270 school days, or 54 weeks, of class since the shooting at Newtown.
Cantor's loss is "stunning," "an earthquake," and so on. Another school shooting is, well, not so much.
With 74 total incidents over that period, the nation is averaging well over a shooting per school week. The data maintained by Everytown for Gun Safety also shows that these shootings have occurred throughout the country. In all, 31 states have had an incident of gun violence at a school. Georgia has witnessed far more incidents than others, with 10 happening at schools there since Sandy Hook. There have been seven school shootings in Florida, five in Tennessee, four in North Carolina and four in California.
Caitlin MacNeal: Obama: ‘We Should Be Ashamed’ Of Failure To Address Gun Violence
President Obama on Tuesday slammed the failure to curb gun violence in the United States. “My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage,” he said during a Tumblr Q&A. “This is becoming the norm,” he continued about school shootings. “We should be ashamed.”
The President addressed lawmakers who blame mass shootings on mental health, not access to guns. “The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It’s not the only country that has psychosis. And yet, we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else,” he said.
The NFIB’s small business confidence index came in at 96.6 for May — the highest reading since 2007. That also beat expectations for 95.8. Pantheon Macro’s Ian Shepherdson says this index is more important than payrolls, and sees this jump to the as a major shift. “At last, small businesses are on the move. We have been waiting for four years for a clean break to the upside, and it’s finally here. The rise in the headline largely reflects a 9-point jump in economic expectations and a 5-point rise in sales expectations, but several other components rose too.”
“Eric is running on the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable principles,” Brat told a Tea Party audience. “They want amnesty for illegal immigrants. They want them granted citizenship. And it’s in the millions — 40 millions coming in. if you add 40 million workers to our labor supply, what will happen to the wage rate for the average American?” Brat’s appeal was frankly demagogic. Cantor was not supporting amnesty, and there are about 10 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States. Some of Brat’s Tea Party supporters took it a step further. Larry Nordvig, the head of the Richmond Tea Party, told a joke at Brat rally.
They'll use Cantor as a cautionary tale, but the real reason they can't budge on immigration is b/c the GOP base is xenophobic and racist.
“A politician, a Muslim, and an illegal alien walk into a bar, and you now what the bartender said? Good evening, Mr. President.” If he is elected in November, Brat may, of course, jettison the anti-Wall Street and anti-big business side of his politics. His actual economic views appear to be close to those of the Cato Institute and Ayn Rand. His solutions for America’s flagging economy consist in flattening the tax code and cutting spending – positions that will certainly not alienate the Chamber of Commerce or Business Roundtable.
Jonathan Cohn: The GOP Just Got a Wake-Up Call: Eric Cantor’s Loss Proves The Tea Party Refuses To Rest In Peace
It’s going to take a while to figure out precisely what happened Tuesday night in Virginia’s 7th House District. Nobody thought Eric Cantor, the second most powerful Republican in the House, would lose his primary campaign to Dave Brat, an anonymous college professor too busy grading exams to attend campaign events. Not too many people even thought it’d be close. Robert Costa of the Washington Post wrote about Brat’s surprising popularity a month ago, but the rest of the political press barely noticed.
still Obama's fault RT @jbouie: Any R thinking of working with Obama has just completely changed their mind. @ron_fournier, take note.
The obvious explanation for Cantor’s defeat is immigration. And in this case, the obvious explanation is probably right. Brat hammered Cantor for his supposed support of “amnesty.” Cantor swore the charge was untrue and, lord knows, he wasn’t doing anything to advance the cause of immigration reform publicly. It appears the voters didn’t believe him. Brat also attacked Cantor for his supposed cooperation with, and enabling of, Obama. This charge may seem strange to the White House and, for that matter, most sentient beings. Few Republicans have spent more energy fighting Obama and the Democrats. And Cantor played a pivotal role in killing the grand bargain that Obama was trying to negotiate with House Speaker John Boehner in 2011
Julia Edwards: Obama Administration To Make Push On American Indian Voting Rights
Concerned that American Indians are being unfairly kept out of the voting process, the Obama administration is considering a proposal that would require voting districts with tribal land to have at least one polling site in a location chosen by the tribe’s government, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Monday. Holder said the Justice Department would begin consulting tribal authorities on whether it should suggest that Congress pass a law that would apply to state and local administrators whose territory includes tribal lands. The announcement came as President Barack Obama was expected to travel to an American Indian reservation in North Dakota on Friday.
Last Thursday, Holder addressed a tribal conference in the same state. Associate Attorney General Tony West on Monday will expand upon Holder’s announcement in Anchorage, Alaska, where he will address a conference held by the National Congress of American Indians. “Our proposal would give American Indian and Alaska Native voters a right that most other citizens take for granted: a polling place in their community where they can cast a ballot and receive voter assistance to make sure their vote will be counted,” West is expected to say, according a statement from the Justice Department.
Daniel Strauss: Cantor Conquerer Caught Off Guard By Policy Questions In Interview
David Brat, who defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, was surprised when he appeared on MSNBC on Wednesday that he would be asked policy questions. In his interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd Brat punted when Todd asked him both about the minimum wage and Syria. “Let me ask you a few other issue questions. Where are you on the minimum wage? Do you believe in it and would you raise it?” Todd asked. “Minimum wage, no, I’m a free market guy,” Brat responded.
Cantor's friends are FURIOUS, said he was told by consultants that he was up 20-30 points, didn't need to worry...
“Our labor markets right now are already distorted from too many regulations. I think Cato estimates there’s $2 trillion of regulatory problems and then throw Obamacare on top of that, the work hours is 30 hours a week. You can only hire 50 people. There’s just distortion after distortion after distortion and we wonder why our labor markets are broken.” Todd then pressed Brat on the question. “Um, I don’t have a well-crafted response on that one,” Brat finally conceded. “All I know is if you take the long-run graph over 200 years of the wage rate, it cannot differ from your nation’s productivity. Right? So you can’t make up wage rates.”
CBS News: Judge Strikes Down Teacher Tenure In California
A judge struck down tenure and other job protections for California’s public school teachers Tuesday, saying such laws harm students – especially poor and minority ones – by saddling them with bad teachers who are almost impossible to fire. In a landmark decision that could influence the gathering debate over tenure across the country, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu cited the historic case of Brown v. Board of Education in ruling that students have a fundamental right to equal education. Siding with the nine students who brought the lawsuit, he ruled that California’s laws on hiring and firing in schools have resulted in “a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms.” He agreed, too, that a disproportionate number of these teachers are in schools that have mostly minority and low-income students.
The judge stayed the ruling pending appeals. The case involves 6 million students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The California Attorney General’s office said it is considering its legal options, while the California Teachers Association, the state’s biggest teachers union with 325,000 members, vowed an appeal. “Circumventing the legislative process to strip teachers of their professional rights hurts our students and our schools,” the union said. Teachers have long argued that tenure prevents administrators from firing teachers on a whim. They contend also that the system preserves academic freedom and helps attract talented teachers to a profession that doesn’t pay well. Other states have been paying close attention to how the case plays out in the nation’s most populous state. The lawsuit was backed by wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch’s nonprofit group Students Matter, which assembled a high-profile legal team including Boutrous, who successfully fought to overturn California’s gay-marriage ban.
Brian Beutler: Eric Cantor Lost Because He Exploited Conservatives, Not Immigration
Cantor practices a cunning, devious brand of politics. He played legislative strategy the same way he played intra-conference intrigue—devising too-clever-by-half schemes to seize momentary advantage, often at the expense of bigger picture goals. They frequently blew back at him. When Republicans took back the House, he advocated strategies that culminated in dangerous brinksmanship over funding the government and increasing the debt limit, exactly as conservatives demanded. But he also attempted to set the bizarre precedent of offsetting emergency spending for natural disaster relief with cuts to unrelated social spending programs. He never prevailed, but his position became extremely awkward when a rare and sizable earthquake severely damaged his own district in August 2011. After Obama’s re-election, Cantor had to reverse course and orchestrate ransomless debt limit increases, to the great dismay of Republican hardliners. He then pandered to those same hardliners in ways that frequently undermined John Boehner’s best-laid plans. These priorities were incongruous, and suggestive of an effort to situate himself as the Speaker’s heir apparent, rather than of a commitment to conservative causes.
Same folks who told us months ago immig reform was dead now say Cantor loss CHANGES EVERYTHING AND MEANS IT'S REALLY REALLY DEAD
Just two months ago, Cantor end ran around those same conservatives to secure passage of a bill protecting Medicare physicians from a substantial pay cut. For more than a year now, Cantor’s stable of influential operatives and former operatives have done battle with the purity obsessed hardliners and opportunists who tried to seize control of the party’s legislative strategy. Many of them sought retribution by taking aim at Cantor in his district. In the end the right’s beef with him—as with McConnell—was about more than just affect. It was about his willingness to use power politics and procedural hijinks to cut conservatives out of the tangle when expedient. The lesson of his defeat isn’t that immigration reform is particularly poisonous, but that the right expects its leaders to understand they can’t subsume the movement’s energy for tactical purposes, then grant it only selective influence over big decisions.
On This Day: President Obama and Vice President Biden talk with Zachary Atala, son of Dr. Anthony Atala, M.D., Director, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, June 5, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (All Times US Eastern)
3:25 AM: The President arrives at the European Council for the 2014 G-7 Summit, Brussels
3:40 AM: Participates in a G-7 meeting on the global economy
6:0 AM: Takes part in a working lunch with G-7 leaders on development
8:30 AM: Participates in a bilateral meeting with PM David Cameron of the United Kingdom
9:50 AM: Holds a joint press conference with PM Cameron
11:05 AM: Departs Brussels, Belgium
11:55 AM: Arrives Paris, France
1:05 PM: Joins President François Hollande for a dinner
Barack Black Eagle: ‘One Who Helps People Throughout The Land’
Six years ago, I made my first trip to Indian country. I visited the Crow Nation in Montana—an experience I’ll never forget. I left with a new Crow name, an adoptive Crow family, and an even stronger commitment to build a future that honors old traditions and welcomes every Native American into the American Dream. Next week, I’ll return to Indian country, when Michelle and I visit the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Cannonball, North Dakota. We’re eager to visit this reservation, which holds a special place in American history as the home of Chief Sitting Bull. And while we’re there, I’ll announce the next steps my Administration will take to support jobs, education, and self-determination in Indian country. As president, I’ve worked closely with tribal leaders, and I’ve benefited greatly from their knowledge and guidance. That’s why I created the White House Council on Native American Affairs—to make sure that kind of partnership is happening across the federal government. And every year, I host the White House Tribal Nations Conference, where leaders from every federally recognized tribe are invited to meet with members of my Administration. Today, honoring the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian country isn’t the exception; it’s the rule. And we have a lot to show for it.
President Barack Obama with his adoptive parents, Hartford and Mary Black Eagle
Together, we’ve strengthened justice and tribal sovereignty. We reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, giving tribes the power to prosecute people who commit domestic violence in Indian country, whether they’re Native American or not. I signed the Tribal Law and Order Act, which strengthened the power of tribal courts to hand down appropriate criminal sentences. And I signed changes to the Stafford Act to let tribes directly request disaster assistance, because when disasters strike, you shouldn’t have to wait for a middleman to get the help you need. Together, we’ve resolved longstanding disputes. We settled a discrimination suit by Native American farmers and ranchers, and we’ve taken steps to make sure that all federal farm loan programs are fair to Native Americans from now on. And I signed into law the Claims Resolution Act, which included the historic Cobell settlement, making right years of neglect by the Department of the Interior and leading to the establishment of the Land Buy-Back Program to consolidate Indian lands and restore them to tribal trust lands.
Together, we’ve increased Native Americans’ access to quality, affordable health care. One of the reasons I fought so hard to pass the Affordable Care Act is that it permanently reauthorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which provides care to many in tribal communities. And under the Affordable Care Act, Native Americans across the country now have access to comprehensive, affordable coverage, some for the first time. Together, we’ve worked to expand opportunity. My Administration has built roads and high-speed internet to connect tribal communities to the broader economy. We’ve made major investments in job training and tribal colleges and universities. We’ve tripled oil and gas revenues on tribal lands, creating jobs and helping the United States become more energy independent. And we’re working with tribes to get more renewable energy projects up and running, so tribal lands can be a source of renewable energy and the good local jobs that come with it. We can be proud of the progress we’ve made together. But we need to do more
Maya Rhodan: Obama Administration Sees Undocumented Children Immigrants As Humanitarian Issue
The Obama Administration announced a shift Monday in its approach to children who enter the U.S. illegally and without adult guardians, forming a new interagency group that will address the influx as a humanitarian crisis. Administration officials said Monday that there has been a 90% increase in the number of undocumented immigrants under 18 entering the U.S., with more young girls and children under 13 entering the country than ever before. Because of this the administration wants to ensure that kids are quickly transferred from border control facilities to facilities operated by the Department of Health and Human Services that can better address their housing, educational, and medical needs.
Officials said about 1,000 undocumented children are being housed at a facility on the Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, where Baptist Children’s Family Services has been contracted to look after them. Another facility will be opening soon in Ventura County, Calif., and is expected to be able to house about 600 children. The kids typically stay in the facilities for between 30 and 45 days. The Obama Administration also requested an additional $1.4 billion to provide relief for unaccompanied immigrant children. Due to the increase in kids illegally crossing the border alone—expected to reach as high 60,000 this year—the government expects it will cost $2.28 billion to fund the programs that aid unaccompanied minors, the Associated Press reports. The bulk of children crossing the border have fled violence and economic hardship in Central American countries including Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras
Jeffrey Young: How Obamacare Tries To Makes Us Healthier, One Community At A Time
President Barack Obama’s health care reform law will spend more than $1 trillion over the next decade to extend health coverage to millions of people — and about $20 billion actually trying to make us healthier. The money supporting these initiatives is tucked inside the Affordable Care Act in the form of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a pot of money to finance efforts in hundreds of communities to curtail obesity, promote exercise and better nutrition, and reduce tobacco use. Improving the health of Americans and reducing preventable deaths wouldn’t just benefit those individuals. Better health could prove key to reversing decades of skyrocketing health care spending. And the prevention fund is Obamacare’s primary means of making inroads on these problems, one community at a time.
Up to 40 percent of deaths each year from the five leading causes in America — heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke and unintentional injuries — are preventable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May. In San Diego County, California, the local government and the Chula Vista Elementary School District used federal grants to make an immediate impact on students’ weight, said Nick Macchione, the director of the county Health and Human Services Agency. Using some of the $8.2 million the county received from the prevention fund, the health agency and the school started making changes, Macchione said. The cafeteria started offering healthier food and local farmers visited to talk about agriculture and provide fresh produce. Math teachers incorporated physical activity into counting lessons. And students and parents received information about nutrition and exercise.
Two years later, Chula Vista schools already could boast gains: a 3.2 percent reduction in the share of students who were obese or overweight. The county has since started spreading this program to 300 schools serving 650,000 children, Macchione said. Programs in Indiana also focused on children brought home the challenges faced by those working to address health in their communities, said Andrea Hays, the project director overseeing the $3 million in Community Transformation Grants managed by the Healthy Communities Partnership of Southwest Indiana in Evansville.
Yahoo: US Construction Spending Up 0.2 Percent In April
U.S. construction spending posted modest gains in April, driven by an uptick in home building and government construction that lifted total activity to the highest level in five years. Construction spending rose 0.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $953.5 billion, the strongest performance since March 2009, the Commerce Department said Monday. The April increase was lower than economists had expected. But the government revised March activity higher to a 0.6 percent gain, up from an initial estimate of a 0.2 percent increase. The small April improvement, combined with the strong gain in March, suggest that the construction industry is recovering from the harsh winter and will provide a boost to growth in the months ahead.
“This was mostly a good report,” IHS Global Insight economists Stephanie Karol and Patrick Newport said in an analyst note. “Core construction, the piece of the report which affects GDP, advanced 0.6 percent, the largest gain since December.” The April figure marked the third straight increase after the weather pushed spending down 0.4 percent in January. Total construction spending is 8.6 percent higher than a year ago, led by a 17.2 percent increase in housing construction. Non-residential construction is up by 5.6 percent from a year ago, while government projects are just 1.2 percent higher.
Greg Sargent: On Bowe Bergdahl, White House Bets On GOP overreach
The signs are everywhere this morning that the skirmishing over the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap is set to escalate into a protracted political battle that could go on for weeks or months. And the White House is placing its bet on Da Crazy. That is to say, White House officials are bracing for months of assaults on Obama’s handling of the swap, but they believe the Conservative Entertainment Complex will veer into over the top attacks that will alienate the broader public, which won’t see the basics of the situation in such lurid terms.
How this plays out could center on a video of Bergdahl in captivity taken by the Taliban in December. It was shown to Senators last night, to persuade them officials were right to worry that his deteriorating health meant fast action — without a 30-day notification of Congress — was imperative. A senior administration official tells me the White House is reviewing the possibility of releasing the video to the public. Obama aides say they’re not worried about the prospect of weeks of segments on Fox News or hearings by a Republican House that has spent four years investigating and rebuffing the White House on issues like Solyndra and Fast and Furious.
For whatever reason, video of President Obama apparently working out in the gym of the Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, Poland has leaked. He’s in the country to reaffirm U.S. support for central and eastern European countries against Russia. Photos and video were first posted by Jean Ekwa on his Facebook page, which depict Obama, clad in a dark blue track suit, headphones in, lifting weights, doing lunges, and using the elliptical. At one point, he pauses to yawn.
The Secret Service confirmed to The Hill that the video is real, and that other hotel guests taking photos and videos of his workout is not a problem: “Hotel guests were not asked to leave the gym during this off the record movement, nor were they asked to refrain from taking pictures,” agency spokesman Ed Donovan said. The Hill also notes that these “off the record” excursions usually involve impromptu photo-ops with voters/citizens of countries he is visiting
Ninety-five-year-old Charles Edwards shakes hands with Sen. Obama after presenting him with a hand-made walking stick during a town hall meeting at Virginia High School June 5, 2008 in Bristol, Virginia
President Obama poses for photos before departing from Ramstein Airbase in Germany, June 5, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama visits with Wounded Warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany of June 5, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama attends an expanded bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Dresden Castle, June 5, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and White House staffers aboard Air Force One to Paris look at Reggie Love’s photos of Egypt on June 5, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama signs a guestbook before touring Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, June 5, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama, with Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bertrand Herz, places a rose on a memorial plaque during a visit to the former Buchenwald concentration camp June 5, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama places a flower in the crematorium at Buchenwald concentration camp, June 5, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama stops to shake hands with military families outside Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany on June 5, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama gets ready to be interviewed by news reporter Tom Brokaw at Zwinger Palace in Dresden, Germany, June 5, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama talks with Vice President Biden in the Oval Office, June 5, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama shake hands with guests during an event for political appointees on the South Lawn of the White House, June 5, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
First Lady Michelle Obama talks with students from William R. Harper High School in Chicago, Ill., in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, June 5, 2013 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama talks with, from left: Samantha Power, former Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; and Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in the Oval Office, June 5, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Students from William R. Harper High School in Chicago, Ill., listen as President Obama talks with them about the Emancipation Proclamation hanging in the Oval Office, June 5, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama with his National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, June 5, 2013
Pete Souza: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House
The first steps toward building President Barack Obama’s library and museum were announced on Friday with the launch of a foundation to oversee the competitive selection process with the target date of picking a site early in 2015. Martin Nesbitt, Obama’s close friend who will run the effort with two other Obama associates, told me in an interview they are committed to a “thoughtful, consistent, fair and transparent” process with the ultimate choice left to Obama and first lady Michelle. “We have no preconceived idea about what these proposals will look like. We want to create a blank canvass, create sort of a white canvas with some guiding principles that allow people to respond in a thoughtful and creative way and we will evaluate them when they come in,” Nesbitt said.
Incorporation papers for the newly created Barack H. Obama Foundation were filed Friday in Washington, D.C. The foundation is led by Chicagoan Nesbitt, the co-CEO of The Vistria Group and treasurer of Obama’s two White House campaigns; Julianna Smoot, a co-chair of the 2012 re-election bid and the 2008 National Finance Director and J. Kevin Poorman, the Wilmette businessman who took over several companies run by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker when she stepped down to join Obama’s cabinet. Obama asked Nesbitt to take on the duty of running the foundation last summer, and I broke the news that Nesbitt and Smoot would helm a foundation last July.
Terry Tang: Tape Of Martin Luther King Jr. Ariz. Speech Found
Mary Scanlon had no idea a $3 purchase from a Goodwill store in Phoenix would turn out to be a rare link to the civil rights movement’s most revered leader. Last April, Scanlon was at the thrift store when she spotted a pile of 35 vintage reel-to-reel tapes, including one labeled with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s name. Despite the moldy and torn packaging, she snapped up all of them. “I didn’t really necessarily have any expectation that this tape would be rare,” Scanlon said. Arizona State University archivists have found that tape is the only known recording of speeches the slain civil rights leader gave at ASU and at a Phoenix church in June 1964.
The hour-long audio has since been digitized and is now available for listening on ASU’s website through June 30. The tape illustrates that King had been eager to visit supporters in Arizona, a state that would draw criticism more than 20 years later for rescinding the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Scanlon, who donated all the tapes to the school, said the find is one of the high points of her life. “To have anything about myself connected in any way to Martin Luther King, what more could a person ask for? I’m so proud,” Scanlon said.
NYT: Ex-Port Authority Official Says ‘Evidence Exists’ Christie Knew About Lane Closings
The former Port Authority official who personally oversaw the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge, central to the scandal now swirling around Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, said on Friday that “evidence exists” the governor knew about the lane closings when they were happening. In a letter released by his lawyer, the former official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order”
and said “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago. During his news conference, Mr. Christie specifically said he had no knowledge that traffic lanes leading to the bridge had been closed until after they were reopened. “I had no knowledge of this — of the planning, the execution or anything about it — and that I first found out about it after it was over,” he said. “And even then, what I was told was that it was a traffic study.”
Chris Geidner: Edith Windsor’s Lawyer Seeks To Argue In Utah Marriage Appeal
Three same-sex couples — represented by the New York lawyer who represented Edith Windsor in her successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act — have asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to allow them to intervene in the pending lawsuit challenging Utah’s marriage laws.
In a Friday filing at the court, Roberta Kaplan argued on behalf of the couples that they should be allowed to intervene in the appeal — a move they acknowledge would be an “exceptional case” — in order to raise questions about other portions of Utah law that prevent recognition of same-sex couples.
TPM: Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Clears Major Hurdle For Construction
The proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada has cleared a significant hurdle after the State Department raised no major environmental objections to its construction. The department’s report was released Friday. It says Canadian tar sands are likely to be developed regardless of U.S. action on the pipeline and other options to get the oil from western Canada to Texas Gulf Coast refineries are worse for the environment. The latest environmental review stops short of recommending approval of the project. State Department approval of the project is needed because it crosses a U.S. border. A decision is not expected before the summer.
1. Wildstein is claiming evidence exists that Christie knew. He would look bad if such evidence does not come to light. 2. Wildstein spent time with Christie while the lanes were closed. If you had been ordered to close traffic lines for punitive reasons, and you saw the governor, wouldn’t you either tell him about it, or else already know he approved?
Undertaking an action like that without knowing the governor approved it, and without having any desire to take credit, seems like an implausible motivation. 3. Christie has changed his story about when he knew about the lane closings. Having first asserted he learned on October 1, Christie later claimed he learned earlier, though would not say when. 4. His campaign manager is pleading the fifth.
Dylan Scott: Study: Thousands Of People Will Die In States That Don’t Expand Medicaid
As many as 17,000 Americans will die directly as a result of states deciding not to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, according to a new study. Researchers from Harvard University and City University of New York have estimated that between 7,115 and 17,104 deaths will be “attributable to the lack of Medicaid expansion in opt-out states” in a study published in Health Affairs.
“The results were sobering,” Samuel Dickman, one of the authors, said, according to theMorning Call. “Political decisions have consequences, some of them lethal.” They projected that 423,000 fewer diabetics would receive medication to treat their disease. If opt-out states had expanded Medicaid, 659,000 women who are in need of mammograms and 3.1 million women who should receive regular pap smears would have become insured, the study found.
Powerful commercial. Native Americans are human beings and the NFL is disgusting for not treating them as such
Sahil Kapur: Boehner Promises GOP No Path To Citizenship In Immigration Reform
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told House Republicans that the immigration blueprint his leadership team released on Thursday was “as far as we are willing to go” to make reform happen, according to a source in the room.
The blueprint supports legal status for undocumented immigrants, which is already further than many conservatives want to go. If Democrats demand the promise of citizenship for people living in the U.S. illegally, as the bill passed by the Senate would do, the Speaker said the House would block reform.
OFA: What Does Health Insurance Mean To This 20-Something?
In 2009, I was healthy, preparing to graduate from college, and getting ready to start on a career that I love with an exciting opportunity at a new startup in an emerging field. And when I say startup, I mean startup. Shoe-string, even. There were only two of us. It was pretty risky, but I was beyond excited.
But then—out of the blue—I was diagnosed with a chronic condition that nearly derailed it all. Luckily, I was able to get treatment and was soon back to being myself. But I had two things added to my life: daily medicine to keep the condition in check, and a “pre-existing condition.” That’s when I really got why this whole health insurance thing matters.
thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it’s going to stay that way. When it was time for me to shop on the marketplace for my own coverage this winter, I was protected: No plan could deny me because of my pre-existing condition. I found one that is really comprehensive and is still within my budget. Now, I’m healthy, and I’ve got my own plan that I can afford and rely on.
Reuters: Two Obamacare Exchanges See More Health Insurer Competition
At least two U.S. states running their own Obamacare health insurance exchanges expect new insurers to enter their marketplaces and bolster competition in 2015, officials said on Friday.
Kynect, which is Kentucky’s marketplace, and the Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange have had separate talks about 2015 with health insurers that could opt to join the online marketplaces set up under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law. Kentucky also expects an expansion of physician networks available within current plans.
Increased competition would increase consumer choices and tend to put downward pressure on health insurance cost trends. It could also help ensure the future of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which depends on the success of new online marketplaces.
Mr. President, I am forever grateful for your patience, tolerance, intelligence, kindness, thoughtfulness and service to our Nation at a time in history when we so desperately needed your distinct leadership. How you have been able to do this in the face of constant hate from the right, non-stop negative focus by our media and at times what appears to be people in your own party who let the media and the right cause them to lose their spine is beyond my comprehension.
The enemy hates you but you continue to fight for them even while they don’t deserve your hard work and effort. I will ALWAYS have your back. ObamaCare is your signature legislation and you will go down in history as one of the greatest Presidents of all time because of it. Your adversaries know this and it drives them crazy. You make all those in the media and on the Right appear so small minded. They focus on petty, negative things that in the big picture mean absolutely nothing to the average person seeking affordable health care. All the noise surrounding the launch of ACA will be forgotten because we your supporters will work our hearts out to make sure that everyone who needs insurance signs up (by whatever means necessary) to get insurance. We will promote ACA until we are blue in the face, if that is what it takes to make ObamaCare a complete success.
I’ve watched over these past six years as the media, the right and some on the left question time and again as to who you are. I’ll end this by sharing with the rest of the public what those of us who have been paying attention already know.
You are a man of strong character. You have the biggest heart of any politician I have ever seen. You are a family man. Family means everything to you. The service and sacrifices you are making today are all being done so that you will leave this world a better place for Malia and Sasha. Your spine is reinforced by a great, brilliant and beautiful woman in Michelle Obama. You look out over the universe and although there is so much negativity and ugliness to weigh you down you see the good in people. Somehow you are able to push past the filth and pinpoint the positive.
Obamacare is a gift that will keep on giving well into the future. No amount of media bashing, rightwing thrashing or some spineless Dems gnashing is going to stop this train from rolling on down the track.
The Obamacare train has left the station and its destination is affordable health care for all.
You can count on me and millions of others to make this a reality!!
Think Progress: The Obama Administration Just Gave Nine Tribal Nations $7M To Fund Clean Energy Projects
The U.S. fossil fuel boom has not been easy on American Indians. Pollution is one problem, hunger for coal is another. While the people of the Moapa Paiute Reservation in Nevada wait for a promised solar energy center, smokestacks from the Reid-Gardner coal-fired power plant cake local homes with black dust. West of the Mississippi, Indian reservations contain almost 30 percent of the nation’s coal, but regulations from the Bureau of Indian Affairs limiting reservation energy development prevents tribes from fully capitalizing.
So even when coal is developed, tribes don’t see the money — they just see soot. But American Indian land — which makes up only 2 percent of the country — also has the potential to produce more than 5 percent of total renewable power generation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, which on Thursday announced an investment of $7 million into nine tribal clean energy projects.
Igor Volsky: The Obamacare Cancellation Notices You Haven’t Heard About
As lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are endorsing legislation to allow Americans purchasing health care coverage in the individual market to stay in their existing insurance plans, they’re ignoring a far more pressing coverage problem in the 26 states that have yet to expand their Medicaid programs. There, five million working poor Americans could be denied access to affordable insurance altogether.
They are the working poor cashiers, cooks, nurses’ aides, waiters and waitresses who were intended to benefit the most under reform, yet will continue to struggle to afford coverage as a result of the GOP’s political calculations. Yet the very same Republican lawmakers and conservative advocacy groups who have seized on the cancellation notices to argue that the law has failed are actively campaigning to prevent states from expanding public health insurance to these people.
CBS: JP Morgan Chase, Feds Agree To $13 Billion Settlement
The Justice Department and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have reached agreement on all issues in a $13 billion settlement of a civil inquiry into the company’s sales of low-quality mortgage-backed securities that collapsed in value during the 2008 financial crisis. The settlement is the largest ever reached between the government and a corporation.
It eclipses the record $4 billion levied on the huge oil company BP in January in the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. A person close to the talks told CBS News that the settlement addresses all civil issues in the case, but the Justice Department retains the right to continue a criminal investigation being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento, Calif.
Jonathan Cohn: Obamacare Policy Cancellations: Media Mythology, Republican Spin
The Obamacare cancellation stories have dominated the media for the past two weeks. And it’s easy to understand why. People losing their insurance is a bigger story than people getting insurance for the first time. But how big a story should it be? To answer that, you need to know how many people actually fit these descriptions—and what might have happened to these people if the Affordable Care Act had never become law.
1. People With These Policies Frequently Don’t Like Them: The best estimates suggest that about 12 to 15 million people buy insurance on their own. In other words, they are part of the “non-group” market. The best survey on this subject I’ve seen comes from the Center for Health Research and Transformation. In it, nearly half of all people surveyed rated their non-group coverage “fair or poor.”
Bryce Covert: Unequal Pay Is Even More Unequal For Women Of Color
While women overall still made just 77 cents for each dollar men made last year, that gap is far wider for women of color. In an analysis of recent Census data, the National Women’s Law Center finds that an African-American woman working full time, year round made just 64 cents for every dollar a white man made and Hispanic women made just 54 cents.
NWLC notes that these racial and gender wage gaps mean that black women lost $18,650 compared to white men and Hispanic women lost $24,111. Even worse, the gap seems to be growing. The year before, black women made 69 cents for every dollar made by a white man and Latinas made 60 cents. They also face racial discrimination that means black workers earn $22,552 less than white workers a year on average and Hispanic workers earn $16,861 less.
The press hype about Affordable Care Act troubles shows no sign of letting up today;Politico and National Journal both have features that seem absolutely detached from political reality. National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar has Democrats practically lining up to vote for repeal if Healthcare.gov isn’t working well in a couple of weeks. The problem with Kraushaar’s fantasy — and it is a pure fantasy, one which winds up with an imagined vote count on a repeal veto override — is that no actual Democrats in Congress can be found who are even hinting at anything resembling such a dramatic reversal.
Oh, there are plenty of Democrats who want to be on record as opposing the costs of Obamacare while still supporting the benefits. Especially when it’s a safe vote on something that has no chance to become law. That’s the real story behind the 39 House Democrats who voted for GOP Rep. Fred Upton’s “fix” to the law last week. Either way, what’s not going to happen is repeal thanks to Democratic panic from short term media frenzies. That’s not how politics works, it’s not what’s happening now, and it’s not what’s going to happen in the future.
NYT: Tennessee Governor Hesitates On Medicaid, Frustrating Many
Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee describes it as “trying to thread a needle from 80 yards.” Mr. Haslam is only the latest Republican tailor trying to figure out whether to expand the state’s Medicaid rolls as prescribed by President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. In his case, it involves trying — so far unsuccessfully — to balance some sharply conflicting concerns: struggling hospitals, local business groups, dwindling state resources and fierce conservative opposition to the new health care law
“Sometimes you’ve got to make a tough call,” said Craig Fitzhugh, the State House Democratic minority leader, who is pushing for expansion. “It’s time to say yes or no. I don’t want to get morbid or dramatic about this thing, but it’s lives we’re talking about here. It’s human beings.” Though Mr. Haslam has said he felt under no time pressure, the state faces a Jan. 1 deadline to qualify for the first $300 million in Medicaid money for the coming year. The Tennessee Hospital Association, the state Chamber of Commerce and Democrats say Mr. Haslam cannot afford to wait much longer.
The reviews are in, and Obamacare is a disaster. No, it is worse than that. Obamacare is a debacle, a shambles, a wreck, a fiasco, a flop, a failure and a farce. To the media, Obamacare is such a catastrophe that mere words cannot describe it. Only comparisons can. So Obamacare is Hurricane Katrina (The New York Times), the Iraq War (“Meet the Press”), Watergate (Bill Kristol) and “the worst thing since slavery” (Dr. Ben Carson, a columnist and Fox News contributor).
A lie, however, is an intentionally false statement. An unforgivable screw-up may be unforgivable and a screw-up, but it is different than a lie. The Iraq War comparison was floated by David Gregory, host of “Meet the Press,” on Sunday. “And people will say this is like Katrina; I think it’s more like Iraq,” Gregory said.
“That was about life and death, this is not. The comparison is everybody looked at Bush through the prism of Iraq. Here, I think people are going to look at Obama through the implementation of Obamacare.” Maybe it’s just me, but I still find it difficult to compare a dismally functioning website to a war that resulted in more than 100,000 violent deaths and cost nearly a trillion dollars.
Attacks on the Affordable Care Act have stepped up over the last week or so. You’d think that the healthcare reform known as Obamacare is leading to the wholesale loss of affordable insurance by huge sectors of the American public, many of whom will be impoverished by being forced into low-quality health plans at exorbitant prices. You’d think the entire reform is on “life support,” as the usually judicious National Journal put it today, speculating that Democrats may soon start calling for its repeal.
Don’t buy the hype. The numbers tell an entirely different story. What they also demonstrate is that the myth of Obamacare’s “failure” is a product of the same Republican noise machine that has been working to undermine this crucial reform since Day One. It’s assisted by news reporting about canceled health policies that typically ranges from woefully misinformed to spectacularly ignorant, and even at its best is incomplete.
The fact is that Obamacare is here to stay. Its customer protections are worth real money to tens of millions of consumers, and it’s vastly expanding the insurance market. The politicians claiming that they’re only out to “fix” a broken program are playing you for suckers, and not for the first time.
LA Times: Healthcare Plan Enrollment Surges In Some States After Rocky Rollout
Despite the disastrous rollout of the federal government’s healthcare website, enrollment is surging in many states as tens of thousands of consumers sign up for insurance plans made available by President Obama’s health law. A number of states that use their own systems, including California, are on track to hit enrollment targets for 2014 because of a sharp increase in November, according to state officials.
“What we are seeing is incredible momentum,” said Peter Lee, director of Covered California, the nation’s largest state insurance marketplace, which accounted for a third of all enrollments nationally in October. California — which enrolled about 31,000 people in health plans last month — nearly doubled that in the first two weeks of this month.
Several other states, including Connecticut and Kentucky, are outpacing their enrollment estimates, even as states that depend on the federal website lag far behind. In Minnesota, enrollment in the second half of October ran at triple the rate of the first half, officials said. Washington state is also on track to easily exceed its October enrollment figure, officials said.
President Obama talks with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough while sitting at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Nov. 18, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)
On This Day:
President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak during an arrival ceremony at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 19, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
…. speaking to US troops at Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, on November 19, 2009
…. at the East Asia Summit plenary session in Nusa Dua in Bali, on November 19, 2011
First Lady Michelle Obama greets Lianyun Wu as she awards an International Spotlight Award to The 100 Dong Songs Program of China, during the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards in the East Room at the White House, November 19, 2012
A Burmese student at Yangon International airport awaiting President Obama’s arrival, Nov. 19, 2012
Nov. 19, 2012 – Pete Souza: “Police hold back the crowd as residents line the streets of the motorcade route to welcome the first sitting President of the United States to visit Burma. This photograph was taken through the bullet-proof window of the vehicle just in front of the President’s. I love that three of the police are also trying to sneak a glimpse, one with a smile on his face.” (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama poses for a photo in front of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 19, 2012. All visitors must remove their shoes and socks while touring the pagoda. (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama, guides, and Secret Service agents walk barefoot during a tour of the Shwedagon Pagoda (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama pours water over the left shoulder of the Friday Buddha during a tour of the Shwedagon Pagoda (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama signs a guest book during a tour of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 19, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Crowds line a street outside the home of Aung San Suu Kyi as President Obama arrives to meet her in Yangon
President Obama greets Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a visit to her private residence in Rangoon (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama receives a floral tribute upon his arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport for the ASEAN Summit, November 19
MoooOOOooorning! A gazillion thanks to UT for providing all the links for today’s R&S, I only had the pics done when I got stuck on a call for 30 minutes, and then had someone interfere with my TODing because he wanted to play.
Pete Souza: “We were on Air Force One heading to the Summit of the Americas in Singapore. Since the 1990’s, the host country for this Summit chooses a shirt that all heads of state wear to the formal ceremony. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was showing the President pictures of past leaders wearing – shall we say – not the most dignified of shirts.” Nov. 14, 2009
Today (All Times Eastern):
11:35: President Obama to make announcement on a fix for health plans canceled under ACA
12:0: First Lady Michelle Obama delivers keynote address at Disney’s first-ever Veterans Institute workshop at Walt Disney World Resort
1:0: President Obama departs the White House
2:25: Arrives in Cleveland
2:30: VP Biden delivers remarks in Atlanta
2:55: President Obama tours ArcelorMittal, Cleveland
3:40: Delivers remarks on the economy
4:35: Departs Cleveland
5:30: VP Biden attends DNC event in Atlanta
5:45: President Obama arrives in Philadelphia
7:45: Delivers remarks at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
9:10: Departs Philadelphia
10:05: Arrives at the White House
Igor Volsky: The Official Obamacare Numbers And What They Mean For The Future Of Health Care Reform
The Obama administration released October’s enrollment numbers for HealthCare.gov on Wednesday afternoon, providing the first official glimpse into the administration’s progress towards implementing the Affordable Care Act. Here is the breakdown: 106,185: filled out the application and have selected a plan through a federally run or state run exchange. 79,391: filled out the application and have selected a plan through a state-run exchange.
26,794: filled out the application and have selected a plan through a federal exchange. 846,184: filled out the application but have not yet selected a plan 1,509,883: individuals applying for coverage with completed applications 1,081,592: total individuals eligible to enroll in an exchange plan 396,261: eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. Enrollees by state: California 35,364; Federal exchange 26,794; New York 16,404; Washington 7,091; Kentucky 5,586.
Media Matters: The Obamacare Fact-Check CBS Should Have Done (But Didn’t)
CBS News, already in trouble for not bothering to fact-check sensational claims about the Benghazi attacks, has stepped in it again with an exclusive story on the Affordable Care Act that has quickly fallen apart.
On November 11, CBS News reported that the “project manager in charge of building the federal health care website was apparently kept in the dark about serious failures in the website’s security.”
CBS investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s report was based on an exclusive “first look at a partial transcript” of closed-door testimony by project manager Henry Chao that was likely leaked to the network by Republicans on the House Oversight Committee. Other media outlets picked up CBS’s scoop and ran with it.
…. Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) questioned Chao at a November 13 Oversight Committee hearing and revealed how misleading CBS News’ report was….
…. Gee, CBS gets scammed by a con-man like Darrell Issa. Hoocoodanode?
Perhaps a CBS reporter who has proven to be a reliable mark in the past.
Sharyl Atkisson? The Sharyl Atkisson? The one who proved so valuable to Issa in his attempt to promote the Fast And Furious fakery? …. She was also a dependable mouthpiece in the early days of Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! …. the Sharyl Atkisson who did so much to mainstream anti-vaccine propaganda and give Julia Ioffe whooping cough? That Sharyl Atkisson?
Greg Sargent: What The Obamacare Enrollment Numbers Really Tell Us
To Larry Levitt, a vice president at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, another very telling number is this one: over 975,000 have been determined eligible for a marketplace but haven’t yet chosen a plan.
“That’s one of the most telling numbers — a million people have been determined eligible,” Levitt tells me. “That means if the website had been working well, and a million people had gotten to the end of the process, we’d be looking at a very different trajectory now. We heard about the surge in traffic when HealthCare.gov went live. This suggests there is in fact a lot of interest.”
Meanwhile, the 100,000 number is getting a lot of attention, but the report also finds nearly 400,000 were determined eligible for Medicaid. “In total that’s over 500,000 people who signed up for insurance in the midst of a tumultuous launch,” Levitt says. “People make a distinction between the marketplace and Medicaid, but those are both elements of the Affordable Care Act — both are mechanisms to get people insured.”
Mother Jones: If GOP Repeals Obamacare, 137 Million Americans Could Get Cancellation Notices
how many Americans’ health plans would receive some form of cancellation notice if GOP hardliners got their wish and repealed Obamacare? Probably at least 137 million. Let’s do the math. Most of the 49 million Americans who were uninsured before the Affordable Care Act will now be eligible to obtain health coverage—either through the expansion of Medicaid or through federal subsidies they can use to purchase insurance on the cheap through the exchanges.
From that number, subtract the 30 million or so low-income people who will not sign up for coverage, either because they can’t afford it, or they live in one of the 24 states where Republican governors decided not to expand Medicaid. That takes us down to 19 million uninsured Americans whose coverage would disappear if Republicans repeal Obamacare. Now add to that number the 267 million Americans who have insurance, but will now receive better coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Bob Cesca: The Truth About The Obamacare Enrollment Numbers
You’ve probably heard the number 106,000 bouncing around the tubes today. It represents the supposed number of Americans who have signed up for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Of course it’s not the most accurate indication of what October really looked like.
According to Jonathan Cohn, the total number of Americans who have submitted applications for coverage via Healthcare.gov and state exchanges? Try 1.5 million people, if you factor in households with multiple people receiving coverage — dependents and so forth, who, by the way, are included among the 30 million Americans without insurance prior to the ACA.
ABC6: Obama Says He Will Visit Indian Country Next Year
President Barack Obama told Native American leaders Wednesday that he will make his first trip as president to Indian Country next year, expanding on his vow to enhance the bond between the federal and tribal governments. Obama told the tribal leaders at the fifth annual White House Tribal Nations Conference that the federal government still has work to do to sustain a strong relationship with tribal governments.
He says the United States can do more to give tribes more control over their communities and says that high rates of poverty among Native Americans are “a moral call to action.” In addition, he says the federal government needs to ensure that Native Americans have access to affordable health care and must help tribes be good stewards of their native homelands.
As the nation recovers from the Republican shutdown of government, the question Americans should be asking is not “Why did the GOP do that to us?” but “Why were they even relevant in the first place?” So dramatically have the demographic and electoral tides in this country turned against the Republican Party that, in a representative democracy worthy of the designation, the Grand Old Party should be watching from the sidelines and licking its wounds. Not only did Barack Obama win a second term in an electoral landslide in 2012, but he is also just the fourth president in a century to have won two elections with more than 50 percent of the popular vote.
What’s more, the party controls 55 seats in the Senate, and Democratic candidates for the House received well over a million more votes than their Republican counterparts in the election last year. And yet, John Boehner still wields the gavel in the House and Republican resistance remains a defining force in the Senate, frustrating Obama’s ambitious agenda. Through a combination of hyperpartisan redistricting of the House, unprecedented obstructionism in the Senate and racist voter suppression in the states, today’s GOP has locked in political power that it could never have secured on a level playing field.
Over the first month of open-enrollment, 106,185 consumers signed up for health insurance through an exchange – about a quarter of that total signed up by way of the federal marketplace. In addition, another 396,261 Americans have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion. By this reasoning, about 500,000 consumers gained health insurance in October thanks to the Affordable Care Act
nearly 1 million consumers – on top of those who gained coverage – began the process “by applying and receiving an eligibility determination” but have “not yet selected a plan.” For many of these folks, this is the result of the broken website – the totals are not a reflection of demand, but rather, capacity.
And therein lies the point: the administration assumed that that demand for coverage would be there, and those assumptions were correct. The problem, of course, is the dysfunctional website – people haven’t been able to purchase the product they want to buy. Fix the site and the pieces of the system fall nicely into place.
Digital Journal: President Obama Signs School Access To Emergency Epinephrine Act
President Obama today signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act during a ceremony attended by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) CEO John L. Lehr, members of FARE’s board of directors and key congressional sponsors. This historic and potentially lifesaving legislation is the first federal law encouraging schools to stock epinephrine for use in allergic emergencies, and has been championed by FARE for more than two years.
The law, passed by the Senate on Oct. 31 and by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 30, encourages states to require schools to keep lifesaving epinephrine on hand and ensure school personnel are trained to use it. The bill received strong bipartisan support and was passed by unanimous consent in both chambers. “We are thrilled to see this legislation signed by President Obama and thank him for bringing national attention to the need to protect students with food allergies,” said John L. Lehr, CEO of FARE
Department Of Justice: Court Authorizes IRS To Issue Summonses For Records Relating To U.S. Taxpayers With Offshore Bank Accounts
U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood of the Southern District of New York entered an order on Nov. 7, 2013, authorizing the IRS to issue summonses requiring Bank of New York Mellon (Mellon) and Citibank NA (Citibank) to produce information about U.S. taxpayers who may be evading or have evaded federal taxes by holding interests in undisclosed accounts at Zurcher Kantonalbank and its affiliates (collectively, ZKB) in Switzerland; and U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman of the Southern District of New York entered an order today authorizing the IRS to issue summonses requiring Mellon, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA (JPMorgan),
HSBC Bank USA NA (HSBC), and Bank of America NA (Bank of America) to produce similar information in connection with undisclosed accounts at The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited and its affiliates (collectively, Butterfield) in the Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Malta, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These cases once again demonstrate the department’s resolve to uncover and identify taxpayers who tried to hide money overseas as a way to avoid federal taxes,” said Assistant Attorney General Keneally.
Think Progress: Senate Democrats Unveil Pro-Choice Bill To Prevent States From Chipping Away At Abortion Rights
Last week, Senate Republicans introduced a national abortion ban that would chisel away at the constitutional rights guaranteed under Roe v. Wade. Now, their Democratic colleagues are striking back with some abortion-related legislation of their own. a group of pro-choice senators plan to introduce the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013, a measure intended to stem the barrage of state-level restrictions on reproductive rights.
the new bill would preempt state’s efforts to indirectly restrict abortion by requiring new laws to be medically necessary. The measure emphasizes that new abortion regulations shouldn’t decrease access to abortion services or require doctors to go against their best judgment.
Michael Tomasky: The Democrats Need To Stop Freaking Out About Obamacare And Take Charge
Bill Clinton conceded those rhetorical inches to the right on Obamacare, which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) seized on immediately. At least two blue-state senators, Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Jeff Merkley (OR), have jumped on the “fix Obamacare” bandwagon. At the same time, there’s no need for panic. Even with the continued existence and success of Fox, reality is still reality, and in the end, reality usually trumps cable and hyperventilating reports about who won the morning in Politico. And reality says the enrollment period doesn’t end until next spring, and it’s really not possible to tell how things are going until enrollment has ended and we see both the number of people who’ve enrolled and what percentage healthy vs. sick, because insurers made their guesstimates and pegged their rates to those guesstimates.
I remember a lot of other times when it was supposedly curtains for Obama, too, because inside the Beltway, the more disciplined Republicans, who after all are in the luxurious position of just sitting back and firing away, have an easier time winning news cycles. But out beyond the Beltway, the party that shut down the government for three weeks and killed immigration reform and wants to decimate food stamps and can’t even pass its own spending bills doesn’t look very appealing to most people. The fate of Obamacare can be changed. The DNA of the GOP cannot.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and President Obama laugh as they brush their hair during a group photo during the APEC summit
First Lady Michelle Obama hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ spouses luncheon at Kualoa Ranch in Ka’a’awa on the island of Oahu in Hawaii on November 13, 2011 (Okay, a day late)
President Obama chats with Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, right, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the APEC leaders dinner in Singapore, Nov. 14, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama shares a laugh with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the APEC leaders dinner in Singapore, Nov. 14, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama eats a green tea ice cream bar during his visit to the Great Buddha of Kamakura at the Kotoku-in Temple in Kamakura, Japan, Nov. 14, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)