President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Brady Briefing room at the White House. President Obama took full responsibility and apologized for a US drone strike that targeted a suspected al Qaeda compound in Pakistan but inadvertently killed an American and Italian being held hostage by the group
President Barack Obama holds a jersey while posing for a picture with head coach Bill Belichick (L), owner Robert Kraft (R) and members of the National Football League Super Bowl champions New England Patriots during an event at the White House. President Obama honored the Super bowl XLIX champion Patriots who defeated the Seattle Seahawks 33-27 in overtime
President Barack Obama hugs Victoria Bellucci, a 2014 graduate of Huntingtown High School in Huntingtown, Md., after she introduced Obama to speak at the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Bellucci played four years of women’s varsity soccer where she was a team captain and an All-State selection. By the time her high school and club soccer careers ended in 2013, Bellucci had suffered five concussions. President Obama was hosting the summit with representatives of professional sports leagues, coaches, parents, young athletes, researchers and others to call attention to the issue of youth sports concussions.
President Barack Obama talks at the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit. Listening is Dr. Gerard Gioia
President Barack Obama is introduced by Victoria Belluci of Huntington, Md. at the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit. Listening are moderator Pam Oliver and Dr. Gerard Gioia
CBS: President Obama Calls For More Robust Research Into Youth Concussions
The commander-in-chief wants to know more. President Barack Obama called Thursday for more robust research into youth concussions, saying there remains deep uncertainty over both the scope of the troubling issue and the long-term impacts on young people. “We want our kids participating in sports,” Obama said as he opened a day-long summit on concussions at the White House. “As parents though, we want to keep them safe and that means we have to have better information.” The summit signaled an effort by Obama to use the power of the presidency to elevate a national conversation over youth concussions. The White House brought together representatives of professionalsports leagues, coaches, parents, young athletes, medical professionals and others for the event.
"Sports teach us about teamwork and hard work and what it takes to succeed not only on the field, but in life." —Obama #HeadsUp4Safety
Obama, an avid sports fan and father of two daughters involved in athletics, highlighted millions of dollars in pledges and other support from the National Football League, the National Institutes of Health and others to conduct research that could begin to provide answers and improve safety. Among the financial commitments is a $30 million joint research effort by the NCAA and Defense Department and an NFL commitment of $25 million over the next three years to promote youth sports safety. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a blow to the head, or a blow to the body powerful enough to jostle the brain around inside the skull. Nearly 250,000 kids and young adults visit hospital emergency rooms each year with brain injuries caused by sports or other recreational activity, the White House said.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with former football player Lavar Arrington, as former professional soccer player and current ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman watches
USA Today: Obama: We Need ‘Better Data’ On Sports Concussions
President Obama told a White House meeting of athletes, coaches and medical experts Thursday that there are no “solid numbers” on the extent of the concussion problem in football and other contact sports. “We’ve got to have better research, better data, better safety equipment, better protocols,” Obama said at the first White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit. While “sports are vital to this country,”
"That’s what today’s about—let’s give parents the information they need to help their kids compete safely." —President Obama #HeadsUp4Safety
Obama said, society needs to make sure that young people “are able to participate as safely as possible.” The purpose of the summit is to look for better ways to determine the severity of head injuries that could affect the brain, and how to treat them. Moreover, adults need to discourage a “suck-it-up” culture that encourages young athletes to pay through pain, Obama said.
President Barack Obama speaks at the White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit. Pictured from left to right: LaVar Arrington, former NFL linebacker; Victoria Bellucci, a high school soccer player from Huntingtown, Md.; Taylor Twellman, former professional soccer player; Gen. Ray Odierno, Chief of Staff of the United States Army; R. Dawn Comstock, who runs the national high school sports injury surveillance program called High School RIO; Gerard A Gioia, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center, Pam Oliver, a reporter with NFL on FOX
Youth sports concussions draw Obama's attention, #NCAA and Defense Department launch $30M effort: apne.ws/1ivCnGf
@petesouza: President Obama holds a 12th man flag with the Super Bowl Champs Seattle Seahawks
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, accompanied by quarterback Russell Wilson, and wide receiver Doug Baldwin
ABC News: Obama Salutes Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks
President Barack Obama congratulated the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday, saluting their victories on the field and their contributions to their community. Noting that some football analysts didn’t see Seattle as a top-tier team, Obama said he especially appreciated the team overcoming long odds.
“As a guy who was elected president named Barack Obama, I root for the underdog,” the president joked. The Seahawks clinched their first Super Bowl victory in the history of the franchise in February by beating the Denver Broncos 43-8.
President Obama with Bo during a brief break from meetings on the South Lawn of the White House May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (all times Eastern)
11:0: President Obama meets with President Jose Mujica Cordano of Uruguay
11:0: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Host Their Annual Mothers Day Tea to Honor Military Mothers
1:15: Jay Carney briefs the press
5:25: The President honors the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS award winners
The Week Ahead
Tuesday: The President will award Kyle J. White, a former active duty Army Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.
Wednesday: The President and the First Lady will travel to New York. While there, the President will host an event on the economy and attend DNC and DSCC events. More details will be forthcoming.
Thursday: The President and the First Lady will tour the National September 11th Memorial and Museum; the President will also deliver remarks at the dedication ceremony. Following his remarks, the President and the First Lady will return to Washington, DC.
Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.
BBC: Nigeria kidnapped girls ‘shown’ in new Boko Haram video
A new video released by Islamist militants Boko Haram claims to show around 130 girls kidnapped from a school in Nigeria last month.
The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said they would be held until all imprisoned militants had been freed.
He said the girls had converted to Islam. The video, released on Monday, claims to show them praying.
Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls in northern Nigeria on 14 April and threatened to sell them.
The BBC’s John Simpson in the northern city of Maiduguri said Boko Haram’s comments showed signs that the group was willing to negotiate.
AP: Pregnant women gain new options under health law
The health care law has opened up an unusual opportunity for some mothers-to-be to save on medical bills for childbirth.
Lower-income women who signed up for a private policy in the new insurance exchanges will have access to additional coverage from their state’s Medicaid program if they get pregnant. Some women could save hundreds of dollars on their share of hospital and doctor bills.
Medicaid already pays for nearly half of U.S. births, but this would create a way for the safety-net program to supplement private insurance for many expectant mothers.
Officials and advocates say the enhanced coverage will be available across the country, whether or not a state expands Medicaid under the health law. However, states have different income cutoffs for eligibility, ranging from near the poverty line to solid middle class.
Miami Herald: The Affordable Care Act gives former foster kids healthcare benefits to age 26, though they may not know it
Rain clouds couldn’t spoil Kenisha Anthony’s afternoon as she emerged from the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables on Saturday with an associate degree in social work from Miami Dade College. The 22-year-old from Miami had survived the school of hard knocks that is Florida’s foster care system to reach this moment. Now a provision of the Affordable Care Act promises to help her make an even better start.
As of Jan. 1, Anthony and others who aged out of foster care became eligible for Medicaid until they turn 26, just as other young adults can stay on their parents’ health plans to that age as part of the ACA. But not all former foster children may know about this little-discussed Obamacare benefit, especially if they’re no longer in the system.
Business Insider: The GOP’s Latest Anti-Obamacare Talking Point Just Went Down In Flames
Last week, the Republican-led House Committee on Energy and Commerce released information claiming only 67% of enrollees in insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act made their first premium payment. The data was paraded around as a talking point ahead of the Obama administration’s final release of stats from the law’s first open enrollment period.
On Wednesday, that talking point blew up.
Three of the country’s largest insurers — Aetna, WellPoint, and Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in several states — said between 80-90% of new customers who enrolled through Obamacare paid their first month’s premiums. Executives from the companies announced the news in testimony before the very same House Committee on Energy and Commerce where Republicans touted the contrary data last week.
The Republican National Committee altered a video clip of a local news story about health insurance premiums in North Carolina to imply that rates would increase under the Affordable Care Act, cutting off the segment just before the reporter explained that “not everyone could be in for the sticker shock.”
The report, aired on the local ABC affiliate last week and posted and tweeted by the RNC, argues that since enrollment of young people did not meet expectations, health insurance would “eventually cost you more.” A small business owner interviewed for the package adds that her family’s premiums have increased since passage of the law and reporter Angelica Alvarez notes that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest insurance provider, “is warning customers now about what premium prices can look like in 2015.”
But just as Alvarez begins to explain that most customers are unlikely to experience significant premium hikes, the RNC clip abruptly ends.
Republicans are trying to criminalize a tragedy — wholly unprecedented, even after 241 Marines died because of a massive U.S. intelligence failure.
One of the most maddening things about this Benghazi nonsense is the way Republicans have gotten a lot of Americans to go along with the idea that 10 investigations of something is normal; that as long as there’s one unanswered question, one area where the administration’s position is ambiguous or where its cooperation has been anything other than the immediate handing over of any conceivably related document, we still need to get to the bottom of matters.
…. I’m trying to explain as calmly as I can here, to readers with no allegiance to either party, why what the Republicans are doing with Benghazi is so out of bounds. They are turning a political situation into a legal case. They’re trying to impose the standards of the courtroom onto a place where they clearly don’t belong. It’s an awful, poisonous precedent, especially given that the incident in question was a tragedy. Using a national tragedy, the kind of event that used to unite Americans, to turn a political matter into a legal one is just a shocking thing to do, wholly outside the American tradition.
Paul Waldman: The five stages of GOP scandal-mongering: A reader’s guide
The House of Representatives voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, on the grounds that she had asserted her Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer their questions, thereby depriving them of the opportunity for what they hoped would be some spectacular grandstanding. You might think that a group of people with such reverence for the Constitution wouldn’t get so angry when certain portions of it, like the Fifth Amendment, become inconvenient to their political ends. But this contempt vote was like the end of a toddler’s tantrum, the final hoarse scream before the child collapses in an exhausted heap on the floor.
You may be wondering: what ever happened to that IRS scandal, anyway? It went the way of pretty much every Obama administration “scandal,” which is that it turned out to be not nearly as scandalous as Republicans had hoped.
In fact, a clear pattern has emerged on how these scandals have unfolded, one that might be helpful to keep in mind as we start paying attention to Benghazi again. Here’s a handy guide:
Steve Benen: On Capitol Hill, it’s all about priorities
Since Congress returned from its spring recess, House Republicans have gone to almost comical lengths to focus on discredited “scandals.” GOP lawmakers have created a new special Benghazi committee; they battled each other for slots on the investigatory panel; they’ve voted to hold a former IRS official in contempt; and they’ve talked to the media an awful lot about both “controversies.”
And so it was rather amusing to listen to the Republican Party’s weekly address over the weekend, in which GOP officials demanded to know why those rascally Democrats won’t follow Republicans’ lead and focus on job creation.
…. Let’s make this very simple for everyone involved: if House Republicans are sincere about focusing on job creation, they can (a) give up the witch hunts that they know to be ridiculous; (b) put together a serious jobs package; (c) subject it to independent scrutiny to determine how many jobs the package would create and at what cost; and (d) invite Democrats to the table for talks.
Smartypants: President Obama’s legacy: A foundation for peace
Let’s be honest – after the terrorist attack on 9/11 this country went on a bit of a freak-out…wars, torture, Gitmo, terror threat levels, TSA, warrantless surveillance, etc. Its easy to simply blame the Bush/Cheney administration. But the truth is, they got re-elected after most of that was underway. So there’s plenty of blame to go around.
President Obama had to deal with the legacy of that freak-out from the moment he was first elected. He assumed office knowing that another terrorist attack like the one this country experienced in 2001 could ignite more of the same. And he knew that allowing that to happen would threaten any attempt to wage a lasting peace.
Media Matters: Top Cable News Coverage Of Federal Climate Change Report Cast Doubt On Science
Climate Keeps Changing, But Cable Network Reporting Stays The Same
A Media Matters analysis of major cable news coverage of the National Climate Assessment (NCA) revealed that CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News devoted more than three hours of total coverage to the report on its release date, May 6, and the day after. Some reporting, however, gave false balance a national platform, and cable news outlets were more likely to interview politicians than scientists about the threat of global warming.
President Obama congratulated Michael Sam today, after he made history as the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL when he was picked by the St. Louis Rams, the White House said.
“The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey. From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are,” a White House official emailed to ABC News.
Sens. Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Boxer confer during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting to vote on the nomination of John Bolton to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. on May 12, 2005, on Capitol Hill
Sen. Obama plays a game of pool during a stop at Schultzie’s Bar & Hot Spot, May 12, 2008 in Springhill, West Virginia
Sen. Obama greets supporters before speaking at a campaign rally at the Charleston Civic Center, May 12, 2008 in Charleston, West Virginia
President Obama and Vice President Biden walk to the Rose Garden of the White House to take part in the Top Cops ceremony May 12, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama pets the family dog, Bo, during a brief break from meetings on the South Lawn of the White House May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama looks through the Oval Office door peephole as his personal secretary Katie Johnson watches, March 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama, receptionist Darienne Page, and Vice President Biden share a laugh outside the Oval Office, May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama, Vice President Biden, Tom Nee, President of the National Association of Police Organizations, and Attorney General Eric Holder, in the Oval Office before speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House at an event honoring the National Association of Police Organization’s Top Cops May 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder (background) greet the crowd following the Top Cops ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House May 12, 2009 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama signs the Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 bill into law in the Oval Office of the White House Tuesday, May 12, 2009. With President Obama are from left: Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL); Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY); Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA); Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO); Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk to the East Room for “An Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word, May 12, 2009
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the first White House Poetry Jam in the East Room of the White House, May 12, 2009 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)
Poet Maya del Valle performs in the East Room at the first White House Poetry Jam performance event, May 12, 2009 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during the “When Parents Deploy: Understanding the Experiences of Military Children and Spouses” luncheon at Georgetown University Conference Center on May 12, 2010
President Obama takes the stage before addressing the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast at the Mellon Auditorium May 12, 2011
President Obama arrives for a ceremony honoring the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS in the Rose Garden at the White House, May 12, 2011
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.
On This Day: President Obama looks at the view from the InterContinental Yokohama Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan, Nov. 13, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (all times Eastern):
10:50: President Obama and VP Biden meet with faith leaders
1:30: Dr Jill Biden delivers remarks at event titled “Improving Veterans’ College Graduation Rates” hosted by Google at the Army and Navy Club in Washington
2:15: Jay Carney briefs the press
3:30: President Obama delivers remarks at the 2013 Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of Interior
A small group of faith leaders will meet with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and top staffers Valerie Jarrett, Cecilia Munoz and Melissa Rogers today to map strategy to push the GOP-controlled House to pass immigration reform. According to a White House official, here are the faith leaders who will be at the meeting:
· Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals
· Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Seattle
· Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland Church, Orlando, FL
· Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Korean Churches for Community Development, Los Angeles, CA
· Mike McClenahan, Senior Pastor, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Solana Beach, CA
· Russell Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Nashville, TN
· Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
Igor Volsky: ‘If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It’ Is Easier Said Than Done
Flooded with news stories and constituent calls from Americans losing their health care plans, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have proposed seemingly easy solutions that they say will allow everyone keep their existing insurance coverage. On Friday, the House will consider such a measure, spearheaded by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). Several Democrats in vulnerable districts are expected to back the effort. On Tuesday, even Bill Clinton threw his support behind the change and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said she would vote for similar legislation being introduced in the Senate by Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
But lawmakers who have fought for years to enact a law that expands health care coverage to sick people, overcame almost insurmountable legislative hurdles, and survived a constitutional challenge before the Supreme Court, should be wary of supporting measures that take away key consumer protections from millions of Americans and increase costs for millions more.
The truth is, letting everyone in the individual health care market maintain their existing coverage would have real consequences for health care reform.
I think a successful ACA is trying to emerge, through the fog of political war. Do not think the GOP can reverse the process; the policy fundamentals are in place. For me the question is not whether a working ACA will emerge, but when this will be recognized….
…. I, too, worry about the website, the slow enrollment uptake, the GOP onslaught, and their and the MSM’s total assurance that the ACA is and will remain an unmitigated catastrophe. But the facts on the ground tell me that major seeds have been planted, that they will not be dug up, that they will, now planted, grow naturally into a splendid harvest that will not be prevented.
Republicans are making a fatal and permanent mistake in seeking all-out to destroy the ACA with no attempt to replace it with something that could address the same issue of the uninsured.
…. So what is trying to emerge from the fog of political war? A gold mine of help to the poor and the middle class, and to the country’s economy by helping to tame healthcare costs; and this gold mine is the much maligned ACA!
Over the weekend, The Hill published an interesting piece suggesting congressional Republicans, who had been fully committed to repealing the entirety of the Affordable Care Act since its inception, have “shifted their strategy.”
The “pivot,” the article said, was from repealing the health care to law to helping “fix” it through something called the Keep Your Health Plan Act, sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). “The GOP,” The Hill reported, “wants to rebuild its political capital and public credibility by solving ObamaCare’s implementation problems.”
With respect to The Hill, whose reporting I rely on frequently, the piece was a little naive. To think that House Republicans, a month after shutting down the government over a health care law they hate with blinding rage, suddenly want to improve the Affordable Care Act is hard to take seriously. Upton’s Keep Your Health Plan Act is about a partisan game to undermine the law and put Democrats on the defensive – and little else.
Igor Volsky: 6 Reasons Why Obamacare Enrollment Is Going Better Than You Think
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that between 40,000 and 50,000 uninsured Americans signed up for health care coverage in the 36 states where the federal government is running the Obamacare exchanges. But the initial estimate doesn’t tell the whole story about how many people are connecting to coverage. Here is what you need to know about the enrollment figures
More than 500,000 have signed up for insurance overall. Avalere Health, a consulting firm tracking sign-ups, estimates that at least 440,000 people have signed up for Medicaid and another 49,000 people enrolled in coverage in 12 states and the District of Columbia that are operating their own exchanges. Significantly, that state number don’t appear to include enrollment from California, Massachusetts, or Oregon. Thus, all told, more than 529,000 have enrolled in coverage.
Sahil Kapur: Red State Dems Push Reforms That Would Damage Obamacare
A trio of face-saving changes to Obamacare proposed by conservative Democratic senators would do significant damage to the law, according to health policy experts.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) wants to make sure people can keep their insurance plans even if they fail to meet basic benefit standards under Obamacare. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) wants to delay by one year the tax penalty for failing to comply with the individual mandate. And ten Democrats want to give people more time to enroll on the exchanges.
“I think each of these [proposals] would be significantly disruptive to the law’s goals,” said Tim Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University and leading expert on Obamacare.
Sara Kliff: One In 10 Veterans Lacks Health Insurance. Obamacare Could Change That
The Veterans Administration operates the country’s largest health-care system. It has more than 1,700 hospitals and clinics across the country. Doctors there had about 50 million appointments with veterans in 2012. This sweeping system does not, however, cover everyone: One in 10 veterans lacks health insurance.
Haley and Kenney wrote a follow-up paper in March 2013, looking at what the Affordable Care Act would mean for uninsured veterans. They estimate that about 40 percent of uninsured veterans earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty line (about $15,000 for an individual) and would therefore qualify for Medicaid, if their state had opted to expand the program.
The economy is growing much more quickly than expected. Inflation is basically nonexistent. The federal budget deficit has been slashed dramatically. The stock market is reaching all-time highs. One of our long-running wars is over, and the other is winding down. The status of the United States as the world’s preeminent economic and military power is unchallenged.
Last week’s announcement that the U.S.economy grew at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter was stunning. That news was followed by the October employment numbers, which were also promising: a total of 204,000 new jobs. The federal deficit for fiscal 2013 was just $680 billion. That sounds like a lot of money — all right, it is a lot of money — but it’s an incredible 37 percent less than the deficit for fiscal 2012.
If you listen to President Obama’s critics, especially his Republican adversaries on Capitol Hill, you’d think the economy was wheezing its last gasps. But investors obviously disagree, since the Dow closed Monday at a record high — and has nearly doubled since Obama took office. Put simply, money talks.
President Obama signs the Tribal Law and Order Act joined by congressional and tribal leaders at a bill signing ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington on July 29, 2010
ABC: Tribal Leaders Thank Obama For Redskins Comments
Native American leaders used a meeting at the White House on Tuesday to thank President Barack Obama for wading into the controversy over the Washington Redskins team name and voicing his concern that the nickname was offensive.
Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Nation, which has led efforts to get the National Football League team to change its name, thanked the president for speaking out. Other tribal leaders responded with applause during the meeting in the Roosevelt Room.
In an October interview with The Associated Press, Obama said that if he owned the Redskins he would consider changing the name. He said that while fans get attached to nicknames, nostalgia isn’t a good enough reason to keep a name that offends “a sizable group of people.”
The problem is that Richard Cohen thinks being repulsed isn’t actually racist, but “conventional” or “culturally conservative.” Obstructing the right of black humans and white humans to form families is a central feature of American racism. If retching at the thought of that right being exercised isn’t racism, then there is no racism.
Context can not improve this. “Context” is not a safe-word that makes all your other horse-shit statements disappear. And horse-shit is the context in which Richard Cohen has, for all these years, wallowed. It is horse-shit to claim that store owners are right to discriminate against black males. It is horse-shit to claim that Trayvon Martin was wearing the uniform of criminals. It is horse-shit to subject your young female co-workers to “a hostile work environment.”It is horse-shit to expend precious news-print lamenting the days when slovenly old dudes had their pick of 20-year old women. It is horse-shit to defend a rapist on the run because you like “The Pianist.”
If you’re a conservative strongly opposed to abortion, shouldn’t you want to give all the help you can to women who want to bring their children into the world? In particular, wouldn’t you hope they’d get the proper medical attention during and after their pregnancy? This would seem a safe assumption, which is why it ought to be astonishing that conservatives are positively obsessed with trashing the Affordable Care Act’s regulation requiring insurance policies to include maternity coverage.
Never mind that we who are lucky enough to have health insurance end up paying to cover conditions we may never suffer ourselves. We all want to avoid cancer, but we don’t begrudge those who do get it when the premiums we pay into our shared insurance pools help them receive care.
A week after the 2013 elections, there’s one incredibly close race the political world is watching with great interest: who’ll be Virginia’s new state attorney general?
The vote-counting process ended last night, and as the dust settled, Democrat Mark Herring finished with 163 more votes than Republican Mark Obenshain – out of more than 2.2 million votes cast. Overnight, Herring declared victory.
So, is that it? Of course not. Given the margin, Obenshain has not conceded the race – it stands to reason that if the roles were reversed, Herring wouldn’t concede, either – and a statewide recount is probably inevitable. That, however, can’t begin until these preliminary tallies are certified, and that won’t happen until Nov. 25.
First lady Michelle Obama performs some football drills before playing flag football with children, former NFL players and coaches during her “Let’s Move” campaign to fight childhood obesity in New Orleans, September 8