Posts Tagged ‘robinson

09
Apr
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama greets tourists at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Saturday, April 9, 2011. The President made an unannounced stop to thank people for visiting the memorial a day after he and Congressional leaders agreed on a bill to keep the government open (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

9:05 AM: The President and First Lady depart the White House

12:30: Arrive in Killeen, Texas

3:0: The President and First Lady attend a memorial ceremony, Fort Hood, Sadowski Field

5:20: The President and First Lady arrive in Houston, Texas

6:0: The President attends a DNC event, Private Residence

8:20: The President delivers remarks and answers questions at a joint DCCC/DSCC dinner, Private Residence

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TPM: Obamacare Might Be Covering Way More People Than Previously Thought

RAND Corp, a non-profit think tank, released the survey. Its eye-opening finding: 7.2 million previously uninsured people have gained health coverage through their employer since mid-September. That’s on top of those people who have purchased private coverage on Obamacare’s insurance marketplaces or enrolled in Medicaid or young adults who signed up through their parents’ plan. Those three groups were the only people that many previous estimates of Obamacare’s impact had accounted for.

In other words, if you take the earlier estimates of 8.3 million to 9.5 million uninsured people who had gotten covered by marketplace plans, Medicaid and their parents’ policies — and then add some of the millions more who RAND found had gotten insured through their employer — then Obamacare could be responsible for reducing America’s uninsured ranks much more than the earlier estimates suggested.It’s safe to say that if Obamacare is leading to that significant a surge in employer-based coverage, it’s an impact that few people saw coming. The Congressional Budget Office didn’t anticipate such an increase — its analysis had projected that employer-based coverage would rise by only 1 million from 2013 to 2014.

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Paul Krugman: Three Legs Good, One Leg Bad

The good news for Obamacare just keeps coming in. Via Charles Gaba, the Rand Survey — which was the subject of a report in the LA Times, but which wasn’t publicly available — is now in. And it says that as of mid-March — that is, before the final enrollment surge — the Affordable Care Act had already produced a net gain of 9.3 million insured adults. Again, that’s a net gain; so much for claims that more people are losing insurance than gaining it.

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Philip Bump: The Source Of Black Poverty Isn’t Black Culture, It’s American Culture

Americans don’t want to imagine that our racist history is actually an ongoing, racist reality. We like to look at racism as a thing that has gotten better (if not gone away completely) and that the way black Americans are treated in society is actually colorblind. So, if forced to pick between the idea that our country’s structures and systems are biased toward white people or the idea that black communities are flawed, many pick the latter. Some doing so, of course, because they’re racist. Believing that black culture is primarily at fault means believing that black cultural attitudes

are why the black unemployment rate has always been at least 50 percent higher than white unemployment. Is black culture why this 2003 study found that job applicants “with white-sounding names are 50 percent more likely to get called for an initial interview than applicants with African-American-sounding names”? American history demonstrates countless examples of racist obstruction of black economic success. Ongoing examples show countless ways in which black Americans are still obstructed in the same way.

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Alex Pareene: Morning Joe’s Special Privileges: Why Is MSNBC Allowing Him To Help GOP Raise Money?

Joe Scarborough, who is definitely not running for president, is going to New Hampshire next month to deliver the keynote address at the Chesire County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner. This follows another visit to New Hampshire last month, where Scarborough delivered a speech to the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference. Joe Scarborough would like you to know that he is not planning a run for president — he just happens to enjoy New Hampshire, I guess, and who doesn’t? (He also recently visited South Carolina.) But as the Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone reports, this totally normal not-at-all presidential campaign-related New Hampshire visit probably violates MSNBC policy on hosts raising money for political parties or candidates. Because it is a fundraiser.

Maybe it doesn’t make a ton of sense to allow hosts to advocate, on-air, for certain parties and candidates, but not to donate to or raise money for them, but those are the rules, and those rules are what got then-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann suspended in 2010, after Olbermann donated money to three Democratic candidates.This year, MSNBC forced liberal host Ed Schultz to withdraw from a Democratic Party fundraiser. This will be Scarborough’s second Republican Party fundraiser of the year. He is delivering the keynote address, not merely moderating a panel. The money raised for the dinner will go to Cheshire County Republicans. It all seems pretty cut and dried.

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Charles Pierce on The Washington Examiner:

“It’s one step above that which you find under your windshield wiper at a flea market.”

Genius.

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NYT: U.S. And NATO Warn Russia Against Further Intervention In Ukraine

As the government in Kiev moved to reassert control over pro-Russian protesters across eastern Ukraine, the United States and NATO issued stern warnings to Moscow about further intervention in the country’s affairs amid continuing fears of an eventual Russian incursion. Secretary of State John Kerry accused the Kremlin of fomenting the unrest, calling the protests the work of saboteurs whose machinations were as “ham-handed as they are transparent.” Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he added:

“No one should be fooled — and believe me, no one is fooled — by what could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea. It is clear that Russian special forces and agents have been the catalysts behind the chaos of the last 24 hours.” The secretary general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said Russia would be making a “historic mistake” by going into Ukraine, and he urged the Kremlin to “step back.” At a news conference in Paris, he said any such actions “would have grave consequences for our relationship with Russia” and “would further isolate Russia internationally.”

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Sahil Kapur: Republicans Warn Of New Obamacare Reality: No Repeal Without Alternative

For all the challenges still facing Obamacare and its supporters, conservative health wonks are increasingly cautioning Republicans that the politics of the issue have changed in the wake of the 7 million initial sign-ups. Simply repealing the law is no longer an option, they warn, even if Republicans gain the power to do so. If they want to unwind the law, the least they’ll have to do is coalesce around health care solutions of their own, lest they strip away benefits for millions of Americans without a plan of their own. And the party is far from a consensus on how they’d replace the law. There is internal dissent on whether Republicans ought to come up with an alternative. One congressional GOP health aide, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly, said his party is as determined as ever to fight Obamacare, and will remain so as long as it exhibits failure. He said devising an alternative is fraught with the difficulty of crafting a new benefits structure that doesn’t look like the Affordable Care Act.

“If you want to say the further and further this gets down the road, the harder and harder it gets to repeal, that’s absolutely true,” the aide said. “As far as repeal and replace goes, the problem with replace is that if you really want people to have these new benefits, it looks a hell of a lot like the Affordable Care Act. … To make something like that work, you have to move in the direction of the ACA. You have to have a participating mechanism, you have to have a mechanism to fund it, you have to have a mechanism to fix parts of the market.” It sheds light on why Republicans haven’t yet followed through on the “replace” component of their “repeal and replace” mantra, more than four years after Obamacare was enacted. The popular parts of the law, most notably the preexisting conditions guarantee, are unsustainable without unpopular parts like the individual mandate. Unraveling the parts people dislike means unraveling the whole structure, and rebuilding the well-liked elements is difficult without arriving at a similar place as Obamacare.

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BBC: Ukraine Crisis: Key Four-Way Talks Announced

Senior officials from the EU, Russia, the US and Ukraine are to meet next week to discuss the worsening situation in Ukraine. It will be the first four-way meeting since the crisis erupted. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will join US Secretary of State John Kerry, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia. Russia annexed Crimea in February and has troops massed along the border. Kiev and the US accuse Moscow of fomenting unrest in the mainly Russian-speaking east of the country as a pretext to possibly seizing more territory – a claim strongly refuted by Russia.

As a war of words between Russia and the West hotted up on Tuesday, Mr Kerry said Russian special forces and agents had been “the catalyst behind the chaos of the last 24 hours”. He said the events “could potentially be a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea”. On Tuesday, an EU diplomatic source told BBC News that the European Commission was setting up a special “Support Group for Ukraine” to co-ordinate assistance. The group will consist of several dozen people and its work could be extended to cover fellow ex-Soviet states Georgia and Moldova, the source added.

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NPR: Wave Of Newly Insured Patients Strains Oregon Health Plan

Millions of Americans who didn’t have health insurance last year now do because of the Affordable Care Act. In Lane County, Oregon, Trillium Community Health Plan is struggling to deal with a huge influx of new patients looking for health care. CEO Terry Coplin says the company figured 26,000 people would sign up in the first few years. Instead, about that many signed up right off the bat. Cheryl Stumph is one of them. She and her husband, Mike, run Green Streak Automotive, an all-service garage in Veneta, Ore. Last November, Stumph’s 27-year-old son had a stroke and died at the wheel of his tow truck. The stroke stemmed from a genetic problem, so Stumph spent the winter worrying about her six other kids.Genetic testing is expensive, and she didn’t have health insurance. But now she and her family get Medicaid through Trillium Health. She’s thrilled to be able to get a mammogram and treatment for a stubborn infection. The kids can get genetic testing.

She says her husband has a chronic medical problem that needs attention, too. Stories like Stumph’s are being repeated across Oregon. Trillium’s Coplin says the health plan has come up with a four-part plan to deal with this unexpected influx. First, it will pay bonuses to doctors who accept new patients covered by Trillium. Second, Trillium is giving Lane County $900,000 to open a new clinic in an existing building. “They have proposed ways that they can get this clinic up and running by mid-year,” says Coplin. Third, Trillium is hiring a consultant to see if existing clinics can increase efficiency, for example, by changing who fills out forms. “Having physicians do clerical work is really a waste of valuable resources,” Coplin says. And finally, Trillium is offering $500,000 to any clinic or group of physicians willing to expand their practice to take on another 5,000 adult patients.

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Tommy Christopher: Anatomy Of A Media Attack: ABC News, Fox News, And CNN On White House And Equal Pay

On this Equal Pay Day, it is instructive to see how the mainstream media constructs an attack on the White House and disguises it as good old-fashioned adversarial journalism. One clip you’ve probably seen all day today is of cable news hosts debating the talking point about a supposed gender pay gap among the White House staff, which conservatives raise annually in an attempt to undermine the President’s commitment to pay equity, and the notion of pay equity itself. The figure that The American Enterprise Institute is using this year, 88 cents on every dollar, comes from comparing the median annual salary of women who work in the White House, to the median annual salary of their male colleagues. The AEI report deliberately ignores whether the men and women at the White House are being paid the same amount for the same jobs, because they’re trying to critique President Obama’s use of a similar statistic in his speeches about equal pay.

Besides, when two different reporters tag-teamed White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about it on Monday, Carney explained, clear as a bell, that women in the White House get paid exactly the same as men for the same jobs. Clear as a bell. Jon Karl brought up the AEI study, and Carney explained the gap as a function of looking at the aggregate of all staffers, including the most junior, but that “men and women in equivalent roles here earn equivalent salaries. For example, we have two deputy chiefs of staff, one man and one woman, and they earn the same salary. We have 16 department heads, over half of them are women, all of whom make the same salary as their male counterparts.” What isn’t fair is for ostensibly objective news organizations to present a Republican talking point, then only play part of the White House’s response.

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Annie-Rose Strasser: Why The Government Just Threw Down $225 Million On Hybrid Electric Trains

The Illinois Department of Transportation signed a contract to bring a total of 32 hybrid electric-diesel trains to the United States last month. The trains will start running by 2016. And the project, when all is said and done, will cost the United States $225 million — a number that may sound enormous but that will actually save a significant amount of both money and the carbon pollution that drives climate change. “The Charger locomotives will be used exclusively in passenger service,” a release from Siemens, the company manufacturing the locomotives, says. The trains “will be manufactured in the U.S. by Cummins Inc., headquartered in Columbus, Indiana,” and, will run in Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington.

Should all go well with the original 32, there’s an option for an additional 225 locomotives down the line. The hybrid electric engines will make the trains more efficient. The emissions standards, in particular, are what will make the locomotives worth the extra million dollars apiece. Those EPA standards require a 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide, a greenhouse gas, and in particulate matter (aka soot), which contributes to pollution and health problems.A similar train in Germany, in fact, reduced carbon emissions and energy use by a full 25 percent compared to standard trains.

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Alec Macgillis: This Is What Life In A Plutocracy Looks Like

2. On Monday, a Senate subcommittee releases a report on the tax avoidance used by Caterpillar, the giant Peoria, Ill.-based heavy equipment manufacturer, which cut its tax bill by $2.4 billion over the past 13 years by allotting $8 billion in revenues from its parts division to a subsidiary in Switzerland, where only 65 of the division’s 8,500 employees work. In an email exchange about whether this was appropriate, a managing director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, which was paid $55 million to concoct this arrangement, said: “What the heck, we’ll all be retired when this audit comes up on audit…Baby boomers have their fun, and leave it to the kids to pay for it.” 6. Later on Thursday morning, between 9 and 10 a.m., part of the overhead electric line that powers the Acela train comes down onto the tracks near Bowie, Maryland, between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.

Virtually all train traffic between Baltimore and Washington shuts down for hours as undermanned crews struggle to repair the line, thereby severely hampering traffic in the Washington to Boston Northeast corridor that carries 750,000 passengers on 2,000 trains per day and also spelling panic for the Thursday afternoon rail commuters heading north out of Washington.One passenger is left thinking that this country could use some more spending on infrastructure, transportation and the general commonweal. Yes, that risks being “collectivist” and would be opposed by a casino magnate with vast holdings in Macau and would leave less for top-bracket tax cuts in the Ryan budget. But heck, it would also mean some more business for Caterpillar, which might even be prevailed upon to keep some of its income stateside, thus helping pay for said investment in the future of the greatest nation on earth.

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Peter Beinart: Sheldon Adelson’s Culture Of Hate

Imagine this. Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, Elizabeth Warren and multiple lesser Democratic notables travel halfway across the country to kiss the ring of a Palestinian-American billionaire who has shown himself willing to spend tens of millions of dollars subsidizing presidential campaigns. The billionaire has some provocative views. Six months earlier, he suggested that if Israel does not end its nuclear weapons program, America should drop an “atomic weapon…in the middle of the [Negev] desert that doesn’t hurt a soul.” If that doesn’t work, America should drop “the next one…in the middle of” Tel Aviv.

The billionaire insists that there is no such thing as the Jewish people. It’s a hoax; the Jews “have fooled the world very successfully.” And he declares that “There isn’t a” Jew “alive who wasn’t raised on a curriculum of hatred and hostility toward the” Palestinians. Change the words “Democrat” to “Republican,” “Israel” to “Iran” and “Palestinian” to “Jewish,” and that’s exactly what just happened. Leading contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination spent last weekend wooing and feting a billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, whose views – if directed at Jews—would put him in the company of Louis Farrakhan and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Think I’m exaggerating? Let’s check the record. Adelson has called for nuking the Iranian desert (which supposedly wouldn’t “hurt a soul”) and then nuking Tehran unless Iran abandons its nuclear weapons program. I’m all for Iran abandoning its nuclear weapons program. But how does threatening Tehran with nuclear annihilation make Adelson any different than those Iranians who have threatened to destroy Israel? Then there’s Adelson’s view that the Palestinians are an “invented people.” Again, flip it around. In 2008, when Tel Aviv University’s Shlomo Sand published a book called “The Invention of the Jewish People,” he was widely called anti-Semitic. When Adelson says the same about Palestinians, he’s a Republican rock star. This isn’t hawkishness. It’s hate.

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Danny Vinik: House GOP Leader Admits His Party Doesn’t Care About The Long-Term Unemployed

Over the past three months, Republicans have offered one excuse after another for not extending unemployment insurance. With the Senate passing a UI extension on Monday night, House Republican leaders are searching for any reason to oppose the bill—and openly admitting that they only care about the politics of the long-term unemployment crisis. Now Representative Tom Cole, the deputy whip, has come up with a new one: House Republicans don’t feel any pressure to pass it. “I don’t think there is a great sense of pressure on our members,” Cole said Monday.

“The prevailing view in our conference is that there aren’t adequate pay-fors and it’s time for this program to come to an end.” In other words, House Republicans will only help the long-term unemployed when they think there is political pressure on them to do so—not because it is sound public policy.Then again, at least Cole is being honest: House Republicans don’t care about the long-term unemployed. They only care about the politics surrounding them.

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The New Zealand Herald: Michelle Obama’s Mother Plays A Crucial Role

It was a rare, almost intimate scene, between Michelle Obama and her mother, played out before the world. When a group of Chinese girls invited the First Lady to skip rope at an event on the ancient city wall during her recent visit to Xi’an, China, she kicked her heels off to slide on a pair of flats. Before an aide could swoop in and pick up her daughter’s shoes, Marian Robinson bent down to grab them. Then, the 76-year-old grandmother beamed as Obama jumped. Obama’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, stood nearby, shyly hanging back as their mother took centre stage. Robinson clapped and smiled. For six days in China, the least-public resident of the White House was a central figure on the public stage. Overseas trips such as the one Robinson took with her daughter and granddaughters last month provide an uncommon glimpse into their family dynamic and the critical role she has continued to play in the first family.

In China, Michelle Obama proudly showed off her mother, and their bond was obvious. Max Baucus, the newly appointed US ambassador to China, tasked with introducing the First Lady to Chinese students at Peking University, offered, “She’s so devoted to her mother, Mrs Robinson.” Her children have said she has built a busy social life, but she still remains a go-to person for ensuring her granddaughters, who’ve grown up as household names, maintain some normality. It was this role she played in China, walking with her granddaughters as their mother drew the world’s attention, or taking them to dinner when the First Lady had other obligations. It is a space in which Robinson has grown comfortable. She smiled brightly at China’s president, Xi Jinping, and outstretched her hand to him during a brief, formal meeting between the two first families. She greeted China’s First Lady, Peng Liyuan, with a wave, and she strolled along as their group toured the Forbidden City, where emperors once dwelled. She chatted with Baucus while walking through the Summer Palace, an enchanting park of gardens, lakes and pavilions in Beijing.

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Susan K. Livio: Most NJ Residents Want To Keep Obamacare Law, Poll Says

Now that Obamacare is here and the first enrollment period has closed, a growing majority of New Jerseyans say want to keep the health care law and fix its flaws, according to a Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll released today. About 60 percent of the poll’s participants said they want the law improved, while 7 percent said Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, is fine as it is, but all of them, 67 percent, would oppose an effort to repeal it, according to the poll’s findings.

That’s 8 points higher than the response from a national poll by Kaiser Health poll last month.According to February statistics from the Obama administration, 74,000 New Jerseyans signed up for private health insurance through the online exchange and 123,000 enrolled through Medicaid. Enrollment closed March 31 for 2014, but will reopen in November for the following year.

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding the Marine One helicopter, for a short trip to Andrews Air Force base, Md., then onto Fort Hood, Texas for a memorial service in honor of those who died

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk with Col. William M. Knight from the Marine One helicopter to board Air Force One

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On This Day:

Children from Bancroft Elementary School help First Lady Michelle Obama plant the White House Vegetable Garden April 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton) 

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speak together sitting at a picnic table April 9, 2009, on the South Lawn of the White House (Photo by Pete Souza)

Children from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, D.C. help First Lady Michelle Obama plant the White House Vegetable Garden, April 9, 2009 (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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President Obama talks on the phone with Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, in the Oval Office, after announcing that he would be retiring from the Supreme Court, April 9, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama waves to tourists at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2011. The President made an unannounced stop to thank people for visiting the memorial a day after he and Congressional leaders agreed on a bill to keep the government open (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama plays basketball with former NBA player Bruce Bowen on April 9, 2012, during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll

President Obama does push-ups on the White House Basketball Court after a member of the Harlem Globetrotters made a shot, April 9, 2012. The President participated in “Shoot for Strength”, a game where children did push-ups for every basketball shot made by the pros, during the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll festivities (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama acts out a part of the story while reading from the book Where The Wild Things Are“ with first lady Michelle Obama and his daughter Sasha during the White House Easter Egg Roll, April 9, 2012

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First Lady Michelle Obama introduces Justin Timberlake at a workshop, “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul,” in the State Dining Room of the White House, April 9, 2013

“Oh, watching all your faces — priceless. Priceless!” she told the excited group. “Okay, let’s breathe. Come on,” she teased. “Everyone, let’s breathe – even the moms.”

Mavis Staples and Justin Timberlake listen to the First Lady at the “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul” workshop

President Obama and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough walk along the South Lawn driveway at the White House, April 9, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with Justin Timberlake in the Blue Room of the White House prior to the “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” concert in the East Room, April 9, 2013. At left, First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Queen Latifah and her grandmother, Katherine Viola Bray (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Malia and Sasha, listen as Eddie Floyd sings “Knock On Wood” during the “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” concert in the East Room of the White House, April 9, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama join musicians on stage during the finale of the “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” concert in the East Room of the White House, April 9, 2013. The program included performances by Alabama Shakes, William Bell, Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, Justin Timberlake, and Booker T. Jones (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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02
Apr
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama talks with Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, before the “42” movie screening with Robinson family members, cast, and crew in the Family Theater at the White House, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today

EDT

11:15: The President departs the White House

12:55: Arrives Michigan, Willow Run Airport

3:0: Delivers remarks, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

3:30: First Lady Michelle Obama, School Children, and Foodcorps Leaders Plant the Sixth Annual White House Kitchen Garden

4:0: The President departs Michigan

CDT

4:0: Arrives Chicago, O’Hare International Airport

4:45: Attends a DNC event, Chicago Cut Steakhouse (Closed Press)

6:55: Delivers remarks and answers questions at a DNC dinner, Private Residence

8:30: Departs Chicago

EDT

11:25: Arrives the White House

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Tom Toles: Obamacare a Huge Success

Let’s introduce a new category into the discussion. So far we’ve had two. The first is that Obamacare may make it by the skin of its teeth. The second is that’s it’s a total failure and the worst thing since unsliced bread. Time for a third: It’s a huge success and a triumph and a historic achievement and an immeasurable benefit to the American people.

I’ll stake out this lonely ground, because the allowed media narratives have other things to do….

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The People’s View: President Obama Opens Can of Whoop-Ass on Opponents of Health Care as Exchanges Enroll 7.1 Million

Hours ago, a triumphant President Obama opened a can of whoop-ass on opponents of the Affordable Care Act as he announced 7.1 million Americans have already signed up for health insurance through the exchanges – beating even the best estimates of 7 million. The number is likely to inch even higher as individuals who began their application before yesterday’s deadline are allowed to finish their sign-ups. Just months ago, pundits were Very Seriously (TM) postulating that it won’t even cross 5 million.

The president openly called out Republican governors for obstructing the health care law and keeping millions more who could get health insurance today from getting it (5 million, to be exact, is the number of people GOP governors are denying health care to by refusing a fully federally funded expansion of Medicaid).

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TPM: Obamacare Enrollment Is Far From Over

With the recent closure of the initial enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is enormous jockeying around interpreting the number of enrollees in state and federal exchanges. Proponents and opponents of the law are interpreting the preliminary numbers in the way that best makes their case. But what neither side is emphasizing enough is that enrollment in the ACA is far from over now that March 31st has passed. This is because millions of individuals will lose their insurance during 2014 – and Obamacare will be there to catch them.

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Steve Benen: In search of ‘any plausible alternative’

When President Obama took a brief victory lap on the South Lawn yesterday afternoon, he included a specific taunt that, by my ear, seemed ad-libbed.

“[T]his law is doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s working. It’s helping people from coast to coast, all of which makes the lengths to which critics have gone to scare people or undermine the law, or try to repeal the law without offering any plausible alternative so hard to understand. I’ve got to admit, I don’t get it. Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?”

Note how this turns the Republican line against them. Indeed, Obama’s questions need not be rhetorical — why are so many on the right working so hard to deny Americans access to affordable medical care? Why haven’t the ACA’s critics bothered to present a plausible alternative?

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TPM: Conservatives Discover That Obamacare Will Help A Lot Of People

Obamacare crossed the 7 million sign-ups milestone before the midnight deadline Monday, sparking angst and introspection among conservative policy wonks about the future of their quest to wipe the health care law off the books.

Central to their dilemma is the emerging discovery that many people will end up benefiting from Obamacare. Despite the health care law’s problems, unanswered questions and unknown costs, it can hardly be denied that millions of American are slated to reap the benefits of its insurance subsidies, the Medicaid expansion and beefed-up consumer protections.

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Politicususa: Stephen Colbert Flawlessly Mocks Republican Heartbreak In Wake Of Obamacare Success

On Tuesday night’s episode of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert began the show with a bang. The mock conservative host lampooned Republicans by lamenting the fact that millions of Americans now have health insurance. He then showed clips from earlier in the day revealing that due to Obamacare, 7.1 million people have been able to obtain a private health insurance plan in the marketplace.

After playing those clips, Colbert complained about how crowded his doctor’s office will be now that there will be 7.1 million other patients in line before him. He then pointed out that in recent weeks, conservatives had assured him that there was no way that the ACA would meet its goal. This was followed by clips from right-wing pundits, mostly on Fox News, stating with absolute certainty that Obamacare would fall far short of its intended target.

The clips Colbert played included some priceless statements from notable conservatives…

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Greg Sargent: Obamacare is a disaster. But KyNect is awesome!

The office of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear just announced that more than 370,000 people have now signed up for Obamacare on KyNect, the state exchange. More than one out of every dozen Kentuckians — 8.6 percent of the state population — now has obtained coverage through the exchange, Beshear’s office said, claiming that a preliminary analysis has established that three out of four enrollees has reported that they were uninsured before signing up.

Beshear’s office adds that more than 21,000 signed up in the last three days alone.

But as recently as three days ago, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was denouncing Obamacare as “disastrous,” lamenting the “catastrophic effects” the law has had on Kentucky families, and insisting that “the pain caused by this terrible law is easy to see.”

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Ugh, hate linking to anything by Zeke Miller, but this is a good read:

Time: All The President’s Celebrities: How The White House Used Stars To Sell Obamacare

The Obama administration turned to a powerful source to help persuade 7 million uninsured Americans to enroll in health care plans under the Affordable Care Act — a veritable army of celebrities

In the summer of 2013, when the White House was gearing up to sell the Affordable Care Act, senior aide Valerie Jarrett convened a meeting of some of the nation’s biggest celebrities to secure their advice and help sell the law to the American public.

The meeting brought together singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, actor and on-off White House staffer Kal Penn and comedienne Amy Poehler, as well as Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and YouTube Comedy’s Daniel Kellison, and representatives for Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, and Bon Jovi. Nine months and hundreds of videos, tweets and media appearances later, the White House believes the meeting paid dividends, with the celebrities helping the administration enroll more than 7.04 million people in Obamacare through Monday night, the end of the open enrollment period in the healthcare exchanges.

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Charles Pierce: Mr. Ryan’s Opus

Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, and most recent First Runner-Up in our national vice-presidential pageant, has released another “budget,” this one a sham even by his remarkable standards because this is an election year and nobody is going to vote for a budget, even a fake one, unless it includes free money, doughnuts, and oral sex for everyone in the country. Anyway, it’s pretty much what we have come to expect from Ryan. More money for the military, more granny-starving for the rest of us.

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On This Day

First Lady Michelle Obama poses with G-20 Summit Spouses at the Royal Opera House in London, April 2, 2009 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama is seen through an oval window as he meets with senior staff members Robert Gibbs, left, and David Axelrod following a press conference at the G-20 Summit at the ExCel Centre in London, England, April 2, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama walks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, left, and President Felipe Calderón of Mexico following their joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 2, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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President Obama looks out over the Rose Garden as he walks along the Colonnade of the White House, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with, from left, Pete Rouse, Counselor to the President, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, during the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama, alongside Harrison Ford and Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s widow, welcomes high school and college students from across the country for a workshop with the cast and crew of the film 42, April 2, 2013

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MoooOOOooorning!

23
Dec
13

Rise and Shine

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Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, and Bobby Titcomb attend the Oregon State University versus University of Akron college basketball game at the Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu

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HHs.gov: Greetings Again From Texas

Greetings again from Texas.  I just had the opportunity to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Clinic which is doing some great work here in Dallas to help Texans learn about their new options under the Affordable Care Act. I wanted to share the stories of a couple of these people who I met today in Dallas: Misty Parker is a 31 year-old who works with a community-oriented startup company, which does not currently offer insurance.  Misty says that because of the Health Insurance Marketplace, with financial help, she was able to sign up for a Bronze plan for $38 a month.  She had questions, but Misty says she was able to get answers from the call center.

I also met Amanda Waddle, who shared her and her husband Brian’s story about getting covered through the Marketplace.  They both enjoy playing hockey and were concerned about what might happen if they got injured on the ice. A 26-year-old graduate student, Amanda said she couldn’t afford insurance on the private market.  Brian also didn’t have coverage despite working two jobs as a waiter and a broadcast statistician for the Dallas Stars hockey team.  Thanks to the choices, competition, and financial help in the Marketplace, Amanda says she and her husband were able to get covered for only $105 a month.  She also signed up for a dental plan for $10 a month.

So I invite you to follow Misty’s and Amanda’s  lead!  You can learn about your new options online at HealthCare.gov or by phone at 1-800-318-2596/TTY 1-855-889-4325.  You can also find help in your community at localhelp.healthcare.gov. You have more than three months, until the end of March to enroll in coverage for 2014.  If you’d like your coverage to begin January 1st, you have until December 23 to sign up.

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Basketball Video Here

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Matthew Yglesias: What You Need To Know About Today’s Obamacare Deadline

So here’s the key thing: Today is the last day to sign up if you want to get insurance coverage that starts in January of next yearBut if you’re currently uninsured and you don’t sign up today, nothing bad happens to you. It’s just that starting on January 1 you’ll still be uninsured. You have until March to sign up and avoid paying the individual mandate fee.  The main reason an uninsured person will probably want to sign up for an exchange plan is the same as the main reason that people whose employers offer work-linked insurance plans generally sign up—due to subsidies it’s a good deal in actuarial terms for most people, and even when it isn’t the sense of confidence and security (“insurance,” some might call it) offered by insurance coverage is valuable.

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Jennifer Epstein: Jarrett: Obama To Buy Health Insurance By End Of The Day

President Obama plans to sign up for health insurance through an Affordable Care Act exchange before the end of the day Monday, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said. Jarrett made the announcement in an interview with April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, apparently ahead of the White House’s planned rollout. Officials did not respond to repeated requests for confirmation. The White House first said back in 2010 that the president, who has coverage through the federal government and gets his care from White House doctors, would sign up for insurance through an exchange.

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Ian Millhiser: Justice Department Calls In The Big Guns To Stop Voter Suppression

It’s difficult to exaggerate the prominence Stanford Law Professor Pam Karlan enjoys within the progressive legal community. Karlan is one of the most active members of the Supreme Court bar — among other things, she co-authored the brief that convinced the justices to strike down the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act last June. She is a former litigator for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and she is among the most widely regarded voting rights experts in the nation. So when the Justice Department revealed on Friday that Karlan would become the nation’s top voting rights attorney, it was as if Marsellus Wallace called up the many voters being disenfranchised in states like Texas and North Carolina, and told them that he’s sending The Wolf.

Karlan will take over as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division’s voting rights section. In this role, she will oversee the Justice Department’s most important challenges to voter suppression laws — including its efforts to restore federal oversight of Texas’ election law and its challenge to the nation’s worst voter suppression law in North Carolina. As a senior member of the Civil Rights Division, Karlan will work under soon-to-be Assistant Attorney General Debo Adegbile, who President Obama recently nominated as the nation’s top civil rights attorney. Like Karlan, Adegbile is himself a leading expert on voting rights law

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Zack Ford: New Mexico Supreme Court: Marriage Equality Is State Law

The New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that same-sex marriage is legal across the state, cementing it as the 17th state to offer full marriage equality to same-sex couples. The state had been a bit of an oddity, in that it had no specific prohibition nor allowance written into law, leaving marriage equality an open question. The Court noted that although some of the marriage laws stipulate gender-specific language, preventing same-sex couples would deprive them of their rights

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USA Today: Utah Same-Sex Marriage Ban Back In Court

A federal judge on Monday is set to consider a request from the state of Utah to block gay weddings that have been taking place since Friday when the state’s same-sex marriage ban was overturned. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled Utah’s law passed violates gay and lesbian couples’ rights under the 14th Amendment. Lawyers for the state want the ruling put on hold as they appeal the decision that has put Utah in the national spotlight because of its long-standing opposition to gay marriage. Shelby will hold a hearing on the request Monday morning. On Sunday, a federal appeals court rejected the state’s emergency request stay the ruling, saying they couldn’t rule on a stay since Shelby hasn’t acted on the motion before him.

Following Shelby’s surprising ruling Friday afternoon, gay and lesbian couples rushed to a county clerk’s office in Salt Lake City to get marriage licenses. More than 100 couples wed as others cheered them on in what became an impromptu celebration an office building about three miles from the headquarters of the Mormon church. Hundreds of couples are expected to arrive at county clerks offices early Monday morning in hopes of getting marriage licenses before a possible halt if Shelby grants the stay its request. Legal experts say that even if a stay is granted, the licenses that have already been issued will likely still be valid. For now, a state considered as one of the most conservative in the nation has joined the likes of California and New York to become the 18th state where same-sex couples can legally wed.

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

24
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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All times Eastern:

10:0: The President departs the White House

12:10: Arrives Galesburg, Illinois

12:55: Delivers remarks at Knox College

3:50: Departs Galesburg en route Warrensburg, Missouri

4:40: Arrives Warrensburg

5:20: Delivers remarks at the University of Central Missouri

6:15: Departs Warrensburg

8:15: Arrives Joint Base Andrews

8:30: Arrives the White House

Detailed schedule here

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President Obama talks with Director of Speechwriting Cody Keenan in the Oval Office, July 23 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Yahoo: President Barack Obama’s speech on economic policy Wednesday will be the first in an ambitious series of six addresses laying out a sweeping vision for America’s future. The philosophy at the core of the campaign will be familiar, but there will be “aggressive new ideas.”

That’s according to Cody Keenan, the speechwriter in charge of crafting what may be Obama’s most far-reaching second-term effort to get Americans to sign on to his plans.

… Obama’s six speeches will cover education, housing, retirement security, health care, poverty and jobs, Keenan said…

“In the weeks ahead — especially when it comes to college costs, which is something he’s obsessed with — we’ll have some aggressive new ideas,” said Keenan.

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Time: Why Obama Keeps Going Back to One Small Illinois College

…. Knox has a special place in the President’s heart and in American history. “It’s the place where I gave my first big speech after I had been elected to the U.S. Senate,” Obama said at a recent event in Washington. Wednesday marks his third visit – once as a Senate candidate, once as a Senator and now as commander-in-chief – adding to a long history of presidents and political figures who have left a mark on the college.

Founded in 1837 by religious missionaries who opposed slavery, Knox College was, from its beginning, a progressive institution that welcomed women and people of color. In 1858, the college was the site of the fifth of seven Lincoln-Douglas debates, where Abraham Lincoln, challenging incumbent Senator Stephan A. Douglas, debated the nature and future of slavery.

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Headline of the week?

Leaders of the Republican Party are still predicting that Obamacare will be a disaster, one that will wreak havoc on American health care. Most of their allies in the media say the same thing. But a small group of conservative intellectuals has been warning that the law might not be so apocalyptical — that, with full implementation about to begin, wholesale repeal may no longer be possible…

… Once Americans can take advantage of the law’s benefits — once more low-income people become eligible for Medicaid, and once more low- and middle-income people start to get subsidies that will help them buy private insurance — taking those benefits away will be nearly impossible, particularly since Republicans still haven’t proposed an alternative that would come close to providing the same level of security.

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Michael Tomasky: Don’t Repeal Any Laws, Repeal John Boehner

The speaker says Republicans should be judged on how many laws they repeal. This is unprecedented, irresponsible, and terrifying. …

It would be impossible to name the craziest thing said by a Republican so far this year….

New entrants arrive constantly and the competition is feral. And yet paradoxically they don’t even shock anymore. But one recent Republican remark should arrest you and deserves your contemplation: John Boehner’s statement on Face the Nation Sunday that he and his House Republicans “ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.”

It’s not an outrageous statement in the Obama-wants-to-impose-Sharia vein, but in its way it’s more disturbing. The Republican Party now sees dysfunction as not just an unfortunate consequence of a set of historical factors, something that they might work every now and again to correct. Now, the Republican Party sees dysfunction as its mission.

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Read Steve Benen on King here and Ed Kilgore here

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La Opinión: Cruel and Indecent

Family values are a pillar of traditional Republican discourse. But as soon as it comes time to address immigration issues, all of their emphasis on family unity goes out the window, replaced by advocacy for division.

This is the logical conclusion that follows from the KIDS Act, being developed by the House of Representatives. While this House bill would legalize the status of minors brought to the United States without papers by their parents, it would be the only measure the lower house would approve to regularize the status of anyone undocumented, unlike the Senate bill that initially aspired to benefit 11 million people.

The bill’s sponsor, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, speaking in favor of the measure, stated that this is a matter of “decency and compassion”…..

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’




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