Posts Tagged ‘toons

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Aug
14

Ferguson: The Week in Toons

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August 15, 2014

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August 21, 2014

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20
Dec
13

Happy Holidays Toons

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Happy Holidays Toons

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That’s All Folks !

18
Dec
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama makes Congressional calls from the Oval Office before the final Senate vote repealing the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the military, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:05: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama meet with moms to discuss health care, Oval Office

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National Journal: Obamacare’s Unlikely Winners

Sue Spanke of Missoula, Mont., was highly displeased this fall when she learned her health insurance had been canceled. “I got so mad that I went to my phone and started calling all the political people and giving them what for,” Spanke told The Billings Gazette. That was before she learned she was eligible for a policy at a much lower cost.

After angrily calling her state auditor’s office, Spanke, a self-employed artist in her 50s, found she was eligible for a federal subsidy. Her new insurance will cover her for a mere $30 to $40 a month with a deductible of only $500. She had been paying $350 a month for a Blue Cross policy with a $5,000 deductible. “I went from a horrible policy that didn’t cover anything, that was breaking me, to the best policy at the best price I’ve had since I was in my 20s,” she said.

With the website largely fixed, one of the last lines of attack against Obamacare is that the president lied when he said if people like their insurance plans, they can keep them. The White House is hoping stories like Spanke’s will inoculate them against those arguments. And the positive stories abound.

More here

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Journal Gazette: Getting an earful on Obamacare

…. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, had asked for input on the Affordable Care Act during an open house Monday at his office in the E. Ross Adair Federal Building, and he got it…

…Lee Albright, owner of the south-side meat market carrying his last name, doesn’t want the Affordable Care Act repealed, which Stutzman and the Republican-controlled House have voted to do numerous times. Albright told his congressman that his monthly payment for family health coverage will drop from $3,800 to $1,700 by enrolling in a plan offered through the much-maligned law.

Albright said most of his dozen employees also are enrolling in Affordable Care Act plans and will have coverage for the first time. “If the Republican Party thinks they’re going to kill Obamacare, you guys need to realize that those nine people that I add on, are they going to vote Republican ever again if you take their health care from them?”

Stutzman responded: “No, probably not.”

More here

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WMGT: Congressman Scott Talks Healthcare, Farm Bill at Town Hall Meeting

Residents from all around middle Georgia met with U.S. Representative Austin Scott to talk about concerns they have in the nation’s capitol during a town hall meeting on Monday.

Gridlock in Washington has left local business owners like Bob Schumacher, frustrated. He hasn’t had health insurance for some time, and has tried multiple times to use the scrutinized healthcare.gov website and hasn’t had any luck, until now.

“I was able to get an insurance plan and with the tax credit, it’s going to be about half of the price that it was going to be two and a half years ago,” Schumacher said.

…. “They’ve definitely got the website up and running now, and so you can get online and see if there is something out there that works for you.”

More here

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CT Mirror: CT insurance exchange enrollment up more than 50% in two weeks

Connecticut’s health insurance exchange is enrolling about 1,400 people a day and is on track to have 50,000 to 60,000 people signed up for health care coverage by the end of the year, an official said Tuesday.

Jason Madrak, chief marketing officer for Access Health CT, the state’s exchange, said about 20,000 people have signed up for private insurance plans through the marketplace, about 70 percent of whom will get federal financial assistance to discount their premiums.

In addition, about 17,000 people have signed up for Medicaid coverage through the exchange, Madrak said.

The approximately 37,000 people signed up for coverage through the exchange marks a nearly 58 percent increase from enrollment as of Dec. 4, the previous figures Access Health reported.

More here

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Dana Milbank: Auto bailout could be harbinger for Obamacare

When will the criticism of Obamacare finally end?

I’ve done some research on the question, and by my calculations, judging from current trends, this will happen approximately . . . never.

I base this on the criticism of the auto bailout of early 2009. Almost five years later, the industry is healthy again and large swaths of the Midwest have been spared what would have been certain economic devastation. All this was achieved for a relatively modest sum: … It would seem that the argument against the bailout has been settled. Yet opponents continue to argue their case — if anybody will listen.

More here

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Faces of Repeal

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Paul Krugman: The Obamacare Worm Continues to Turn

Dana Milbank has an interesting piece today …. he compares Obamacare to the auto bailout, which at this point looks like a rousing success — but continues to be lambasted by the right, because it shouldn’t have worked, and therefore can’t have worked.

….. it’s a strong signal that the press is catching up to the reality that December is not October, and that the news — while there are still many troubles — is increasingly positive. Actually, so is Darrel Issa’s angry rebuke to a health care official: “You need to watch more Fox News.”

More here

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National Memo: What If Every Voter Denied Medicaid Expansion By Republicans Voted Democratic?

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 4.8 million Americans will be denied health insurance because Republican governors and legislatures have refused to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Another study, called Health Care for America Now (HCAN), was released last week and found that 4,831,590 people were being denied Medicaid in red states, nearly duplicating Kaiser’s result. HCAN went a step further and estimated that the result of not expanding insurance to these eligible residents would result in the loss of 27,000 lives in 2014, while denying the states $42.6 billion a year in economic activity.

Most of these people who earn too much for Medicaid and too little to purchase insurance in the health care exchanges — 79 percent — live in southern states.

More here

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Norbrook: Republicans Are Running Scared

After the  government shutdown, Republicans took a big hit in the polls.  A very, very large hit in the polls in fact. It turned out that while various people are willing to talk about what they don’t like about “big government,” there are even more things that the government provides that they do like.  While Republicans thought they had a “winning strategy” by using the shutdown to attempt to repeal “Obamacare” (for the 40′th plus time), it turned out that the public thought it was really stupid, particularly when all those things like national parks had to close. Add in a lack of action on any substantive issues, the unpopularity of various Republican governors, and some losses in elections they thought were winnable, and things are starting to get tense for them.

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Had no intention of mentioning the race-baiting turd that is Ron Fournier, but Charles Pierce….. oh, Charles Pierce:

Ron Fournier Is Smarter Than You Are

Once again, former Karl Rove self-actualization guru Ron Fournier has taken to the pages of the National Journal – Motto: There’s A Reader Out There Somewhere – to explain that the president misapprehended the results of the 2012 election, and that he has been operating under the illusion that, because he got the most votes, he got to be president again. To elucidate this for the dimmer people among us, Ron shows how brilliant he was in the immediate aftermath of said election, and employs the useful tool of Historical Parallelism, which he applies repeatedly and vigorously to his own forehead.

…. The IRS dumbassery was just that. The NSA surveillance started under Bush – with considerably more Democratic support in the Congress, Ron, than this president has gotten from Republicans on anything – and Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! remains a hoax. I’m afraid we are past the point where an intervention would help. Better just fire off the stun gun and pry the tool of Historical Parallels out of his hand.

Full post here

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ThinkProgress: Why Obama Is Sending Openly Gay Athletes To Russia’s Olympics

As controversy erupted over Russia’s anti-gay law ahead of next year’s Sochi Olympics, President Barack Obama said that he opposed boycotting the Games in favor of letting the United States delegation lead by example on the LGBT rights front.

“One thing I’m really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which i think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes were seeing there,” Obama said. “And if Russia doesn’t have gay or lesbian athletes, it’ll probably make their team weaker.”

Tuesday, Obama took a step forward in showing that example, selecting tennis legend and former U.S. Olympic coach Billie Jean King, a lesbian who has long been an LGBT equality advocate, to be a part of the delegation that will represent the White House at the opening ceremony on February 7. Hockey player Caitlin Cahow, who is also openly gay, will be a part of the delegation to the closing ceremonies on February 23.

More here

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Steve Benen: Obama sends Putin an Olympic message

Subtle, this wasn’t.

…. note that the U.S. Olympic delegation is traditionally led by someone from the White House – current or former president, vice president, or member of the First Family. For Sochi, as Rachel noted on the show last night, Obama tapped former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, which means no one from the White House or even from the president’s cabinet will be on hand for the opening ceremony.

… this also strikes me as this latest in a series of elections-have-consequences moments. Conservatives have come to celebrate Vladimir Putin as something of an international hero, while religious right activists cheer on his culture war from afar. Obama has been highly ambitious and progressive when it comes to advancing LGBT civil rights, and his choice in Olympic delegation members sends a signal the world will notice…

Full post here

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LA Times: Homeless men invited to help Pope Francis celebrate birthday

Pope Francis boosted his down-to-earth image by inviting a group of homeless men to his Vatican residence to help him celebrate his 77th birthday.

The group of men joined Francis on Tuesday as he gave his morning Mass and then ate breakfast with him …. the men, a Pole, a Slovak and a Czech, were sleeping under the portico outside the Vatican’s press center when they were approached by Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who distributes charitable contributions for the pope.

“Would you like to come to Pope Francis’ birthday party?” Krajewski reportedly asked them. “After a moment of bewilderment and wonder, they started packing up their beds, pieces of cardboard and covers which were arranged to protect them from the bitter cold of the Roman night.”

More here

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On This Day:

President Obama walks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to their bilateral meeting at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 18, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Pete Souza: “The President briefs European leaders following a multilateral meeting in which an agreement was tentatively reached at the United Nationals Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Most conferences like this are very scripted; this one was just the opposite.” Dec. 18, 2009

President Obama speaks during a multilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Prime Manmohan Singh, and South African President Jacob Zuma during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 18, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama shows military officials the White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room following a meeting, Dec. 1, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!

12
Dec
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: A Christmas tree frames President Obama as he talks on the phone in the Oval Office, Dec. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

12:45: Jay Carney briefs the press

7:15: VP Biden delivers remarks at U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Annual Tribute Dinner

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@WhiteHouse: Holiday lights in the Rose Garden

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Steve Benen: Obamacare enrollment soars in November

About a month ago, the Obama administration released its enrollment totals for the Affordable Care Act, offering data that covered just the first month of the open-enrollment period. Given the systemic problems with healthcare.gov, the figures were expected to fall far short of projections, and they did – 106,185 consumers signed up for health insurance through an exchange in October, and only about a quarter of that total signed up by way of the federal marketplace.

The totals were vastly improved in November …. Note that the enrollment totals do not include 1.9 million Americans who have not yet selected a plan, but who’ve gone through the eligibility process. Also note, these totals include the period before the darn website got fixed.

….Whether the right wants to admit it or not, I can think of about 1.2 million reasons – and growing – why the Affordable Care Act isn’t going away.

Full post here

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Brian Beutler: How to tell which Republicans care about their constituents’ health

A new moral dilemma: Now that Healthcare.gov is working, some Republicans have a moral quandary to consider

…. Healthcare.gov is now working well enough to sign up tens of thousands of people a day. The improvement is both anecdotal and rooted in data. The administration, its allies, and insurance companies are now stepping up enrollment campaigns that were put on ice in October and November. Thousands of people whose insurers canceled their coverage, or who got stuck on Healthcare.gov last month, are now relieved to find reasonable options available on the federal exchange ahead of the Dec. 23 deadline to sign up for coverage that begins Jan. 1.

…. But if the big story is the turning tide of Healthcare.gov, the corollary is that committee Democrats don’t have to sit around playing defense against GOP attacks. They can attempt to reorient the debate around Republican efforts to discourage enrollment — particularly now that their constituents can, for the most part, actually access the law’s benefits.

Full post here

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David Ignatius: Obama’s relentlessly pragmatic diplomacy

This has been a year when America re-embraced diplomacy after a frustrating decade of war, displaying a relentlessly pragmatic approach that recalls the days of such deal-making secretaries of state as Henry Kissinger and James A. Baker III.

The secret diplomatic machinations have been dizzying, and sometimes disorienting. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have opened doors and created opportunities for settling intractable conflicts…..

The Iran nuclear agreement was the most striking example of the willingness to engage former adversaries…..

Israelis I talked to afterward were impressed (if not always convinced) by the dry, precise clarity of Obama’s argument for testing the Iranians

More here

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The People’s View:  As Usual, Liberals Attacking Budget Deal Miss the Long Game

Yesterday, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray announced a budget deal that eases up on the dumb sequestration, meets the House and Senate budget numbers in the middle, raises minimal revenue and avoids another government shutdown. And right on cue, ideologues on the Right and Left have begun to pounce at any hint of compromise.

John Boehner is taking flack from – and lashing out at – the right wing of activists who are incensed at the fact that House Republicans would strike any deal at all that could win President Obama’s blessing, even a qualified one. Groups like Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity (hmm… they seem to have a funding source in common) are lobbying Republicans to scuttle the deal, crying foul at the GOP’s agreement of $45 billion in higher spending than their previous position.

But if the Right wing fanatics are good at whipping up the Republican party into a frenzy, our own ideologues have also been honing their skills of whining and short-sightedness. Yesterday, it started with Ezra Klein….

More here

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ThinkProgress: What You Need To Know About The Budget Deal

Late Tuesday night, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that they had come to an agreement on a budget deal, ending negotiations begun as part of the agreement to re-open the government in October. The deal still has to be passed by the House and Senate and then implemented by appropriations committees by January 15. Here’s what you need to know about what’s in the Murray-Ryan agreement….

More here

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USA Today: Obama to hold moment of silence for Newtown victims

President Obama will lead a moment of silence Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama will honor the lives of the 26 people — including 20 children — who died in the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

More here

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TPM: Biden Says His Ancestors ‘Didn’t All Come Here Legally’

Before you decry “illegal immigrants,” Joe Biden thinks you ought to check your own familial history. That’s what the vice president said Wednesday during an online forum in response to a questioner who claimed her family immigrated to the United States legally from Ireland in the 19th century.

“My great-great grandparents came escaping the famine and they didn’t all come here legally,” Biden said, as quoted by Politico. “They didn’t all come legally. And the existence of the system isn’t all truncated like it is now. I’d check your ancestry to make sure that they did come legally if that’s a concern to you.”

More here

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This might just be the greatest toon in the history of tooniness:

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On This Day:

President Obama smiles while talking with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the phone in the Oval Office, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

The First Family at “Christmas in Washington” at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., Dec. 12, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama and Bo, the Obama family dog, greet audience members at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 12, 2011.

President Obama walks along the Colonnade of the White House, Dec. 12, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!

09
Nov
13

Week In Toons

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Continue reading ‘Week In Toons’

16
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

The President has no scheduled public events, but…..

12:30 EDT: Jay Carney briefs the press

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Steve Benen: As debt deadline nears, now what?

In an unexpected twist, the political world starts today with circumstances that look eerily similar to those from 24 hours ago: a bipartisan Senate deal is taking shape and a fractured House remains unpredictable. The point of yesterday, apparently, was to waste a day, humiliate House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and bring the nation just a little closer to default.

After House Republicans rejected a series of desperate attempts by Boehner to make them happy, attention turned back to the Senate, which waited until after the lower chamber imploded to renew its talks. By all appearances, the basic framework of an agreement is in place.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: Senate Debt Ceiling Deal Won’t Mean This Chaos Is Over. Far From It.

Tuesday might have ended with the Senate on the cusp of a deal to avert a default, but it also featured Boehner bowing and scraping to his House crazies to come up with a competing plan that failed.

This is a sad and sickening spectacle, like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life. Not as bad as Watergate, you say? I beg to differ. However this turns out this has been in its way worse than Watergate. Watergate ultimately vindicated our system against the machinations of one sociopath. It took time, because he was a president. But even he ultimately observed democratic norms and, when cornered, did the honorable thing.

Today, we have a clavern of sociopaths who know nothing of honor, and we have no easy way to stop them. Except at the ballot box. Except that they’ve rigged that, too, with their House districts. They’ve rigged the whole game so that they light the match and then point at President Obama and shout: “Look! Fire!” And overseeing it all is House Speaker John Boehner, as of Tuesday officially the worst high-ranking elected officer in the history of the United States.

More here

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Dana Milbank: Republicans are at a dead end

Here’s how grave the House Republicans’ condition has become: They’re now in the care of a mortician.

In the early minutes of a marathon meeting of House Republicans on Tuesday morning, Rep. Steve Southerland, a funeral director from Florida, rose to suggest the lawmakers sing “Amazing Grace” — and his colleagues joined him in a rendition of the burial hymn.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess within the veil,

A life of joy and peace.

It was an appropriate choice, for the House GOP is practicing its own form of mortuary science: It is burying both the Republican brand and America’s standing in the world.

More here

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Charles Pierce: Reign Of Morons: Apotheosis

…. A great portion of the courtier press that now expresses horror at what is going on now went gleefully along for the ride as it became inevitable. Any members of that courtier press who relished the pursuit of Bill Clinton’s penis, or conducted the absurd campaign of untruth that was waged against Al Gore between 1999 and 2000 lost the right years ago credibly to denounce conservative extremism and Republican vandalism.

That means you, Roger Simon of Politico, who was so shocked the other day to discover that racism may have afflicted the process of government since the president’s election, but who once claimed to right to make candidates like Gore “jump through hoops” for the pure hella-fun of it.

That means you, Chris Matthews, who chased the presidential dick for two years, all the way through an impeachment process that was a constitutional absurdity, but who now discovers that the campaign of destruction never truly stopped.

That means you, Andrew Sullivan, with your current existential torment over How It Came To This….

…… This means all of you who went along for the ride on torture, and on Iraq, and who hid under the bed after 9/11. This is how the power came to rest with Ted Yoho, who is a fool and a know-nothing. This is how historical inevitability is created. This is how its momentum becomes unstoppable. This is how the wreckage piles up.

Full post here

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Bob Cesca: Why Isn’t the GOP Complaining About the Deficit? Because It’s Dropping — Fast.

As we careen headlong toward the debt ceiling deadline, with the House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner in full Three-Stooges-Trying-To-Fix-The-Plumbing mode, the issue area that’s been overshadowed by the grandstanding, political props and brinksmanship is government spending itself.

The budget deficit is really the 4,000 pound gorilla in the room and the Republicans refuse to discuss anything other than the fact that employer mandate for the dreaded Affordable Care Act begins a year after the individual mandate. Yes, we’re in the middle of a showdown over the debt because of Obamacare rather than, you know, spending and fiscal responsibility.

Why aren’t they talking about the deficit? That’s easy: they can’t say anything bad about it because the Obama administration’s record on the deficit is kind of stellar.

More here

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TPM: McCain: ‘Republicans Have To Understand We Have Lost This Battle’

With the government shutdown in its third week and the United States dangerously close to the debt limit, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) urged members of his party on Tuesday to stop digging.

“It’s very, very serious,” McCain said, as quoted by the New York Times. “Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable.”

More here

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David Cay Johnston (Al Jazeera): Tea party Republicans put dollar’s reputation at risk

Barring an accident of political brinksmanship, the United States will not default on its debts and other obligations.

Economic conditions provide exactly zero reasons to worry that the U.S. cannot service its debts. The danger in the current crisis, therefore, is not catastrophic economic collapse.

Rather, the danger is that the House’s tea party Republicans, in their zeal to block President Barack Obama’s policies, especially on health care, have damaged investors’ long-term trust in the U.S. government. And by thwarting the principle of majority rule, they have demonstrated a disrupting power that they may wield into the next decade, causing further erosion in confidence.

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ThinkProgress

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ThinkProgress: Houston Chronicle Yanks Ted Cruz Endorsement

As the federal government enters its sixteenth day of shutdown and stands just hours away from defaulting on the national debt, the largest newspaper in Texas has pulled its endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). The conservative lawmaker delivered a 21-hour speech on Sep. 24, urging Senate and House Republicans to vote against any government funding measure that includes appropriations for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and is viewed as at least partially responsible for the current impasse.

More here

Screw them for endorsing him in the first place – they helped get the ****er elected.

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A Year Ago Today:

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On This Day:

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden link arms and sing “We Shall Overcome” during the dedication ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 Joining them, from left, are: Harry Johnson, Sr.; Interior Secretary Ken Salazar; and Herman “Skip” Mason (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama says goodbye to former President George H. W. Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker, prior to departure from Easterwood Field landing zone, in College Station, Texas, Oct. 16, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Neighbors in West Newton, Mass., react as the President headed their way after speaking at an event next door, Oct. 16, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Morning everyone, looks like it’ll be a long day.

08
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

The President has no public events scheduled

1:30 EDT: Jay Carney briefs the press

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ThinkProgress: Oklahoma Woman Tells GOP Lawmakers: Without Obamacare, ‘I Will Be Dead Before My 27th Birthday’

As the deadline approached for Congress to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded, Republicans refused to strike a deal unless it defunded or delayed Obamacare. Now, a week later, GOP lawmakers still seem unwilling to compromise unless they are able to dismantle some of the health reform law. One Oklahoma resident wants them to understand the human impact of that political position.

On the eve of the looming government shutdown, 26-year-old Kendall Brown published an open letter to the lawmakers who wanted to delay Obamacare for one year before agreeing to pass a funding bill. Brown didn’t mince words. “I am dying, because of the political games you are playing right now,” her op-ed began.

More here

An excerpt from the letter:

Open Letter to Lawmakers: The Human Cost

Dear lawmakers currently attempting to shut down Obamacare,

My name is Kendall Brown. I am a 26-year-old, college graduate with a full-time job…

And I am dying, because of the political games you are playing right now.

You see, I was born with Crohn’s Disease. This didn’t happen because I ate unhealthy food, or because I smoked, or because of any of the other reasons we use to victim blame sick people and justify not giving our countrymen adequate health care. I became severely ill beginning in the third grade because I won a genetic lottery that left me with a disease that would quickly drop me to 87 pounds, render me unable to walk at times, and nearly kill me twice…..

…. I don’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for me, Mr or Mrs lawmaker. I tell you this because I am tired of being reduced to a number, a statistic or, even worse, being described as a freeloader that wants to live off of the government health care teat. I tell you this because if you defund Obamacare, or delay it even for one year, as you are debating today, then this will be my last letter to you. I will be dead before my 27th birthday.

If you think that my life, and the lives of thousands of other people like me have no value, then by all means, delay the ACA. But before you do so, I’d like to invite you to hear stories from others like me, or, if you find yourself in the great state of Oklahoma, come meet me. I’d love to show you around and buy you a cup of coffee — and to introduce you to the woman you are killing.

Sincerely,

Kendall Brown

See the full letter at OKC.net

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Eugene Robinson: Obamacare is here. Get used to it.

While Republicans were throwing their silly tantrum, Obamacare became a fact. There is no turning back.

The point of no return was reached when millions of people crashed the Web sites of the new Affordable Care Act exchanges while trying to buy health insurance. Republicans can fight rear-guard battles if they want, but last Tuesday they lost the war. All they can do at this point is harm the nation — and their political prospects.

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Medicare guaranteed health care for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor. Obamacare begins to fill the remaining gaps. It will get better over time, but already — crashing Web sites and all — it’s a beautiful thing.

Full post here

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TPM: Carl Bernstein Slams Media’s ’50/50′ Shutdown Coverage: ‘This Is About The Republican Party’

Longtime journalist Carl Bernstein on Tuesday called on the press to abandon the false equivalence that’s colored much of the coverage of the government shutdown.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the man who helped break the Watergate scandal said that the current budget impasse is not a two-sided matter.

“This is about the Republican Party and what it’s going to be,” Bernstein said. “Is it going to conduct a fact-based, philosophical argument in our political system or is it going to be a nihilistic, hateful, asymmetrical in terms of facts and the truth part of the party, as in Joe McCarthy?”

More here

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TPM: Harry Reid: GOP Obsession With Defunding Obamacare Is ‘Insanity’

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Saturday that Republicans’ preoccupation with defunding Obamacare amounts to “insanity.”

The Nevada Democrat explained in an interview with Esquire magazine why he recently said the Tea Party caucus is losing their minds.

“The reason I said that is that Einstein said the sign of insanity is when you do something over and over again and expect a different result,” he said. “They’ve voted forty-four times to defund Obamacare. Is that insanity? I think so.”

More here

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Missed this video the other day:

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ThinkProgress: Seven Big Companies Working To Help Americans Sign Up For Obamacare

Now that Obamacare’s new insurance marketplaces are open to the public, some uninsured Americans are eager to sign up. However, many others likely remain confused about their options under health reform, particularly as Obamacare continues to get caught in the political crossfire. In order to bridge the education gap about the health law, advocates are ramping up their enrollment efforts in creative ways. For instance, you can now text ENROLL to Planned Parenthood to receive information about health reform.

But nonprofit and government groups can’t do it all on their own. Here are seven large companies that are currently joining in on the effort and helping to spread the word about the new insurance options available under Obamacare:

See here

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Washington Post Editorial: The House GOP has nothing to show for its government shutdown

What have House Republicans managed to accomplish in a week of government shutdown?

Damage the livelihood of millions of Americans? Check. Government secretaries, food-truck operators, cleaners who work in motels near national parks: They’re all hurting.

Waste billions of taxpayer dollars? Check….

Interfere with key government operations? Check….

Rattle the markets, slow an economy in recovery, interrupt potentially lifesaving research at the National Institutes of Health? Check, check and check.

Derail the hated Obamacare? Ch . . . — oh, no, wait a minute…..

Full editorial here

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Link to Lawrence O’Donnell last night on the GOP’s attempts to ‘shut down the Presidency’: See here

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Liberal Librarian: The party of fear and the politics of Armageddon

I was looking through my personal library this past weekend, lost in my thoughts as to how we’ve come to this present pass in American politics, and came across a book I haven’t read in 20 years, but have clung to. The Party of Fear: The American Far Right from Nativism to the Militia Movement by David H. Bennett, was published in 1988 and revised in 1995. It makes for grim reading.

It’s a sad truism of the United States that we as a people are ahistorical. We have no memory of what happened last week, much less in the last century. If we were to remember our history, we might be better prepared for when it invariably rears its head again, the passions and bigotries of the past roaring out of the dark id of the American psyche. We fight the same battles over, because the causes of those battles are never fully addressed.

More here

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ThinkProgress: The Complete Guide To The Rise Of The Debt Ceiling Truthers

With just days to go until the nation hits the debt ceiling on October 17th, a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers have begun dismissing the dangers of national default, insisting that the government can continue paying interest on its debt and fund the most critical programs.

Economists have dismissed this prioritization scheme as chaotic and unworkable, warning that the United States would be “unable to pay between 40 to 45 percent of the 80 million payments it makes every month.” If the debt ceiling is not increased, the credit markets would freeze, the value of the dollar would plummet, interest rates would skyrocket, and a global recession would ensue.

But the so-called debt ceiling truthers, who swept into power after the 2010 midterm elections and, to the surprise of GOP leaders, took over the debt ceiling debate, continue to deny this reality. Below is a brief timeline showing how they rose to power and prominence within the Republican party…..

More here

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Charles Pierce: Where Are The Gutsy Republicans?

You’ll forgive me if, at the moment, I decline to believe that we will be saved from the Reign Of The Morons by unicorns, the Easter Bunny, or reasonable Republicans in either house of Congress who would gladly vote with the Democrats, if only evil castrato Speaker John Boehner would allow them to do it. You will also forgive me if, at the moment, I decline to believe in mermaids, the Pooka McPhillimey, or fed-up plutocrats who can find a sucker to primary Tea Party congresscritters from what passes for The Left in the Republican party these days.

… The Reign Of The Morons is many things, but one of its most obvious causes is a complete failure of political courage within the Republican party. It isn’t simply a matter of the party’s having created a monster that it can no longer control – although that’s undeniable part of it – it also is the fact that the party lacks a substantial center of power that even is willing to risk trying. Say what you will about Victor Frankenstein. He chased his creation to the ends of the earth. Where are the Republicans who are willing to ride the ice floe?

Full post here

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Steve Benen: Shutdown takes its toll on congressional GOP

As the deadline neared for the nation’s first-ever war-time government shutdown, the consensus was that congressional Republicans, already unpopular, would feel the brunt of the public backlash. So far, those expectations were correct.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday found widespread dissatisfaction across the board, but Americans’ attitudes towards Republicans are especially brutal.

While approval for President Obama and congressional Democrats ticked higher in the wake of the government shutdown, approval for congressional Republicans dropped to a woeful 24%. Just as important, GOP lawmakers, who shut down the government exactly one week ago, have seen their disapproval ratings soar to 70%. A majority of Americans, 51%, now say they “strongly” disapprove of the nation’s far-right party.

More here

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Bob Cesca: The GOP Debt Ceiling Strategy: Lies, Grabassery and Default Denialism

The Republican Party’s geyser-like misinformation campaign regarding the government shutdown, accompanied by continued misinformation about the Affordable Care Act and the debt ceiling, has been almost too powerful to follow as it whizzes by.

The latest line, which appears to have convinced a majority of Republican voters, is that nothing will happen if the debt limit isn’t raised, least of all a default. As I pointed out yesterday, this is complete nonsense. We’ve heard this before in the form of denying the climate crisis in the face of almost unanimous scientific consensus. In this case, dozens of experts are forecasting the worst possible consequences if the House GOP doesn’t perform what was formerly a very customary task, devoid of melodrama or hostage-taking.

More here

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On This Day:

Oct 8, 2009: VP Biden and Jacqueline’s new best friend, Valerie Jarrett, leave the Economic Daily Briefing in the Oval Office (Pete Souza)

Oct 8, 2009: President Obama, along with members of Congress and Cabinet secretaries, jockeys for a rebound during a basketball game on the White House court (Pete Souza)

Oct 8, 2012: President Obama views a portrait of César Chávez before the César E. Chávez National Monument dedication ceremony in Keene, Calif. (Pete Souza)

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

05
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

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The Week Ahead

Who knows?

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AP: Text of Obama’s exclusive interview

Q: There is a lot that I want to ask you about the government shutdown and foreign policy, but I wanted to start with health care. The signature element of your health care law went online this week, and the interest seems to have really exceeded expectations, but there were some serious glitches with the online systems. And our reporting shows that the number of people who actually managed to sign up for insurance in the states using the federal system was in the single digits. How many people have actually signed up for insurance this week?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t have the numbers yet. What we know is that, as you indicated, the interest way exceeded expectations and that’s the good news. It shows that people really need and want affordable health care. And the product is a really good one. It turns out that choice and competition work. So what’s happened is you’ve got private insurers who have bid to get into this system to offer affordable health care at significantly lower prices than anybody could buy in the individual market, because basically they’re now part of a big group.

And it is true that what’s happened is the website got overwhelmed by the volume. And folks are working around the clock and have been systematically reducing the wait times, but we are confident that over the course of the six months – because it’s important to remember people have six months to sign up – that we are going to probably exceed what anybody expected in terms of the amount of interest that people have.

More here

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NYMag: George Clooney Explains the Shutdown

…. we asked the liberal-leaning actor for his thoughts about the ongoing government shutdown. He had many — on John Boehner’s grand strategy, on the “idiots” who think we don’t need government, and on Ted Cruz’s reading of Green Eggs and Ham.

“People keep talking about how this has to be a great negotiation, but there isn’t any negotiating a law. We negotiate on all these other topics, but this was put into law, and [Obama] was reelected on it. It was reaffirmed, it was passed through the Supreme Court — it’s a law. You don’t like it? Win an election. That’s how it works…..”

…. “Shutting down the government is not how you make government work. And anybody who thinks we don’t need it is an idiot.”

More here

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I think we linked this already, but it’s so good it can’t be linked enough:

Kurt Eichenwald: The Truth About Obamacare and How It Solves the Suffering of the Insured

Last week, I wrote a lengthy piece to refute the Republican lies about Obamacare. This week, I am going to write about some of the truths.

… Normally, I would start this discussion by providing chapter-and-verse details about the 47 million men, women, and children who now have the opportunity to obtain health insurance, to live longer and healthier lives, to avoid needless bankruptcies. But, in what to me is one of the saddest developments in our nation’s history, that reality is irrelevant to ardent Obamacare opponents.

Words like “takers” and “slackers” are thrown at the uninsured, as if they have brought their pre-existing conditions, jobs without benefits, or low-paying positions on themselves…..

…. I don’t expect to persuade the people who really believe all the malarkey about death panels and socialism. They have been lied to for so long that I think it will take years before they will be able to understand how badly they have been used. But, hopefully, there are those who want to know why Obamacare exists and what the point of it is. And when you know the truth, you will understand that — for all of its imperfections — Obamacare is an essential step toward healing the deeply sick American health-care system.

Full article here

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ThinkProgress: How A Rand Paul Republican From Alabama Learned To Love Obamacare

Joshua Pittman is a 31-year-old self-employed videographer from Montgomery, Alabama. A libertarian Republican who voted for Ron Paul in 2012 and believes that Sen. Rand Paul is the future of the GOP …. But on Tuesday morning, Pittman logged on to HealthCare.gov and after some initial glitches and delays, successfully enrolled in a Bronze-level Obamacare health insurance plan….

Though he initially supported repealing the law, Pittman became curious about Obamacare in the days and weeks before it launched …. Asked what he liked, Pittman highlighted its prohibition against denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, noting that he wouldn’t be able to find coverage without it….

… Pittman doesn’t believe that Obamacare is perfect, but says Republicans in Congress should stop trying to repeal the law and give it a chance to work. “As a Republican, I think [the GOP’s repeal effort] is childish and I think this is the wrong way to lead… it’s babyish and I think as a party it just reflects negatively upon us,” he explains.

Full post here

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The Perpetual Campaign: My Obamacare Experience… And Why The Shutdown Was Never About Obamacare

…. I currently pay $348 per month for health insurance, with a $1500 deductible. For a plan with the same level of coverage, I will now pay $297 per month, with a $1000 deductible. This will save me $1100 on health care in 2014. That’s $1100 that I will spend on something other than health care, money that will stimulate the economy. That money did not come from other taxpayers. The savings came as a result of setting up an exchange that would allow everyone to access group buying power.

…. the reason insurers can no longer discriminate against me for my pre-existing condition is because of the individual mandate. If there were no mandate forcing healthy people into the risk pool, then everyone would simply wait until they were sick to get insurance, and the entire insurance system would collapse.

… the Teahadists will scream about losing our freedoms, but as best as I can tell, the only freedoms I’m losing here are the freedom to be in pain and the freedom to overpay for health insurance.

Sorry, Senator Cruz, but contrary to what you wailed no fewer than 100 times during the course of your 21-hour fake filibuster/ideological hissy fit… Obamacare is working, chief.

Full post here

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EgbertoWillies: Even In Texas The Republican Caricature Of Obamacare Is Meeting Reality

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been one of the biggest obstructionists to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in Texas along with the entire Republican Party nationally. Inasmuch as Texas is the state with the highest rate of uninsured citizens he refused Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. For those with pre-existing condition in Texas who were either in the high priced high risk Texas insurance pool or were uninsured because of the cost of these high risk pools, Obamacare comes to the rescue even here in Texas.

Must-read: here

And more (thank yoooou GlobalCitizenLinda for the link!):

EgbertoWillies: GOP Biggest Fear Occurring – Republicans Loving Obamacare

Anyone wondering why the Right Wing Tea Party Republicans are in a frenzy, one need only see what is happening now that the reality of the Affordable Care Act is emerging. The lies they told are coming back to bite them.

They are attempting to discourage young American citizens from going to the exchanges by telling them Obamacare will either be too expensive or an intrusion from the government. Good things are happening however. Inasmuch as the Right Wing is being outright destructive with the nation’s economy in the attempt to derail Obamacare, empirical and factual data is proven to be a hindrance to their obstructionist tactics.

The State Health Bureaucracy in Texas is actually promoting Obamacare. That is a feat in its own right. On October 1st, the Obamacare health exchange servers were overwhelmed because of the inordinately large number of people accessing it.

More here

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Paul Krugman: Reform Turns Real

…. It’s long been clear that the great fear of the Republican Party was not that health reform would fail, but that it would succeed. And developments since Tuesday, when the exchanges on which individuals will buy health insurance opened for business, strongly suggest that their worst fears will indeed be realized: This thing is going to work.

…. the glitches of October won’t matter in the long run. But why are they actually encouraging? Because they appear, for the most part, to be the result of the sheer volume of traffic, which has been much heavier than expected. And this means that one big worry of Obamacare supporters — that not enough people knew about the program, so that many eligible Americans would fail to sign up — is receding fast.

….. Obamacare is off to a good start, with even the bad news being really good news for the program’s future. We’re not quite there yet, but more and more, it looks as if health reform is here to stay.

Full article here

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Timothy Egan: Wrong Side of History

Sarah Palin finally got her death panels — a direct blow from the Republican House. In shutting down the government, leaving 800,000 people without a paycheck and draining the economy of $300 million a day, the Party of Madness also took away last-chance cancer trials for children at the National Institutes of Health.

And now that the pain that was dismissed as a trifle on Monday, a “slimdown” according to the chuckleheads at Fox News, is revealed as tragic by mid-week, the very radicals who caused the havoc are trying to say it’s not their fault.

It’s too late. They flunked hostage-taking. About 30 or so Republicans in the House, bunkered in gerrymandered districts while breathing the oxygen of delusion, are now part of a cast of miscreants who have stood firmly on the wrong side of history. The headline, today and 50 years from now, will be the same: Republicans closed the government to keep millions of their fellow Americans from getting affordable health care.

More here

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Baltimore Sun: Congress: Do your job

Our view: There is no room to ‘negotiate’ when extremists take the federal government hostage — and threaten to do the same to the economy

With the shutdown dragging along and no discernible progress coming out of Wednesday’s meeting between President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders, Republicans bemoaned the Democrats’ unwillingness to negotiate. They’ll negotiate with the president of Iran, was the common GOP talking point, but they won’t talk to us.

Actually, the more appropriate comparison might have been that President Obama didn’t negotiate with foreign terrorists out to hurt the country, and he isn’t rewarding similar tactics back home. California Rep. George Miller, a Democrat, may have gone too far when he recently referred to the tea party attack on Obamacare as a “jihad” on the House floor, but not by too much.

More here

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Greg Sargent: Dems move to force Republicans to reopen the government

House Democratic leaders believe they have hit on a new way to potentially force House Republican leaders into allowing a vote on a “clean CR” funding the government without any defunding of Obamacare attached.

At last count, as many as two dozen House Republicans appear prepared to vote for a clean CR. With Democrats included, that means a majority of the House of Representatives would vote right now to reopen the government. But the House GOP leadership won’t allow such a vote.

Dems have hit on a way to use a “discharge petition,” which forces a House vote if a majority of Representatives signs it, to try to force the issue. Previously, it was thought this could not work, because a discharge petition takes 30 legislative days to ripen, so if this were tried with the clean CR that passed the Senate, this couldn’t bear fruit until some time in November.

But now House Democrats say they have found a previously filed bill to use as a discharge petition — one that would fund the government at sequester levels.

More here

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On This Day:

Oct. 5, 2012: President Obama has his picture taken with a patron at the West Side Market in Cleveland, Ohio (Pete Souza)

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Oct. 5, 2010: President Obama waits in the Green Room before being introduced at the White House Summit on Community Colleges (Pete Souza)

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Oct. 5, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama greets USO honorees and their families in the Vermeil Room of the White House (Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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MoooOOOooorning – Happy Saturday!

25
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: On a Saturday, the President listens during a conference call in the Situation Room on the Middle East negotiations, Sept. 25, 2010 (Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:45: President Obama holds a call with mayors, county officials, and state legislators on the Affordable Care Act

8:15: VP Biden delivers remarks at Clinton Global Citizen Awards

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USA Today: Obama’s day: More health care

President Obama spends Wednesday maintaining his new health care push and monitoring the budget dispute that centers on the same plan.

In the afternoon, Obama holds a conference call with mayors, county officials, and state legislators, pushing the health care plan that faces a pivotal moment.

The president will urge these local officials to urge their constituents to sign up for health care exchanges that open Tuesday. These exchanges are essential to the financing of the health care plan.

More here

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Link

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ThinkProgress: New Report: For 95% Of Americans, Obamacare Will Cost Much Less Than Expected

When uninsured Americans begin enrolling in Obamacare’s new health care exchanges on Oct. 1, the overwhelming majority — 95 percent — will face health care premiums that are 16 percent lower, on average, than the government had previously projected, according to a new report released on Wednesday by the Obama administration.

In the 36 states where the federal government supports or fully runs the Health Insurance Marketplace, a 27-year old who does not qualify for tax credits will pay, on average, $163 for a plan that covers approximately 60 percent of health care expenses (a so-called bronze-level plan), while a 27-year-old with an income of $25,000 could pay $83 dollars per-month after subsidies. Individuals up to 30 years old will also have the option of buying cheaper catastrophic coverage outside of the marketplaces, though they will not qualify for subsidies. A family of four in Texas with an income of $50,000 would pay as little as “$57 per month for the lowest bronze plan after tax credits,” the report finds.

More here

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NBC: $11 a month? Obamacare super-cheap for some, feds find

Bare-bones health insurance could cost just $11 a month for a family of four in Indianapolis on the federal government’s new exchanges, which start serving customers next week.

A similar family in New Orleans might pay as little as $23 a month, although they’d have to shell out $282 for a more generous “silver” plan, the Health and Human Services Department estimates.

And, on average, people will have more than 50 different health plans to choose from if they live in states where the federal government is running the exchanges, HHS says in a report issued Wednesday.

More here

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By Japa:

There is something missing in talking about ObamaCare and I think it is relevant. I am talking about actual cost of healthcare to consumers from a different perspective. In the actual post it talks about a bronze plan, which would cover 60% of charges. Now people might think that 40% is still a lot to pay, but we need to look at the baseline.

Let’s say a person has a $10,000 hospital bill, which isn’t hard to rack up nowadays, if they are uninsured. So they owe $10,000, right. Now let’s say they have the bronze coverage which pays at 60%. So they owe $4,000, right? Wrong.

All the payers have contracts with the different facilities and, in general, those contracts will average from 40%-50% below that regular billed charge. So that $10,000 bill is now reduced to (at the higher end) $6,000. After payment of 60% the individual has a bill for $2,400, significantly less that the $4,000 they might think they would owe.

As the plan level increases, the amount due shrinks drastically.

What does all this mean? The overall cost of health care shrinks as well.

The same applies to doctor visits and a whole host of other services, including prescriptions. And this last is very important.

Because, for the noninsured, prescriptions can be too costly, they do not buy them, which actually, over time, significantly increases cost of care, as well as other things, such as lost work time, loss of productivity, reduced income, therefore reduced money going into the economy.

These are the types of things that I don’t hear being discussed a lot.

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine’

23
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama meets with Denis McDonough, NSC Chief of Staff, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, N.Y., Sept. 23, 2009 (Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

11:25: The President and First Lady depart the White House

12:35: Arrive New York City

1:45: The President holds a bilateral meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

3:0: Holds a Civil Society Roundtable

5:20: Meets with USUN Mission employees and their families

8:50: The President and First Lady attend a reception for visiting Heads of State and Government

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Later this week:

Tuesday: The President will deliver remarks to the U.N. General Assembly. The First Lady will attend. Later in the day, the President will attend the Clinton Global Initiative, where he and President Clinton will engage in a conversation about the benefits and future of health care reform in America and access to quality health care around the globe. In the evening, the President will attend an event for the DNC before returning with the First Lady to the White House.

Wednesday and Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.

Friday: The President will welcome Prime Minister Singh of India to the White House for a bilateral meeting.

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Steve Benen: Obama reminds GOP: U.S. is ‘not a deadbeat nation’

President Obama’s weekly addresses are generally rather laid back and non-confrontational, so it was all the more striking to see the president use the platform to warn Americans about the looming Republican-imposed crises, while chastising the GOP lawmakers themselves.

…. In case that was too subtle, Obama also called House Speaker John Boehner to tell him the White House will not negotiate if congressional Republicans hold the nation hostage again.

Boehner’s office told reporters it was “a brief call,” which certainly makes sense. How long could it take for a president to say he won’t negotiate with those threatening to hurt Americans on purpose?

Full post here

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Kevin Knaus: You might be a supporter of Obamacare ….

…. If you think children should have access to vision care for early detection of eye problems, you’re for #Obamacare

If you support all health plans covering prescription medications, you’re for #Obamacare

If you are tired of the deceptive marketing practices of health insurance companies and plan names, you’re for #Obamacare

If you are for clear and simple to read health insurance summaries of benefits, you’re for #Obamacare

If you think families not in group health plans should get the same benefits, you’re for #Obamacare

More here

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Charles Pierce: The Heavy Price Of Chuck Todd’s Ignorance

The gang at Media Matters has done a great job demonstrating how a faked-up Fox News “Special Report” on the food stamp program, starring a surfer straight from Moocher Central Casting, is having real-world consequences for the millions of people who depend on the SNAP program to eat everyday.

…. And this is what is really goddamn dangerous about what my man Chuck Todd said the other day. (Chuck’s feeling a bit put upon these days. Tough.) According to Chuck’s notion of what his job is, when conservative politicians latch onto a phony Fox News story in order to make policy, it is the job of the Democrats – or, perhaps, of the SNAP recipients themselves, who have, as we know, virtually unlimited access to the airwaves – to correct the arrant bullshit. Or, when politicians of both parties latch onto a phony “scandal” in the SSI program, it is the job of the embattled people running the program – or, perhaps, of Marcus Stephens’s parents, both of whom were, of course, important newspaper columnists of the day – to get out the truth. Chuck’s just the messenger. Thus does the oligarchy tell stories to itself.

Full post here

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Link to petition

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Crooks and Liars: Jonathan Alter Corrects Media’s Constant Harping on ACA Polls

…. Are you watching, Chuck Todd? That’s journalism.

Try it sometime.

Video at link

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Great tweets from Bill – see more at his account:

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Spandan (The People’s View): Drama Aside, It’s OVER for Republicans on Defunding Obamacare

It was amusing to see the drama play out on today’s Sunday morning TV shows. Needless to say, I enjoy few things more than seeing Republicans tying themselves into knots trying to insist that they don’t want to shut down the government unless they can defund the Affordable Care, and attaching its defunding to the bill to keep the government running was just… I don’t know, being cute, I guess. But for all the huffing and puffing from the Republicans and for all the pretense of “countdown to shutdown” from the media, the fight is over. Even Rand Paul (following his Tea Party nutty buddy Ted Cruz), has given up.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: John Boehner Is Letting GOP Extremists Hold the Government Hostage

How could he allow the spending bill defunding Obamacare to reach the House floor? He’s not even trying to stand up to the GOP’s hostage-takers — and he’s easily the worst speaker in modern history.

Here are the two questions that really matter this week as we head toward a possible government shutdown. How many Republicans in the House really would consider a shutdown some kind of victory? And what is John Boehner prepared to do about them? Whatever the answer to the first question, the answer to the second is almost sure to be “not much.” Boehner is easily the worst House speaker in modern history. Far from being the figure of perverse sympathy that some suggest, he embodies exactly what’s wrong with the GOP — mainstream conservatism’s total capitulation to the extremists. He’s a disgrace.

More here

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A rare exception – a link to Politico!

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Business Insider: Here’s Why 2 Democrats Voted To Defund Obamacare, And Why 1 Republican Voted Against

There wasn’t much surprise in the House of Representatives’ vote to avoid a government shutdown while stripping all discretionary funding for the Affordable Care Act. But three Congressmen did buck party lines in the vote. One Republican voted against the bill, and two Democrats voted in favor of it.

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) was the lone Republican to vote against the bill (four Republicans did not vote). But his objection didn’t really relate to Obamacare. He voted no because he opposes continuing resolutions, stopgap bills like this one that fund the whole government for a period of months….

…. The two Democrats who defied most of their party were Reps. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.). They both represent conservative districts and voted against the Affordable Care Act when it first passed in 2010.

More here

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@BarackObama

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Steve Benen: Ted Cruz’s shutdown scheme takes shape

…. as a procedural matter, Cruz wants Senate Republicans to get behind him and vote, in near-complete unanimity, to filibuster the House bill they want to pass. Cruz will tell Reid and Senate Democratic leaders, “We’ll continue to block the bill we support until you agree to let us filibuster your amendments.”

…. This plan could work if Senate Republicans were united around the idea …. but there’s no evidence this is likely to happen. On the contrary, quite a few GOP senators – none of whom actually likes Cruz – consider the whole scheme kind of silly and want Cruz to just go away. (Over the weekend, Republicans even started sending opposition research to Fox News about the junior senator from Texas.)

…. Ten days ago, I predicted there was a 65% chance of a shutdown. Today, I’d put that number at 40%.

Full post here

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Really amazing reaction to Africa’s post on writing to her local paper about Obamacare, eg:

In case you missed it, here’s the link – lots more on Obamacare through the week

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Spandan (The People’s View): Ezra Klein vs Facts on “Liberal Distrust” of Barack Obama

This morning, Ezra Klein of Washington Post penned a column for his Wonkblog that was severely lacking in wonkiness and showed off the political wet spots behind his ears. He talks about how Larry Summers “lost” his nomination to head the Fed – a nomination that was never made – because liberals writ-large don’t trust President Obama on financial reform. Klein declares that Summers “really lost because he was a stand-in for Obama.” Talk about admitting to having Obama Derangement Syndrome….

More here

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@CallOut4

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Democrats for Progress: ODS – Obama Derangement Syndrome

If you believe the following, you are probably suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS):

If Obama said it, it’s a lie. When it’s proven to be the truth, he got lucky – because it’s just a crazy coincidence that his lie turned out to be the truth after all. If he knew it was the truth, he would never have said it in the first place.

If Obama makes a speech about a specific issue, he’s just spewing pretty words. If Obama doesn’t speak on a specific issue, he’s trying to hide something. Or he should have spoken about something else entirely, because when he gets specific about one issue, that means he’s ignoring all of the really important issues he should be speaking about – those issues being whatever it was he didn’t mention….

More here

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Charles Pierce: Meet Your Wingnut Congresscritter: Ted Yoho

With the departure of Michele Bachmann from the World’s Greatest Legislative Body, we have inaugurated a new semi-weekly regular feature in which we study the possible successor to la Bachmann as Royal Regent of the Crazy People. (Louie Gohmert is, of course, emperor for life.)

Seeing as how yesterday was Talk Like A Pirate Day, why not pop in to see Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida. Ted has decided to get tough with Speaker Boehner, which means that, when he looks in the mirror, Ted sees the warm steady gaze of history looking back at him, and he is so transfixed that he doesn’t even notice that his eyeballs are spinning in opposite directions……

More here

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Spandan (The People’s View): First Syria, Now Iran: A Fair but Resolute President at the Center of Diplomatic Triumphs

This weekend brings us two pieces of huge news on President Obama’s diplomatic success in the middle east: Syria has complied with the first deadline in the US-Russia agreement to rid it of all its chemical weapons, and Iran is moving towards dismantling its nuclear program. News broke today that the international organization monitoring chemical weapons has received, on time, Syria’s disclosures of chemical weapons…..

…. These aren’t accidents of history. These aren’t just luck. These are the results of a president who truly believes in the power of our ideas and not just the power of our weapons, in the fairness of our diplomacy and not just the might of our military. These are the results of the world recognizing in Barack Obama not just a messenger of peace but an activist for it.

More here

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On This Day:

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President Obama blocks a shot while playing basketball with personal aide Reggie Love at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York, N.Y., where the President was attending the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 23, 2009 (Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning – Happy Monday!

21
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

9:0 PM EDT: President Obama delivers remarks at the CBC Foundation Annual Phoenix Awards; First Lady Michelle Obama attends.

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Sunday:

5:0 PM EDT: President Obama Speaks at the Memorial for Victims of the Navy Yard Shooting

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The Week Ahead:

Monday: The President and First Lady will travel to New York City for the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. They will remain overnight in New York City.

Tuesday: The President will deliver remarks to the U.N. General Assembly. The First Lady will attend. Later in the day, the President will attend the Clinton Global Initiative, where he and President Clinton will engage in a conversation about the benefits and future of health care reform in America and access to quality health care around the globe. In the evening, the President will attend an event for the DNC before returning with the First Lady to the White House.

Wednesday and Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.

Friday: The President will welcome Prime Minister Singh of India to the White House for a bilateral meeting.

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President Obama waves to the crowd after speaking to workers during a visit to the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant on September 20, in Liberty, Missouri

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USA Today Editorial: ObamaCare foes taking hostages: Our view

Republicans’ obsession with overturning ObamaCare is getting sillier and more dangerous at the same time. Now that they’ve failed to kill the law every way the rules allow — in Congress, the Supreme Court and in a presidential election — the opponents are taking hostages and, in effect, threatening to shoot them if they don’t get their way.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, the hostages are the federal government and the U.S. economy.

… If there’s a comic aspect to all this, it’s how much the extremism is being driven by schoolyard taunting between House and Senate Republicans about who hates ObamaCare the most.

But the potential impacts of their strategy, if that’s what you can call something destined to fail, are distinctly un-funny.

More here

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Spandan (The People’s View): CBO Report is Damning for Ideologues – Right and Left

The Congressional Budget Office released its 2013 long term budget outlook on Tuesday. The document is the most significant vindication of President Obama’s economic policies to date, both enacted and proposed, and it is the most damning thing to the president’s economic critics, both Left and Right. The CBO reports that thanks to the president’s strong leadership in investing in America’s future and raising taxes on the wealthy, by 2015, the deficit will have been cut by 80%  relative to the size of the economy from when President Obama took office.

More here

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Paul Krugman: The Crazy Party

Early this year, Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, made headlines by telling his fellow Republicans that they needed to stop being the “stupid party.” Unfortunately, Mr. Jindal failed to offer any constructive suggestions about how they might do that. And, in the months that followed, he himself proceeded to say and do a number of things that were, shall we say, not especially smart.

Nonetheless, Republicans did follow his advice. In recent months, the G.O.P. seems to have transitioned from being the stupid party to being the crazy party.

I know, I’m being shrill. But as it grows increasingly hard to see how, in the face of Republican hysteria over health reform, we can avoid a government shutdown — and maybe the even more frightening prospect of a debt default — the time for euphemism is past.

It helps, I think, to understand just how unprecedented today’s political climate really is.

More here

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ThinkProgress: What You Need To Know About The Funding Extension That Just Passed The House

The House of Representatives has passed a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded through Dec. 15 and withhold funding for the Affordable Care Act. The 230-189 vote comes just 10 days before a possible shutdown and includes instructions authorizing the Treasury “to pay some bills and not others in the event that no deal is reached in October on increasing the debt limit.” Rep. Scott Rigel (VA) was the only Republican to vote against the measure, while just two Democrats — Reps. Jim Matheson (UT) and Mike McIntyre (NC) voted for it.

As the resolution now moves to the Senate, here is what you have to know about the fight ahead…

More here

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Steve Benen: Warren Buffett and Obamacare: A case study

Rep. Jim Jordan, a far-right Ohio Republican, told reporters this week that the anti-healthcare forces have the wind at their backs. “All the momentum is in our direction,” he said. “Warren Buffett said yesterday, ‘Scrap the bill.'”

…. did the Sage of Omaha actually say “Scrap the bill” this week? Wouldn’t that have been a pretty big story?

…. the quote was taken out of context from something Buffett said in 2010. In fact, he actually supports Obamacare with a fair amount of enthusiasm. He said what Americans “have now is untenable” three years ago in reference to the health care system before the Affordable Care Act.

But wait, it gets funnier…..

More here

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Washington Post: Shutting down the government won’t stop Obamacare. It might even help it.

There’s a cold logic behind the willingness of some conservatives to risk everything to stop Obamacare. But it’s not that Obamacare will fail. After all, if the law will just be a debacle, Republicans should let it take effect, ride the catastrophe to overwhelming victory in the 2014 midterms, and then use their massive congressional majorities to repeal it.

Rather, as EJ Dionne writes, the real fear is that the law will succeed. Once Obamacare begins delivering health insurance to millions of Americans it will become effectively impossible to repeal. That’s what’s happened in every other country that’s introduced a national health-care system. That’s why the right needs to stop Obamacare before it begins.

The irony of their strategy, though, is that shutting down the federal government won’t stop Obamacare. It might even help it….

More here

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ThinkProgress: The Complete Guide To The GOP’s Three-Year Campaign To Shut Down The Government

As the nation races toward another budgetary crisis next month, Republican leaders are using the prospect of a government shutdown and the need to raise the nation’s debt ceiling as leverage points to undermine the Affordable Care Act — just days before uninsured Americans are expected to sign up for health care coverage — and extract additional cuts to government programs.

Past Congresses have used the debt ceiling as a “vehicle for other legislative matters” or nongermane amendments, but as the timeline below demonstrates, the Republicans that came to power after the 2010 midterm elections demanded something entirely different: they threatened to push the nation into default and shut down the government unless Congress approves deep structural budget cuts during a period of economic recession.

More here

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Washington Post: House Republicans voted to cut food stamps by $39 billion. Here’s how.

The House just voted 217 to 210 to approve a GOP bill to cut food-stamp spending by $39 billion over the next ten years. That’s roughly a 5 percent cut compared with current law.

The House legislation isn’t expected to get past the Senate, but it’s worth a closer look. The bill would spend $725 billion on food stamps over the next ten years, compared with about $760 billion in the Senate farm bill.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a long analysis looking at how, specifically, the House GOP would rein in food-stamp spending through a variety of restrictions on eligibility. About half the savings come from new curbs on aid to unemployed, childless adults between the ages of 18 and 50. Here’s the full rundown of cuts….

More here

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In case you missed it:

The Sterling Road: My Name Is Jason, I’m A 35-Yr-Old White Male Combat Veteran…And I’m On Food Stamps

My name is Jason. I turned 35 less than a week ago. My first job was maintenance work at a public pool when I was 17. I worked 40-hours a week while I was in college. I’ve never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years in the military, one of which consisted of a combat tour of Afghanistan.

Oh, and I’m now on food stamps. Since June, as a matter of fact.

Why am I on food stamps?

The same reason everyone on food stamps is on food stamps: because I would very much enjoy not starving.

I mean, if that’s okay with you:

… Mr. or Mrs. Republican congressman…..

More here

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Jeffrey Goldberg: From Iran to Syria, Obama’s Toughness Is Paying Off

There is one main reason why Iran is making conciliatory noises about its relationship with the U.S. and about the future of its nuclear program, and there is one main reason why Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, is signaling his intention to give up his stockpiles of chemical weapons.

The reason: President Barack Obama’s toughness.

Yes, I know. Toughness isn’t a quality lately ascribed to the president. But hear me out.

More here

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Media Matters: Syria And The Beltway Media Crackup

On the night of September 10, hours before President Obama addressed the nation about developments surrounding the crisis in Syria, NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams huddled with Meet The Press host David Gregory to analyze the day’s top story.

Events were moving quickly. After weeks of Obama threatening to use military strikes against Syria in the wake of President Bashar Al-Assad being accused of gassing his own people with chemical weapons as part of a “massive attack,” a sudden diplomatic opening had appeared. Rather than bombing Syria, the United States might be able to work with Russia and get Syria to voluntarily hand over its chemical weapons.

Good news? Not necessarily according to Williams and Gregory….

….. The Syria coverage represents a clear case of the press adopting style over substance, as well as channeling Republican spin. Of treating foreign policy as if it were a domestic political campaign and insisting that a story unfolding half-a-world away was really all about Obama and how it affected (and/or damaged) his political fortunes….

More here

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Michael Tomasky: The Great GOP Mental-Health Hypocrisy

Since the D.C. shooting, Republicans care about mental health! Yet they opposed—and want to defund—the law that does more to advance the cause than any in history.

So now we’re being treated to the charming spectacle of Republicans, or a few of them anyway, purporting to care about mental-health treatment in the wake of the Washington Navy Yard shooting. How touching. This doesn’t mean, of course, that they care about mental health. They’re just coming up with something to say in the wake of the tragedy that sounds to the willfully credulous like action and that won’t offend the National Rifle Association.

Meanwhile, they have devastated mental-health funding since you-know-who became president. And more important than that, they voted against, and are now preparing to vote en bloc to defund or delay, the law that will do more to address mental health and give society at least a chance that future Aaron Alexises will get treatment that could prevent them going on shooting sprees since … well, pretty much since ever.

More here

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On This Day:

Sept. 21, 2011: “The First Lady reacts to something the President whispered to her at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in between events related to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City” (Pete Souza)

Sept. 21, 2010: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk along the Colonnade of the White House (Pete Souza)

Sept. 21, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden during a tour of the Studio Museum in Harlem, in New York (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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MoooOOOooorning! And huuuuuuuuge thanks again to UT for all of yesterday’s posts – and to the Toon Master, Amk.

And thanks to the mighty blog tyrants, it’s been an amazing week at TOD, around 100,000 hits since last weekend – lots of them for Zizi’s post on PBO’s foreign policy, LL on Chuck Todd and Co, and UT’s newsie round-ups. Thank you, legends!

We’ll try and put all the visits to good use in the days ahead by doing lots of features on Obamacare.

Meanwhile, Happy Saturday!

20
Sep
13

TOD Toon Time

Long time, no post. So …

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Continue reading ‘TOD Toon Time’

18
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

(Almost) A Year Ago: President Obama greets the Children’s Miracle Network Champions in the East Room of the White House, Sept. 19, 2012 (Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern)

10:45: President Obama delivers remarks to members of the Business Roundtable and answers questions

Live at NBC – Audio only at WH Live

11:15: Jay Carney briefs the press

11:30: VP Biden meets with U.S. participants in the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue in the Roosevelt Room

3:30: The President and VP meet with Secretary of the Treasury Lew

4:15: The President and VP meet with Secretary of State Kerry

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USA Today: Obama’s day: Business Roundtable

President Obama spends Wednesday trying to recruit new backers in his budget battles with congressional Republicans: Corporate executives.

Obama meets with members of the Business Roundtable as the White House and Congress face the prospects of a government shutdown and another standoff over the debt ceiling.

The White House says Obama will ask the business leaders to talk to congressional Republicans “to grow the economy, create jobs, and not reverse the progress we’ve made by shutting down the government or threatening to force the United States to default on the bills it has already racked up and owes.”

More here

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Steve Benen: Boehner moves closer to government shutdown

Some problems are so complex and difficult, they’re nearly impossible to solve. Avoiding a government shutdown isn’t one of them.

After his far-right members vetoed his preferred solution, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) could have very easily reached out to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), put some modest enticements on the table, and picked up plenty of votes to approve a stop-gap spending measure. The whole thing could have been wrapped up in an afternoon, and the media would have cheered Boehner for constructive, bipartisan governing.

But that’s not what the laughably weak Speaker is inclined to do….

More here

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@WhiteHouse

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Spandan (The People’s View): Health Reform in Action: 6 in 10 Uninsured Eligible Obamacare Premiums Under $100

Exactly zero of the right wing red-hot-siren warnings about shooting health insurance costs (“rate shock”) has panned out, but plenty of rate shock has been received on the other end of the scale – with tons of people shocked to find checks from their insurance companies in their mailboxes, rates reduced for their children with pre-existing conditions, and outrageously inexpensive rates in the state exchanges about to open in less than two weeks.

And here comes another:  of the people who are eligible for either Medicaid or premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, six out of 10 Americans currently uninsured will be able to get coverage for $100 or less per month.

More here

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@Jordan44: For GOP, is yielding to this fringe viewpoint of undermining #Obamacare really worth recklessly hurting the economy?

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Steve Benen: ‘This is about political cash, not political principle’

Brian Walsh, a former spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, recently offered his take on why far-right groups like Heritage Action and the Senate Conservatives Fund keep Republican activists so riled up about the Affordable Care Act: “[T]his is about political cash, not political principle…. You see, money begets TV ads which begets even more money for these groups’ personal coffers.”

According to Walsh, who knows the internal workings of GOP politics quite well, conservative activist organizations are effectively waging a political war because political wars make for a convenient fundraising tool.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Latest Obamacare Lie Claims Doctors Will Be Forced To Ask Patients About Their Sexual History

In a New York Post op-ed, the inventor of the death panels lie, Betsy McCaughey, now claims that the Affordable Care Act is turning “doctors into government agents” by having them ask patients about their sex history. “Obamacare will question your sex life,” the headline says, and the issue has gained traction among conservatives. For example, Media Matters notes how Fox and Friends has amplified McCaughey’s argument, claiming that “doctors will be forced to ask patients about their sex life, even if it has nothing to do with the medical treatment that they are seeking at the time.”

But the questions McCaughey finds so outrageous are already routine physician practice…

More here

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Smartypants: FISA Court rules metadata collection constitutional

Today the Obama administration declassified another FISA Court ruling. This is a big one. In it, the court ruled that the NSA collection of metadata is constitutional…..

…. Given that a headline like the one I’ve used here doesn’t attract the kind of linkbait you get from saying “The government is illegally spying on you!” it will be interesting to see how many media outlets report on this story.

Full post here

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OFA

Greg Sargent: GOP climate skeptics to hold hearing on climate science

Did you know House Republicans are planning a hearing on climate science for [today]? It’s true — and it should provide a useful glimpse into whether Republicans are prepared to start caring publicly about the issue, and if so, how they’ll go about doing that given the climate science denialists in their ranks.

…. Gina McCarthy, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, will be testifying. She is already something of a lightning rod, so this is legitimately a big deal: House Republicans will probably be signaling how they will respond when the EPA rolls out its new rules governing carbon emissions on new power plans, a central item on Obama’s agenda that is going to provoke a huge fight…

More here

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Live on C-Span at 10:15 AM EDT

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Steve Benen: Congress targets Obama’s climate agenda

It’s been about three months since President Obama unveiled a fairly ambitious agenda to combat the climate crisis, and in the immediate aftermath, Republicans had very little to say about it. Indeed, Politico reported in June that GOP leaders came up with a game plan: ignore the speech, ignore global warming, and generally ignore science altogether.

That approach will change today….

More here

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ThinkProgress: Following Navy Yard Shooting, Top Donor Threatens To Withhold Donations From Democrats Who Opposed Background Checks

A philanthropist who has donated millions to gun safety causes and groups is urging donors to withhold their support from Democrats who oppose gun safety regulations, following Monday’s shooting at Washington’s Navy Yard.

“Each time large-scale gun violence strikes our country—at a workplace, a movie theater, a political rally, or most devastating of all, at a school—a public debate about gun laws ensues,” Eli Broad, who has also funded some of the Center for American Progress’ gun work, wrote in a dairy for the Daily Kos on Tuesday. “Then, Congress promises action. But every time, our elected officials fail to deliver.”

More here

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TPM: Starbucks: Please Keep Guns Out Of Our Stores

In an open letter Tuesday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asked customers to “no longer bring firearms” into the chain’s stores or outdoor seating areas.

Schultz wrote that it had been the company’s policy to follow local laws. In states with so-called “open carry” laws, customers were permitted to bring firearms into stores.

But that policy inadvertently thrust Starbucks into the debate over “open carry” and recent events have prompted the company to shift course. Pro-gun advocates staged a “Starbucks Appreciation Day” last month to commend the company for its position on “open carry.” Schultz wrote that those advocates “disingenuously” portrayed the company as a “champion of ‘open carry.'”

More here

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Dealbook: Inspired by Professor, Investor Makes Big Gift for Black Studies

Just over 10 years ago, the private equity mogul Glenn Hutchins was on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. With his 25th Harvard College reunion near, he was thinking about how to put some of his wealth to good use.

One afternoon, clad in a T-shirt and board shorts, he stopped at an old whaling chapel, where Henry Louis Gates Jr., the prominent professor of African and African-American studies at Harvard, was leading a symposium.

That encounter gave Mr. Hutchins his cause.

Since then, Mr. Hutchins has strengthened his connection to Mr. Gates and the Harvard program. Their bond will become stronger on Wednesday, when Mr. Hutchins is expected to announce a gift of more than $15 million to create the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research, solidifying Harvard’s program as one of the top in its field.

More here

Thank you CarolDuhart!

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Ah, memories – a year ago today:

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Washington Post: Wendy Davis prepares to launch Texas gubernatorial bid next month

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) is almost ready to announce her gubernatorial bid – but first she will expand her social network just a little bit more.

In an e-mail sent to her supporters Wednesday morning, Davis – who garnered national attention this summer for fighting a sweeping antiabortion bill in her state – wrote she will be “answering the question” of what’s next for her career on Oct. 3. But before making her formal announcement, she posed a question of her own: “Do you have any friends or family who would like to be among the first to know?

More here

wendydavisforsenate.com

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MoooOOOooorning, Happy Wednesday!

17
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times Eastern):

2:45: The President participates in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony, a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington

3:30: The President and Vice President meet with Secretary of Defense Hagel

* The President conducts an interview with Jose Diaz-Balart of Telemundo to discuss his plan for a Better Bargain for the Middle Class and the need for immigration reform

Excerpts of the interview will be broadcast on “Noticiero Telemundo” today at 6:30pm/5:30 central. The interview will also air in its entirety on “Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart” on Sunday, September 22 at 12pm/11am central, and will be available on Telemundo.com and on the Facebook page of “Noticiero Telemundo.”

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ThinkProgress: How Gun Laws Factor Into The Navy Yard Shooting

…. details are leaking out about Alexis and they point to a disturbing history of gun violence …. Under federal law, it’s very likely that he was still able to legally posses a firearm. Permanent bans on gun ownership are only handed out to very specific groups of people including felons, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill …. in nearly half of states, officials are still able to give a handgun permit to someone with a history like Alexis’s.

If reports from the scene are right, however, Alexis’s gun possession Monday was illegal no matter his gun history. News outlets indicate that Alexis had as many as three weapons, including a semi-automatic AR15. The AR15 is banned in DC.

…. One of the gun regulations President Obama proposed earlier this year would outlaw the sale of AR15s and other military-grade weapons.

Full post here

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Bob Cesca: Another Gun Massacre and Another Powerful Reason for Stronger Gun Control Laws

At approximately 8 a.m. eastern time on Monday, a man named Aaron Alexis, a former reservist with the U.S. Navy, entered the Naval Sea Systems Command office building at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 10 others. The gunman used a shotgun, a handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle to rain bullets into a crowd of people before eventually being shot and killed by police.

At 2:15 p.m., six hours after the massacre, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) tweeted the following sentiment to his followers: “Remember to keep praying for those affected by both the Navy Yard shootings and the Colorado floods.”

A noble gesture — that is if you ignore the irony that the congressman is a vocal climate crisis denier, as well as one of the NRA’s most valuable allies inside the House of Representatives with a creepy obsession with AR-15 assault rifles, say nothing of being one of the only internet trolls serving as a member of Congress.

More here

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Charles Pierce: Ignorance Is Bliss

This seems like a particularly good day to be ignoring the work of academics, doesn’t it?

Conclusions. We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.

…. The results of the study may seem little more than an exercise in confirming the obvious, but that’s an exercise the country needs. It needs to have the obvious – guns kill people, health-insurance helps keep them alive, large banks are all thieves, economic oligarchy is incompatible with political democracy, Fk The Deficit….

Full post here

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Steve Benen: When will enough be enough?’

After two Democratic state senators were defeated in Colorado recall elections last week, there was some speculation that proponents of gun-safety would begin to retreat, backing away from efforts to reduce gun violence.

After a dozen people were gunned down yesterday at the Navy Yard in D.C., there was ample evidence to the contrary.

President Obama briefly addressed the issue at the start of his speech on the economy, arguing that policymakers must “do everything that we can to try to prevent” these mass shootings. Like-minded lawmakers followed suit.

More here

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Mediaite: In Todd We Trust? Tweet, Don’t Verify New Trend in Reporter Race to First

If the Boston bombings taught us anything about the state of media in 2013, it’s that some reporters—like quarterbacks—have trouble dealing with pressure.

…. two days after the bombings and with suspects still on the loose, four major media entities (AP, Boston Globe, CNN and Fox News) all got the name of one potential suspect wrong….

… it’s no surprise that following the shooting at a Washington Naval Yard CBS and NBC took their turn in reporting the name of the wrong suspect in an effort to beat the clock…

More here

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ThinkProgress: Under Obamacare, Millions Of Americans Will Pay Less Than $100 Per Month For Health Insurance

About 6.4 million Americans will be able to purchase insurance for less than $100 each month on Obamacare’s new state-level marketplaces, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s because those people will be eligible for federal subsidies that will reduce the price of purchasing a plan under the health reform law.

The Obama administration calculated the expected premiums for people buying “silver” plans, which are the second-cheapest option on the new insurance marketplaces. Even though not every marketplace has announced its premium rates yet, researchers were still able to estimate those payments based on the health law’s rule for determining subsidies.

More here

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CNBC: Priced to sell: Sweet Obamacare deals for young

Health insurance for most young adults on New York and California’s Obamacare health exchanges will cost dramatically less than what twentysomethings have said they’d be willing to spend on insurance, a new analysis finds.

The attractive prices could significantly boost enrollment in those states’ exchanges and help keep premiums low for people of all ages, said Christina LaMontagne, vice president of price-comparison site NerdWallet, which did the analysis.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: …. the biggest news on Monday wasn’t about Obamacare’s poll numbers. It was about Obamacare’s reach. And there the news was much clearly better. In Michigan, Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that will expand the state’s Medicaid program, as Obamacare envisions. The signing was the culmination of a long, difficult effort by Synder and a bipartisan, statewide-coalition to overcome Tea Party resistance….

…. Greg Sargent got Pew to give him a breakdown of exactly which voters oppose the law so much they want officials to make it fail: Sure enough, it’s Tea Party Republicans. As Greg notes, this voting bloc is highly influential within Republican Party politics, particularly as primary voters: That goes a long way to explaining why congressional Republicans are threatening to shut down the government or allow default if Obama won’t agree to delay or defund the law.

But support for such extreme positions doesn’t extend much outside this group. Meanwhile, it turns out that many people opposed to (or at least ambivalent about) the law simply don’t know much about it….

Full post here

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 AP: US to help Syrian forces fight chemical weapons

President Barack Obama on Monday cleared the way for the U.S. to send chemical weapons-related assistance to the Syrian opposition, as well as international organizations working inside the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

…. The White House said the non-lethal assistance could fall into three categories:

– Chemical weapons-related “personal protective” equipment to international organizations working in Syria, including the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

– Medical assistance to strengthen local Syrian health care providers’ ability to prepare for and respond to the use of chemical weapons

– Defensive chemical weapons training and protective equipment to vetted members of the Syrian opposition to protect against the use of deadly gases..

More here

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USA Today: Netanyahu to meet Obama on Iran

With Syria’s chemical weapons now the subject of negotiations, attention is shifting back to questions about Iran’s nuclear program.

Officials in Israel say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with President Obama in Washington on Sept. 30, with Iran at the top of the agenda.

More here

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Spandan (The People’s View): Obama on GOP’s Economic Hostage Taking: Don’t Even Think About It

The president spoke [yesterday] on the economy and the upcoming budget battles in Congress. Marking the fifth anniversary of the economic crash of 2008, President Obama spoke of the hard work he and his administration has done to pull the economy back from the brink of another Great Depression – from a rescue of the financial sector to the revival of the American auto industry, restoring confidence in the banking system and creating nearly 7.5 million jobs in the last three-and-a-half years. But he commanded the stage with a serious, “you’re pissing me off” look on his face and one clear,  unequivocal message: The President does not negotiate with economic terrorists.

More here

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Jonathan Weisman: Amid Revolt Over Fiscal ‘Gimmicks,’ Options Dwindle for G.O.P.

First came the “supercommittee,” tasked in 2011 with finding a bipartisan deficit reduction plan but doomed to fail. Then came the “McConnell plan,” a way for Congress to raise the government’s debt limit without actually voting to do so. And in January there was “no budget, no pay,” a measure coupled with the last debt ceiling increase to deny paychecks to lawmakers if they did not pass a budget…..

For three years, Congressional leaders have relied on tactical maneuvers, sleights of hand and sheer gimmickry to move the nation from one fiscal crisis to the next — with little strategy to deal with the actual problems at hand….

President Obama joined the fray Monday, castigating Republicans for the latest budget crisis but “hoping that a light bulb goes off.”

Full article here

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Jonathan Chait: Obama, Republicans, and the Crisis of Legitimacy

…. Since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, a coterie of Republicans has challenged this informal approach. Their belief is that the absence of cooperation should lead not to stalemate but to the president bending to their will. That assumption implies a delegitimization of the presidency that Obama has come to understand, belatedly, that he can’t accept.

The Republican Establishment is trying to coax the crisis-mongers out of their fervor. Today The Wall Street Journal editorial page assails Republicans who insist on shutting down the government unless President Obama agrees to destroy his own health-care reform, a fantastical demand. “Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots,” the Journal warns.

…. Establishment Republicans are trying to talk their base out of extreme measures without addressing their deeper belief that House Republicans are entitled to extract concessions from the president, via threat, without compromising at all.

Full post here

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Daily Beast: Banks Really Are Different Five Years After the Financial Crisis

Still think our dysfunctional financial system hasn’t changed a bit since the day of the cataclysm five years ago? On debt, consolidation, and consumers, Daniel Gross explains why you’re wrong.

See here

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Steve Benen: Crusade against Texas clinics based on bogus claims

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his Republican allies in the state legislature launched an aggressive legislative campaign against reproductive rights over the summer, including measures intended to close the vast majority of clinics where reproductive services are provided.

Proponents of the policies said the measures were necessary in order to protect public safety. Becca Aaronson reports in the Texas Tribune this week that the arguments are plainly contradicted by the facts…..

More here

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On This Day:

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama console Paul and Janet Monti, parents of Army Sgt. 1st. Class Jared C. Monti in the Blue Room following a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Sept. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

A young boy listens to President Barack Obama as he delivers remarks at a rally on health insurance reform at the Comcast Center, University of Maryland in College Park, Md., on Sept. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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(A Late) MooooOOOOoooorning!

13
Sep
13

The Week in Toons…

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Continue reading ‘The Week in Toons…’




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