Posts Tagged ‘U.N.

25
Jan
14

Rise and Shine

First Lady Michelle Obama at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 25, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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The President has no public events scheduled for this weekend

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Reuters: Obamacare Coverage Enrollment Hits Three Million

The number of people enrolled in private health insurance under Obamacare has soared by more than one-third in recent weeks to around 3 million, according to government data released on Friday.  It also shows that officials might still reach their initial goal of signing up 7 million people for private coverage by the time enrollment ends on March 31.

Analysts say Obama could highlight the 3 million number as a sign of progress when he addresses the topic of healthcare reform in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday. Earlier this week, the administration also announced that the number of people eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) rose to 6.3 million this month as a result of the enrollment effort.

More here

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Alex Wigglesworth: Vice President Joe Biden Donates $50K To Pennsylvania’s Women’s Abuse Advocacy Groups

Vice President Joe Biden donated $50,000 to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Philadelphia-based Women Against Abuse Tuesday, a month after winning the money at Pennsylvania’s biggest annual political gathering. The Pennsylvania Society during its 115th annual black-tie dinner last month presented Biden with the Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement. The award, which recognizes the leadership and philanthropic accomplishments of prominent figures with Pennsylvania ties, comes with a $50,000 contribution to be directed to charities of the recipient’s choice.

The two selected nonprofits will use the money to increase advocacy and awareness efforts and support intervention for victims of domestic violence, which they described as a public health epidemic that affects one in three women and one in seven men worldwide. As Vice President, Biden appointed the White House’s first Advisor on Violence Against Women and launched the “1is2many” initiative. an outreach campaign that uses technology to reduce date rape and domestic violence among teens and college students. Biden was the first sitting vice president chosen to receive the Pennsylvania Society’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement. Past recipients have included Andrew Carnegie, Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Cosby.

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TPM: 60% Of KY GOPers Buck McConnell, Support Medicaid Expansion

A solid majority of Kentucky Republicans support the state’s decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, according to a new poll, standing in stark contrast to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s opposition to the provision. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky poll, reported by NPR-affiliated WFPL, found that 60 percent of self-identified Republicans said they support expansion.

In total, 79 percent of Kentuckians agree with Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s decision to expand coverage to low-income people under the health care reform law. More than 120,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in Medicaid through the state’s Obamacare website since it launched in October

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Rachel Huggins: Obama Takes Action To End Sexual Assault

President Obama announced a new task force that will combat sexual assault,  particularly on college campuses, he said in his weekly address. The White House Task Force on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault “will help schools do a better job of preventing and responding to sexual assault,” he declared, adding that the crime affects one in five women on college campuses. “That’s totally unacceptable,” he added.

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BBC: Syria Foes Briefly Meet In Same Room At Geneva II Talks

Syria’s opposition and government have met briefly face to face in what is being hailed a small but significant step in talks aimed at “saving Syria”. The initial gathering in Geneva lasted half an hour mediated by the UN’s Lakhdar Brahimi. Delegates in Geneva are aiming at small concessions, not a full peace deal. “Ending terrorism and violence” is the top priority, Syrian officials say. They insist it is too early to discuss President Bashar al-Assad’s position. The BBC’s Bridget Kendall, in Geneva, says another meeting at 15:00 GMT will follow same carefully choreographed format as the first.

The two delegations filed in through separate doors into one room in the UN Geneva Headquarters, and sat down at the same U-shaped table, but said nothing to each other. Mr Brahimi spoke for half an hour. Then they all filed out again. Ahead of the next face-to-face meeting, Mr Brahimi will shuttle between the delegations, trying to build confidence with small achievements like localised ceasefires, release of detainees and the opening of humanitarian corridors. This is cumbersome, slow diplomacy, our correspondent adds. But as one diplomat put it, small steps are better than no steps.

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Nation Of Change: Utah Is Ending Homelessness By Giving People Homes

City council members in Columbia, South Carolina, concerned that the city was becoming a “magnet for homeless people,” passed an ordinance giving the homeless the option to either relocate or get arrested. The council later rescinded the ordinance, after backlash from police officers, city workers, and advocates. Philadelphia took a somewhat different approach, with a law banning the feeding of homeless people on city parkland. Religious groups objected to the ban, and announced that they would not obey it. Raleigh, North Carolina took the step of asking religious groups to stop their longstanding practice of feeding the homeless in a downtown park on weekends. Religious leaders announced that they would risk arrest rather than stop.

In eight years, Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78 percent, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015. Utah solved homelessness by giving people homes. In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached. Each participant in Utah’s Housing First program also gets a caseworker to help them become self-sufficient, but they keep the apartment even if they fail. The program has been so successful that other states are hoping to achieve similar results with programs modeled on Utah’s.

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Eric Lach: Port Authority Refuses To Pay Christie Pal’s Legal Bills

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will not pay the legal bills for the former agency executive at the center of the George Washington Bridge lane closings scandal, The Bergen Record reported on Friday. The notification to Wildstein reportedly said his request to have his legal bill picked up “would not be warranted” under the agency’s bylaws. Those bylaws state that current and former employees will be provided with legal representation if the action in question fell within their job duties, but not if there was fraud, malice, misconduct, or intentional wrongdoing.

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Paul Waldman: Why Republicans Keep Calling Women Sluts

The simple answer is that they can’t help themselves, but more specifically, it’s a combination of ignorance, contempt, and Puritan morality that inevitably leads to these eruptions. And it’s going to keep happening. Let’s look at the particulars: Ignorance: These kinds of statements tend to come from older conservative men who have no idea how ladyparts work, and really don’t want to know. That extends to contraception, which as far as they’re concerned is something that is women’s responsibility and therefore there’s no need to understand it.

Beliefs about sin: The conception of sex as inherently sinful drives pretty much every conservative policy position that touches on sex, perhaps most notably the support for abstinence-only sex education. The fact that abstinence-only sex education has been shown over and over to fail is of only passing concern to them, because what they want out of sex education isn’t so much practical things like a reduction in teen pregnancy and the spread of STDs, but a moral statement: sex is bad.

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Jon Hurdle: Nonprofit Clinic Offers ‘Bridges of Health’ To Philadelphia’s Illegal Immigrants

Like many other immigrants, Mery Martinez has no legal status in the United States, no health insurance and no money. But she does have leukemia, and has been struggling to find treatment for the disease, first in New York and more recently in Philadelphia. Here, a hospital emergency room rejected her on New Year’s Day because she had not yet qualified for the state assistance that could have paid for the medical attention she needed. With rising anxiety, and a rash that she attributed to her illness, Ms. Martinez walked into a clinic last week run by Puentes de Salud, a nonprofit group of doctors, nurses and medical students that provides primary care to Philadelphia’s undocumented, uninsured and impoverished Latino immigrants.

Puentes de Salud, which in English means “bridges of health,” was founded to provide low-cost but quality health care and social services to the growing Latino population in South Philadelphia and began treating patients in 2006.  Daphne Owen, 26, a third-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania and a clinic volunteer, sees the low-cost, holistic approach practiced by Puentes as a model, not just for underserved community medicine but for the country’s health system over all. “Here, I’m learning things that we don’t learn in medical school,” Ms. Owen said. “The way we provide care has to change. By the time I’m done in medical school, there is no way the system is still going to work the way it does.”

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Gloria Goodale: California Drought: Scientists Puzzled By Persistence Of Blocking ‘Ridge’

While much of the United States has experienced a weather year with fewer extremes and an easing drought, the record-breaking California drought – the worst since 1895 – is not leaving the region anytime soon, according to climatologists. The unseasonal balmy but dry weather is the result of an equally unprecedented high pressure ridge lurking offshore and blocking the typical winter storms needed to drop precipitation all along the West Coast.

This ridge has persisted for 13 months and the longer it lingers, the less likely it is to leave, points out climatologist Brian Fuchs, from the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. This high pressure ridge system is feeding on itself, “creating a sort of perfect environment for perpetuating the dry conditions” it creates, he says. On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency, calling for a 20-percent voluntary conservation effort state-wide.

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On This Day:

President Obama hugs retiring White House butler James Ramsey, as First Lady Michelle Obama looks on, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Jan. 25, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama listens during a meeting with senior advisors in the Oval Office, Jan. 25, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Roxanna Green as she enters the House Chamber prior the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 25, 2011. John and Roxanna Green are the parents of eleven-year-old Dallas and the late Christina Taylor, the nine-year-old girl killed when a gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson earlier this month. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama stands with Members of Congress in House Speaker John Boehner’s ceremonial office as Bill Livingood, House Sergeant at Arms, left, and Terrance Gainer, Senate Sergeant at Arms, right, prepare to escort them onto the floor of the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 25, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., as he enters the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for the State of the Union address, Jan. 25, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet the Green family after the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 25, 2011. John and Roxanna Green are the parents of eleven-year-old Dallas and the late Christina Taylor, the nine-year-old girl killed when a gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson earlier this month (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama holds two-month-old Emme Bernstein, of Scottsdale, after arriving on Air Force One at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz, Jan. 25, 2012

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President Obama runs along the Colonnade of the White House with Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough’s children, Jan. 25, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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24
Sep
13

Chat Away

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@TheObamaDiary: Beautiful: First Lady Michelle Obama with First Lady of Ghana Lordina Mahama during UN luncheon in New York

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24
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

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On This Day: President Barack Obama meets with advisors prior to a bilateral meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón of Colombia at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (All Times Eastern):

10:10: President Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly; the First Lady also attends

C-SPAN  White House

10:50: The President meets with John Ashe, President of the United Nations General Assembly

11:35: Holds a bilateral meeting with President Michel Sleiman of the Republic of Lebanon

12:50: Meets with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

1:15: Attends a luncheon hosted by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

3:0: Holds a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

4:55: Participates in a conversation with former President Clinton about the future of health care reform

7:35: Delivers remarks at DNC reception, Waldorf Astoria Hotel

9:40: The President and First Lady depart New York en route Andrews Air Force Base

10:50: Arrive the White House

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama share a kiss before departing for separate events after arriving at the Wall Street Landing Zone aboard Marine One in New York, N.Y., Sept. 23 (Pete Souza)

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Get Registered!

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Greg Sargent: Nancy Pelosi Moves To Pressure Republicans On Immigration

With House Republicans seemingly stalling on immigration reform, Nancy Pelosi has hit on a plan that is designed to force them to deal with it this fall. Within the next two weeks, Pelosi may introduce a version of the Senate immigration reform bill in the House, in an effort to pressure House Republicans to sign on as co-sponsors, according to an aide familiar with her thinking. No decisions have been made.

Some reformers and Dems had hoped Pelosi would introduce what is known as a “discharge petition,” which would force a vote on the House floor if 218 House Members signed on to it. But the current plan Pelosi is eying does not involve a discharge petition, which is opposed by some who worry no Republicans would sign it, the aide tells me.

More here

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David Corn: Slate Pitch: Obama Is The Shrewdest Political Tactician Since LBJ

The conventional view in Washington these days is that President Barack Obama is not having such a great second term and might already be suffering a bit of lame duckery. But here’s a Slate pitch: Obama is the most wily tactician in the nation’s capital since Lyndon Johnson. Consider what Obama has recently done to two of his most bothersome foes: Vladimir Putin and John Boehner.

The Russian leader was now acknowledging that Assad’s stockpile was indeed a problem and, more important, assuming the role of guarantor. Certainly, the subsequent negotiations would be difficult, with Assad likely to slow-walk and obfuscate. But having sucked Putin into the process, Obama had increased the odds of achieving his chief goal: preventing the further use of chemical weapons by the regime.

Back home, Obama has placed House Speaker Boehner in a different sort of hot seat. By declining to negotiate with Boehner about defunding Obamacare in order to prevent a government shutdown, the president has fueled the ongoing civil war within GOP ranks. True, this pitched battle would wage with or without Obama, as tea partiers try to hold the government hostage in order to destroy Obama’s health care program and less extreme Republicans contend that this act of political terrorism will backfire against their party. But sometimes in politics, it takes discipline to stand back and not get in the way when an opponent is self-immolating.

More here

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Greg Sargent: House GOP To Ted Cruz: Win, Rocky, Win!

When last we checked in on Ted Cruz’s crusade to defund Obamacare, he was callingon Senate Democrats to refrain from passing any amendment to the House “CR” funding the government that would strip its defunding of Obamacare by a simple majority vote in the Senate. The idea is that if Dems allowed this amendment to be subject to a 60 vote threshold (Dems are going to amend the bill to take out the defunding, and kick it back to the House), Senate Republicans could then presumably filibuster it.

Alas for Ted Cruz, that isn’t going to happen. A Senate Democratic aide tells me there is no chance the amendment getting rid of Obamacare defunding will be subject to filibuster, meaning only a simple majority of Senators will have to pass it. Since Dems control 54 votes, that won’t be difficult.

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NJ.Com: ObamaCare Impact: More Patients, More Healthcare Jobs, Experts Predict

Two years before the Affordable Care Act became law and three years before its full implementation, a cadre of concerned professionals was already asking an important question: Who will take care of all these new patients? Which is why the job openings will include much more than just doctors, she said, but also nurse practitioners, lab techs and medical assistants.

“Because of shortages due to new technologies, specifically information technology,” Wise said, “there will also be more need of information specialists to respond to federal mandated electronic health care records. Wise predicted that nurses and nurse practitioners and home care and health care aides will be of critical importance.

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BBC: China Bans Several Weapon-Related North Korea Exports

China says it has banned the export to North Korea of several weapon-related technologies which could be used in the development of nuclear weapons. China’s Commerce Ministry published the list, which includes components for nuclear explosive devices and rocket systems, on Monday. It said the move would help implement UN resolutions on North Korea, and would be effective immediately.

Analysts say the ban shows China taking a firmer line against its ally. The list includes technology in nuclear, missile, chemical and biological fields. It says the restrictions are developed in accordance with several UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea. China is North Korea’s only ally and its major trading partner.

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BBC: President Obama jokes ‘I’m Scared Of My Wife’

US President Barack Obama conquered a long-term smoking habit because he was afraid of his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, he has joked with a UN official. The jesting admission, which the president made apparently unaware he was on camera, came at the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday. Mr Obama privately told a human rights campaigner that he had not had a cigarette in roughly six years.

“That’s because I’m scared of my wife,” he said with a smile. The conversation between Mr Obama and Maina Kiai, the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, occurred near an open microphone and was later broadcast by CNN. “I hope you’ve quit smoking,” Mr Obama said to Mr Kiai, a Kenyan. “Sometimes,” Mr Kiai responded, as the two smiled and shook hands. Both Mr Obama and Mr Kiai attended Harvard University Law School.

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Igor Volsky: Sorry, The Latest Anti-ObamaCare Article To Go Viral Is Totally Wrong

An article published by Forbes claiming that Obamacare will increase health care costs by$7,450 for a typical family of four is spreading like wildfire across the internet, but causing eye rolls from economists across the country. One economist interviewed by ThinkProgress, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities’ Paul Van de Water, described this calculation as one of the stupidest things he’s read in a long time and likened it to arguing that college costs will increase for a “typical” family if the federal government adopts policies that help lower-income Americans afford college educations.

Yes, the nation will spend more on education if more students enroll in colleges and universities, but the “typical” student already attending college won’t; she or he will continuing paying tuition at more or less the same rate, while the newly-enrolled student will presumably benefit from some sort of subsidized tuition rate.

In fact, if anything, the CMS report that Conover links to shows that Obamacare is a good financial proposition. In 2022, total health care spending will increase by 1.5 percent, while the number of non-elderly adults with health care coverage will increase by 9 percent. That’s a pretty good deal any way you slice it.

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HHS.Gov: Countdown To Coverage

Today we’ve reached yet another milestone on the road to affordable health care: 100 days to coverage. For years, millions of Americans have been denied the security and peace of mind of having health insurance. Too many have been priced out, locked out, or dumped out by insurance companies. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all of that is changing. January 1, 2014 — 100 days from today –marks a new day, when coverage will be more accessible and affordable. On that day, coverage will begin for those who signed up for a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace by December 15, 2013.

The Marketplace is a new, simpler way to purchase health insurance –all in one place.  You can go online or call to find and compare options, see if you qualify for lower costs, and select coverage that meets your needs and budget. October 1, 2013, marks the beginning of an extensive six-month-long open enrollment and public education campaign. You can enroll through the end of March.

Many will enroll online at www.HealthCare.gov. For some, it will be easier to enroll by phone (1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325) or by mail.  To make the process even easier, we have trained local assisters to help answer all of your coverage questions.

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On This Day:

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First Lady Michelle Obama plays table tennis with members of the band Big Time Rush in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House during a taping for NIckelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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President Barack Obama confers with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom following the United Nations Security Council meeting at U.N. Headquarters in New York, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the National Day of Play on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. Sept. 24, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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Prior to a luncheon, First Lady Michelle Obama and the spouses of United Nations General Assembly leaders tour the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture with Dan Barber, co-owner and executive chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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President Barack Obama confers with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan E. Rice, NSC Advisor Gen. Jim Jones and Special Assistant to the President Gary Samore prior to the U.N. Security Council Heads of State meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

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19
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet the family of Senior Master Sergeant Roland Paramore (not pictured) aboard Air Force One prior to departure en route to New York, Sept. 19, 2011(Pete Souza)

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Today (All Times Eastern):

10:45 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly briefing with members of the press (C-Span)

11:0: The President delivers remarks at a meeting of his Export Council, Eisenhower Executive Office Building

1:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

4:25: The President attends a DNC event, Capital Hilton Hotel (Closed Press)

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Esquire: Aliens in Their Own Nation

For the Republican Party, what began as a tactic — vilification of its opponents — became a habit that became a conviction. Its anger and distrust have become the dominant political fact of our time.

We have a problem with our Republicans. They don’t much want to govern anymore, and we can’t govern without them. This has been a long time coming, but at some point in recent years, America’s Republicans, especially elected officials but also a large part of the rank and file, stopped seeing Democrats and many other Americans as their political opponents and started viewing them instead as the enemy, a nemesis bent on destroying the country.

Certainly a significant factor underlying this phenomenon is white insecurity in a changing world, especially in the old Confederacy, in which the 21st-century Republican party has bunkered itself. But whatever the reason, given the symbiosis between the only two political parties we have allowed ourselves, this extremism endangers the governing arrangement that has held for the last century or so — and by and large worked spectacularly well…

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Jamelle Bouie: The Obamacare Swindle (It’s Not What You Think)

Health-care reform isn’t going anywhere. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from using it to raise money from gullible Tea Partiers who want it defunded.

House Republican leadership does not want a government shutdown over Obamacare, but the agitation of conservative activists might make one inevitable.

….. Conservatives must know they have nothing to gain politically from taking this stance, which raises the question: why do it? One answer, as suggested by the National Review’s Robert Costa in August, is money. Tea party organizations, he writes, “aren’t worried about the establishment’s ire. In fact, they welcome it. Business has boomed since the push to defund Obamacare caught on. Conservative activists are lighting up social media, donations are pouring in, and e-mail lists are growing.”

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Carol E. Lee: Obama Administration Weighs Iran Talks At U.N.

The Obama administration is preparing for high-level meetings next week with the Iranian government on its nuclear ambitions and is open to a direct exchange between President Barack Obama and Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, at the United Nations, according to senior U.S. officials.

The recent softening between Washington and Tehran gained new momentum with the release by Iran in recent days of 11 political prisoners, including a prominent human-rights lawyer freed on Wednesday. The releases were seen as a signal to Washington of a desire for better relations on the eve of Mr. Rouhani’s first visit as president to the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.

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Greg Sargent: If We Get A Debt Ceiling Crisis, It’s Because Republican Voters Want One

If we are going to have a debt ceiling and default crisis — with all of the havoc it may well entail — it may well be because Republican voters want such a crisis, even if it causes serious economic harm. No, really. That’s what a new poll shows. The new Washington Post/ABC News poll on the debt ceiling tells us something remarkable: Among Republicans who believe that not raising the debt ceiling would cause serious harm to the economy, a majority of them wants Congress not to raise it anyway. By contrast, Americans overall see it in the opposite way.

Meanwhile, the poll also finds that 73 percent think not raising the debt limit would “cause serious harm to the U.S. economy,” versus only 22 percent who say it wouldn’t. How to explain the divergence? It turns out it’s largely driven by Republicans. By contrast, among Americans overall who say not raising it would cause serious harm, they tilt in favor of raising it by 54-35. Independents who say not raising it would cause serious harm also tilt in favor of raising it by 58-36.

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Steve Benen: Bernanke Stuns With Ongoing Stimulus

One of the day’s biggest stories was also one of the day’s most pleasant surprises. The Federal Reserve postponed any retreat from its long-running stimulus campaign Wednesday, saying that it would continue to buy $85 billion a month in bonds to encourage job creation and economic growth. [...]

But let’s not overlook why Bernanke came to this conclusion. There were, of course, multiple factors, but The Hill reported, “The Fed said one of the primary reasons for the decision was the fiscal fight in Washington, which it said is ‘restraining economic growth.'” The political world tends to ignore this for reasons I find endlessly frustrating, but the chairman of the Federal Reserve has repeatedly told Congress, in fairly explicit terms, that Republicans are hurting the economy. Bernanke has drawn direct, unambiguous connections between weak economic growth and the specific policies pursued by Republican lawmakers.

GOP officials ignore Bernanke because he tells them what they don’t want to hear, and many in the media ignore his assessments because Americans aren’t supposed to hear about Republican responsibility for the struggling economy.

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Greg Sargent: The Conservative Alternative To ObamaCare Isn’t An Alternative To ObamaCare

So House conservatives are planning to roll out their long awaited alternative to Obamacare, some three years after they first promised to do so — and after more than three dozen votes to repeal it. The conservative alternative wouldn’t do nothing at all.

“Individuals who purchase coverage approved for sale in their state could claim a deduction of $7,500 against their income and payroll taxes, regardless of the cost of the insurance. Families could deduct $20,000.” The trouble with this, Leavitt says, is that deductions disproportionately benefit the rich. By contrast, Levitt notes, Obamacare gives low income folks subsidies in the form of tax credits, which disproportionately benefit the poor.

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I love the smell of GOP infighting in the morning

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Brian Beutler: GOP Deludes Itself On Shutdown Threat

it’s easier to remember that what we’re hearing on the right is the din of 275 Republicans and thousands of movement conservatives caterwauling at each other. It’s a fascinating story. It’s genuinely newsworthy that John Boehner and company were cowed into giving Ted Cruz and his boosters on the right a vote on the doomed strategy they’ve been demanding. Assuming the defund Obamacare bill passes the House — not a given! — it’ll be extremely revealing to watch Senate Republicans figure out what to do with it, and hear what they say when it inevitably fails.

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On This Day:

President Barack Obama and Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi pet Bo at the conclusion of their meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 19, 2012. Danny Russel, Senior Director for Asian Affairs, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton watch at left (Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to a crowd of over 6000 at Minges Coliseum on the East Carolina University campus, Sept 19, 2012

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First Lady Michelle Obama greets students from the East Durham Children’s Initiative upon arrival at Raleigh-Durham Airport in Morrisville, N.C., Sept. 19, 2012 (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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08
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

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Katie Johnson, President Barack Obama’s personal secretary, far right, talks with Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, before the start of the President’s daily economic briefing in the Oval Office, Sept. 8, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Week Ahead:

Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled

Monday: Attends meetings at the White House and sits down with network and cable news outlets to discuss Syria

Tuesday: Addresses the nation from the White House

Wednesday: The President, the Vice President, the First Lady, Dr Jill Biden and White House staff will gather on the South Lawn of the White House to observe a moment of silence to mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The President will then travel to the Pentagon Memorial to attend the September 11th Observance Ceremony

Thursday: The President will hold a Cabinet Meeting. The Vice President will attend

Friday: Welcomes to the White House the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Shaykh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah

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MPR News: MNsure Unveils Costs Of Health Plans

Uninsured Minnesotans in the Twin Cities can expect to pay as little as $91 a month for health care coverage bought through MNsure, the state’s new online marketplace. “We believe that … these rates that we’re announcing today undeniably are extremely competitive,” Minnesota Commerce Department Commissioner Mike Rothman said. His department regulates insurance products.

Rothman said that Minnesota has the lowest average rates in the country compared to plans offered on 11 other exchanges. A total of 141 plans for individuals and families will be offered on MNsure, and 63 plans will be available to small businesses. “Many individuals and small businesses through MNsure will get even lower cost coverage,” said MNsure Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov. She said roughly half of the people who use MNsure will be eligible for the subsidies. Subsidies are available for people with annual incomes of $23,000 to about $46,000. For a family of four, the income range is $55,000 to $110,000. Government health plans are available for people making less.

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Truth Team: Did You Say Free?

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Michael Sallah: Left With Nothing

On the day Bennie Coleman lost his house, the day armed U.S. marshals came to his door and ordered him off the property, he slumped in a folding chair across the street and watched the vestiges of his 76 years hauled to the curb. Movers carted out his easy chair, his clothes, his television. Next came the things that were closest to his heart: his Marine Corps medals and photographs of his dead wife, Martha. The duplex in Northeast Washington that Coleman bought with cash two decades earlier was emptied and shuttered. By sundown, he had nowhere to go.

All because he didn’t pay a $134 property tax bill. The retired Marine sergeant lost his house on that summer day two years ago through a tax lien sale — an obscure program run by D.C. government that enlists private investors to help the city recover unpaid taxes.

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Ruby Cramer: Alongside His Family, Bill de Blasio Denounces Bloomberg Comments

At a rally in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood, Bill de Blasio responded to a recent interview with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the man he hopes to succeed in City Hall, calling his charges of racism “very unfortunate and inappropriate.” Just days before Tuesday’s New York City primary, Bloomberg told New York Magazine, in an interview published Saturday morning, that de Blasio has run a “class-warfare and racist” campaign because of the way in which he has used “his family to gain support,” the outgoing three-term mayor said.

“I think we have run a campaign about the ideas, about the issues, about how to move this city forward,” said de Blasio, who led a recent Quinnipiac poll with 43 percent of the Democratic vote. “I’m very proud of that. I’m exceedingly proud of my family, and as you’ll know meeting every member of my family, they are each and every one strong and independent and make their own decisions.”

 After the rally, where de Blasio appeared alongside Ken Thompson, a candidate for Brooklyn District attorney, his daughter Chiara told reporters she and her mother and brother, 16-year-old Dante, participated in the campaign on their own terms. “My mom, my brother, and I are all capable of making our own decisions,” she said. “Twenty years ago, my dad did not know he was running for mayor and did not seek to marry a black woman to put on display.”

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Reuters: Kerry Says No Decision Yet On Whether To Seek U.N. Vote On Syria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the United States did not rule out the possibility of returning to the United Nations Security Council to secure a resolution on Syria once U.N. inspectors complete their report. Speaking at a news conference in Paris with his Qatari counterpart Khaled al-Attiya, Kerry said President Barack Obama had yet to make a decision on the issue.

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Steve Benen: Bush Casts A Long Shadow

Karl Rove argued this afternoon that President Obama has created a “longing” for a “decisive” George W. Bush. I’m reasonably certain Rove wasn’t kidding. He might as well have been. Bush excelled in being “decisive,” which is admirable just so long as we ignore whether those decisions had merit. The problem for the failed former president, however, is that Americans care less about whether a leader makes decisions quickly based on instinct and care about whether a leader makes the right decisions. Pausing to reflect and think through decisions based on evidence is not a bad idea.

In Bush’s case, the Republican had a unique ability to decisively make the wrong call in every possible instance that really mattered. He was “decisive” when he chose to ignore warnings about Osama bin Laden in August 2001; he was “decisive” when he brushed off concerns as Hurricane Katrina barreled down on New Orleans; he was “decisive” when he pursued one misguided economic policy after another; and he was “decisive” when he launched a catastrophic war in Iraq based on lies and ideological ambitions.

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Niraj Chokshi: White House’s McDonough Argues Chemical Weapon Prohibition Has Benefited Troops

In pressing the case for military intervention in Syria on the Sunday morning political talk shows, White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough argued that a ban on the use of chemical weapons has benefited American troops. “As a result of that prohibition, our troops have not faced that chemical weapon since World War One,” McDonough said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It has a very direct consequence for our men and women.”

In multiple appearances Sunday morning, McDonough challenged lawmakers to watch recently released videos of Syrian citizens suffering from the alleged attack before coming to a decision on whether to authorize the use of military force in Syria. Congress reconvenes on Monday and will begin debating the issue this week.

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Right On!

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden pose for a photo with Supreme Court Justices prior to the investiture ceremony for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Sept. 8, 2009. From left: Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony M. Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, Chief Justice John Roberts, the President, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Vice President, Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, and retired Associate Justice David Souter (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama watches a monitor in House Speaker John Boehner’s Ceremonial Office at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., before addressing a Joint Session of Congress to outline the American Jobs Act, Sept. 8, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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