Posts Tagged ‘visit

11
Feb
14

Bienvenue Aux États-Unis, Président Hollande

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President Barack Obama greets a U.S. veteran George Shenkle during an arrival ceremony for French President Francois Hollande

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OBAMA-HOLLANDE

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Continue reading ‘Bienvenue Aux États-Unis, Président Hollande’

06
Jul
13

Africa, a recap…

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Continue reading ‘Africa, a recap…’

04
Jul
13

Rise and Shine: Happy 4th!

President Barack Obama holds a baby while greeting guests during an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Jamelle Bouie: In the United States, voting rights don’t march forward as much as they ebb and flow. Often, it happens like this: The prospect of short-term political gain leads one of the two parties to make a massive push for democratic participation, which is then countered by the other side, which has an equally large interest in maintaining a smaller electorate of particular people. After North Carolina Democrats won unified control of state government in 2006—thanks to wide dissatisfaction with the Republican Party and high turnout from black voters—they moved to expand voting with same-day registration. Greater participation, they argued, was a good in itself. North Carolina Republicans took control of the legislature in 2010, and in the same vein, promptly moved to restrict voting where it was previously open. In 2011, then-Governor Bev Purdue vetoed a bill that would have required identification for all voters, end same-day registration, restrict early voting, and end voting on the Sunday before an election.

Now, however, Republicans have the governorship as well as a veto-proof majority. And with the Supreme Court’s decision last week—which gutted the Voting Rights Act and ended the pre-clearance requirement for North Carolina, among other states—the GOP has a chance to turn this proposal into law. They aren’t wasting any time.

With the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act—as well as the actions in states like North Carolina—that’s where the fight is now. Are we still a country that’s serious about opening the polls to all of its citizens, or do we believe that voting is for some, and not for others?

More here

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President Barack Obama holds a baby while greeting guests during an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Washington Post: the Obama administration announced that it would delay the “employer mandate” provision of the Affordable Care Act, which requires businesses of 50 employees or more to provide health insurance or face a penalty. The reason for the delay, as Sarah Kliff reports for The Post, is that the administration has heard “significant concerns from employers about the challenges of implementing it.” As far as policy is concerned, this isn’t a huge blow to the ACA.

Indeed, there’s a case for repealing the employer mandate altogether, given how little it matters to the full scheme of the law. But such an administrative reform is only possible in a settled political environment, where both sides accept the reality of the Affordable Care Act. As it stands, the Republican Party is still committed to repealing every portion of Obamacare, regardless of the costs. Indeed, after news of the delay broke, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor responded on Twitter with a simple declaration. “Rather than simply delaying the pain, we should go ahead and scrap this entire law before any more damage is done.”

More here

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch from the White House roof as fireworks erupt over the National Mall, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Urban Institute: On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced a 1-year delay in the implementation of employer penalties associated with large employers (50 or more workers) who do not offer affordable coverage to their full-time workers (30 or more hours per week). Our prior analyses show these penalties are not the driving force behind the ACA’s coverage expansions. Nor are the penalties a significant source of federal revenue. Contrary to some initial reactions, the employer responsibility requirement is not a critical factor in meeting the goals of the law.

As we have explained elsewhere, there is very little in the ACA that changes the incentives facing employers that already offer coverage to their workers, and fully 96 percent of employers with 50 or more workers already offer today. Competition for labor, the fact that most employees get greater value from the tax exclusion for employer sponsored insurance than they would from exchange-based subsidies, and the introduction of a requirement for individuals to obtain coverage or pay a penalty themselves, are the major factors that will keep the lion’s share of employers continuing to do just what they do today with no requirements in place to do so.

Throughout the development and the implementation of the ACA, there has been more worry than warranted that employers will drop insurance coverage.  The current furor over the delay of the employer penalties appears to be more of the same. With or without the penalties, most people will still get coverage through their employers; the fundamental structure of the law will remain intact.

More here

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A Year Ago Today

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A young girl salutes President Barack Obama as he shakes hands along a ropeline with members of the military and their families during the Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Coral Davenport: Within hours of President Obama’s sweeping climate speech last week, Republican campaign committees reignited the charge that the president has declared “War on Coal.” They blasted inboxes and airwaves with “War on Coal” talking points, now aimed squarely at Democrats running in Senate and House races in 2014. The “War on Coal campaign” failed to unseat Obama in the 2012 presidential campaign. And despite the potency of the rhetorical attack, it’s unlikely to have much impact on the 2014 races.

Here’s why: As National Journal reported last week, the political power of coal has fundamentally weakened, a shift laid bare by last year’s elections. Between 2008 and 2012, the coal industry nearly quadrupled its political contributions, directing 90 percent of its money towards Republicans. But Obama still won comfortably in the four key swing states that produce the most coal: Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Thanks to a recent boom in cheap natural gas—which has brought with it a boom in domestic manufacturing—coal is a smaller piece of the economy than it once was. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are only 84,000 people employed in the coal-mining industry—a number that just isn’t enough to make a difference in a national election.

More here

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch fireworks from the roof of the White House, July 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Texas Tribune: After closing public testimony just after midnight, the House State Affairs Committee voted 8-3, along party lines, to approve House Bill 2. Public testimony was closed before more than 1,000 people who wished to testify on the bill were given the opportunity. Of the 3,543 people who registered a position on the bill, fewer than 100 testified — in nearly equal number for and against the bill —­ before midnight. According to House officials, 2,181 people registered against the bill, while 1,355 registered for the bill.

“The time clock has not run out on this special session, and I do believe the people who come here do have a right to have their voices heard,” state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, told the committee. He voted against the bill. People waiting in the committee room called out requests to testify. “My mom died of a back-alley abortion, and I want to testify,” a man called out from the audience. He added that he’d waited more than seven hours.

More here

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Fireworks begin as the Killers perform on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2010, during the Fourth of July celebration. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Note: The media should stop referring to them as “abortion clinics.” They are “Women’s Health Clinics” which provide a range of healthcare services to women and men alike.

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Tara Culp-Ressler: In addition to criminalizing abortion services after 20 weeks, the other provisions in Texas’ abortion proposals would impose harsh restrictions on abortion providers. By subjecting abortion clinics to new regulations that would force them to make expensive updates to their facilities — unnecessary measures that major medical groups, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose — Texas’ bill would force 90 percent of the state’s clinics to close their doors. That would leave just five abortion clinics in the entire Lone Star State, which happens to be the second most populous state in the country.

Texas is 773 miles wide and 790 miles long. The proposed restrictions would wipe out all of the abortion clinics in the western half of the state, leaving just a handful remaining in urban centers. If the measures currently being advanced in the legislature become law, many women living in rural areas will be forced to travel hundreds of miles to get to the nearest clinic — a trek that low-income women, who struggle to take time off work and pay for transportation, aren’t likely to be able to afford. And the real catch? Outside of the debate about abortion access after 20 weeks — even outside of the fight for abortion rights altogether — the “abortion clinics” in question are often providing health services that encompass much more than helping women terminate a pregnancy. Many of them also provide preventative care, family planning counseling, STD testing, and cancer screenings. And they offer those health services to Texans of both genders who are typically uninsured.

Under Texas’ proposed legislation, many clinics that currently offer birth controls and condoms would have to cease those services for some of Texas’ neediest residents. “That is part of the concern that’s getting drowned out in the abortions versus pro-life soundbite,” Texas Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D) told ABC News in a recent phone interview.

More here

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pretend to march to music in the Blue Room of the White House, July 4, 2010, before delivering remarks to military families during a Fourth of July celebration. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern)

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host military heroes and their families for an Independence Day celebration with a barbeque, concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn. Staff and their families from throughout the Administration will also attend this event for the concert and fireworks viewing

6:00PM: Pres. Obama will deliver remarks

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the fireworks over the National Mall from the roof of the White House, July 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Have A Safe Fireworksstacular Fourth Of July! :D

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02
Jul
13

Memories

@FLOTUS

Chat away.

01
Jul
13

President Obama….African front pages

South Africa

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29
Jun
13

South Africa: A Few More Images

A young man throws his fist into the air as President Obama calls on him for a question during a “town hall” meeting with the young African leaders at the University of Johannesburg in Soweto

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@PeteSouza

Graca Machel, the wife of Nelson Mandela:

“I have drawn strength from the support received from President Barack Obama, Michelle, Malia and Sasha. Having taken the time to telephone me to express their solidarity and meet our children they have added a touch of personal warmth that is characteristic of the Obama family.

“I am humbled by their comfort and messages of strength and inspiration which I have already conveyed to Madiba.”

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29
Jun
13

Rise and Shine: South Africa

Greeted by South African president Jacob Zuma and First Lady Tobeka Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria

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The Rest of the Day in South Africa:

All times US Eastern

9:30 AM: The First Lady hosts a conversation with youth, organized in conjunction with MTV Base, an African youth and music TV channel, and Google+. The First Lady will be joined by teenagers from across South Africa, as well as students joining virtually in cities around the U.S. via Google+ Hangouts, including in L.A., Kansas City, New York City, and Houston

WH.gov * WH Google+ * Also live on YouTube

9:50 AM: President Obama takes part in a Young African Leaders Initiative Town Hall, University of Johannesburg – Soweto

White House Live * YouTube

11:55 AM: President Obama meets with African Union Chairwoman Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

2:05 PM: The President and First Lady attend an official state dinner with President Zuma, Union Building, Pretoria

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More live streaming links for today:

Reuters * CBS (UStream) * CBS (Widget) * eNCA (South Africa)

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The press conference:

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AP: President Barack Obama on Saturday encouraged leaders in Africa and around the world to follow former South African President Nelson Mandela’s example of country before self, as the U.S. president prepared to pay personal respects to relatives who have been gathered around the critically ill anti-apartheid icon.

“We as leaders occupy these spaces temporarily and we don’t get so deluded that we think the fate of our country doesn’t depend on how long we stay in office,” Obama said.

…. Obama referred to Mandela by his clan name as he praised South Africa’s historic integration from white racist rule as a shining beacon for the world. “The struggle here against apartheid for freedom, Madiba’s moral courage, this country’s historic transition to a free and democratic nation has been a personal inspiration to me, it has been an inspiration to the world,” Obama said.

“The outpouring of love that we’ve seen in recent days shows that the triumph of Nelson Mandela and this nation speaks to something very deep in the human spirit, the yearning for justice and dignity that transcends boundaries of race and class and faith and country,” Obama said. “That’s what Nelson Mandela represents, that’s what South African at its best represents to the world, and that’s what brings me back here.”

Zuma told Obama he and Mandela are “bound by history as the first black presidents of your respective countries.”

More here

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Ari Shapiro (NPR)

President Obama and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma hold a joint news conference

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This is an incredibly powerful video, the First Lady talks about the First Family’s visit to the ‘House of Slaves':

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First lady Michelle Obama walks with Marieme Faye, wife of Senegal’s President Macky Sall, to Air Force One as the first family departed Dakar, June 28

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A man wears a t-shirt with a portrait of President Obama outside the Pretoria hospital where Nelson Mandela is being treated

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A group of wellwishers sing and pray for the health of Nelson Mandela outside the Pretoria hospital

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A mural showing former South African President Nelson Mandela is pictured near his former house in Alexandra township

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MooooOOOOoooorning everyone – and thank you again to the earliest of early birds, the mighty UT. More in a while.

26
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

@petesouza: POTUS and FLOTUS wave from aboard AF1, en route to Africa

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Today:

EST

8:45 AM: The President and the First Family depart the White House

GMT

8:25PM: Arrive Dakar, Senegal

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Heather Gerken (Slate): Goodbye to the Crown Jewel of the Civil Rights Movement – People died to pass Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, but that didn’t save it at the Supreme Court.

…. To understand why Section 5 was special, you have to know a bit about its history. The brutal attacks on civil rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge provided the push needed to pass the Voting Rights Act. When the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, almost no African-Americans were registered to vote in the Deep South due to brutal repression and sickening legal chicanery.

Civil rights litigators and the Department of Justice were doing their best to help. They filed lawsuit after lawsuit to make it possible for blacks to register. But every time a court deemed one discriminatory practice illegal, local officials would switch to another. Literacy tests, poll taxes, burdensome registration requirements – these techniques were all used to prevent African-Americans from voting. Southern voting registrars would even resign from their positions as soon as a lawsuit was on the cusp of succeeding, thereby sending the case back to square one. The Voting Rights Act aimed to change all of this.

Section 5 was the most important and imaginative provision in the law….

More here

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President Barack Obama gives his second State of The Union Address before a joint session of Congress in Washington, DC.

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Sahil Kapur: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg penned the fierce dissent against the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision Tuesday to invalidate a key section of the Voting Rights Act, accusing the conservative justices of displaying “hubris” and a lack of sound reasoning. “[T]he Court’s opinion can hardly be described as an exemplar of restrained and moderate decision making,” wrote the leader of the court’s liberal wing. “Quite the opposite. Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the VRA.”

Joined by the three other liberal-leaning justices, Ginsburg scolded the conservative majority and its rationale for throwing out Section 4 of the law — which contains the formula Congress has used to determine which states and local governments must receive federal pre-approval before changing their voting laws. “Congress approached the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA with great care and seriousness. The same cannot be said of the Court’s opinion today,” she wrote. “The Court makes no genuine attempt to engage with the massive legislative record that Congress assembled. Instead, it relies on increases in voter registration and turnout as if that were the whole story.” “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” Ginsburg wrote.

More here

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Texas Tribune: The nation watched on Tuesday — and into Wednesday — as Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis and hundreds of impassioned reproductive rights advocates stalled proceedings and ultimately defeated controversial abortion legislation in a storm of screams and shouts as the clock struck midnight.

“I am overwhelmed, honestly,” Davis said after standing for nearly 13 hours to filibuster Senate Bill 5, the abortion legislation. The outpouring of support from protesters at the Capitol and across the nation, she said, “shows the determination and spirit of Texas women and people who care about Texas women.”

…. Republican senators made a last-ditch effort to approve SB 5, voting 19-10, but by then the clock had ticked past midnight. Under the terms of the state Constitution, the special session had ended, and the bill could not be signed, enrolled or sent to the governor.

… Conservative lawmakers tried every tool in the Senate rulebook to derail the filibuster. A “three strikes, you’re out” precedent in the Senate grants lawmakers two warnings about staying germane to the bill topic … Davis received the three strikes: two were on the germaneness of the discussion and one was related to Davis receiving assistance from another senator to put on a back brace….

More here

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